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OrlanthRex

Forgotten Secrets of Glorantha

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On 10/6/2018 at 10:53 AM, OrlanthRex said:

Sandy Petersen spoke at Kraken a few years back and described various Gloranthan events. Are these canon?

I was particularly interested in two troll actions in the Dragon Pass region that take place during the Hero Wars. The first is flooding the DP region with a hoard of gold, thereby crashing the economy. The second was expelling all the trollkin from troll lands to overrun the human settlements.

Introducing a lot of gold wouldn't necessarily crash the economy, it would merely create inflation, and a market correction.  It is a little known fact that prior to the Spanish discovery of the Silver Mines in Peru, that Silver was more valuable than gold, as it was rarer in Europe.  After the Spanish flooded the European market with silver, suddenly gold rose in value.  Much the same would happen in this example.  It is generally not known that Chiang Kai Shek in China, ran a scam where he would trade gold from the people for an equal weight of silver, which was considered more valuable in China in the early 20th Century and before.  Now the sting is that technically, silver IS statistically rarer than gold worldwide, and yet sells for tens of dollars while an equal weight of gold sells for hundreds.

Ultimately, all the loose gold would be traded for services and wind up in temple, clan, and noble coffers and safely out of circulation.  The only real losers would the the Yelmalios of Sun Valley who ritualistically rely on gold, and would find their sacred metal devalued.  On the other hand, this would be an opportunity for them to buy up big, once they get over the shock, and if they are still "liquid" subsequently.  Really, it isn't the money that is valuable, but what you can trade for it.  Now if you show up and offer to pay 500 wheels (10,000L) for training in a spell or skill that normally costs 2500L, then you will get priority, and initially may even realize the whole value of the money.  A clever person who finds themselves in possession of a huge sum of money does well to hide the fact for as long as possible, and gently uses it to lever themselves into a better lifestyle without raising suspicions that could lead to robbery or a tax audit.  Trollkin with a hoard of gold are not long for this world though, as they are not generally especially liked or intelligent. 

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With all the empty land, I can see clever Orlanthi clans offering to rent space to gold-rich Trollkin (for a hefty deposit, large annual payment in Gold and produce and with punitive failure-to-honour clauses) and then eradicate the stupid munchkins when they try eating next door's fences (or at the very least sending them packing into exile when they eat the dairy herd. And the stead). While the gold would still enter circulation, the Trollkin themselves wouldn't be a long term problem.

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6 hours ago, Darius West said:

It is a little known fact that prior to the Spanish discovery of the Silver Mines in Peru, that Silver was more valuable than gold, as it was rarer in Europe.  After the Spanish flooded the European market with silver, suddenly gold rose in value.

That is surprising, since silver coins were more common than gold ones at least in northern Europe from what I know. Granted, northern Europe might've just had more silver mines.

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On 10/8/2018 at 6:35 PM, Sir_Godspeed said:

That is surprising, since silver coins were more common than gold ones at least in northern Europe from what I know. Granted, northern Europe might've just had more silver mines.

That's because gold is easier to make into ornaments, and looks better. So gold was too valuable to make mere coins out of.

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5 hours ago, PhilHibbs said:

That's because gold is easier to make into ornaments, and looks better. So gold was too valuable to make mere coins out of.

Handling gold may have been a privilege. Also, Europe bled itself dry on gold in the silk trade, with gold being one of the few European goods coveted by China.

Northern Europe as in Scandinavia switched only rather lately from a weight silver currency to coinage. Providing a place to exchange hacked-up silver into coinage appears to have been a major function of Schleswig up to the formation of the Hanseatic Leage in Visby.

 

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One of the things that happened in the 16th C was the gradual “sucking” of world silver to China. As the ratio of gold to silver in Europe (and Japan) was almost twice that of the ratio in China, a canny merchant could load up on silver and sell it for gold to the Chinese, as silver was cheaper for Europeans (or Japanese) to source, and more valuable to the Chinese (and banned as an export, although gold wasn’t). Of course back outside China the reverse was true - which enabled a nice turn of profit and getting more silver….

 

Once the Spanish had access to New World silver they really went to town, while the boom in Japanese silver mining caused a rise in the demand for gold (which the Portuguese gladly supplied… as they received silver, which they naturally took to China).

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My players once ran a vastly successful caravan to Pent loaded with household metal goods and as much gold as they could rustle up. This was bartered and traded for horses - lots of horses. The Pentans naturally tried raiding them but the PC party was too tough, and bribed the right people (they also, under "slightly mysterious" PC-type circumstances, procured a Lunar contract to supply horses).

Not the naked bullion laundering that has gone on in Each history - but one can play the game.

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On 10/7/2018 at 2:10 PM, Joerg said:

I wonder how they manage the distribution of this somewhat stale, superannuated grain - even if they get the vermin and mold situation under control by Asrelia magic, the quality of the grain goes down as it ages. Who is going to receive this second-rate grain when fresher harvests are brought in? Who oversees this process? How long can they store a grain harvest? How good will these seeds grow up after a catastrophic harvest failure like 1622?

By multi-years, I suppose you mean several times the annual consumption of grain in Nochet rather than several times the annual grain production around Nochet. Few if any Sartarite clans would have been able to afford that luxury under Lunar occupation.

I know that the German federal food reserve regularly sells off canned food approaching its expiration date when it is impractical to donate it directly, presumably to make place for fresh reserves. And the Crop Trust with its vault on Svalbard tries something similar with seed grain (possibly defying Monsanto with its activities).

Most grain, with the exception of certain varieties of maize, can be stored more or less indefinitely with techniques that would have been available to people in antiquity. The nutritional content worsens after a year and reaches its minimum after a few years, but long-term silage is certainly possible. The ease of doing so depends on the climate, of course, and in a humid climate like Kethaela silage would be more difficult to maintain- in arid climates one can simply dig out a pit and put a waterproof cap to seal it. But that is our world- it is entirely possible that grain is simply stored within Ty Kora Tek's dead earth and a ritual of its resurrection performed when the granary must be opened, allowing for long-term grain storage via mythical means/analogues.

Grain production per hectare in the later years of the Roman Republic varied from 269 kg to 1710 kg, sowing a consistent 135 kg of seed. Roman agricultural techniques, when using animal labor, required 1 family of approximately 6 people for every 20 hectares under cultivation. Meanwhile, grain imports into Rome during the early Empire are estimated to have provided 237 kg of grain per person annually, and so I will use that as an estimate for Nochet grain storage requirements. 

Limiting Nochet's food supply to North Esrolia, we have 400,000 rural residents. I will assume 90% of these are directly involved in agricultural production, giving us 360,000 people to work with, with 1.2 million hectares of land under cultivation. The lowest end of production is for North African areas, which is not consistent with descriptions of Esrolia. Using a still-conservative Greek production of 620 kg/ha, 744 million kg of grain would be produced every year. 120,633,000 kg of this would be eaten by the population of North Esrolia, leaving 623 million kg and change for animal feed, rural storage, trade, and urban silage. Nochet eats 23.7 million kg of grain every year. Assuming 90% of the uneaten grain goes to concerns other than that of urban granaries, there is still enough produced, at a frankly conservative estimate of productivity, to store two and a half years of grain for every year of average production for the citizens of Nochet. And this is without considering Esrolia as an economic unit, which should be generally true even given fractious politics. (Note that even using North African numbers, Esrolia is still a net grain exporter, but grain from other parts of Esrolia would be needed to fill the Nochet granaries, or North Esrolia would forgo some exports to make up for draws etc.)

Of course, these are unrealistic assumptions because of frictional concerns and the fact that a substantial proportion of this land will go to vegetable, fruit, and meat/dairy production as well, which cannot be so easily stored. But I suspect the "reality" is probably fairly similar regardless of the raw numbers- Esrolia is an astoundingly productive grain exporter, well able to maintain massive repositories of food in the event of sieges, compared to marginal areas like Dragon Pass or Prax, where the available land for cultivation is limited and of poor productivity. 

The Windstop would be a devastating event mostly in the need to kill and eat work animals for lack of feed, but based on the likely numbers involved, Esrolia wouldn't be facing mass starvation, unlike more marginal highland areas. However, the lack of exports and the drain of granaries and destruction of working livestock would weaken Esrolia in the long term, requiring a lengthy period of accumulation to recover, something the Hero Wars would not likely help with. 

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3 minutes ago, Eff said:

Most grain, with the exception of certain varieties of maize, can be stored more or less indefinitely with techniques that would have been available to people in antiquity. The nutritional content worsens after a year and reaches its minimum after a few years, but long-term silage is certainly possible.

I am aware of that, and of some ancient lineages of maize recovered from Inka grave goods. But having used aged whole wheat flour for making my own bread while living abroad (and the result still beating the kind of bread I could buy there), I am only too aware that this aged grain will be unacceptable to pampered palates. Those folk will demand fresh grain, and so will traders who have to transport it for considerable times to other markets, and make it competitive there.

This means that the keepers of the grain storage must maintain some bureaucratic effort to make sure the stores hold sustainable portions of seed grain (for spring-seeded summer grain and as a reserve for harvest failures due to supernatural causes), fresh food grain, only slightly superannuate grain and some dredges good only for emergencies or fodder.

According to @jajagappa, the grain distribution in Nochet is managed by the Asrelia cult, which means senior members of the high profile Houses of the city. Unlike in a clan, the grain will go to all established factions in the city, be they native Houses, immigrant clans, foreign colonies, cults, guilds or resident and/or contracted mercenary bands, and usually not for a price but for a well-established set of duties and services. If grain quality comes into this, too, these sets of obligations become really complex.

 

3 minutes ago, Eff said:

The ease of doing so depends on the climate, of course, and in a humid climate like Kethaela silage would be more difficult to maintain- in arid climates one can simply dig out a pit and put a waterproof cap to seal it. But that is our world- it is entirely possible that grain is simply stored within Ty Kora Tek's dead earth and a ritual of its resurrection performed when the granary must be opened, allowing for long-term grain storage via mythical means/analogues.

Asrelia has the earth storage magic which also acts as a safe, which makes her cult the deposit bankers of the Theyalan lands, too. (The Issaries cult is for venture capital, that cult wants to keep the currency floating around.)

That magic and some stasis magic probably prevent the grain from spoiling, but I am less convinced that it keeps it from deteriorating in flavor and nutritional value.

Putting stuff down into TKT's Dark Earth would probably kill all flavor. Since it might do the same to any vermin and mold affecting the grain, some rather spoiled low-rate grain might actually benefit from such treatment.

3 minutes ago, Eff said:

Grain production per hectare in the later years of the Roman Republic varied from 269 kg to 1710 kg, sowing a consistent 135 kg of seed. Roman agricultural techniques, when using animal labor, required 1 family of approximately 6 people for every 20 hectares under cultivation. Meanwhile, grain imports into Rome during the early Empire are estimated to have provided 237 kg of grain per person annually, and so I will use that as an estimate for Nochet grain storage requirements. 

Is that number limited to the city, or does it include the rest of Latium (like e.g. the bustling port of Ostia with a high number of transients), too?

3 minutes ago, Eff said:

Limiting Nochet's food supply to North Esrolia, we have 400,000 rural residents. I will assume 90% of these are directly involved in agricultural production, giving us 360,000 people to work with, with 1.2 million hectares of land under cultivation. The lowest end of production is for North African areas, which is not consistent with descriptions of Esrolia. Using a still-conservative Greek production of 620 kg/ha, 744 million kg of grain would be produced every year. 120,633,000 kg of this would be eaten by the population of North Esrolia, leaving 623 million kg and change for animal feed, rural storage, trade, and urban silage. Nochet eats 23.7 million kg of grain every year. Assuming 90% of the uneaten grain goes to concerns other than that of urban granaries, there is still enough produced, at a frankly conservative estimate of productivity, to store two and a half years of grain for every year of average production for the citizens of Nochet. And this is without considering Esrolia as an economic unit, which should be generally true even given fractious politics. (Note that even using North African numbers, Esrolia is still a net grain exporter, but grain from other parts of Esrolia would be needed to fill the Nochet granaries, or North Esrolia would forgo some exports to make up for draws etc.)

I have a gut feeling more than evidence that the Esrolian mesopotamia is the real grain basket of the country, producing most of the grain dedicated to export. Also because the two rivers facilitate bulk traffic.

Rhigos used to be the main grain port before the Opening, but it would only service the ports at the river estuaries of Heortland. Grain going to Sartar or the Grazelands would sensibly be collected in the parts of North Esrolia close to the Lyksos and transshipped either near the Building Wall, New Crystal City, or at Duck Point (using either the gap between the Spine and Arrowmound north of Arkat's Hold, Orstan's Pass between Rich Post and Queen's Post, or one of the three northern passes or gaps of the spine if carried on Sartarite royal highways).

Honestly, I doubt that there are any grain shipments on the road between Boldhome and Jonstown, as that is a serious pass of its own, and the other two routes are as unsuited for bulk goods. On the other hand, Grazers might spare little cost when it comes to raising their special golden horses, importing specially blessed grain from holy fields.

The Vendref traders of Rich Post might import grain to make up for the heavy demand their grazer overlords take from them. The original Lyksos River has a tributary leading rather close to Rich Post, so there might even be barge ducks braving the wrath of the pony breeders all the way up there to deal with the Vendref of Rich Post.

3 minutes ago, Eff said:

Of course, these are unrealistic assumptions because of frictional concerns and the fact that a substantial proportion of this land will go to vegetable, fruit, and meat/dairy production as well, which cannot be so easily stored. But I suspect the "reality" is probably fairly similar regardless of the raw numbers- Esrolia is an astoundingly productive grain exporter, well able to maintain massive repositories of food in the event of sieges, compared to marginal areas like Dragon Pass or Prax, where the available land for cultivation is limited and of poor productivity. 

Looking at your play with numbers, halving the grain-producing area in North Esrolia would still provide sufficient surplus to feed Nochet. Esrolia is also known for vinyards, orchards etc., and the cattle needed to sustain enough oxen for plowing all that land will take up quite a bit of pasture (making up for that with some dairy production).

Given that Rome was known to use lentils as power food along with grain and to allow for a significant number of transient population in Nochet, I think I would up the annual grain consumption of Nochet to about 36 milion tons. There is beer production and probably some export, too.

So let's assume Nochet has enough grain for three years in its silos. City population during  Fimbulwinter will swell to maybe 150,000 rather than the usual 120,000 through refugees, who may receive some of that lowest quality grain I wrote about above. The grain will have to last for two harvests before the surrounding lands can spare any grain to the city. That means only enough grain for half a normal year's consumption may be available for trading away from the city as seed stock.

3 minutes ago, Eff said:

The Windstop would be a devastating event mostly in the need to kill and eat work animals for lack of feed, but based on the likely numbers involved, Esrolia wouldn't be facing mass starvation, unlike more marginal highland areas. However, the lack of exports and the drain of granaries and destruction of working livestock would weaken Esrolia in the long term, requiring a lengthy period of accumulation to recover, something the Hero Wars would not likely help with. 

Nochet does have a financial windfall when Harrek and his wolf pirates drink and whore off their plunder of Tatius' solar mages in the city in 1624, making up for some of the financial recovery. Exporting seed grain to Dragon Pass and possibly Heortland in 1623 will be profitable, too, and logistically just manageable. (Possibly already in late 1622 if the Heortlings sow winter grain, too. I really haven't seen any bit of evidence for this, and hardly anything that might imply otherwise.)

If the Heortlings do sow winter grain, the immediate storage situation for them might mean a lot less remaining seeds (only the summer portion) in the silos. The barley plants might have survived the Fimbulwinter under the snow, and if the farmers use them for hay or pasture in late 1622 to prevent the plant from trying to reproduce, the 1621 winter seed might actually provide half a harvest in Fire Season 1623 as the plants would have been sufficiently developed to survive like grass.

Any Bless Crops magics used on those winter seeds would have been broken with the death of Ernalda, though, but there might be a chance to renew that spell late in 1622.

Replenishing the herds will have to wait for Argrath's Tarsh campaign, which ought to re-distribute a fair amount of Provincial cattle south.

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9 hours ago, Joerg said:

Asrelia has the earth storage magic which also acts as a safe, which makes her cult the deposit bankers of the Theyalan lands, too. (The Issaries cult is for venture capital, that cult wants to keep the currency floating around.)

It's almost like the cults are symbiotic like an old married couple . . . even though Everybody Knows grandma's husband had a different name, the name of Issaries' wife is obscure and the role of Talking God better fits elders who've already sowed their stormy oats and settled down a bit. Almost as though a version of Orlanth's father had lived.

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On 10/9/2018 at 4:35 AM, Sir_Godspeed said:

That is surprising, since silver coins were more common than gold ones at least in northern Europe from what I know. Granted, northern Europe might've just had more silver mines.

It surprised me too.  The commonality of silver in Northern Europe is entirely due to the effect of Spanish Silver on the European economy.  It is not that Northern Europe was without silver mines, as often silver and lead are found in the same ore bodies, but they are nothing compared to the sheer volume of silver pulled out of Mt Potosi in what is now Bolivia, but was then part of the Spanish Empire.  This single mountain pretty much funded the Spanish Empire.

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23 minutes ago, Darius West said:

It surprised me too.  The commonality of silver in Northern Europe is entirely due to the effect of Spanish Silver on the European economy. 

How so when we find silver hoards from say before the Anglo-Saxon exodus on Fyn or in Juteland? Silver by weight was the international currency north of the Holy Roman Empire until Scandinavian kings and trader cities started coining silver, too (about the time the Hanseatic League expanded into their territory). Significant portions of that silver (and some gold) were taken out of circulation in hoards or grave gifts.

The precious metal economy of the late Roman Empire bled lots of gold east along the silk road. Presumably back then gold was valued more than silver in China. What remained were silver coins and (in the coinless barbaricum) fragments of valuable metals, mostly silver.

 

23 minutes ago, Darius West said:

It is not that Northern Europe was without silver mines, as often silver and lead are found in the same ore bodies, but they are nothing compared to the sheer volume of silver pulled out of Mt Potosi in what is now Bolivia, but was then part of the Spanish Empire.  This single mountain pretty much funded the Spanish Empire.

This kind of mining activity can be associated with the Roman Empire. The Spanish mineral resources had been mined systematically by the Carthaginians and later the Romans, destroying entire mountains in their pursuit. Hannibal used such mining techniques to carve an elephant-grade passage through the Alps at one or two choke points.

I am not aware of any pre-medieval mining activities for anything but bog iron, flint, soapstone, jetstone or amber anywhere in northern Europe - maybe copper (Malachite) in places where the mineral surfaced, but that would have been mined out quickly as bronze was introduced. But then our definitions of Northern Europe possibly differ, and you might really mean "outside of the Roman Empire". Dacians and Celts (both continental and island) did have mining operations which "invited" the Roman Republic/Empire to invade.

Northern Europe had a unique export article with its amber, already in Mycenean times and possibly earlier. Metal would have been as valuable by volume to the northerners, which may have introduced the first copper or bronze items to the north.

 

The Roman Iron Age in northern Europe saw quite a bit of southern and presumably some central European precious metal, through raiding (or mercenary service fees), trading and diplomatic gifts.

Earlier metal imports like the sky-disk of Nebra had copper from Alpine mines and tin and gold from Cornwall. Given the location of the Unetice culture, I have to assume that the material made its way north through the amber trade. The battle of Tollense bridge might be seen in the context of the amber trade, too.

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On 10/13/2018 at 8:52 PM, Joerg said:

How so when we find silver hoards from say before the Anglo-Saxon exodus on Fyn or in Juteland? Silver by weight was the international currency north of the Holy Roman Empire until Scandinavian kings and trader cities started coining silver, too (about the time the Hanseatic League expanded into their territory). Significant portions of that silver (and some gold) were taken out of circulation in hoards or grave gifts.

Did I suggest that silver wasn't used  in currency prior to the Spanish going to the New World? No.  What I wrote was that silver had a higher value than gold across Europe prior to the Spanish.  Please read my posts more closely before replying.

On 10/13/2018 at 8:52 PM, Joerg said:

The precious metal economy of the late Roman Empire bled lots of gold east along the silk road. Presumably back then gold was valued more than silver in China. What remained were silver coins and (in the coinless barbaricum) fragments of valuable metals, mostly silver.

In fact the Chinese Empires have valued silver over gold for a very long time indeed.  Their coins for the most part have been made of copper or iron however, as the lower denominations.  Now it is true that the late Roman Empire fell into a balance of trade deficit with China, as China would only accept silver as payment for its goods.  To say Rome hemorrhaged gold is not quite true therefore; they bled their silver east.  Did this deplete the silver reserves of Europe?  No.  Only the ones the Romans knew about and could get at.

On 10/13/2018 at 8:52 PM, Joerg said:

This kind of mining activity can be associated with the Roman Empire. The Spanish mineral resources had been mined systematically by the Carthaginians and later the Romans, destroying entire mountains in their pursuit. Hannibal used such mining techniques to carve an elephant-grade passage through the Alps at one or two choke points.

I am not talking about the Iberian peninsula when it was ruled by Carthage.  That wasn't Spain.  Spain didn't exist yet.  As for Hannibal using mining techniques to get elephants through the Alps, that would make sense, but I have never read any archaeology or contemporary histories that would support that, so I would love to see your sources. I was talking about the after the end of the Reconquista  when the conquistadors went to the New World and were able to capture Cerro Potosi in Bolivia.  Here are a couple of articles to fill you in: 

A brief summary of Cerro Potosi:

https://theculturetrip.com/south-america/bolivia/articles/a-brief-history-of-potosi-and-cerro-rico/

The Wiki Entry for the Silver trade:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_silver_trade_from_the_16th_to_18th_centuries

The Price Revolution (How Spain inflated Europe's currency)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Price_revolution

 

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2 hours ago, Darius West said:

Did I suggest that silver wasn't used  in currency prior to the Spanish going to the New World? No. 

No. But you suggest that gold was less valued than silver in (unspecified portions of) Europe and in the Chinese trade, and rebuked my statement that Roman gold made it to China.

Wikipedia can be used to support any claim. Here's a nice piece of mine:

Quote

Trade items such as spice and silk had to be paid for with Roman gold coinage. There was some demand in China for Roman glass; the Han Chinese also produced glass in certain locations.

It is true that Pliny the Elder values the trade deficit as 100 million sesterces (probably overstated by an order of magnitude or three), but that doesn't mean that that amount of silver coins vanished into the east.

 

2 hours ago, Darius West said:

What I wrote was that silver had a higher value than gold across Europe prior to the Spanish. 

Please state your sources for that. The links you provided don't corroborate this.

 

2 hours ago, Darius West said:

In fact the Chinese Empires have valued silver over gold for a very long time indeed.  Their coins for the most part have been made of copper or iron however, as the lower denominations. 

Yes, and gold wasn't used for normal trade in Europe, either, but for royal payments.

2 hours ago, Darius West said:

Now it is true that the late Roman Empire fell into a balance of trade deficit with China, as China would only accept silver as payment for its goods. 

Define late Roman Empire. Eastern Rome?

2 hours ago, Darius West said:

To say Rome hemorrhaged gold is not quite true therefore; they bled their silver east. 

Source? Plinius the Elder's 100 M sesterces?

2 hours ago, Darius West said:

Did this deplete the silver reserves of Europe?  No.  Only the ones the Romans knew about and could get at.

The Romans, the Venetians and finally the Fuggers of Augsburg depleted the accessible Alpine silver reserves. The gold reserves didn't last long enough for the Fuggers to have a chance at that.

2 hours ago, Darius West said:

I am not talking about the Iberian peninsula when it was ruled by Carthage.  That wasn't Spain.  Spain didn't exist yet. 

So which period of devalued gold are we talking about? Between the conquests of the Aztek and Inka empires and the discovery of Mt. Potosi, or earlier, or...?

You are claiming that in Medieval and Renaissance times silver would have been more valuable than gold. Where, and when?

As far as I can see from the examples in my history books, the Holy Roman Empire (which was under Spanish administration in that time) never valued silver over gold.

I also suppose that would have been news to the Venetians or the Lombard bankers. With the exception of the Hajj I mentioned earlier, the flow of gold from the West African mines (then the main source for gold in Europe) into Europe usually was more of a trickle, and did at best compensate for the removal of gold from the currency either in art and architecture or in trade deficit with the far east.

 

2 hours ago, Darius West said:

As for Hannibal using mining techniques to get elephants through the Alps, that would make sense, but I have never read any archaeology or contemporary histories that would support that, so I would love to see your sources.

Livius:

Quote

The next task was to construct some sort of passable track down the precipice, for by no other route could the army proceed. It was necessary to cut through rock, a problem they solved by the ingenious application of heat and moisture; large trees were felled and lopped, and a huge pile of timber erected; this, with the opportune help of a strong wind, was set on fire, and when the rock was sufficiently heated the men's rations of sour wine were flung upon it, to render it friable. They then got to work with picks on the heated rock, and opened a sort of zigzag track, to minimize the steepness of the descent, and were able, in consequence, to get the pack animals, and even the elephants, down it.

The Romans removed a few cubic kilometers of mountain at a silver mine in Spain by this method, which probably involved heated vinegar poured into the cracks formed by the fire, spreading the destruction a lot further than just fire-heating. At least according to a TV documentation I watched on that topic.

 

2 hours ago, Darius West said:

I was talking about the after the end of the Reconquista  when the conquistadors went to the New World and were able to capture Cerro Potosi in Bolivia.  Here are a couple of articles to fill you in: 

Funnily that is the time when the Spanish sent out expedition after expedition to find the Golden City in the jungle, and not some silver place.

 

I didn't doubt your numbers for the Spanish/Portuguese Imperialism. I just don't see Modern Age as as relevant. Even using the middle Roman Empire evidence is late by almost a millennium.

 

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If you're interested in the shift from gold to silver coinage between Constantine and Charlemagne, you could check out Henri Pirenne, "Mohammed and Charlemagne" (1935). Pirenne makes a pretty solid case that following the collapse of the Western Empire and the rise of Islam, gold supplies dried up, gold stocks languished in royal and church treasuries, and the introduction of reliable minted silver coinage under Charlemagne was what kickstarted the mediaeval economy: these were coins everyday folk could actually use, rather than massive economic status-symbols mostly used for transfers between treasuries. An economy based on silver coinage that's in circulation is healthier than an economy based on stagnant, scarce gold.

(Recovering Dark Age historian, apologies for the non-Gloranthan content)

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11 hours ago, Nick Brooke said:

If you're interested in the shift from gold to silver coinage between Constantine and Charlemagne, you could check out Henri Pirenne, "Mohammed and Charlemagne" (1935). Pirenne makes a pretty solid case that following the collapse of the Western Empire and the rise of Islam, gold supplies dried up, gold stocks languished in royal and church treasuries, and the introduction of reliable minted silver coinage under Charlemagne was what kickstarted the mediaeval economy: these were coins everyday folk could actually use, rather than massive economic status-symbols mostly used for transfers between treasuries. An economy based on silver coinage that's in circulation is healthier than an economy based on stagnant, scarce gold.

(Recovering Dark Age historian, apologies for the non-Gloranthan content)

Well, that certainly seems more in line with the history of silver schillings and pfennings I learnt about spreading out around the north Sea in the early-to-mid medieval period.

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On 10/18/2018 at 10:43 AM, Nick Brooke said:

If you're interested in the shift from gold to silver coinage between Constantine and Charlemagne, you could check out Henri Pirenne, "Mohammed and Charlemagne" (1935). Pirenne makes a pretty solid case that following the collapse of the Western Empire and the rise of Islam, gold supplies dried up, gold stocks languished in royal and church treasuries, and the introduction of reliable minted silver coinage under Charlemagne was what kickstarted the mediaeval economy: these were coins everyday folk could actually use, rather than massive economic status-symbols mostly used for transfers between treasuries. An economy based on silver coinage that's in circulation is healthier than an economy based on stagnant, scarce gold.

(Recovering Dark Age historian, apologies for the non-Gloranthan content)

 

Having read about halfway into that book (covering the Germanic successor states to the Roman Empire in the west), I was rather intrigued to see the significant volume of gold coinage in circulation. Granted, there was a rather small class of people handling money, with huge parts of the population in some sort of serfdom, and the Germanic conquerors forming some new class of military low aristocracy parallel to the landed imperial aristocracy which apparently persisted well into the late Merovingian time.

I am a little undecided how much I can follow his argument of a completely laicist absolute reign of the Germanic kings of these former provinces - given the continuation of e.g. the bull-drawn wagon rite of the Merovings, I think that there may have been significant pagan clerical functions remaining which stayed outside of (christian recorded) written documentation.

 

So I wondered where and when in Glorantha we would find such a situation, and the answer is of course Praxian- and Heortling-occupied Dara Happa (and Sylila), where barbarian warriors instituted dynasties of nobility that still persist - most notably the Sable rider dynasty of Hungry Plateau who managed to preserve their nomadic identity through mandatory life on the plateau, but also the bison-riding nobility in parts of Kostaddi, Vanch and Sylila.

I wonder whether there are any Dara Happan noble houses who can trace their ancestry back to Heortling administrators taking over in this time. The violent expulsion of the Theyalan overseers at the end of Ordanestyu's stewardship needn't have affected people who might have gone native as much as the Praxians did (and possibly aided that expulsion).

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On 10/13/2018 at 11:52 AM, Joerg said:

How so when we find silver hoards from say before the Anglo-Saxon exodus on Fyn or in Juteland? Silver by weight was the international currency north of the Holy Roman Empire until Scandinavian kings and trader cities started coining silver, too (about the time the Hanseatic League expanded into their territory). Significant portions of that silver (and some gold) were taken out of circulation in hoards or grave gifts.dge might be seen in the context of the amber trade, too.

This has its own interesting story, in that it's significantly Arab silver, which filtered through Scandinavia on its path to silver-poor Western Europe. 

(It's sometimes claimed that this flow of silver was a major part of getting Europe out of the Dark Ages and back into a money economy.)

Edited by Akhôrahil
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