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.
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