Feeding a Roman Siege of Masada
Here we are, part of the the Roman Legio X Fretensis, besieging the fortress of Masada...
And our story begins...
... with Rubrius Gallus, everyone's favourite non-drunk Roman.
See... he did some thinking, he was curious as to why these senators were trying so hard to get the siege over?
Was it too boring for them in Rome?
Were too many men dying?
Was it unethical for them?
Then he realized, the only thing these men wanted was-
[and] money is power.
The siege of Masada...
... was costing too much.
But he was confused, how could it be costing them so much that they were begging Silva to hurry up.
So here is what he thought up-
The average Roman soldier ate 1/3 of a ton of grain a year. Equivalent to 302.4 kilograms a year, that cost about 3000 denarii. A large sum, but easily affordable. But, as they were not in Rome, they had to ship the grain. Gallus, being the clever engineer he is, knew the average price costs in the area.
but, that was not enough, he had to be exact, so he asked his friends who were documenting the grain shipments. They showed him the shipping routes, and how much it cost to ship each kilo from Rome to Jerusalem, from where they simply had to retrieve the grain and bring back to their camp.
Back to the story: Gallus knew, that there were 6,000 soldiers to feed, and a number of auxiliaries and slaves to feed- making a total of 15,000 people eating 1/3 of a ton per year
Wait! Wait! Wait!
Why would the slaves be eating the
Amount as the soldiers!?
The 'Slaves' were really just captured civilians that were being forced into this arduous labour. As the miniseries stated, they weren't normal slaves, they had to be treated better, less work in sun, more rest, and more food. To do the work of a Roman soldier, you have to eat like a Roman soldier.
I guess when in the ownership do as the Romans do?
back to the food, 15,000 people eating 1/3 of a ton of food annually each is 5000 tons of wheat, roughly 4,535,924 kilos of food annually. Or rather 3000 denarii per person adding up to 45 million denarii annually spent on purchasing food. Add that to the taxes and how am I gonna be an optimist about this? It adds up to a grand total of 61,907,940 denarii a year is spent on feeding the besieging force of Masada.
Neither Dragons, nor all the people, but that that is only the price of their food. The figures must skyrocket if you factor in the soldier's salaries, the money for the mercenaries, the cost of getting any sort of supplies to the force.
His wonderful idea of a siege tower was born out of his need to hurry his siege with an attack.