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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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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 21 September 2021

Trade in Roman Berenike

Trade in Roman Berenike

(p.221) 12 Trade in Roman Berenike
Berenike and the Ancient Maritime Spice Route

Steven E. Sidebotham

University of California Press

Evidence for Berenike's commercial contacts in the Roman period is far better than for the Ptolemaic. There are two major sources of information about items traded at or passing through Berenike in Roman times. Literary can be combined with archaeological evidence to establish which regions Berenike did business with and attempt to identify which ports Berenike most likely had as trading partners. The most noteworthy import to Berenike was black pepper. Items excavated at Berenike that came from India or the Indian Ocean basin include sorghum, rice, coconuts, mung beans, Indian gooseberry, sesame seeds, Nile catfish bones, escargot, Job's tear, rosary peas, frankincense, and myrrh. The presence of Roman coins in India does not necessarily indicate any balance-of-trade deficit, nor does it invariably signal that merchandise was purchased in every case. Finally, examples of cultural transmission are described.

Keywords:   Berenike, Roman period, trade, black pepper, Roman coins, India, cultural transmission, sorghum, rice, coconuts

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