Chapter

Nile-Red Sea Roads

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/9780520244306.003.0008
Nile-Red Sea Roads

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This chapter explores the land routes in the Eastern Desert from about 30 B.C.E. until the sixth century C.E. The Romans enhanced the previously existing road networks by refurbishing, enlarging, and extending older Ptolemaic routes and renovating stops and stations along them. The maps, itineraries, and lists of road stations, inns, towns, military garrisons, and cities throughout the empire were likely compiled by individuals of varying abilities on official or unofficial missions over long periods of time. Roman settlements in the Eastern Desert were connected with the road system and cannot be understood apart from it. The elaborate road system with its praesidia and hydreumata, mines, quarries, and other settlements of uncertain function, together with the Red Sea ports, dramatically shows the importance attached to the Eastern Desert and Red Sea coast by the Roman imperial and provincial governments, the military, civilian entrepreneurs, and others.

Keywords: Eastern Desert; Nile; Red Sea ports; Roman settlements; road system; praesidia; hydreumata; mines; quarries

Chapter.  21188 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Classical History

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