1. RyanM
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    RyanM Member

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    One country, one city.

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by RyanM, Mar 26, 2009.

    Okay, so this is an idea I have been toiling around with for a while now and I am not sure how it could work or if it sounds like a plausible idea. Due to human nature, crime and security.

    But the idea is a conqured country by a race of people. Mind you that this will be a sword and sorcery fantasy, so when I say all this think on the types of citys and taverns you would read about in these novels. The country, rather than sectioned towns and farms. The WHOLE country has become a walled with strategically placed watch towers and archers on the walls. The city army would have a large garrison (500K- 1 Million) as the people.... procreate a lot.

    But my question is: Is it plausible to have a whole country a walled city with quarantined areas for farmland in order to produce food? There would also be a harbor guarded in a similar way to the wall.

    I don't know, I think I could make it work. I was just wondering if anyone could shed some light on the possibility of something like this existing, at least in a fantasy setting. If I move to have large amounts of offensive/defensive magic in the story, that is another possibility to have in the protection of the city.

    Thanks for the time,
    RyanM

    Edit: Also, a little more information. The story is going to focus on this "Country City" and the main idea is that the surround peoples, country's and nations are all joining together to a.) Take control of the "Country City" b.) Liberate the people of the "Country City", who are locked in a prison within the country's walls and forced into trades/crafts in order to benefit the rules.

    The MC is sent to inflitrate the night watch, who guard and patrol of giant city at night, while inside he struggles with his mission as he comes to belelive the "Country City"'s ruler has the best interest of his people at heart and that his people all adore and revere him. This whole charade of liberation is an attempt to gain control over the "Country City" and use to walled city as a prison by rival leader, who is actually this spy or infiltrators father.... yada yada yada.

    Edit 2: I honestly didn't know where I wanted to go with the story of the walled city, until I just wrote out that bit in the first Edit... wow.

    RyanM
     
  2. Dcoin
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    Dcoin Contributing Member

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    I had once read that if the Great wall of China were closed to make a circle the area inside would easily surround all of Texas with room to spare. I cannot verify accuracy as math is not my thing, however...

    If humans could accomplish this without heavy machinery, then there is no reason why it couldn't be done by anybody.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Ever hear the term city state? These were often walled-[in cities, independent of any outside governance. However, most of the agriculture supporting the city was outside the walls.

    The same was also true of the feudal lands in Europe during the Middle Ages.
     
  4. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    And the cities of ancient Greece.
     
  5. Eleanora
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    Eleanora New Member

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    I don't see why this isn't plausable. However, and I am not war lord, but I would think the one wall would not be a very good defensive, since if the wall is breached the whole country is for the taking. Perhaps there could be a series of walls? Other than that, have at it. I wouldn't question it if it is written well.
     
  6. RyanM
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    RyanM Member

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    Yes, but this would be a city inside of a wall, like the walled towns and sometimes squares. This would be a wall around a COUNTRY not a city. The whole COUNTRY is one big city. Maybe it isn't as far fetched as I thought it sounded.
     
  7. rikithasta
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    rikithasta Member

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    In the context of 'swords and sorcery' fiction, I'm not sure if anything is truly impossible, you can always come up with a magical explanation. Some readers will question where food is coming from, especially if it's a world of "medieval" technology, as most swords and sorcery stories tend to be.

    John Ross wrote an article called Medieval Demographics Made Easy that will help with numbers. It's good for getting an idea of what exists in a medieval country.
    http://www.io.com/~sjohn/demog.htm

    It was also turned into a generator to make the math even easier:
    http://www.rpglibrary.org/utils/meddemog/

    I'm not sure if this helps or not, but the idea of a country-city walled in sounds interesting.
     
  8. Castlesofsand
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    Castlesofsand Banned

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    I believe if it was a country of 1 million in a city, the wall would have to be immense. the upkeep of such a wall would cost a lot, you could add that in the story, coffers paid/taxes and such to maintain, could be a revolt for it. But watch towers spaced would do the same, set in series and then have the city just walled, unless it is an island then the cliffs could be walls. The warriors riding along this wall again would take many. The Great Wall of China did come to mind but did it work in the end?

    interesting concept, you could have the walll erected from days gone by.
     
  9. x_raichelle_x
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    x_raichelle_x Contributing Member

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    If its a fantasy novel, surely it doesnt have to be completely physically correct? I'm certainly no expert on fantasy fiction as I dont even like it that much (...sorry!) but from what I know about it, theres no limits to how short people can be, how magical some characters can be, how arduous a journey can be, and in your case, how tall or wide or well structured this wall could be?
     
  10. Cazaric
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    Cazaric New Member

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    It may be possible for the wall to exist, but it would defensively implausible. Consider how long it would be to encircle an entire country. Even standing in one line on the wall, side by side, one million soldiers could probably not cover the whole structure.

    And in the event of a siege, the soldiers would be required to be at least two ranks deep where the pressure is being applied by the enemy.

    But say the enemy decided to concentrate their attacks in two parts of the wall, first on one side, and then later on another. The defenders would not be able to move fast enough to the far side of the wall before it was scaled, and defending troops could not reasonably be split to encompass all points on the wall, when under attack.

    So logistically, and defensively, it would most likely be impossible.
     
  11. Unit7
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    Unit7 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I guess it largely depends on the size and power of the conquering nation and the size of the country itself. But in a High Fantasy type setting, this is more them possible. Hell I am sure something like this could be more then possible in real life(though how useful it would Im not sure)


    I say if you like the idea and you think you can make something out of it, then I suggest you get writing and worry about these more minor details another time. I mean if anyone asks you can always say 'Its magic' :p
     
  12. Cazaric
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    Cazaric New Member

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    Ah, magic. I forgot that you'd mentioned high fantasy. Magic can easily solve that logistical problem that I spoke about, if done right.

    I myself would have much more difficulty creating this wall idea, as I tend to avoid all magic at all costs.
     
  13. Gallowglass
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    Gallowglass Contributing Member Contributor

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    City states were countries. Just walled ones. They are exactly what you're talking about, and perhaps not on a much smaller scale. In Roman times, the former Greek city of Marseilles had a garrison of about a hundred thousand, and for an ancient army that wasn't even that big (although I don't quite know how that works since a medieval army was usually four times smaller...) ;)
     
  14. zaphod
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    I think you'd find population density and subsistance farming to take up far less space than you imagine Does it have to be as big as Texas or can it be the size of a small modern day city?

    Singapore Island used to have farms before the 1960's when the clearance of slums and construction of high-rise residential districts began on the ends away from what is today the CBD, such as Woodlands, Tampines, Jurong, etc. So did Hong Kong and it still does in fact near the border with China and the city of Shenzhen. In their colonial past that may not have been totally walled but did consist of fortifications and defenses, weak as they turned out to be in the end when Japan occupied Singapore during WW2.

    Anyways I think it would be plausible for a highly advanced fantasy story civilization to build a wall around an island the size of Singapore?
     
  15. A2theDre
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    A2theDre Active Member

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    I would say it's plausible, depending on the size of your country.

    You would, however, need to figure out some statistics. I've done a little research for you.

    Modern army sizes compared to total population range from about 0.1% to about 8% with a few militarized countries claiming larger than this. For example, the highest percentage of military people in the population comes from North Korea at just under 25%, whereas the USA has only 1.1%. So, if you were to have a standing army of one million, then that would put your city-country's total population at approximately 20 million people (based on a 5% military population). Note that New York City has a population of 8.3 million.

    As you are actually wanting this to be a country, I would say you'd want a larger land area than that afforded to New York City. New York's population density is 10,452 people per square kilometre, and, for comparison, London's is 4,863. For your country, I would suggest a population density at about 2,500. This means a land area of 8,000 square kilometres. Which is roughly the size of Puerto Rico. And Puerto Rico only has about 4 million inhabitants.

    8,000 square kilometres would give your wall a perimeter of of just under 400km (I am basing this on a perfect square however). The Great Wall of China is 6,400km long, so a wall of only 400km would definitely be plausible.

    However, you would need watchtowers along your wall. Let's say every 500m which is definitely overkill. Let's say it takes five men to man the towers. You'd need 800 towers, and that would take 4,000 men to man them all. This means you'd have 996,000 idle soldiers.

    Just something for you to think about and/or use if you do go about creating this city-country.
     
  16. Cazaric
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    Cazaric New Member

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    You're wrong on both counts, I'm sorry to say. The city-states themselves were not walled. Each city-state was merely one walled city that ruled the surrounding land outside the city limits.


    And one hundred thousand men would have been enormous for any ancient army, Gallowglass. In fact, the entire armed forces of the Roman Empire never exceeded four hundred thousand. I find it hard to believe they would garrison over a quarter of their forces inside a city that, for most of Roman times, wasn't even near the frontier.
     
  17. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Pick up Jim Aikin's The Wall at the Edge of the World.

    It deals with exactly the dynamic you are suggesting. All of California lies behind a wall. California is quite a bit bigger than most extent countries. The book is not fantasy. It is science fiction, but of a post-apocalyptic, devolved world kind, so kinda' fantasy-esque.
     
  18. Rosetta Stoned
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    Rosetta Stoned Member

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    My favorite novel of all time, Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, takes place partly in a walled city.

    However, it deals more with the psychological effects of isolation, if that is something you want to consider.
     

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