Population of the Byzantine Empire

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The population of the Byzantine Empire encompassed all ethnic and tribal groups living there, such as Byzantine Greeks, Khazars, Armenians, Slavs, Goths, Arabs, Illyrians, Thracians and other groups. It fluctuated throughout the state's millennial history. The reign of the Emperor Justinian I in the mid-sixth century was the high point of the empire's expansion;[1] however, the arrival of plague in 541 and its subsequent recurrences caused a severe depletion of the population.[2] After the reign of Emperor Heraclius (r. 610–641) and the loss of the empire's overseas territories, Byzantium was limited to the Balkans and Anatolia. When the empire began to recover after a series of conflicts in the 8th century and its territories stabilized, its population began to recover. By the end of the 8th century the population of the empire was around 7,000,000, a figure that climbed to over 12,000,000 people by 1025.[3] The numbers began falling steadily to 9,000,000 people at 1204 and even lower to 5,000,000 people at 1282 with the arrival of the Turks.[4]

Population estimates[edit]

The Byzantine Empire may have had a population of over 26 million at its height.
Year Population
(estimated)
Notes Area
(km2; estimated)
Population density
(per km2; estimated)
300 17,000,000[5] Roman East 1,900,000 8.95
311 17,000,000[5] Roman East 2,100,000 8.1
457 16,000,000[5] Roman East 2,350,000 6.81
518 19,000,000[6] 2,300,000 8.26
540 26,000,000[7] 3,200,000 8.13
565 19,000,000[7] 3,400,000 5.59
600 17,000,000[7] 2,900,000 5.86
641 10,500,000[6] 1,500,000 7
668 10,000,000[6] 1,300,000 7.69
775 7,000,000[6] 880,000 7.95
842 8,000,000[6] 1,000,000 8
959 9,000,000[6] 1,100,000 8.18
1025 12,000,000[3] Basil II's death 1,675,000 7.16
1097 5,000,000[4] First Crusade 555,000 9.09
1143 10,000,000[4] John II's death 950,000 10.53
1204 9,000,000[4] Fourth Crusade 210,000 42.86
1282 5,000,000[8] 550,000 9.09
1312 2,000,000[8] 460,000 4.35
1320 2,000,000[6] 420,000 4.76

References[edit]

  1. ^ James 2010, p. 3
  2. ^ Treadgold 1997, p. 196
  3. ^ a b Treadgold 1997, p. 570.
  4. ^ a b c d Treadgold 1997, p. 700.
  5. ^ a b c Treadgold 1997, p. 137.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Treadgold 2001, p. 236.
  7. ^ a b c Treadgold 1997, p. 278.
  8. ^ a b Treadgold 1997, p. 841.

Bibliography[edit]

  • James, Liz, ed. (2010). A Companion to Byzantium. Chichester, West Sussex: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-1-4051-2654-0.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Treadgold, Warren T. (1997). A History of the Byzantine State and Society. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-2630-2.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Treadgold, Warren T. (2001). A Concise History of Byzantium. Basingstoke: Palgrave. ISBN 0-333-71829-1.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]