Chapter

Geography, Climate, Ancient Authors, and Modern Visitors

Steven E. Sidebotham

in Berenike and the Ancient Maritime Spice Route

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780520244306
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520948389 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520244306.003.0002
Geography, Climate, Ancient Authors, and Modern Visitors

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The location of Berenike provided avenues of trade, communication, and conveyance of basic resources to and from the port, but also posed barriers to reaching it. Examination of ancient authors shows how desiccated the region was in Roman times. There were three basic resources critical to the city's residents: food and water for inhabitants and livestock, and for provisioning the ships; and timber/wood for limited construction and ship repair. Wood, and animal dung, would also have been used as fuel for fires, both industrial and domestic. A number of ancient authors reported on Berenike and the city's contacts with other areas of the ancient world, ranging from the second century B.C.E. into the sixth century C.E., are presented. Fieldwork at Berenike between 1994 and 2001 and briefly in 2009–2010 only about 2% of the surface of the site and much less than that of its depth was excavated.

Keywords: Berenike; trade; communication; food; water; ancient authors; inhabitants; livestock; ship repair

Chapter.  6696 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Classical History

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