The Indian Ocean trade and the Roman State

Wilkinson, Troy (2021) The Indian Ocean trade and the Roman State. Masters thesis, University of Wales Trinity Saint David.

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Abstract

Imperial Roman trading activity within the Indian Ocean has received increasing attention from scholars during the last few decades, much of it considering the role played by the Roman state. These studies have convincingly shown that state involvement was motivated, primarily, by the lucrative revenue that could be obtained via taxation and this thesis takes this as the foremost reason for state participation. Despite this strong motivation the nature of the relationship between the Roman state and the Indian Ocean trade is debated. On the one hand, scholars such as Nappo, Wilson, Bowman, Cobb and Sidebotham see this relationship as one of intimate and often proactive involvement. This included the provision of facilities that were vital for trade and the deployment of the military to support commercial activity. On the other hand, while Young has recognised the extensive state provision of roads, ports, and the military he views the nature of state involvement as fundamentally reactive and limited in some cases to little more than monitoring activity. It is due to these essentially contradicting positions that the aim of this thesis is to explore the nature of the relationship between the Indian Ocean trade and the Roman state and to examine the mechanisms by which the state interacted with this important sector of the economy. This will be achieved through considering the involvement of the state (using a large portion of Egypt’s military garrison) by providing security and potable water in the Eastern Desert and the Red Sea and how these activities were supervised by officials in the region. Through this analysis it will be proposed that a more nuanced understanding of the Roman state’s relationship with the Indian Ocean trade which combines both the proactive and reactive perspectives should be adopted. This will help to improve scholarly understanding of the relationship between the Roman state and the economy during the imperial period and will raise important questions that should be perused by subsequent research.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Ancient History, Rome, Indian Ocean, Eastern Desert, Trade
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DE The Mediterranean Region. The Greco-Roman World
Divisions: Theses and Dissertations > Masters Dissertations
Depositing User: Troy Wilkinson
Date Deposited: 22 Jun 2021 08:09
Last Modified: 22 Jun 2021 08:21
URI: https://repository.uwtsd.ac.uk/id/eprint/1704

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