Chapter

Commercial Networks and Trade Costs

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/9780520244306.003.0011
Commercial Networks and Trade Costs

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After the annexation of Egypt in 30 B.C.E. Berenike became an important player in a series of interconnected local, regional, and wider-ranging trade and communication systems within and beyond the Roman Empire. Much bulk trade conducted to and from the urban centers of Rome was either within close proximity by land or over some greater distance by sea. Major caravan players in the eastern Roman Empire were Petra and Palmyra, and these players and similar desert oasis settlements prospered primarily. Land and water transport often complemented one another and should not be viewed solely as competitive. Seasons and weather greatly affected transport costs. The Mediterranean basin's contacts with Arabia, India, and points east and south were fairly circumscribed and sporadic until the Roman Empire had expanded to include all of coastal Mediterranean North Africa and large portions of the Middle East.

Keywords: Berenike; Roman Empire; Mediterranean North Africa; Middle East; trade; Petra; Palmyra; transport

Chapter.  6894 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Classical History

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