Numbers that Astonish

It really is astonishing, but, sometimes, you must do the Math just to start believing it...

Tervingi. About 100,000 children, women and men, plus mules, oxen, etc. led by chiefs/kings Alavivus and Fritigern.

They walked to the Danube, then they walked to Marcianopolis before starting to walk around Dacia and Tracia for a while. A Roman road allowed a two oxen cart to move comfortably (depending on the road, some were wider than others). The same way would allow for 4 people to walk tighly packed in formation, so let's say some 3 people moving with some equipment around in a loosely civilian formation, with about 1 meter of separation in between. The same road would allow for two horses (and mounted knights or walking by their side) and maybe 3 mules, although I'll use two as an average because people would put different weight on the animals, depending on their belongings, and therefore they wouldn't walk in a tidy formation. As for a two oxen cart, I'd say it would be some 6 meters in length, counting the animals.

Let's make the numbers, then, to some reasonable estimates:

  • 100,000 people, where some 10,000 would be warriors.
  • 90,000 men, 3 men-row(meter) ~ 30,000 meters
  • 10,000 warriors => 9,000 infantry in 4 men-per-row ~ 2,250 meters
  • 100,000 people, 10 people-per-family ~ 10,000 families, and about 1 cart per 4 families:

    • 2,500 carts, 7 meters per cart ~ 17,500 meters;
    • and about 5 mules every 4 families (at least 1 per family) => 40,000 mules, 2 per row, ~ 25,500 meters more.

And about 1,000 cavalry, which we can put on the sides of the train for protection of some kind, but which by itself would take some 2,000 meters.

Putting this all together, we have: 30 + 2.25 + 17.5 + 25.5 = 75.25 km (~ 46.75 miles)

A possible distribution of this would be:

* 1,000 men as scouts
* 9,000 civilian
* 4,000 mules
* 250 carts

totaling: 7.5 km

and approximately 10 times, to allow for adecuate defense to each clan or family (after all this is not an army on the march!).

Now add to this some extra "tributaries", like some Alans, Baltics and other Germanic tribes that could have moved alongside the bulk of Tervingi population. That could reasily reach some 100 km.

And, to make things funnier, add a similar size for the migrating Greutungi plus Alans, led by Safrax and Alateus.

At the time of the battle of Hadrianopolis, when all the Goths were united (all Tervingi, Greutungi (plus associated German tribes) and Alans), the numbers were well over 200,000 men, and the migration train, moving through Roman territory, using Roman roads, would be somewhere around 200 or 250 km long (say 140 miles long).

I'll save you the logistics nightmare that must have been!

(now, do you understand why I am writing this novel? :-)


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