Another guess on amount of silver looted from France and England by the Vikings

Means by which all that wealth was transferred back to Scandinavia. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Been listening again to The Vikings by Professor Kenneth Harl. Audio lectures are from The Great Courses,

The author makes a wild guess on the amount of silver carried out of the Carolingian Empire and away from England.

Based upon written accounts in the 9th century he estimates between 40,000 and 45,000 pounds of silver was extracted from the Carolingian empire as Danegeld payments.

He says most historians would estimate this was between 1/2 and 1/3 of the total silver hauled off. That means there would have been somewhere in the range of 80,000 or 90,000 pounds up to 120,000 or 135,000 pounds in addition. I will smooth that estimate out to somewhere between 80,000 and 125,000 pounds.

Over in England, king Ethelred paid out an estimated 180,000 pounds of silver.

Continue reading “Another guess on amount of silver looted from France and England by the Vikings”

Prices of slaves on the Eastern Shore of Maryland before the Civil War – Part 4

Black soldiers in Union army. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

This series of posts focuses on the prices of slaves and some of the economics of the slave system as discussed in the book Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman: Portrait of an American Hero, by Kate Clifford Larson.

First post:  introduction, why discuss prices, manumission

Second post: term slave, status of children

Third post: sales prices, hire out

This post finishes the series.

Rewards for capture

In September 1849, Harriet and her two brothers, Ben and Henry, ran away. Eliza Brodess posted a notice dated “Oct 3rd, 1849” offering $300 for the return of the three. The brothers changed their mind and went back to their master, dragging Harriet with them.

Continue reading “Prices of slaves on the Eastern Shore of Maryland before the Civil War – Part 4”

Organization of Roman legion in the Maniple and Cohort structures

Testudo formation demonstrated by reenactors. Photo courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Best description of the maniple and cohort structure for a Roman legion that I’ve read can be found in Roman Soldier Operations Manual: Daily Life * Fighting Tactics * Weapons * Equipment * Kit by Simon Forty.

This post will sketch out what the organization looks like in both structures.

The building block units of a legion will be shown, with the number of soldiers in each unit illustrated.

 

Maniple

Book says the maniple structure was used from the 4th century B.C. until about 107 to 101 B.C. at the time of the Marian reforms.

There were three lines in a maniple. The front line of least experienced troops were the hastati.  Middle line were the principe. Back row was the older and most experienced soldiers, the triari.

The basic building block was the contuberium, or squad, which consisted of 6 soldiers who shared a tent and cooked their meals together.

A contuberium would look like this, with the soldier count listed and total for the unit:

Continue reading “Organization of Roman legion in the Maniple and Cohort structures”

Prices of slaves on the Eastern Shore of Maryland before the Civil War – Part 3

Harriet Tubman Memorial Statue in Harlem, New York. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

This series of posts focuses on the prices of slaves and some of the economics of the slave system as discussed in the book Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman: Portrait of an American Hero, by Kate Clifford Larson.

First post:  introduction, why discuss prices, manumission

Second post: term slave, status of children

Prices

For context, a house and barn were built on the Brodess farm in 1820. Edward Brodess owned Tubman. Upon his death, his wife, Eliza took ownership of the slaves and bore the responsibility of running the small family farm.

The house was described in court documents (I won’t go into background on the messy issue) as

“a single story 32 by 20 ft two rooms below with two plank floors and brick chimney, and also a barn of good material.

Continue reading “Prices of slaves on the Eastern Shore of Maryland before the Civil War – Part 3”

Economic life on a farm in 1945: family size

Ulvog children, circa 1940. Front row: Carl, Clarice, Gilbert, James. Back row: Olaf, Louise, Alice, Lloyd. Photo provided by Sonia Strand.

This is the seventh in a series of posts exploring the economic life of a 1940s era farm in South Dakota.

My grandmother, Lydia (nee Ven) Ulvog was 52 years old when the probate document for my grandfather’s estate was filed.

Children of Lydia and Daniel were:

Continue reading “Economic life on a farm in 1945: family size”

Prices of slaves on the Eastern Shore of Maryland before the Civil War – Part 2

Slave cabins in Boone Hall Plantation in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

This series of posts focuses on the prices of slaves and some of the economics of the slave system as discussed in the book Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman: Portrait of an American Hero, by Kate Clifford Larson.

First post:  introduction, why discuss prices, manumission

Term slaves

Another grim aspect of a slave economy is the difference between a “slave for life” and a “term slave.” As a matter of course a slave remained a slave until death unless granted manumission.

An interesting twist is the idea of granting manumission at some point in the future. For example a young adult, say in the twenties, could be granted manumission upon reaching age 35 or 40. Infants or children could be granted manumission upon reaching 20 or 40 or some other age.

Continue reading “Prices of slaves on the Eastern Shore of Maryland before the Civil War – Part 2”

Prices of slaves on the Eastern Shore of Maryland before the Civil War – Part 1

Rusty old shackles with padlock, key and open handcuff used for locking up prisoners or slaves between 1600 and 1800. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman: Portrait of an American Hero, by Kate Clifford Larson provides the first adult biography of Harriet Tubman published since 1943.

I read the book after watching the new movie Harriet. I heartily recommend both the book and the movie. If you want to add another hero to the list of people you admire, check out the life story of Harriet Tubman.

There are lots of reviews of the movie and book. This post will not be a review of either the book or movie. Only direct comment I’ll make on the book is that after self-liberating from slavery, Harriet Tubman made about 13 trips back to the eastern shore of Maryland to help about 70 other slaves escape. She liberated most of her family, missing only her remarried husband and a few nieces and nephews if I recall correctly. She also gave detailed instructions to around 50 other slaves so they could escape on their own (location 154).

Instead this post will focus on one aspect of slavery covered in the book, specifically the price of slaves on the eastern shore of Maryland in the years prior to the civil war.

 

Why discuss the price of slaves?

Continue reading “Prices of slaves on the Eastern Shore of Maryland before the Civil War – Part 1”

Indicator of soldier’s pay late in the Civil War. Racial disparity in pay rates.

The Old Flag Never Touched the Ground” by The National Guard is courtesy of the U.S. Government. Painting illustrates the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment as the regiment of African-American soldiers attacked Fort Wagner. Although unsuccessful, the attack proved black soldiers could fight as well as whites.

Hymns of the Republic by S. C. Gwynne cites an editorial on May 1, 1864 in the Chicago Tribune titled “Read and Blush” which criticized the wide disparity in pay between black and white soldiers.

This editorial is useful for two reasons. First, it reports the pay rates then in effect. Second it reveals the racism built into society at the time.

The monthly pay rates in April 1864, with another year remaining in the war:

Continue reading “Indicator of soldier’s pay late in the Civil War. Racial disparity in pay rates.”

Pilum – javelin used by Roman Legionnaires.

Image of pilum courtesy of Adobe Stock.

A Pilum (plural pila) was a javelin thrown by Roman Legionnaires to disrupt an enemy line moments before closing for hand-to-hand contact.

The pilum was about 6 or 6 1/2 feet long, weighing between 2 and 5 pounds (heavier early in Roman era, lighter later).  There was an iron shaft at the front which was about a quarter inch diameter and about 2 feet long. A wood pole, 4 feet long or so was attached to the metal shaft. The wood added plenty of mass to the pilum giving it good penetration capacity. A point on the base of the pilum made it usable to stack with other pila in camp or plant in the ground for an ad hoc defense from cavalry.

A hard triangular tip was designed to punch through armor. With enough force it could penetrate a shield.

Continue reading “Pilum – javelin used by Roman Legionnaires.”

A few indicators for King Solomon’s wealth – part 3

Bronze statuette of the Roman war in a chariot with two horses . Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Previous post took a guess at quantifying the value of King Solomon’s chariots and warhorses. Earlier post estimated the number of warhorses King Solomon owned along with the number of chariots in his kingdom.

Here is another text that allows us to make estimates of some portions of his vast wealth.

Kings text

1 Kings 10: 14-29 (emphasis added to highlight specific valuations):

Continue reading “A few indicators for King Solomon’s wealth – part 3”