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Population of Roman Empire

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Population of the Roman Empire in the middle of the 2nd century CE According to the Polish historian Wiesław Suder – “Census populi. Demografia starożytnego Rzymu”.

Region

Number of inhabitants

Region

Number of inhabitants

Spain 6.6 million Africa 4.2 million
Galia 9.2 million Cyrenaica 0.6 million
Germania 1.2 million Egypt 6 million
Italia 8.7 million Syria 4 million
Kingdom 1.0 million Asia 7.5 million
Danubian provinces 4.1 million TOTAL 55.9 million

Below is a demographic record of the Roman Empire from the reign of Constantine the Great to the reign of Theodosius the Great – so the entire 4th century CE.

West

Number of inhabitants

Eastern part

Number of inhabitants

Galia 5 million Moesia and Thrace 2.5 million
Spain 4 million Greece and Macedonia 3.5 million
Italia 6 million Asia Minor 15 million
Sicily, Sardinia and Corsica 0.25 million Syria, Palestine and Mesopotamia 6.5 million
Africa, Numidia and Mauritania 3 million Egypt 6.5 million
Recja, Noricum, Panonia and Dalmatia 3 million Cyrenaica 0.5 million
Kingdom 0.75 million
Total 22 million Total 34.5 million

Italia

The first credible records of the population of the Roman state appear in the 4th century CE. The earlier period is marked by numerous indications that suggest that there was a significant demographic expansion in areas of intense urban development, such as in Greater Greece and Etruria, as opposed to the demographic situation in the Apennine Peninsula and the Po plain.
about 600 thousand. people (this is a hypothetical number, resulting from the multiplication of approx. 150 thousand adult men subject to the census by four), with an average of 85 people per sq. km.

In 265 BCE the Roman Republic already numbered 24 thousand sq km, with a population of 1,168,936 (multiplied by four 292,234 adult males in the previous year’s census) and an average of 49 people per sq km. the population continued to migrate to the Latin colonies, which were autonomous from Rome. In 225 BCE the average number of people controlled by Rome dropped to as much as 27 people per square kilometre. To this number should be added the population of allied cities and peoples – then we get about 132 people per square kilometre with a population of 3.6 million people. Rome during the Second Punic War clearly lost from the demographic growth; however, new Latin colonies were still established.

At the end of the 2nd century BCE, the number of adult males reached 400,000, reaching 910,000 in 90-88 BCE when the entire Peninsula was absorbed by Rome. (data from the census from 69 BCE). The total population can only be defined if we also include slaves and peregrini, that is, immigrants from abroad. At that time, this number is around 4 million people. The territories within the republic, including Padania Dolna, amounted to about 165,000. km sq, where there were 22.5 people per 1 sq km.

Civil wars have led to a significant reduction in the population. It was only the victory of Octavian Augustus in 31 BCE. at Actium and the end of the wars brought about a demographic improvement. This was achieved mainly through the settlement of veterans in rural areas and urban development, especially in the Po Plain.

Census from 14 CE recorded 5 million citizens of Rome (including women with children aged 1-2), not including the approximately 500,000 legionaries, officials and traders who lived in the provinces. However, the list included peregrini in the number of approx. 500 thousand. and slaves (about 1 million), which gives the population of about 6 million people living in the lands from the foothills of the Alps to the borders of Calabria. It is an area of ​​approx. 220 thousand. km sq, with an average of 27 inhabitants per sq km.

Urbanism, developing through the entire era of the Antonin dynasty, ultimately stimulated demographic expansion. At the end of the 2nd century CE, the effects of a serious plague in many regions were felt, but e.g. in the 3rd century CE, the population growth is visible, despite the serious political and military crises at that time, as well as in the 4th century CE, which is associated with urban and economic growth. Any other figures, even approximate ones, are not extractable due to the lack of any numbers from censuses that have not been conducted anymore.

Sources
  • Wiesław Suder, Census populi. Demografia starożytnego Rzymu

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