I'm currently building a world for a medieval based D&D campaign (i know super original) and I'm trying to make my cities as realistic as i can. Right now I'm planning on making a city in the middle of a large empire with roughly 100.000 people living there. But now comes the question of how big would this city be? what would be a reasonable population density and size of the city?

Currently i made the city have a rough area of 13.5 km2, which would come to a population density of ~7400 people/km2. This seems really high to me, so it would be great to get some confirmation about if this a good amount or if i should make the city bigger to get the pop. density to a more realistic level.

It would also be great if you could give a reasonable estimate density for large cities like Rome and Alexandria. And also smaller cities like Florence and Trier.

  • $\begingroup$ Rome was not a particularly large city in the Middle Ages; it wasn't even the largest city in Italy, and not even in the top three. Alexandria was a large city in the early Middle Ages, before the Arab conquest. After the conquest it quickly declined into irrelevance; it had to wait for the 19th century to raise again from the ruins. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Mar 27, 2020 at 21:49
  • $\begingroup$ I use this as a GM for this type of city, it's supposedly based on real data , it even gives you the size of the kingdom that would support a city of that size : donjon.bin.sh/fantasy/demographics $\endgroup$
    – P. O.
    Mar 23, 2021 at 1:07

1 Answer 1


Medieval cities were quite densly populated.

Munich i.e had about 13,000 inhabitants on a area of 91ha according to Wikipedia. This gives a density of about 14.000 people/km^2.

Cologne had an area of 401 ha, also according to Wikipedia with a Population of up to 50,000 people. This makes a density of 12,000 people/km^2. And as far as I know the cities walls surrounded an area that was actually to large for the population which lead to empty areas within the walls.

Now, the largest European medieval city was Constantinople. The Theodosian Wall enclosed about 12km^2. At it's maximum the city housed about 400,000 people but here the walls also were extremly overdimensioned. But we reach a density of incredible 33,000 people/km^2.

So your city is definitly not to dense.


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