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Books > History > The Commerce Between The Roman Empire and India
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The Commerce Between The Roman Empire and India
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The Commerce Between The Roman Empire and India
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About the Book

 

The first two centuries of the Roman Empire witnessed the establishment and development of a profitable commerce between two great regions of the earth the Mediterranean countries and India. This was the era of new discoveries and enterprises in firm rule of Rome, and the welding of races of the West and the Near East into one well-governed whole. The account of the growth of this important commerce and of the establishment of trade routes during this formative era, novel developments for both Indians and Romans, is unfolded in this authoritative work which has long been out of print but which now appears in a second 'edition newly revised and enlarged by the author in the light of recent knowledge and discoveries.

 

Preface

 

In this book I have attempted to give, from a western point of view, a history of the commerce between the Roman Empire and India from the triumph of Augustus to the death of Marcus Aurelius. The full story of its decline, of the oriental commerce of the Byzantine era, and its development into the commerce of the Middle Ages would form another volume and finds no place here. Various problems, too, which are incidental to Rome's commerce with the East, have been indicated rather than discussed and I hope to deal with them elsewhere. Readers will find that many items of Rome's trade with Africa and Arabia have been included; this was inevitable in view of the geographical position of India and the development of a special sea-traffic between that region and Roman Egypt. Some of my critics will question: the wisdom of separating the Imperial age from the centuries which went before, but there are limits to a work which goes into any detail, and like Mr Charlesworth, I risk willingly the imputation that, in this book OD one aspect of ancient commerce, I have given a description of which the beginning and the end are absent.

 

I wish to thank the Adjudicators for the Le Bas Prize of 1925, and in particular Professor Rapson, in return for valuable suggestions and indispensable criticisms, and the University for allowing me to publish beyond the time-limit. My thanks are due also to Mr L. Eaglesfield of Mill Hill, London, for constant clerical assistance, particularly in reading through the proof-sheets of the narrative, and I owe a special debt of gratitude to Miss E. Abbey of South Kensington for helping me in the translation of M. Khvostoff's monograph in Russian on the oriental trade of Graeco-Roman Egypt. Acknowledgements and thanks are due to W. de Gruyter and Co. of Berlin for permission to insert the illustration which faces page 143. Lastly, I thank the Cambridge University Press for its patience and care.

 

This book is based upon original sources, but I am much indebted to the work of others, especially for details upon subjects of which I cannot claim expert knowledge, and the extent of my indebtedness is shewn in the notes.

 

Two points about geography. I have used the expression "Indian Ocean" as including the Arabian Sea, and the expression “East Africa” means the African coast from Bab-el-Mandeb outwards.

 

Contents

 

 

PART·I

 

THE OPENING UP AND PROGRESS OF ROME'S COMMERCE WITH INDIA

 

INTRODUCTION

PAGE 1

Chap. I

THE TRADE-ROUTES BETWEEN ROME AND INDIA

1

Egypt and the Sea-Route to India

6

2

The Land-Routes to India

18

II

EARLY DEVELOPMENTS: THE DISCOVERY OF THE MONSOONS: RESULTS

35

III

THE COMMERCE FROM THE REIGN OF NERO TO THE DEATH OF MARCUS AURELIUS. THE DECLINE

84

 

PART II

 

THE SUBSTANCE OF ROME'S COMMERCE WITH INDIA

 

SECTION A. THE OBJECTS OF IMPORTATION FROM INDIA

Chap. I

ANIMALS AND ANIMAL-PRODUCTS

PAGE 145

II

PLANT-PRODUCTS

180

III

MINERAL PRODUCTS

235

 

SECTION B. THE OBJECTS OF EXPORTATION TO INDIA AND THE "DRAIN" OF SPECIE THITHER

IV

A. ARTICLES OF EXPORTATION

261

 

B. THE ADVERSE BALANCE

272

 

CONCLUSION

319

 

ABBREVIATIONS

323

 

NOTES

330

 

APPENDIX

394a

 

INDEX

395

 

ILLUSTRATIONS

 

SILVER DISH FOUND AT LAMPSACOS

facing p. 143

 

MAP SHOWING TRADE-ROUTES

at end

 


The Commerce Between The Roman Empire and India

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About the Book

 

The first two centuries of the Roman Empire witnessed the establishment and development of a profitable commerce between two great regions of the earth the Mediterranean countries and India. This was the era of new discoveries and enterprises in firm rule of Rome, and the welding of races of the West and the Near East into one well-governed whole. The account of the growth of this important commerce and of the establishment of trade routes during this formative era, novel developments for both Indians and Romans, is unfolded in this authoritative work which has long been out of print but which now appears in a second 'edition newly revised and enlarged by the author in the light of recent knowledge and discoveries.

 

Preface

 

In this book I have attempted to give, from a western point of view, a history of the commerce between the Roman Empire and India from the triumph of Augustus to the death of Marcus Aurelius. The full story of its decline, of the oriental commerce of the Byzantine era, and its development into the commerce of the Middle Ages would form another volume and finds no place here. Various problems, too, which are incidental to Rome's commerce with the East, have been indicated rather than discussed and I hope to deal with them elsewhere. Readers will find that many items of Rome's trade with Africa and Arabia have been included; this was inevitable in view of the geographical position of India and the development of a special sea-traffic between that region and Roman Egypt. Some of my critics will question: the wisdom of separating the Imperial age from the centuries which went before, but there are limits to a work which goes into any detail, and like Mr Charlesworth, I risk willingly the imputation that, in this book OD one aspect of ancient commerce, I have given a description of which the beginning and the end are absent.

 

I wish to thank the Adjudicators for the Le Bas Prize of 1925, and in particular Professor Rapson, in return for valuable suggestions and indispensable criticisms, and the University for allowing me to publish beyond the time-limit. My thanks are due also to Mr L. Eaglesfield of Mill Hill, London, for constant clerical assistance, particularly in reading through the proof-sheets of the narrative, and I owe a special debt of gratitude to Miss E. Abbey of South Kensington for helping me in the translation of M. Khvostoff's monograph in Russian on the oriental trade of Graeco-Roman Egypt. Acknowledgements and thanks are due to W. de Gruyter and Co. of Berlin for permission to insert the illustration which faces page 143. Lastly, I thank the Cambridge University Press for its patience and care.

 

This book is based upon original sources, but I am much indebted to the work of others, especially for details upon subjects of which I cannot claim expert knowledge, and the extent of my indebtedness is shewn in the notes.

 

Two points about geography. I have used the expression "Indian Ocean" as including the Arabian Sea, and the expression “East Africa” means the African coast from Bab-el-Mandeb outwards.

 

Contents

 

 

PART·I

 

THE OPENING UP AND PROGRESS OF ROME'S COMMERCE WITH INDIA

 

INTRODUCTION

PAGE 1

Chap. I

THE TRADE-ROUTES BETWEEN ROME AND INDIA

1

Egypt and the Sea-Route to India

6

2

The Land-Routes to India

18

II

EARLY DEVELOPMENTS: THE DISCOVERY OF THE MONSOONS: RESULTS

35

III

THE COMMERCE FROM THE REIGN OF NERO TO THE DEATH OF MARCUS AURELIUS. THE DECLINE

84

 

PART II

 

THE SUBSTANCE OF ROME'S COMMERCE WITH INDIA

 

SECTION A. THE OBJECTS OF IMPORTATION FROM INDIA

Chap. I

ANIMALS AND ANIMAL-PRODUCTS

PAGE 145

II

PLANT-PRODUCTS

180

III

MINERAL PRODUCTS

235

 

SECTION B. THE OBJECTS OF EXPORTATION TO INDIA AND THE "DRAIN" OF SPECIE THITHER

IV

A. ARTICLES OF EXPORTATION

261

 

B. THE ADVERSE BALANCE

272

 

CONCLUSION

319

 

ABBREVIATIONS

323

 

NOTES

330

 

APPENDIX

394a

 

INDEX

395

 

ILLUSTRATIONS

 

SILVER DISH FOUND AT LAMPSACOS

facing p. 143

 

MAP SHOWING TRADE-ROUTES

at end

 


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