The legendary overland silk road was not the only way to reach Asia for ancient travelers from the Mediterranean. During the Roman Empire's heyday, equally important maritime routes reached from the Egyptian Red Sea across the Indian Ocean. The ancient city of Berenike, located approximately 500 miles south of today's Suez Canal, was a significant port among these conduits. In this book, Steven E. Sidebotham, the archaeologist who excavated Berenike, uncovers the role the city played in the regional, local, and global economies during the eight centuries of its existence. Sidebotham analyzes many of the artifacts, botanical and faunal remains, and hundreds of the texts he and his team found in excavations, providing a profoundly intimate glimpse of the people who lived, worked, and died in this emporium between the classical Mediterranean world and Asia.
University of California Press
Country of Publication:
Series: California World History Library
15 April 2019
Professional and scholarly
List of Figures Preface and Acknowledgments List of Abbreviations 1. Introduction 2. Geography, Climate, Ancient Authors, and Modern Visitors 3. Pre-Roman Infrastructure in the Eastern Desert 4. Ptolemaic Diplomatic-Military-Commercial Activities 5. Ptolemaic and Early Roman Berenike and Environs 6. Inhabitants of Berenike in Roman Times 7. Water in the Desert and the Ports 8. Nile-Red Sea Roads 9. Other Emporia 10. Merchant Ships 11. Commercial Networks and Trade Costs 12. Trade in Roman Berenike 13. Late Roman Berenike and Its Demise Notes Bibliography Index
Steven E. Sidebotham is Professor of History at the University of Delaware and author of Roman Economic Policy in the Erythra Thalassa, 30 BC-AD 21.
Reviews for Berenike and the Ancient Maritime Spice Route
This highly readable, indeed exciting, book explores numerous aspects of ancient Berenike. --American Journal Of Archaeology (07/16/2012) A remarkably detailed picture of the Egyptian business world along the Red Sea and Indian coast. . . . Many historians will be grateful. -- (07/05/2011) [A] fascinating story. --Times Literary Supplement (TLS) (10/01/2011) The detail of data is remarkable, and one is left with excellent understanding of life in this remote city. --Duane W. Roller American Journal Of Archaeology (04/01/2012) Sidebotham tells the fascinating story of how this isolated harbour site owed its existence to long-range commerce. --David Mattingly Times Higher Education (10/28/2011)