Author Topic: Historical Prices for Gamers and Writers  (Read 204 times)

dubsartur

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Historical Prices for Gamers and Writers
« on: June 20, 2019, 10:07:26 PM »
Might this post from 2017 be of interest for Exilian people?  https://bookandsword.com/2017/05/20/historical-prices-for-gamers-and-writers/

Jubal

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Re: Historical Prices for Gamers and Writers
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2019, 10:57:13 PM »
Ooh, that is a useful source compilation - I really need someone to do some work on this which better reflects my period though. The other issue I have with "historical pricing" stuff is that market fluctuations in agrarian societies can be really big, and also obviously some societies had hugely different outputs to others with the cost of trade being relatively high as well. For things like gaming and writing purposes, what would be really useful (which I should do but don't have time) is a pricing calculator that allows you to shift for distance and conditions.


One of my favourite price related papers is one Anthony Bryer did on the economics of the Empire of Trebizond - I'm not sure if I have a copy any more but I'll check. It was great, anyway, in particular that he went through the surviving account book of a fourteenth (I think) century English diplomatic mission into the Near East, which had a lot of fascinating price data for both ordinary foodstuffs and really rather random items. Particularly memorable were the five bottles of wine per person per day which they seemed to be getting through in Trebizond itself (a quantity Bryer described as "heroic"), and the fact that I think "food for leopard" suddenly starts appearing on the account books at one point!
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dubsartur

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Re: Historical Prices for Gamers and Writers
« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2019, 01:03:06 PM »
Something better for the early/high medieval period would be great, if someone could find a place which left us enough of the right kind of sources.  Regia Anglorum gives a great collection, but I think many of their prices come from law codes and so on, so they are probably not market prices.  If I try to steal your sword while you are swimming and I get caught, the price I and my kin pay may be more about how much I dishonoured you than about how much the swordsmith in the town down the valley charges.

Last time I played around with the Edict of Maximum Prices, I got a suspicion that the prices for staple foods allow for the fact that those vary wildly, whereas prices for durable goods may be more of a 'moderate middle price.'  So trying to use the list to get a price in 'liters of wheat', like some economists do, could be a mistake: the wheat prices might not be 'average' but more like 'a fair price after two bad harvests in a row.'

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Re: Historical Prices for Gamers and Writers
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2019, 11:30:51 AM »
Yeah, legal prices vs real prices must vary quite substantially at times - sometimes higher because they effectively wrap in a fine, sometimes lower because e.g. if a state or similar structure wants to set a price and it has to pay it too for any sizeable quantity of stuff, the minimum price may not be high! And I agree re things like the Edict of Maximum Prices, I think it's really hard to tell how those would map onto anything anyone actually paid (especially as we don't really know what data were used by the people writing the edict to start with!)
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