Saturday, July 4, 2009

Butchers, Bakers, and Candlestick Makers

The next time you sit down to flesh out a major city in your campaign, consider this:

In the thirteenth century, Paris, with a population of roughly 50,000 residents, had the following number of establishments and practitioners listed on its tax list:

366 shoemakers
214 furriers
199 maidservants
197 tailors
152 barbers
131 jewelers
130 restaurateurs
121 old-clothes dealers
106 pastrycooks
104 masons
95 carpenters
86 weavers
71 chandlers
70 mercers
70 coopers
62 bakers
58 water carriers
58 scabbard makers
56 wine sellers
54 hatmakers
51 saddlers
51 chicken butchers
45 purse makers
43 laundresses
43 oil merchants
42 porters
42 meat butchers
41 fish merchants
37 beer sellers
36 buckle makers
36 plasterers
35 spice merchants
34 blacksmiths
33 painters
29 doctors
28 roofers
27 locksmiths
26 bathers
26 ropemakers
24 innkeepers
24 tanners
24 copyists
24 sculptors
24 rugmakers
24 harness makers
23 bleachers
22 hay merchants
22 cutlers
21 glovemakers
21 wood sellers
21 woodcarvers

Source: Life in a Medieval City by Joseph and Frances Giles, Harper Perennial, New York, NY, 1981

7 comments:

The_Myth said...

Fantastic post!

Great perspective on how towns and villages should be composed.

Timeshadows said...

Yes, very nice. Thanks. :D

le bulette said...

Great post, I'm always interested in things like this. Although some folks aren't interested in realistic demographics, I think it's good for perspective. You might also of use: http://tinyurl.com/l5gnys

Norman Harman said...

Even without the numbers it's facinating to see what businesses there were. I surprised at the specialization. And several (hay merchant) this modern city boy would not imagine. And what is a mercer? See how educational this hobby is!

Wouldn't make a bad list for background skills.

Al said...

Only 26 bathers out of 50K!? Paris smells...;)

E.G.Palmer said...

An excellent list! I've got that book on my medieval referance shelf.
I think having that sort of depth makes a huge differance in just how real the game world feels to the players.

Anonymous said...

There are as many jewelers as restaurateurs. Also, the number of jewelers is double the number of bakers. I guess the rich had lots of money to spend on jewelry?