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Trade, Commerce, and the State in the Roman World$
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Andrew Wilson and Alan Bowman

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198790662

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198790662.001.0001

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Money and Flows of Coinage in the Red Sea Trade

Money and Flows of Coinage in the Red Sea Trade

(p.557) 17 Money and Flows of Coinage in the Red Sea Trade
Trade, Commerce, and the State in the Roman World

Dario Nappo

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers the financial scale of Indo-Roman trade via the Red Sea, comparing the large sums mentioned by Pliny with the evidence of customs dues, ostraca from the Red Sea port of Berenike, and hoards of Roman coins found in India. Analysis of the finds of Roman coins in India by value rather than number over time suggests that, contrary to prevailing opinion, there was not a major diminution in the value of the trade after the reign of Tiberius. Although there was apparently some decline in the Flavian period, the face value of coin finds recovers in the second century until the reign of Antoninus Pius. Coins for export to India were specially selected for their higher precious metal content, and older issues with a higher silver content continued to be exported to India long after they had largely ceased to circulate within the Roman Mediterranean.

Keywords:   Roman trade, Roman economy, Indo-Roman trade, Indo-Mediterranean trade, Roman coins, customs dues, Berenike

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