GRRM Messed Up His Army Sizes- Westeros is allegedly based on Medieval Europe. You wouldn’t know it from the army sizes. We’ve seen or heard about dozens of battles with 20,000, 30,000, 40,000, or more combatants, sometimes that many on each side. For comparison, the historically decisive Battle of Agincourt probably had under 30,000 soldiers. The Battle of Hastings had 25,000 at most. The incredibly vast Battle of Tours, where Charles Martel turned back the Arab advance, mayhave had 60,000 combatants. But crucially: these battles were decades or hundreds of years apart, rarely involving the same armies.

You appear to have cherry-picked these battles. There have been much larger battles in history, both in ancient and medieval times. Some pitched battles had casualty counts higher than the total number of combatants you cited, never mind what their total combatant numbers were in the first place.

The Battle of Tours itself was held after a string of battles led or participated in by the exact same Umayyad commander, Abdul Rahman. He had participated in the Battle of Toulouse (721), quelled an attempted Berber rebellion in Cerdanya (731), commanded the Umayyad forces in the Battle of Bordeaux (732), and then died while commanding the Umayyad forces in the Battle of Tours (732). Of note, his army was supposedly about 70,000 to 80,000 strong in the Battle of Bordeaux, following the Umayyad advance through the region (which undoubtedly involved dozens of minor battles and skirmishes, sacking of towns, and so on). Even if you don’t believe those numbers, and would prefer to use more conservative estimates in line with the low-end estimate of 25,000 he commanded at Tours, I don’t really see how you can say that battles were hundreds of years apart, rarely involving the same army, when one guy commanded in two different battles of this magnitude in the same year, where one of them was a battle you specifically chose to argue against this. And, again, he was an Umayyad commander leading a force thousands of miles from the Umayyad capital.

After Tours, Charles Martel himself led in many more battles against the Umayyad and against Aquitaine, Frisia, and Provence, again with the same army, sometimes with alliances with other armies in the region. He campaigned steadily after the Battle of Tours in 732 until 737, and multiple of those battles were pitched battles. One would assume nobody would engage Charles Martel in a pitched battle without some degree of strength.

It is worth noting that the Battle of Tours took place in the 8th century, while Game of Thrones is at least partially modeled after the politics and culture of later eras, such as the Hundred Years War, and the Wars of the Roses. Furthermore, at least one inspiration for the Dothraki culture are the historical Mongols. If you want to look at the battle sizes that involved the Mongols in the 12th and 13th century, you’re looking at multiple massive battles involving the same individual armies, and countless involving the same empire. And that’s just what they were doing on their Western front in Europe. Some of their sieges in China were epic-huge.

This is to say nothing of your article in general. Your assertions of battle sizes didn’t sit right with me, and I don’t think the numbers you cite are indicative of battles in general. What’s more, I don’t know what the “dozens of battles” we’ve seen or heard about in Westeros with reliably-narrated number sizes were that repeatedly involved the same army that didn’t happen decades or centuries apart. Could you be specific about those?

Just the facts: Writer. Gamer. Feminist. Educated in Astrophysics. Professional Gambler. Student of Language. Satanist. Anarchist.

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