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Berenike and the Ancient Maritime Spice Route$
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Steven Sidebotham

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780520244306

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520244306.001.0001

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(p.1) 1 Introduction
Berenike and the Ancient Maritime Spice Route

Steven E. Sidebotham

University of California Press

Berenike, a port on Egypt's Red Sea coast, is the ideal microcosm to study in order to come to grips with ancient “Old World” commerce and its impact on those who participated in it. The Maritime Spice Route was the southern land-cummaritime counterpart of the central Asian Silk Road. Berenike played an important role in the vibrant Old World global economy that bound west with east and south with north, both by sea and by land. There were a number of ports on the Mediterranean and the Red Sea that bore the sobriquet Berenike. The one examined here was named after the queen of Ptolemy I Soter, who established the Ptolemaic dynasty, and the mother of Ptolemy II Philadelphus, founder of this important Red Sea emporium.

Keywords:   Berenike, Maritime Spice Route, Old World, global economy, Ptolemy I Soter, Mediterranean, Red Sea

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