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Getting all Medieval with Spreadsheets

Saturday, April 7th, 2007

While hunting through my books to pick out my Thursday Thirteen #4 I came across a rather dull title called Medieval Regions and their Cities I picked up really cheap in the Blackwell book shop at Liverpool University. I picked it up in a sale of second hand books it says 50p in pencil inside. It’s clearly intended for people who spend their time worrying about medieval demographics. So why did I blow 50p on it? In amongst the tortuous analysis of how the data was collected and manipulated and speculation on it’s accuracy it has lots of juicy data on the populations of Europe, India and Egypt. The part that caught my eye when I came across it though is a table for estimating the number of people in a settlement based on factors like the presence of a King, Duke, Monastery, Guild or Merchant. That’s where the spreadsheet comes in. I’ve taken the table and some other formula and created a prototype of a web tool to estimate details of a settlement from the data.

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