I am Priam of Troy. No, not that Priam, he's great-great-grand descendant. I am the king of Troy from sometime between 2500 and 2350 BC--depending on what chronology you favor--what your archaeologists might call Troy II. Let me describe my city briefly:


The city is divided into an upper and lower section. The upper city is the citadel; my palace. It covers one hectare and is surrounded by a thick wall. Inside is my throne room, a megaron, 30 x 14 meters. There are also several other multi-story buildings for living area.

The lower city is somewhat larger, enclosed in a palisade wall, with one hectare covered in buildings and lots of open spaces. Merchants would stay in the lower city and hawk their wares on the grassy fields within the palisade walls.


The reason for my city's existence is the contrary winds at the Dardanelles. Traders in their 80 foot boats plied the Aegean and roved into the Black Sea. When contrary winds prevented entry, they came to Troy to wait for passage. Since many merchants were already here, more came to trade.

Commonly traded items included oil, wine, pottery, and lead ingots. Cycladean lead was often rich in silver, making it particularly valuable. From mainland SE Europe came copper, jade, and from far away Bohemia, tin. The silver, jade and tin were particularly valuable in the Middle East, so traders from Byblos and the Levant came to exchange these raw materials for valuable Middle Eastern gold and craftwork. Locally produced items include mostly cloth and pottery, intended for trade with the less civilized peoples of Europe.


The total population of the settlement is between 1000 and 2000 including both those in the citadel and below. I rule over 20 times as many on the Troad; peasants mostly, growing wheat in the Scamander valley and raising sheep in the hills.

There are no specific priests in this city. Religious rites are chthonic in nature, performed by myself or my female family members, often involving animal sacrifice in the megaron.


Given that the total floor area of buildings is approximately equal in the upper and lower cities, how many of the population sleep in the upper citadel with me, and how many sleep in the lower city below? How are these these two groups divided up?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ King, I'm not sure anyone can answer this question. How much actual floor space is there? Do people sleep on mats or beds? Is the king prone to leaving the plebs outside? Is he anthropophobic? Monophobic? Does he reward merchants with quarters near him? How does he feel about children? How would you judge between "one" and "everybody"? It appears most of the data you provided isn't relevant to the question, so I'm wondering if I'm misunderstanding something. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Aug 30, 2018 at 2:44
  • $\begingroup$ It would probably be people like ministers/noble and maybe soldiers, Plus their family or close relatives. I can't imagine a king would actually care too spend too much time with people of a much lower status than himself. $\endgroup$
    – Shadowzee
    Aug 30, 2018 at 4:58
  • $\begingroup$ how many bedrooms does it have? $\endgroup$
    – Kilisi
    Aug 30, 2018 at 7:20
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ it was a thing anywhere from chiefdomships upwards, probably a harem as well, so each wife would have her own domicile. Any society with a hierarchical status system has to have support staff, a queen is NOT going to be doing the cleaning. $\endgroup$
    – Kilisi
    Aug 30, 2018 at 12:20
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    $\begingroup$ About a decade ago, Nova did a special on the possible Palace of David (which may or may not be he same building as the Fortress of Zion) that was being excavated. I don't remember many of the details, but I suspect it would have some useful information. Bear in mind that 1000 BC Jerusalem and 3500 BC Troy are are different sociotechnological levels, and the episode focused mainly on the viewpoint of one (Bible-motivated) archeologist who many others were skeptical of, but it still might be worth digging up and watching. $\endgroup$
    – abarnert
    Sep 2, 2018 at 18:42

4 Answers 4


I'll answer based on medieval Royal Court arrangements, which ignores some of the nuances with your trading scenario but hopefully can give a good idea on why royalty would even want people close by.

The main reason for a court in European society when such practices were common was to keep those who may want to see you overthrown close, both to keep an eye on them and to limit their power in their own kingdoms. A secondary reason was so that they could all see your grandeur and you could play better politics by learning about their personalities first hand.

Most of the court was proscribed a certain amount of time they HAD to stay at the royal residence. This was unpopular because it kept them away from building their own power bases in their own realms (a known and desired effect to the King however). The King would do whatever is necessary to keep any potential threats to his power close, so that plotting against him would be more difficult. For this reason, you would want to ensure enough living space for any of these people.

As to the specifics for your grandly appointed palace, my Lord:

Presumably, because you rely so much on trade, you would keep an iron fist over any trade guilds which arose (such as the British Crown did during the times of The East Indian Trading company). You would give favorable tax rates to those who supported you, along with the (second) best quarters in your palace. As this is where the money is, this is the class you would hold closest.

And of course the head of your personal guard would have a well appointed space for him and his family, with incentive to keep the rest of the commoners at bay during any uprising because he would be protecting his own family as well.

Of course there is space for well-secured (not for their protection, but yours) for any visiting traders who you wish to impress, along with delegations from neighboring city-states wishing to pay homage for a chance at acquiring some of your exotic goods.

As you have done a good job of keeping the political influences of any religions in check, you don't need to worry about any high priests taking up space in your palace.

Of course the King's Royal Sleeping Chamber would be the largest non-public room available. Well protected, day and night. From there, his family's chambers would take up another, probably equally-sized space. Call this maybe 51% total, considering any functionary spaces. It's important that people who know is in charge.

The remainder would be made up of spaces for the very exclusive group spelled out above (probably 2-3% of your population). This would be cramped compared to you, but not as bad as what the remainder are living in!

  • $\begingroup$ So, at 2-3% of the population, you are suggesting less than 50 people sleep in the upper citadel, and everyone else in the lower city? $\endgroup$
    – kingledion
    Aug 30, 2018 at 12:06
  • $\begingroup$ Sleep, yes. Visit, no. It is an exclusive honor to be housed under the same roof as the King. Maybe with patronage of the arts, the number could rise a little, but I wouldn't expect much. Of course, if the King has a Royal family of 30 people, I wasn't counting these people in the overall count. But 50 outsiders who permanently reside there sounds like just about the right about of exclusivity you'd seek out. Also, one hectare split among the 50 people is already getting rather crowded for royalty. $\endgroup$ Aug 30, 2018 at 14:51
  • $\begingroup$ Buckingham palace is larger than one hectare and likely has more floors and only houses 50 'royal' level bedrooms and guest rooms for distinguished guests. And that was for the world's most powerful nation at the time. (royal.uk/royal-residences-buckingham-palace) (this didn't fit in the last posting) $\endgroup$ Aug 30, 2018 at 14:52
  • $\begingroup$ I just realized I wasn't including the immediate families of the distinguished guests who would clearly be allowed as well. So up my number to 5-6% of the overall population maybe. Apologies for not thinking that through. $\endgroup$ Aug 30, 2018 at 15:15

Servants would also sleep in the palace. Some will commute each workday but a large portion will live there. Kitchen staff, housekeeping, scullery maids (who often make sure bedroom fireplaces don't go out at night or light them in the early morning, depending on the weather), and nannies/nurses that care for royal children. As well as a medical staff.


It could really be any number, but if you have 2000, I would say the vast majority would be poor. So 1,200 in the below city and 600 in the upper city, maybe 700. It would depend on if you wanted 100 or 200 in the palace.

I would say at least 50 to 100 would be your servants of some kind. The others, maybe children or multiple wives. Which was a common thing to do in the past.

But yeah, you should draw yourself a map, that would be a really good starting point to give yourself a better idea of the population, not to mention where or what you could do in the city and with your story from the benefit of being able to better plan and explain things about the area.

  • $\begingroup$ this sounds more like an elaborate comment than an answer. Can you separate the comment from the answer? $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Sep 2, 2018 at 12:55

I think there should be a building for your room 10*15 with a smaller next to it for your personal bodyguard,let it be 7*7, and 2 3*3 for servants. Then your 5-10 (let's say 8) wives and 25 children. A few daughter got married so that's about 30 people: one big 15*12 building for your 8-15 youngest children (less than 12 or something,girls older than 12 left, boys have their own room as they are princes) depending on how old you are, 4 to 8 rooms for princes and 8 for wives between 7*7 and 10*10. Each of the latest have a small 3*3 adjoining room for a maid and 4 more for kids' dormitory. Add 20 other maid rooms and it would be ok. There should be a 10*10 room for your important guests and half a dozen 5*5 for traders (only the boss,sailors are in the lower city)

Functional buildings like kitchen use about 100m2 and you also need a 30*30 barrack for your 100~ soldiers. Finally a farm 50*40 and a 10*20 stable for horses. It lets 4200m2 for paths, a yard for farm animals, a place for soldiers training, somewhere kids can play, maybe a forge, somewhere peasants could stay when besieged etc

You will have something like 30 family members, 100 soliers a few farmers and 40 servants+guests, about 10% of your city's inhabitants


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