Maharashtra State BoardHSC Arts 11th
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Indo-roman Trade

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Indo-roman Trade:

The Periplus of Erythrean Sea written in the Greek language in the mid 1st century C.E., mentions the Red Sea and the sea routes connecting coastal lines, ports, provinces, goods exchanged in trade. The Red Sea was important for trade relations between India and Rome. Among the trading commodities textile, black pepper, precious stones, ivory, and animals such as monkey, parrot, and peacock for the entertainment of the Roman elites came to be exported from India. Gold coins were paid in exchange of these goods. Coral and liquor were also imported. The remains of Amphorae are found in the excavations. Residues at the base of the amphora revealed remains of wines. Amphoras were also used for storing olive oil and garom (pickled fish). The price of the goods exported to the Roman market was paid in gold coins. The large amounts of these coins found in South India give an idea of the extensive scale of this trade. The flourishing Indo-Roman trade gave rise to several markets and cities. There was a rise of important ports in western India as well. The merchandise transported to Maharashtra were stored at Ter, Nevasa, Bhokardan, Kondapur, and Sannati. The ports of Sopara and Kalyan were important centers of Indo-Roman trade. Excavations at the archaeological sites have brought forth the evidence of the trade in the form of Roman pottery (amphorae) and redware. The replicas of Roman coins are also found in the excavations. In South India, along with an increase in trade the Buddhist centres were established at places such as Dharnikot, Amaravati and Nagarjunikonda.

Indo-Roman trade relations was traded between the Indian Subcontinent and the Roman Empire in Europe and the Mediterranean Sea. Trade through the overland caravan routes via Asia Minor and the Middle East, though at a relative trickle compared to later times, antedated the southern trade route via the Red Sea and monsoons which started around the beginning of the Common era (CE) following the reign of Augustus and his conquest of Egypt in 30 BCE.

The southern route so helped enhance trade between the ancient Roman Empire and the Indian subcontinent, that Roman politicians and historians are on record decrying the loss of silver and gold to buy silk to pamper Roman wives, and the southern route grew to eclipse and then totally supplant the overland trade route.

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