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Biggest Cities in the Byzantine Empire in 555 AD - Under Justinian I

With the help of a map, can you name the most populous cities of the Eastern Roman Empire with an estimated population of over 20,000 at its peak in 565 AD before the death of Justinian I?
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Sources used for population estimates in the stickied comments.
Quiz by Dekkie
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Last updated: March 3, 2024
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First submittedAugust 8, 2023
Times taken901
Average score46.2%
Rating4.92
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Population
Cities
400k
Constantinople
(Istanbul)
100k
Alexandria
75k
Carthago
(Tunis)
60k
Caesarea
(Kayseri)
60k
Edessa
(Şanlıurfa)
50k
Damascus
50k
Hierosolyma
(Jerusalem)
45k
Iustinianopolis
(Qift)
45k
Nicomedia
(İzmit)
40k
Ancyra
(Ankara)
Population
Cities
40k
Memphis
(Mit Rahina)
40k
Theopolis
(Antakya)
40k
Thessalonica
(Thessaloniki)
35k
Ephesus
(Selçuk)
35k
Theodosiopolis
(Erzurum)
30k
Amida
(Diyarbakır)
30k
Amphipolis
(Amfipoli)
30k
Beroea
(Aleppo)
30k
Germanicia
(Kahramanmaraş)
30k
Sardis
(Sart)
Population
Cities
30k
Scythopolis
(Beit She'an)
30k
Roma
(Rome)
30k
Syracusae
(Syracuse)
25k
Caesarea Maritima
(Caesarea)
25k
Callinicum
(Raqqa)
25k
Emesa
(Homs)
25k
Iustinianopolis
(Sousse)
25k
Oxyrhynchus
(Al-Bahnasa)
25k
Ravenna
20k
Corduba
(Córdoba)
Population
Cities
20k
Corinthus
(Corinth)
20k
Hippo Regius
(Annaba)
20k
Miletus
(Balat)
20k
Neapolis
(Nablus)
20k
Nicaea
(İznik)
20k
Philadelphia
(Alaşehir)
20k
Smyrna
(İzmir)
20k
Salona
(Solin)
20k
Tarsus
7 Comments
+3
Level 55
Aug 8, 2023
Sources:

4000 Years of Urban Growth: An Historical Census: For a large portion of population estimates.

Spatio-Temporal Boundaries of African Civilizations Reconsidered: For smaller cities in Africa.

The Population of Western Palestine in the Roman-Byzantine Period: For cities in the Holy Land.

Population of the Larger Urban Areas: Estimates by Colin McEvedy for 528 AD. These should be taken with grain of salt as a lot of these are underestimates.

+3
Level 55
Aug 8, 2023
An Urban Geography of the Roman World: For a large portion of Roman settlements that were still significant. Population density of 200/ha used. Note that some cities were in active decline and the population estimates might be lowered in some cases (e.g. Amphipolis, Nicaea).

The Late Roman Wall At Corinth: For Corinth. Area of approximately 100 ha with an estimated population density of 200/ha used.

Late ancient and medieval population: For Ankara. Population during the Dark Ages estimated at about 40,000 people according to Russell.

+3
Level 55
Aug 8, 2023
Interventions before 1937 in Tarsus: For Tarsus. Area of approximately 100 ha with an estimated population density of 200/ha used.

Italian Wikipedia - Demografia di Roma: For Rome. Estimate of a population no higher than 30,000 after the end of the Gothic War in 554 AD. Bar chart gives a population of 40,000 in 563 AD.

Please note that this is in the middle of the Dark Ages, and that it's pretty much the most difficult medieval period to get population estimates for. Most of Europe at this time was in a deplorable state, which makes it nearly impossible to collect data for that region. This means that information here might indeed be subject to error, but there's unfortunately not much I can do about that.

+2
Level 55
Sep 30, 2023
Sources for new additions:

An Urban Geography of the Roman World: Lists an estimate of Justinian's walls for Antioch / Theopolis. While 400 ha is still large, the city would still be recovering from its ravaging a few years prior and thus a low population density. of 100 per hectares is used.

Settlement, Urbanization, and Population: For Salona (94 ha) and Oxyrhynchus. Population density of 200/ha is used for Salona. Article gives a population estimate of 20,000 to 25,000 for Oxyrhynchus during the Byzantine period.

Wikipedia - Homs: For Emesa. While it's uncertain how much the walls have shifted, it protected roughly the same area of 120 hectares during the Abbasid period. Population density of 200/ha used.

+2
Level 55
Oct 1, 2023
The Remains from Late Antiquity and the East Roman Periods and Their Location within the Lydian City of Philadelphia: New Comments: For Philadelphia. Walls protected an area of roughly 100 ha. Population density of 200/ha used.

3000 Years of Urban Growth: For Theodosiopolis. Gives 45,000 in 622 AD and 40,000 in 1200 AD. Missing in Four Thousand Years, thus estimate perhaps should be reduced to about 35,000?

The eastern frontier of the Roman Empire with special reference to the reign of Constantius II: For Amida. Area of (at least) 140 hectares. Population density of 200 per hectare.

+1
Level 70
Sep 24, 2023
Please accept "Salonika," thanks!
+1
Level 74
Feb 10, 2024
When you need five full length caveats