Merchant Ships

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:
Merchant Ships

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There was indication of ancient ship dimensions from wrecks excavated in the Mediterranean and northern Europe dating from the fourth century B.C.E. to the seventh century C.E., and these can be used to estimate the sizes of their Red Sea contemporaries. Ships sailing the Red Sea in the Roman era would have had two basic functions: military and commercial. The Koptos Tariff refers to the transport of a ship's mast to the Red Sea coast from the Nile. Ships built in the west and arriving in India would have required some repairs, maintenance, and replacement of damaged or missing parts. The Ptolemaic industrial area is the only quarter of Berenike where Ptolemaic remains were not covered by Roman-occupation layers. The basalt ballast found on the surface of the harbor at Berenike can date to no earlier than the first century B.C.E.

Keywords: ancient ship; Red Sea; Berenike; Roman era; Ptolemaic industrial area; Koptos Tariff; Nile

Chapter.  5675 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Classical History

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