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Arikamedu an example of an ancient trade city

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posted on May, 24 2008 @ 12:38 PM
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Sometimes on this board claims are made of ancient trade routes. Often for trade for which evidence doesn't exist. Arikamedu is a good example of what a trade city would look like. It was one of four ports that were used for Indian to Rome trade. Trade was particularly brisk from 50 BC- 50 AD.






What is known about these cities is primarily being sourced from the classical Greco Roman writings such as the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea by anonymous author and the writings of Ptolemy, Pliny and Strabo. With the total destruction of the Greco Roman libraries at Alexandria and Cleopatra, the Roman cities of the ancient Egypt, even these sources became scarce. Thus it is left to the archeologists to rediscover the history of these cities through the excavation.


Silk, fine cottons, pepper, costus, nard, spikenard, and similar items. A Roman merchant man of no more than moderate size when fully loaded with cargo of such goods represented a monumental investment.



A shipment from Alexandria involved somewhere between 700 to 1700 pounds of Nard , over 4700 ivory, and almost 790 of textiles . The total value was about 131 talents , a mighty sum , one that could have purchased almost 2400 acres of Egypt’s best farmland. Yet this represents a merely one consignment , a meager portion of a cargo owned by a single merchant / partnership.


The finds at Arikamedu and other sites make it absolutely certain that Roamn Egyptians did trade with East coast of India or Coramandel coast .

It seems to have been Indian rather than Western craft that handled the East coast’s trade that carried its goods to west coast ports and returned with goods from these ports including the imports fro Roman Egypt .

A source

The overseas trade was initiated and controlled by Roman subjects. Greeco-Roman involvement in the trade is almost certain from the findings. Furthermore, pottery suggests that some westerners may have resided at Arikamedu on a long terms basis.

From the finds it is difficult to gauge what was the strength of the western population might have been at any time; or hat role westerners had in the trade.

From the Pazzolana cement it can be inferred that Roman subjects had a role in the building of Port city. But it is apparent that the architecture of Arikamedu is not Greco Roman.

The imported pottery, including Amphora forms a mere fraction of one percent of the pottery at the site and even pottery which seem to evolve from western prototypes is limited amount.

The imports and derivatives from imports reflects the presence , perhaps needs of westerners but not a larger scale.

Another source




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