are always warmly welcome -

28 August 2008

The Economics of Inland Transport in in Late Medieval Bavaria

Hauling Away in Late Medieval Bavaria:
The Economics of Inland Transport in an Agrarian Market
by Michael Toch

The Agricultural History Review, Vol. 41 part 2 (1993), pp.111-123 [1.5MB strong]

Using the mid-fourteenth-century accounts of the Bavarian monastery of Scheyern (to the north of Munich), the article scrutinizes the way late medieval landlords went about the organization of transport. Most intricate were the arrangements for the yearly recurring ventures sent into the Southern Tyrol to purchase, cart, and ship home the excellent vintages of Latin wine. For most of the relay route, hired can'iers were employed, but one stage was turned over to tenants owing the monastery carting services. Other transport needs nearer home made for less complicated arrangements, using a mix of hired labour, permanent servants, and the monastery's own rolling stock and beasts. No attempts were made to improve the technological level of transport, relying instead on a very flexible organization of monetary and labour resources attuned to local circumstances.

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07 August 2008

Indo-Persian Travels in the Age of Discoveries, 1400–1800

Indo-Persian Travels in the Age of Discoveries, 1400–1800
Muzaffar Alam
University of Chicago
Sanjay Subrahmanyam
University of California, Los Angeles

Hardback  (ISBN-13: 9780521780414)
DOI: 10.2277/0521780411
Published February 2007

BP 55.00
A groundbreaking work based on detailed and sensitive readings of travel accounts in Persian, dealing with India, Iran, and Central Asia between about 1400 and 1800. This is the first comprehensive treatment of this neglected genre of literature (safar nama) that links the Mughals, Safavids and Central Asia in a crucial period of transformation and cultural contact. The authors’ close reading of these travel-accounts help us enter the mental and moral worlds of the Muslim and non-Muslim literati who produced these valuable narratives. These accounts are presented in a comparative framework, which sets them side by side with other Asian accounts, as well as early modern European travel-narratives, and opens up a rich and unsuspected vista of cultural and material history. This book can be read for a better understanding of the nature of early modern encounters, but also for the sheer pleasure of entering a new world.
• The first comprehensive treatment of early modern Indo-Persian travel accounts • Compares Persian accounts with other Asian and early modern European travel narratives • A major contribution to the literature of cultural contact in the early modern world.

1. Introduction: the travel-account from Beijing to the Bosphorus; 2. From Timur to the Bahmanis: fifteenth-century views; 3. Courtly encounters; 4. An ocean of wonders; 5. When hell is other people; 6. An eastern mirror; 7. The long road to rum; 8. On early-modern travel.

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06 August 2008

Routing the Commodities of Empire through Sikkim (1817-1906)

Date: Tue, 05 Aug 2008 11:40:28 +0200
From: Jonathan Curry-Machado (
To: [...]
Subject: New Commodities of Empire working paper

Dear all,

The Commodities of Empire project is pleased to announce the publication of the latest addition to the Commodities of Empire Working Papers series:

No.9, Vibha Arora, 'Routing the Commodities of Empire through Sikkim (1817-1906)'

This can be downloaded from the Commodities of Empire website, at

Best regards,


Jonathan Curry-Machado
Commodities of Empire Project

Please note that the above details were correct on the day this post was published. To suggest an update, please email the site's editor at

02 August 2008

Army Logistics - A Short History
Morales, A.L. 2000. A Handbook on the Canadian Forces Logistics Branch. Canada National Defence, Logbranch Secretariat.


* 3 methods of acquiring supplies on the move:
(a) baggage train which travels with the army;
(b) local supplies which are "purchased (or taxed) from the population near or along the army's route of march";
(c) stockpiles of supplies which are pre-positioned "at fixed bases along the route of march [... and are] brought forward by wagon to the army as required, or alternatively the soldiers [... could] pick the supplies up as they marched by these fixed bases."


* "The combination of local supply of food and forage, and of self-containment for weapons and services, appears often in ancient history as the logistical basis for operations by forces of moderate size. [...]

* During the mid 14th century, there were two broad strategies that an invading army might adopt, namely raiding strategies lasting some 50 days and persisting strategies in which the intent was to permanently occupy the territories the invader passed through and generally lasting 6 months or more. The supply methods appropriate to each were clearly different.

* There were always a large number of non-combatants who accompanied a medieval army especially during persisting invasions. But even on a raid, as much as 50% of the army was non-combatant - carpenters, blacksmiths, tailors, armorers, fletchers, cooks, bakers, whores and the like. The non-combatants in a persisting force might be double that. Hence the supply problem for an army of 10,000 combatants might be as much as 20,000 people.

* A combatant at that time normally subsisted for a day on 0.106 gallons of wine, 107 grams of meat and 1.04 kilograms of bread. The caloric value of this ration was about 3950 calories.

* By the middle of the 14th century, many invasion armies were entirely mounted. A force of 10,000 combatants might have 20,000 horses and it is estimated that each horse would consume 25 kilograms of green fodder in one day and hence collectively they would consume 500 tons of green fodder (or 200 tons of dry fodder) in a day.

* And so the magnitude of the supply and transportation problem in the 14th century was clear! For an Army of 10,000 combatants, the supply problem was the care and feeding of up to 20,000 people and 20,000 horses plus the stores of ammunition and other non-perishable items. Needless to say, this problem persisted into the 15th and 16th centuries

* It is worthy of note that at this time in the early 1800s, the soldier's daily ration was one and a half pounds of bread or one pound of biscuit, one pound of meat and a ration of wine or spirits. The number of pack-mules required to carry these rations for a Wellington's army of 53,000 men was close to 9,000."

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