Egyptian Red Sea Trade: An International Affair in the Graeco-Roman Period

Murray & Warmington (1967) p. 29

Debborah Donnelly, MA © 2004



Although trade on the Red Sea increased substantially during the Ptolemaic and Roman periods, this waterway had been used since the earliest history of dynastic Egypt. I will investigate how trade changed from the earliest known accounts, along with the establishment of the Nile to Red Sea canal and various ports along Egypt’s Eastern Desert shore, concentrating on the sites of Myos Hormos and Berenike. In addition to examining accounts of the classical authors, I will present a cursory analysis of Egypt’s trading partners and what material evidence has been found. I intend to present some of the objects of foreign origin in the archaeological record, which prove contact with India, Arabia and Africa. The process of trade not only included the ability of ships to reach far-off destinations but also the capacity to deal with merchants, governments and foreign languages and cultures. Early History of Red Sea Trade Trade on the Red Sea existed long before the Graeco-Roman period. Evidence comes from the distant Old Kingdom of expeditions to Punt to gather incense and other exotic items. Egyptian association with the land of Punt begins with a mention of a Puntite slave of one of the sons of Khufu of the Fourth Dynasty.1 The first recorded expedition to the land of Punt was in the Fifth Dynasty by King Sahure.2 This was followed by a retainer of King Isesi, Harkhuf, governor of Aswan, who brought back a pygmy. In the Sixth Dynasty, Pepi II wrote a letter to Harkhuf,3 which Harkhuf subsequently included into his funerary autobiography:

Breasted (1962: 102-103) lists the earlier associations with Punt. Sahure’s expedition is the oldest known specific contact between Punt and Egypt as recorded on the Palermo Stone. He received electrum and myrrh from the land of Punt. Fragments from the decoration of his tomb at Abusir are interpreted as a representation of the inhabitants of Punt. Tarek el-Awady reports that newly discovered blocks from an SCA exploration around the causeway of Sahure in 2002/2003, depict the King planting myrrh trees in his royal palace. See also Hawass, Z.; M. Verner (1996) Newly Discovered Blocks from the Causeway of Sahure (Archaeological Report). MDAIK 52, 177-186. 3 Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt Part I § 328f.




“You have said...that you have brought a pygmy of the god's dances from the land of the horizon-dwellers, like the pygmy whom the god's seal-bearer Bawerded brought from Punt in the time of King Isesi. You have said to my majesty that his like has never been brought by anyone who went to Yam previously...Come north to the residence at once! Hurry and bring with you this pygmy whom you brought from the land of the horizon-dwellers live, hail and healthy, for the dances of the god, to gladden the heart, to delight the heart of King Neferkare who lives forever! When he goes down with you into the ship, get worthy men to be around him on deck, least he fall into the water! When he lies down at night, get worthy men to lie around him in his tent. Inspect ten times at night! My majesty desires to see this pygmy more than the gifts of the mine-land and of Punt! When you arrive at the residence and this pygmy is with you live, hale and healthy, my majesty will do great things for you, more than was done for the god's seal-bearer. Bawerded in the time of King Isesi.” (Breasted, Part I) Pepi II became fascinated with these deeds carried out by his father’s retainer, and ordered his own expeditions to Punt. Breasted (1962:103) records that an officer of this pharaoh, “Enenkhet, was killed by Sand-dwellers on the coast, while building a ship for the Punt voyage, and another expedition under the same king was led by the assistant treasurer, Thethy.” In the Middle Kingdom, the Eleventh Dynasty king Mentuhotep III, sent his steward Henu to obtain incense from Punt, and this detailed the route taken.4 “My lord sent me to conduct seagoing ships to Punt, to bring for him fresh myrrh from the chiefs ruling the Red Land…Then I set out from Coptos5…with an army of 3000 men…I also made twelve wells on the valley floor…Then I reached the sea, and then I built this fleet…When I had returned from the sea I had done what his majesty had commanded me, bringing for him all kinds of gifts that I had found on the shores of god’s land.”6 (Lichtheim, 1988) In looking for this Middle Kingdom port, A.H. Sayed, director of the University of Alexandria excavations in 1976, discovered evidence of a Twelfth Dynasty port at the outlet of the Wadi Gâwâsis (Map 1). He surveyed this route to verify a site defined by two steles

As described in sixteen lines of hieroglyphs on a rock face in the Wadi Hammamat (Lichtheim, 1988: 52-54). This is extremely important for showing that the usual route was through the Eastern Desert to the Red Sea where the ships would be reassembled to make the voyage south. 6 Lichtheim correctly notes that ‘this sentence indicates that Henu led the fleet. That he did not describe Punt is the usual practice. No other expedition leader described Punt, or Nubia, or Sinai’ (1988: 53 n.21).




previously discovered in one of a group of small buildings in this wadi.7 One belonged to a high official named Khnemhotep, and it records the first year of Sesostris II,8 and how this pharaoh was able to establish monuments in the region of TA-nTr or God’s Land. The other is a stele that records the 28th year of Amenemhet II. It belongs to a ship-captain Khentykhtay-wer (Fig. 1). Its text is important because of the reference to the safe return from a sea voyage to Punt, and the landing at a port which the text of the stela called SAww. This port was

previously interpreted to be the small dhow harbour of Mersa Gâsûs at the shore end of the wadi, but excavations there produced only Graeco-Roman material. The small site to the south, known as Mersa Gâwâsis, did however provide cartouches of Sesostris I and a stela of an ‘I-mrw which records the geographic term BiA-n-Pwnt (the mines of Punt).9 Sayed and his team also found a shrine stela of one Ankhow , (Fig 2) who was an ‘overseer of the audience chamber’

in the court of Sesostris I. The shrine was made of reused limestone anchors (Fig. 3).10 Together this material provides significant proof that this was the ancient Twelfth Dynasty port of SAww (Map 2).11 It seems trade with Punt declined (at least according to known records) until the 18th Dynasty, when we have the fullest description and depiction of Punt in the reliefs at Deir elBahari. Hatshepsut’s expedition shows details that strengthen the debate that Punt was reached via the Red Sea. The fact that the images of the fish depicted beneath the ships are so intricately

These steles were apparently discovered by Sir Gardiner Wilkinson and Mr. James Burton in the 19th century. Sayed (1977) pl. 8a 9 Sayed (1977) pl. 13b, c 10 Fragments of planks with mortise slots, pegs and pieces of rope found on the site indicate that ships really had been assembled here. Also found were anchors, some unfinished, with fragments of copper alloy chisels. These and the steles of the vizier Antefoqer and of Ameny at Mersa Gâwâsis, which describe construction in two stages, first at the shipyards of Coptos under the vizier, and finally the assembly on the shores of the ‘Great Green’ by Ameny, all indicate the procedure followed in the Middle Kingdom (Meeks, 2003: 74, 75). 11 SAww or Sww based on two separate examples. The debate has not been completely resolved without further proof (Sayed, 1977: 175).




carved allows species to be identified with known Red Sea fauna, firmly establishes this (Fig. 4). From her descriptions we are able to determine the types of products obtained there. Included below is a transliteration and translation12 of the relevant portion of Hatshepsut’s expedition: The Products of Punt de Buck p.52 – Lines 15-16 At{t}p aHaw r aAt wrt m biAwt xAst Pwnt xAw nb nfr The loading (of) the ships very greatly with marvels (of) the foreign land (of) Punt: all good plants n tA-nTr aHaw m qmit nt antiw m nhwt nt antiw wAD of God’s land, heaps of resin of myrrh, with fresh trees of myrrh, amW m tiSps Xs(A)yt m hbny13 Hr Abw wab m nbw wAD n with ebony and pure ivory, with green gold of cAmw,14 with a tree and its spice15, hsayt spice, m ihmwt snTr msdmt m anaw gfw Tsm(w) with ihmwt-incense, black eye-paint, with baboons, long-tailed monkeys and hounds, m inmw nw Ab(w)y rsy m mrt Hna with skins of southern panthers, with servants along with their children. n sp ini.t(w) mitt nn n nsw nb xpr(w) Dr pAwt tA The like of this had never been brought to any king who existed since the primeval time of the earth. Hatshepsut’s portrayal and narrative are the most extensive accounts we have of the land of Punt. We only get glimpses of trade with this land in later accounts. What is interesting about Theban Tomb 143 (Fig. 5) from the reign of Kings Tuthmosis III/ Amenophis II is that it shows the trade with Punt in reverse. Here we see Puntites arriving in lightweight rafts, under sail, to deliver products of their land to Egypt. While it would seem obvious that transportation so far
By this author. “But of all the woods which formed the staple timber trade, alike of Punt and Khent Hunnefer on the Upper Nile, ebony held the chief place. In the tomb of Ti we find reference to one of his statues as being of ebony. The wood is mentioned again and again from that time onward to the reign of Ptolemy Philadelphus, who made a troop of Ethiopians bearing two thousand trunks of ebony march in one of his processions.” (Naville, 1998: 24) 14 Gauthier (1925: 143) ‘Région africaine, renommée pour ses richesses en or et en électrum, située sur la côte de la mer Rouge, au sud-est de l’Égypte.’ 15 Breasted Vol.II §265 reads this as ‘cinnamon wood’, which accords with Manniche (1989: 88) Cinnamonium zeylanicum.
13 12



north on such vessels seem unlikely, possibly these rafts were used to transfer products from ships at anchor. The Nile-Red Sea Canal There has been quite a debate about who dug the initial Nile-Red Sea canal, where it was and for how long it was in use. The data from various ancient sources make the waters muddy but I will present here the evidence and arguments that stand. In Darius I Suez Stele,16 there is a reference to a Persian name ‘Piru’,17 which has been suggested by Andre Servin as equivalent to the Egyptian name pA-Hr which occurs in an inscription from the time of Ramesses II.18 Servin translates the text as follows: “I (Ramesses) have dug the river pA-hr of Thekou in order that the inundation may come according to my power.” Servin concluded that Ramesses II carried out the digging of the canal (which, in his opinion began in the New Kingdom) to Thekou, then ‘Necho’ extended it to the Saba-Byar and Gabal Maryam. At last, Darius I continued the work to the Bitter Lakes. Sayed (2000: 435) uses this view of the digging of the canal, to point out the fact that, “the canal as a continuous waterway was not completed during Pharaonic times.” Silver (1998) follows Petrie,19 who identifies the ‘Sesostris’ of the classical writers20 with Ramesses II21 and he suggests that "The evidence seems to be that there was some kind of waterway to the Red Sea from the time of the XIXth dynasty . . ." Montet,22 in a work first published in 1958, explicitly claims that “Ramesses II expended great resources in restoring the 'canal of the two seas', traces of which were discovered during the digging of the modern Sweet
16 17

A. Servin (1949-1950) Stèle de l’Isthme de Sues. BSEIS Tome III, 94-95. See n. 30 18 B. Bruyère (1930) Fouilles de Clysma –Qolsom (Suez). IFAO (reprinted 1966), 57, 74. 19 Petrie (1923/1970: 186) 20 Diodorus Siculus I.33; Strabo XVII 1.25-26. 21 Sesostris = Ramesses II (?) I find this highly unlikely. 22 Montet (1981: 184)



Water Canal” (Map 3). For this description, Montet cites his earlier work,23 where he reports on monuments of Ramesses II. His argument is based on a fragment of a stele, found along the banks of the ancient canal at Tell el-Maskhutah. While the findings may be suggestive of an earlier canal, the fragments of the stele are insufficient to determine that Ramesses II constructed a two-sea canal. Sayed (2000: 434) has convincingly argued that the use of the Red Sea port at Mersa Gâwâsis during the Middle Kingdom was due to a lack of a Nile to Red Sea canal. He goes further to establish that this was also the case in the New Kingdom24 by quoting the Puntite visit in Theban Tomb 143 (Fig. 5), in the time of Amenhotep II; land traffic depicted in the tomb of Amenmose (TT 89) from the reign of Thutmose IV; and, Papyrus Harris I from the 19th Dynasty, which records a return voyage from Punt in the time of Ramesses III: “They (the ships) arrived in safety at the highland (desert) of Coptos. They landed in safety bearing the things which they brought. They were loaded with the merchandise on the land journey upon asses and upon men and loaded into vessels upon the Nile (at) the haven of Coptos. They were sent forward downstream and arrived amid festivity and brought the tribute into the (royal) presence like marvels.”25 Harvey (2003: 84) seems to concur with this analysis when he states that the aromatic plants that were brought back from Punt and transplanted in Egypt during the reigns of Ramesses II and Ramesses III, most likely employed “the same routes that Hatshepsut’s officials had reopened centuries before.”

Montet (1941:131-33) This argument takes away from Strabo, 17.1.25, who attributed the building of the canal to Senwosret, despite the writings of Herodotus some 400 years earlier. 25 Sayed quotes W. Erichsen, Bibliotheca Aegyptiaca V Papyrus Harris I (Bruxelles, 1933), pls. 7-78; Breasted, Ancient Records Vol. IV, §407.




During the Late Period, Necho II (who ruled from 610-595 BC)26 has been attributed by Herodotus (II 158-59) with being the first to attempt the construction of the canal to the Red Sea. He however ceased work on the canal before its completion because: “A hundred and twenty thousand of the Egyptians, employed upon the work in the reign of Necôs, lost their lives in making the excavation. He at length desisted from his undertaking, in consequence of an oracle which warned him ‘that he was labouring for the barbarian.’ The Egyptians call by the name of barbarians all such as speak a language different from their own. Necôs, when he gave up the construction of the canal, turned all his thoughts to war, and set to work to build a fleet of triremes,27 some intended for service in the northern sea, and some for the navigation of the Erythraean. These last were built in the Arabian Gulf where the dry docks in which they lay are still visible.” (Herodotus II, 159) Somewhat later, during the First Persian conquest, Darius I (521-486 BC)28 is said to have completed the task started by Necho II. He is the ‘barbarian’ for which Necho had been warned of. As stated in Herodotus, (Book II, 158): “Psammetichus left a son called Necôs, who succeeded him upon the throne. This prince was the first to attempt the construction of the canal to the Red Sea - a work completed afterwards by Darius the Persian - the length of which is four days’ journey, and the width such as to admit of two triremes being rowed along it abreast. The water is derived from the Nile, which the canal leaves a little above the city of Bubastis, near Patûmus, the Arabian town, being continued thence until it joins the Red Sea.” As Herodotus’ visit to Egypt is almost contemporary with the reign of Darius this has been used as an argument for both accuracy as well as bias for the attribution to the Persian king. What hard evidence we do have though, are the four commemorative stelae set up by Darius specifying his achievement of the actual excavation of a canal from the Nile to the Red

Baines & Malek (1980) Atlas of Ancient Egypt. p. 37 For a complete discussion of Necho’s triremes, see Lloyd (1977) Necho and the Red Sea; Some Considerations. JEA 63, p. 142-155. 28 Baines & Malek (1980: 37)




Sea.29 This provides definitive documentary proof of his accomplishment that is lacking by other kings, who supposedly dug the canal according to various classical sources. Posener suggests the four stelae marked the sections of the canal actually excavated by Darius.30 The western stela was discovered at Tell al-Maskhuta (Fig. 6), another at the ‘Serapeum’, the third in the region of Kabret in the Isthmus of Suez31 (Fig. 7); and the last, now lost, was originally found approximately 6 km north of Suez. Each stele was carved with both hieroglyphs and cuneiform (Redmount, 1995: 127-128). At the beginning of the Ptolemaic period we have further evidence of work on the canal. Ptolemy II Philadelphus (285-246 BC) recorded the cutting of a canal through the Wadi Tumilat in the text of the Pithom Stela of his regnal year 16. This commemorative stela, unearthed by Naville at Tell al-Maskhuta,32 was apparently erected at the site by Ptolemy II and commemorated a number of his achievements. Silver (1998) observes there is a slight change in the course as noted by Strabo (XVII 1.25), who specifies that it was indeed Ptolemy II who actually finished the work:33 “There is another canal which empties into the Red Sea and the Arabian Gulf near the city of Arsinoê, a city which some call Cleopatris. It flows also through the Bitter Lakes, as they are called, which were indeed bitter in earlier times, but when the above-mentioned canal was cut they underwent a change because of the mixing with the river, and now are well supplied with fish and full also of aquatic birds. The canal was first cut by Sesostris before the Trojan War – though some say by the son of Psammitichus, who only began the work and then died – and later by
29 Silver (online 1998) quotes Pat Paice (1981: 5), who thinks Necho's canal "had silted up and needed major dredging and widening from Maskhutah to the Bitter Lakes." In this event, the route of Darius' canal may have been somewhat different than Necho's. 30 Posener, G. (1936) Première domination perse: recueil d'inscriptions hiéroglyphiques. Le Caire: Impr. de l'Institut français d'archéologie orientale p. 48, n.3. 31 Sayed (2000:435) quotes part of the hieroglyphic Kabret stela, where the king (Darius) declares: “The canal was dug to carry water to the sands…I equipped 24 (or 32) ships carrying…towards Persia.” As well as part of the cuneiform stela from Tell al-Maskhuta, “I ordered to dig a canal (lit: river) from the river of Egypt (Piru) is his name to river Amer (the bitter lakes)…It was dug according to my command and the vessels sailed on this canal from Egypt to Persia.” 32 E. Naville, The Store-city of Pithom and the Route of the Exodus, EEF Memoir 3 (London, 1888), pp. 18 ff. 33 Lloyd (1977:143) believes that "much of the work [on the canal] probably consisted in little more than widening and deepening an old fresh-water canal supplying the Wadi Tumilat area."



Dareius the First, who succeeded to the next work done upon it. But he, too, having been persuaded by a false notion, abandoned the work when it was already near completion; for he was persuaded that the Red Sea was higher than Aegypt, and that if the intervening isthmus were cut all the way through, Aegypt would be inundated by the sea. The Ptolemaïc hands, however, cut through it and made the strait a closed passage, so when they wished they could sail out without hindrance into the outer sea and sail in again.” (Strabo, XVII 1.25)

The commencement of the canal from the Nile was moved upstream from Bubastis to Phacussa (Map 3), and an interesting innovation was reportedly introduced at Arsinoê which is hinted at by Strabo (above) but spelled out more clearly by Diodorus Siculus (I.33). “But Ptolemy the Second later finished the work and installed an ingenious lock at the most appropriate spot. This he opened whenever he wished to sail through and quickly closed it again after it had successfully served his purpose. And the rivulet flowing through this canal is called the Ptolemy, after he who created it, and it has at its mouth a city named Arsinoë.” It would appear that by the time of Cleopatra VII (51-30 BC) the canal had silted up. Murray (1967: 33) quotes both Plutarch and Strabo to establish this. “She might have ended as their Queen. For, after Actium when Antony came to Egypt, he found her (Cleopatra) ‘busied in a most bold and wonderful enterprise. Over the small space of land which divides the Red Sea from the [Mediterranean] sea near Egypt and, in its narrowest place is no more than 300 furlongs across,34 Cleopatra had formed the project of dragging her fleet and setting it afloat on the Red Sea; thus, with her soldiers and her treasure to secure for herself a home on the further side, where she might live in peace far away from war and slavery. But, the first galleys that were carried over being burned by the Arabs of Petra, she desisted from her enterprise’ (Plutarch, Antony LXIX 2-3). Here we see that Cleopatra is trying to escape the wrath of Octavian following the Battle of Actium, by fleeing east. It is only by the unfortunate burning of her fleet that her rule ended in such tragedy, woefully spelled out by Strabo (XVII 1.11) “After the death of Caesar and the battle of Philippi,35 Antony crossed over to Asia and held Cleopatra in such extraordinary honour that he chose her as wife and had children by her; and he undertook the battle at Actium with her and fled with her;
34 35

From Daphnae on the Pelusiac Nile to Clysma (Arsinoë) is more than 500 stades. 42 BC.



and after this Augustus Caesar pursued them, destroyed both, and put an end to Aegypt’s being ruled with drunken violence.”

Trajan’s Canal During Trajan’s reign (AD 98-117) a decision was made to rebuild36 the canal of Ptolemy II, which had been silted up from at least the time of Cleopatra VII (see above). Ptolemy, the Geographer, mentions the construction of the Amnis Traianus as passing from the Nile at Babylon, just south of Cairo all the way to Clysma on the Red Sea.37 Despite the fact that the exact reason for reopening this canal is not stated, Young (2001: 76) reiterates that this connection would have been very convenient for Red Sea trade. The need to transport goods over the desert between the Red Sea ports and the Nile would be obviated. Jackson (2002: 76), however, feels that because the canal was distant from the primary port of trade in Egypt, Alexandria, that this route would have been used only to, “facilitate the exportation of bulky cargoes like grain, wine, and textiles originating in the southern delta and Fayoum Oasis.”38 Via Hadriana (Map 4) Hadrian (AD 117-138) took action to promote trade in the Red Sea by building a road from the site of Antinoopolis39 to the ports on the Red Sea. Current surveys40 indicate that the departure from Antinoë heads almost directly east to the coast, landing well north of Myos
Several papyri have been found associated with this work, for example: WU.Inventory.219 Recto - a letter to a praeses about an upcoming investigation of all officials regarding cleaning of Trajan's canal, public funds is suspected; P.Oxy. LX 4070 Offer to Contract for Work on Trajan's Canal. Sidebotham (1986:68) also refers to an AD 112 ostrakon from Thebes that mentions the Potamos Babylonos which he equates with the Amnis Traianus that terminated on the Nile at Babylon. 37 Ptolemy Geog. IV.5. 38 The Fayoum is in the ancient Arsinoite nome. The Fayoum produced these items in large quantities during both the Ptolemaic and Roman periods, and they constituted some of the more important Egyptian exports to South Arabia and India (Jackson, 2002: 76) 39 This city was established by Hadrian near the site of the drowning of his favourite, the Bithynian youth Antinous, in the year 130 AD. 40 For a thorough analysis of the latest surveys of this route, see Sidebotham & Zitterkopf (1997, 1998, and 2000).



Hormos (Quseir al Qadim). It then heads south, following the coastline to its terminus at Berenike. Young (2001: 78) notes an inscription from Antinoë that commemorates its construction: “(Hadrian) built the new Via Hadriana from Berenike to Antinoë, through safe and even places by the Red Sea, and equipped at intervals with plentiful wells, stations and guard posts.”41 Young (2001: 78) does question the reason behind the construction though, because unlike the canal, there were already in place several routes to the Red Sea from Coptos that had been used, and stayed in use during this period. Sidebotham and Zitterkopf (1998:354-6) make the suggestion that the Via Hadriana was perhaps a military or administrative route, versus a commercial one.42 This would concord with Young’s suggestion that this may be part of the policy by Hadrian to give his newly founded city a source of income (2001:79). For a list of stations along the Via Hadriana see Appendix 1. The Eastern Desert (Map 5) Strabo (XVII.1.45) reports that with regards to the road from Coptos to Berenicê that Ptolemy Philadelphus, “was the first person, by means of an army, to cut this road…because the Red Sea was hard to navigate, particularly for those who sail from its innermost recess.”43 Murray & Warmington (1967: 26) state the reason for this construction was because Philadelphus wanted elephants. Ever since Alexander’s Indian campaign, these had become a necessity in war and were important enough to be identified with his image (Fig. 8). After Alexander’s death, there were struggles between the Seleucids and the Ptolemies for the eastern

OGIS 701 = IGRR I. 1142. This would provide an answer to the lack of fortified hydreumata along the desert portion of the Via Hadriana, because military units would not need such protection (Sidebotham and Zitterkopf, 1997: 228). For a description and dating of the sites along the Via Hadriana see Appendix 1. 43 I.e. the Gulf of Suez, due to contrary northern winds that blow year round; noted by myself while working in the Sinai.




provinces. Ptolemy II tried to extend his influence in Asia Minor, and managed to advance as far as Damascus, before the Seleucids responded. The beginning of the Syrian wars in 274 BC was reinforced by Ptolemy’s fleet until peace was eventual made in 272 BC. Under the newly signed treaty Antiochus kept Damascus, but according to Scullard (1974:123), “left all the Phoenician coast to Ptolemy.” It was on the heels of these wars that Philadelphus decided that elephants were a military priority. So Satyrus44 was despatched to report on Trogodytica and ways to obtain elephants. His report has not survived, but its first consideration most likely would have been transportation. Initially a route from Apollonopolis (Edfu)45 to Berenike seems to have been the most commonly used road. A record of one Dorion, who noted his safe return from an elephant hunt in a graffito (Fig. 9) at El-Kanais (Map 5 no.33), shows the early importance of this route.46 I t appears that during the reign of Augustus a new route to Berenike was opened from Coptos,47 perhaps because by this time the route from Coptos to Myos Hormos had become the most utilized.48 Strabo (XVII.1.45) seems to have some confusion about the time it takes to travel this road however, for he states the “journey takes six or seven days.49 On this isthmus are

Strabo, XVI 4, 5. It is tempting to identify this Satyrus with the engineer of that name to whom Philadelphus entrusted the shipping on an obelisk down the Nile (Pliny xxxvi, 67). 45 An order of 223 BC on the treasury there has survived, authorizing the disbursement of pay to the men going with Pitholaüs to the Somali coast at the rate of four silver obols a day (Murray, 1967: 29). 46 El-Kanais is the second station out from Apollonopolis along this route (Murray, 1967: 28); Weigall (1909) pl. xxxi. Note that neither Agatharchides nor Diodorus mentions Berenike, indicating perhaps it decline early in the Roman period for this site. 47 Cuvigny (2003: 193) L’ouverture de la route de Bérénice vers 4 av. J.-C. (an 27 d’Auguste), qui est la date du plus ancien graffito de caravanier dans le paneion du wâdî Minayh. 48 Strabo (XXVII 1.45) “But now it is Coptus and Myus Hormus that have high repute; and people frequent these places.” However by the time of Pliny, the port of preference seems to be Berenike (Cuvigny, 2003:195). 49 Pliny (6.26), who speaks only of the route from Coptus to Berenicê, says that the distance was 257 Roman miles and required twelve days, and that one of the watering-places, Old Hydreuma (‘Watering-place”), near Berenicê, could accommodate 2000 persons. Strabo seems to be confused on the subject, since (1) there were two distinct routes; (2) Myus Hormus and the well-known Berenicê were far apart; (3) the journey from Coptus to the latter required about twice as much time as that to the former, and (4) if Strabo was not thinking of a Berenicê near Myus Hormus, his ‘isthmus’ has a very odd shape.




also the mines of smaragdus,50 where the Arabians dig deep tunnels, I might call them, and of other precious stones.” It is true the journey from Myos Hormos takes six or seven days,51 but the smaragdus mines are situated just off the road from Berenike (Map 5). Ports on the Red Sea As stated earlier, the ports founded on the Red Sea during the Ptolemaic period were to secure the imports of elephants from ‘Ethiopia’ to counter the Indian elephants of the Seleucids. However, by the reign of Ptolemy V Epiphanes (205-180 BC) the need for these beasts of war had waned.52 The desire for imported luxury goods like gold, ivory and incense, however, never ceased. As for the location of harbours along the Red Sea, several factors were in play, including access from the Nile, a suitable harbour free of reefs and protection from difficult winds.53 At the furthest point north in the Gulf of Suez, the harbour of Arsinoë54 lay at the end of the Nile to Red Sea canal. During the early days of the Roman occupation, Aelius Gallus55 built here 80 galleys and 130 cargo vessels for the invasion of Arabia.56 “Gallus built not less than eighty boats, biremes and triremes and light boats, at Cleopatris, which is near the old canal which extends from the Nile….he built one hundred and thirty vessels of burden, on which he set sail with about ten thousand infantry…” (Strabo Bk. XVI 4.23)

Pliny (37.17) says that there are no fewer than twelve different kinds of smaragdus, and ranks the Aegyptian as third. The Aegyptian appears to have been a genuine emerald. See Sidebotham, et al. (2002) Map 1. 51 Cuvigny (2003: 194) « …le trajet le plus direct, Bi’r Sayyâla-Myos Hormos (six jours) ou en faisant un détour par Bi’r al-Nakhîl pour se ravitailler en eau (sept jours). » 52 (Sidebotham 1986: 4) suggests several reasons for this, including the necessity to counter the Seleucids had ceased, because they were cut off from their source of elephants in India by the rise of Parthia in the second half of the third century BC. Also, the collection of elephants since the time of Philadelphus through Ptolemy IV, and the breeding of elephants in captivity, may have meant they had their own domestic supply. 53 Murray & Warmington (1967: 26) describes the fact that the Red Sea littoral does not lack ‘boat harbours’. Coral does not grow in fresh water, so, wherever a wadi, a former watercourse, enters the sea, there is a break in the fringing reef. There, too, is usually still a slow seepage of fresh water down each wadi’s bed, which may be tapped by a shallow well at the mouth…Yet harbours fit for commerce are few and far between. 54 Arsinoë – also known as Klysma (Qulzum) and Cleopatris. See also Strabo XVII 1.25-26. 55 24 BC 56 Murray & Warmington (1967: 26) Arsinoë was the nearest to timber, whether from the Nile Delta or from Palestine.




Departure from Arsinoë was easy due to the prevailing north-west winds (see n. 43), but sailing ships returning from the Straits might take weeks to beat up the long Gulf of Suez (Map 5).57 It would be much easier therefore to use ports south of the Gulf. A reference by Lucian (AD 170) shows that the canal between Clysma and the Nile was still being used, and that Clysma was connected with trade in India. “When the young man had sailed into Egypt as far as Clysma, and a ship was then departing, he was persuaded to sail to India.” (Lucian, Alexander the False Prophet 44) A second reference of trade to India from Arsinoë comes from a papyrus containing a poll-tax register for the town in the year 72/73 AD.58 It details that a member of the town, “Gaiôn, also called Diodôros,” is reported as being away at India (Casson, 1989:32). Sidebotham (1994: 155-156) says that the site of ‘Abu Sha’ar was built as a Roman fort at the end of the Nile road that also leads to the mines at Mons Porphyrites (Map 5 n.2). It had two main periods of occupation, the initial construction and military use in the early fourth century AD, as well as a later occupation by Christian monks in the early fifth to possibly the early seventh centuries. A damaged Greek inscription found in 1993 in the large building in the SW corner of the fort,59 records the visit of a traveller called Andreas (Fig. 10). It is dated to the late fifth or sixth century AD. “I, Andreas, traveller to India, came here….Pauni -, 9th indiction.” Bagnall & Sheridan (1994b: 112) Bagnall feels this brief inscription is remarkable for the occurrence of ινδικοπλεύστης, a term that is used as a common noun referring to those who sail to India (1994b: 112). He states, “it might

57 58

Murray & Warmington (1967: 26) F.Kenyon, et al, Greek Papyri in the British Museum. London, 1893-1974. P. Lond. ii 260 = Stud. Pal. iv, p. 74. 59 See Sidebotham (1994) Fig. 2 Fort at Abu Sha’ar.



be suggested that ‘Abu Sha’ar was of some commercial significance still in the sixth century, as it had been in the fourth.”60 This inscription is included in this paper as acknowledgement that even during the later Roman period, Abu Sha’ar was still being used and still had some contact with trade from the east. The Twelfth Dynasty port of SAww (Mersa Gâwâsis) was discussed above. Murray & Warmington (1967: 26) however indicates that a new port was established on the site of the old one by Satyrus (see n. 44 above), and it was renamed Philoteras (Strabo XVI, 4, 5) after the King’s sister.61 Jackson (2002:80) says the site has never been discovered. The reference by Strabo that Philoteras comes before the ‘hot springs’ may mean the site can be found near Ain Sukhna, but several scholars think it may be south of the modern port of Safaga. Sayed (1977: 145-46) states that the site to the north of Mersa Gâwâsis62 at the end of the Wadi Gâsûs (Map 1) resulted in only Graeco-Roman remains. Although not identified by him as such, perhaps this is the site of Philoteras. Myos Hormos63 is located on a site of an ancient port 8 km north of the modern town of Quseir. The port is located at the head of a bay64 from the Red Sea terminus of the Wadi Hammamat on “one arm of a coral lagoon” (Whitcomb & Johnson, 1979:1). Its location on the Red Sea is at the closest point to the Nile, which meant that despite the fact that it is not the best harbour, it meant shorter travel time between the two. Until the latest excavations by the

As is indicated by the Latin inscriptions found in 1990 (see Bagnall & Sheridan 1994a). I am not sure how Murray et al. determine that Philoteras was at Sewew, as it is not specified as such in Strabo. Strabo lists Philoteras, then Arsinoê, then “to springs of hot water, salty and bitter”, then one comes to Myus Harbour, and then Berenicê. If listed north to south the order is a bit confusing, unless there was a second city named Arsinoê. Claudius Ptolemy, Geography, Bk.4 Ch.5, lists the position of Myos Hormos at 64*15, 26º45. 62 Sayed (1977: 146) states that Mersa Gâwâsis was the “supposed site among Archaeologists (that is) the GraecoRoman port of Philoteras.” 63 ‘Mussel Harbour’, modern day Quseir al Qadim. Note that Weigall (1909) claims to have found blocks from a Ptolemaic temple being reused in houses in modern Quseir; on one is mentioned the town of dwAw which, although otherwise unattested, may well be the earlier name of the port (Whitcomb & Johnson 1979: 5). 64 Mirsa (W & J, 1979:1)




University of Southampton, from 1999 until the present, the site was thought to be ancient Leukos Limen.65 Now, however, the debate seems to identify Quseir al-Qadim as the site of Myos Hormos (Fig. 11).66 Myos Hormos was previously thought also to be at the ancient site of ‘Abu Sha’ar.67 Casson (1989: 96) identifies it as such based on Pliny’s remark (6.168) that there was a spring nearby, and that ‘Abu Sha’ar is the only locale “blessed with good water.” But, as mentioned above, the excavations at ‘Abu Sha’ar have not produced either Ptolemaic or early Roman material. This is despite his own (Casson) notice that the Periplus68 (I: 1.3) states that the distance between Myos Hormos and Berenicê is 1800 stades,69 which would put Abu Sha’ar too far north at a distance of about 2300 stades (Casson, 1989:97).70 The site was the main port of trade during the days of Strabo (see n.48), and he describes its location as follows: “Then one comes to Myus Harbour, which is also called Aphrodite’s Harbour; it is a large harbour with a winding entrance, off which lie three islands; two of these are densely shaded with olive trees, while the third is less so and is full of guineafowls.”71 (Strabo, Bk. XVI 4.5)72

Whitcomb & Johnson (1979, 1982) follow Murray’s (1925:141) identification of the site as Leukus Limon (White Harbour), or in Latin - Albus Portus. Casson (1989:96) notes that Huntingford [(1980) The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea. London] did place Myos Hormos at Qusayr though. Casson goes on to note that Leukos Limên “must have flourished after the Periplus was written, for its first mention occurs in Ptolemy (4.5.8).” 66 Bülow-Jacobsen (1994: 28) notes the first modern writer to identify the site as Myos Hormos was A. Sprenger (Die alte Geographie Arabiens als Grundlage der Entwicklungsgeschichte des Semitismus. Bern, 1875, p. 17). 67 On the basis of latitudes given by Ptolemy. 68 The identity of the author of the Periplus Maris Erythraei is unknown, but presumably he was a Greek-Egyptian sailor and trader who lived in the first century AD. He wrote the manuscript as a kind of pilot guide for merchants who traversed the Red Sea, along the coasts of Southern Arabia and Eastern Africa and across the Indian Ocean to India. 69 Casson (1989: 278) “The ancients never actually measured distances at sea, for they lacked the means. They did the best they could, which was to make an estimate on the basis of the length of time it took to travel between given points. Their rule of thumb was 1000 stades to a day-and-night run, 500 to a day’s run. Assuming the use of the most common stade, that of 600 or so feet, approximately ten stades correspond to a nautical mile.” 500 stades = 50 nm. 70 For distances between ports mentioned in the Periplus see Casson (1989) Appendix 3. Distances. 71 Numida Meleagris 72 Strabo is citing Artemidorus. Agatharchides gives a similar account, frag (x) GGM I, cited also by Diodorus III.39.




Part of the debate on the name of the site of Quseir al-Qadim has been due to some of the papyrus and ostraka found there. In 1986 Bagnall published the inscriptional material from the 1978, 1980 and 1982 seasons of excavations carried out by the University of Chicago, all of which dates to the first century AD. The first (Fig. 12) is a list of twelve names, in Latin, and on the reverse it was addressed as follows: Seren[o c]ura [(tori)] Le[uci Limenis] Serenus, curator of Le[, which Bagnall restores as Le[uci Limenis]. The second item which was also used to identify the site as Leukos Limen was an inscribed vessel fragment (Fig. 13) with a single word upon it, Leuk, which Bagnall (1986: 40) states is presumably an abbreviation for Leuk(os Limen), followed by a numeral (2700). Although, it could be argued the word means ‘white’ and might be describing some of the contents originally held in the vessel.73 While holding onto the view that this site is Leukos Limen, he disregards the connection on the next ostracon (Fig. 14), which is really as ephemeral as the last two.74 It reads as follows: ait [ sim[ a.[ muos [ ait

Bagnall (1986:36) states, “This is in all probability a reference to Myos Hormos, the major port some 150 km to the north of Leukos Limen, and the terminus of the road from Qena.”75 In 2000, the University of Southampton excavation found a remarkable Greek papyrus in Trench 6E (Map 6). It is reconstructed from three pieces, but only the upper part of the text, a
Bülow-Jacobsen, et al (1994: 27) offers another interpretation as γ]λευκ(ος) meaning “sweet wine”. Note in 2000, that an ostrakon was also recovered in Trench 6H that says one “Maximus will go shopping in Philoteris”. Peacock, et al (2000) question if this is a reference to the port of Philoteras, and therefore another mention of a different port. 75 meaning Abu Sha’ar.
74 73



loan of money, is preserved (Fig. 15).76 Peacock, et al (2000) notes the document starts with the mention of the place where the contract has been drawn up: “In Myos Hormos at the Red Sea, followed by the date: the twelfth year of Imperator Caesar Domitianus Augustus, the 29th of the month Phamenoth, which corresponds to March 25th, 93 A.D.” He goes on to state that the name reappears a few lines further down, “where the debtor acknowledges that he has actually got the loan 'here, in Myos Hormos' (ll. 6-7).” He feels this provides clear evidence that this papyrus directly equates Quseir al-Qadim with Myos Hormos.77 While the port of Myos Hormos was established by Ptolemy II to engage in trade, the archaeological evidence found so far (excavations up to 2002) on the Ptolemaic period has been unsubstantial. Most of the remains date to the first to third centuries AD, although some trenches have supplied late Ptolemaic remains. According to Peacock (2000) Trench 1078 (Map 7) produced some of the earliest pottery recovered from the whole site, “dating from the first century BC to the first century AD.” The slit trench connected to it has also provided some “possible Ptolemaic sherds.”79 Excavations are still ongoing and the entire site has not yet been fully investigated. There are substantial material remains of the trading ventures that were conducted here. One very interesting Roman feature has been discovered in Pit 10,000 (Maps 6, 8). It was initially thought to be an early first century AD harbour and storage area for amphorae (Peacock 1999), but the 2000 season saw a revision to this interpretation. “The wall, (Wall C)…proved to be the retaining wall of a salt water pond about 4m across. Its purpose is obscure but it may have
76 77 Peacock, et al (2000) also refer to another reference to Myos Hormos on the basis 78 Trench 10 appears to contain evidence of a metal-working furnace, and the area contained a “considerable quantity of metal, both worked and unworked” as well as “coarsewares, bone shell, metal and ballast stone” according to Peacock (2000). 79 References to Peacock, et al are from the online summarized reports from the excavations, by season (see Bibliography). U of T does not have access to any of the full publications for Quseir al Qadim.



been a pool for keeping fish alive and fresh before being loaded onto ships in barrels or amphorae” (Peacock 2000). Also note the large ‘L’ shaped wall built of large stones, which could represent a wharf area (Peacock 2000). There is evidence that fish, as well as other food stuffs, were sent inland from this port to Maximianon80 (Map 5 no. 20), a Roman policing station along the route between Coptos and Myos Hormos. Bülow-Jacobsen, et al (1994) published eight ostraca81 found at Maximianon with the topographical name of Myos Hormos. Two in particular made references to the shipment of fish. The first is a letter from Ioulios Maximos to Gaios Apolinarios (O. Max. 175) translated as follows (Fig. 16): “Ioulios Maximos to his brother Gaios Apolinarios, many greetings. I want you to known that the boats did not come (back) to Myos Hormos while I was there. I was going to send you the fish. So don’t reproach me brother, for you know what duty is. If it is possible for me to go, I shall see to it. Write me what you want. Greet those who are friends with you. For as far as I can see, we stay here a few days. Take care.” (Bülow-Jacobsen, 1994: 30) The second is one of two letters from a woman, Sarapias to Ammonios (Fig. 17), who she addresses as her father (O. Max. 279+467). Both letters discuss a trip to, and a departure from Myos Hormos. I only include the one translation here for its discussion on fish sauce. “Serapias to her father and lord Ammonios, many greetings. I do obeisance on your behalf to the lady Philotera. I received from Nestereus 6 loaves of bread. If I come to Myos Hormos, as I announced to you, I shall send you a jar of fish-sauce with the first donkeys. For I care as much about you as if you were my own father. And if I find the linen for you I shall buy it. If you have a drinking-cup, send it to me. My brother salutes you. Don’t forget to send me the scalpel. Receive 1 jar [and] write to me about yourself. Greet Proklos.” (Bülow-Jacobsen, 1994: 32)

80 81

Al-Zarqa None of the ostraca discussed carry a date, but Bülow-Jacobsen suggests a date of 2nd-century AD (1994:29).



As for contact with Egypt’s eastern neighbours there is evidence in a variety of materials. Inscriptional confirmation from the site includes references to exotic items, like the private letter82 (Fig. 18), written in Greek, which lists among other items, pepper.83 The connection with India is also noted with two separate ostraca (Figs. 19 & 20) found in the 1980 and 1978 excavation seasons. Both are written in the Tamil-Brahmi script and in the Tamil language of the first or second century AD, according to Whitcomb & Johnson (1982: 263). One (Fig. 19), records the name of cātan, “a well-attested male personal name in old Tamil.”84 With regards to inscriptional evidence from Arabia, in 2002, Peacock reported a South Arabian inscribed ostraca (Fig. 21), in addition to one that had been reported earlier by Whitcomb and Johnson (1979:244). A Nabataean graffito85 (Fig. 22) was also found not far from Quseir, which attests to contact with them along the caravan route. It reads: “Hail/Peace/Greeting. ‘Ausu son of ‘Aus’allāhi.” (Whitcomb & Johnson, 1979:245) Pottery recovered from the site includes a wide range of vessels imported from throughout the Roman world; non-Roman material resulting from Quseir's trade with the East could also be identified. Indian coarse wares (Fig. 24) and finewares (Fig. 23, 25) have been found in recent seasons at the site (Peacock 2000, 2001).86 Many different forms have been found, proving a history of trade with India from the early first century and continuing to the third century AD. Other examples are shown from Whitcomb & Johnson excavations - Loci B4a

Ostrakon 16.0 x 7.6 cm; Q78-RN 132 (Bagnall, 1986: 28-29) pl. 11 The Periplus states that two types of pepper were exported from India, long pepper from Barygaza (Per. 49) and black pepper from the southern sites of Muziris and Nelkynda (Per. 56). 84 Identified by I. Mahadevan according to Whitcomb & Johnson (1982: 263), shown also in their Pl. 61, o. 85 Other Nabataean inscriptions were found at Maximianon (al-Zarqâ), see Toll, C. (1994) Two Nabataean Ostraca from Egypt. BIFAO 94, p. 381-82. 86 The Indian types are discussed in detail by both Wheeler (et al 1946) and Begley (1996) from their excavations at Arikamedu in south eastern India. Peacock (2000) notes that Quseir’s types fall into three main categories, cooking pots with carinated shoulders, casseroles with out-turned to flat rims, and flanged lids or casseroles.




(Fig. 26), but Indian wares are present throughout the site.87 The numbers of Indian ware sherds found at Quseir are increasing with excavations, and Whitcomb (1982) summarizes with a remarkable conclusion: “The parallels of Quseir al-Qadim ceramics with materials from Arikamedu are striking. As Wheeler describes these ceramics as local Indian wares, the Quseir alQadim examples are either imported pieces or local imitations; in either case, the fact that most of these are kitchen wares strongly suggests the presence of Indians using and/or making these forms in Egypt.” (Whitcomb 1982: 67)88 Plant remains recovered at Quseir from the Roman period levels produced evidence of at least three imports of Indian foodstuffs (see Appendix 2). These included black pepper89 and rice90 from deposits dating to the early first century AD (Peacock, et al 2000). The third is the coconut,91 from the same deposits, as well as from deposits dated to the mid-second century AD. Other exotics include artichoke bracts92 (Peacock, 2001), which are native to the Mediterranean. Infrared spectrum analysis was carried out in 1978 on the contents of eight separate vessels by Curt Beck and Larry Moray (Whitcomb and Johnson, 1979). Their conclusion was that they all contained, “nonaromatic resins 93of either coniferous or Burseracaean origin,” and most likely wood pitches.94 Wood pitch would be important if they were building or repairing ships at this site. This brings us to items associated with shipping (Fig.27). Quseir al-Qadim has an excellent assortment of maritime artifacts preserved which help us determine not only the
Loci with Indian wares include B4a, E6b, E7a, F9c, F10a, S11b, and Q2b (Whitcomb & Johnson, 1979: 68-70). Dio Chrysostom (XXXII.40) reveals the presence of Indians and Arabs were to be seen in the audiences of shows at Alexandria (Young, 2001:62). 89 Piper nigrum, in the form of pepper corns – are native to southern India. 90 Oryza sativa 91 Cocos nucifera; the remains of coconut consisted of fragments of the epicarp and fibrous husk, as well as the nut shell. In all cases the endosperm, the white coconut ‘meat’, had been removed. The coconut fibre (‘coir’) was and is widely used in the production of ropes and matting (Peacock 2000 – Plant Remains). 92 Cynara cf. scolymus 93 ‘Resin’ should never mean anything but the exudates of a plant according to Beck and Moray (Whitcomb & Johnson, 1979:253). 94 ‘pitch’ refers to the residue of distillation resulting from heating. Wood pitch has been used from early times for caulking (Whitcomb & Johnson, 1979: 254).
88 87



possible industrial workshops at place at the port, but also the types of ships that used the harbour and possibly repair facilities at Myos Hormos. No wrecks have (yet) been excavated on the Red Sea so this gives us the next best opportunity of learning about the actual sea trade. Wood and metal objects have been excavated at Quseir that illustrate the various components required by ships, for rigging, hull sheathing and construction. While large wooden artefacts would probably have been reused in ancient times, smaller wooden artefacts belonging to ships running or standing rigging95 have fortunately been preserved. Part of the standing rigging of a sailing vessel would include the dead-eye (Fig. 27) which reduces stress on the shroud.96 The size of this block suggests this was for a large, square sail vessel typical of the Roman period. Peacock (2002) states that over 130 wood and horn brail rings97 have been excavated at Quseir, as well as sheaves, lots of cordage and even fragments of planking. Lead sheathing and numerous metal tacks have also been found which would have been used to cover the hulls of vessels.98 Heading south along the coast, the ancient traveller would have next come to the port of Nechesia.99 While no definitive evidence has yet been forthcoming from the initial excavations, Nechesia has been tentatively identified with the site of Marsa Nakari.

The rig of a vessel is particularly important in understanding its ability to manoeuvre in adverse conditions (Peacock, 2001). 96 Standing rigging supports the mast of a vessel when it is in the upright position. The present terminology used to describe ropes utilised for this purpose, are ‘shrouds’ and ‘stays’. These ropes tension the mast both longitudinally (stays) and laterally (shrouds) and come under enormous strain especially on larger vessels (Peacock, 2001). 97 Brails are lines used to shorten the sail of square-rig ships. Peacock (2001)states: “Whilst iconography suggests that these rings acted as fair leads for brail lines, a positive identification is possible when comparing them to those found on wreck sites (Morrison et al 1986: 176) and an example attached to a piece of linen sail found at Edfu (Black 1996: 105). In addition these rings have been found at Myos Hormos’ sister port Berenike and in previous excavations at Quseir al-Qadim.” 98 Sheathing is used to help protect the ship from minor bumps, but also to prevent the build-up of barnacles beneath the water-line of vessels. Peacock (2002) states that the lead sheathing is evidence for repairs on site. 99 Claudius Ptolemy, Geography, Bk.4 Ch.5, lists the position of Nechesia at 64*30, 25º30, somewhere between Myos Hormos and the Smaragdus Mountains.




Preliminary survey and excavations at the port of Marsa Nakari (Map 9) were carried out in 1999 by John Seeger100 and his team, and a second season was conducted in 2002.101 This site is not referred to by either Strabo or the author of the Periplus, but only designated by Claudius Ptolemy, writing in the second century AD. However, the results from the first season indicate that occupation was likely in the first century AD, and there seems to be a hiatus in evidence for the second and third centuries, with a reoccupation in the fourth century (Seeger, 2001: 88).102 Egypt’s southern most port is Berenike,103 which, like Myos Hormos, was said to have been established by Ptolemy Philadelphus II in 275 BC, who named it after his mother (Pliny, Nat. Hist. 6.33.168). It is described by Strabo as follows: “Then, next, one comes to the Akathartos Kolpos,104 which also, like Myus Harbour, lies opposite Thebaïs, and is really ‘acarthartus,’ for it is roughened by reefs and submarine rocks, and, most of the time, by tempestuous winds. And here, deep inland on the recess of the gulf, lies a city Berenicê…(she) has no harbour, but on account of the favourable lay of the isthmus has convenient landing places.” (Strabo XVII.1.45)

The ancient site was rediscovered by Belzoni in 1818, who proceeded to excavate the Serapis temple105 in the ‘scientific fashion of the day’.106 Wilkinson visited the site and made a more complete investigation, including a map of the town and a nearly complete excavation of

Seeger (2001) JARCE 38. Note: An earlier survey was conducted by Sidebotham in 1995, and a short report on the Marsa Nakari-Edfu route is included in the publication Berenike 97 (1999) p. 364-369. 101 Not yet published. 102 Dating has been based on lamps and coins (Seeger, 2001: 81-88). 103 Claudius Ptolemy, Geography, Bk.4 Ch.5, lists the position of Berenice at 64*05, latitude 23º50. According to current maps, Berenike lies at 23º54.62 N / 35º28.42 E. 104 ‘Foul Bay’ 105 The cult of Serapis was designed by Ptolemy I to provide a religious link between the Egyptian and Greek inhabitants of Egypt. Serapis was apparently a Hellenized form of Osirapis, a local god of Memphis who was himself an amalgamation of Osiris and the Apis bull (Baldridge, 1995). 106 “He (Belzoni) set a young Bedouin boy to digging with a shell while he was out exploring and drinking tea. The boy unearthed some artifacts and revealed some hieroglyphs” (Baldridge, 1995).




the temple. His drawings of the hieroglyphs in the temple107 remain as the only record of some of the writing due to erosion post excavation. The University of Leiden has carried out excavations on the site from 1994 to 2003.108 Sidebotham and Wendrich have determined that the site was occupied from the third century BC until it was abandoned in the early sixth century AD (2000: 413). Berenike was founded to facilitate the sea transport of elephants from East Africa to Egypt. Diodorus describes the danger involved with transporting these beasts: “The ships109 which carry the elephants, being of deep draft because of their weight and heavy by reason of their equipment, involve their crews in great and terrible dangers. Since they run under full sail and often are driven before the force of the winds during the night, sometimes they strike the rocks and are wrecked, at other times they run aground on slightly submerged spits. The sailors cannot go over the sides of the ships because the water is deeper than a man’s height,110 and, when in their efforts to rescue their vessel by means of their punt-poles they accomplish nothing, they jettison everything except their provisions.” (Diodorus, III 40.3) Similar events are described in a letter dating to 224 BC, which was written by an Egyptian living in Berenike,111 to people in a station further south. It reports that a transport has sunk on its outward journey, but not to worry as a new elephant-transport was nearly complete in Berenike, and would soon depart to bring them a supply of corn (Scullard, 1974:132).

Other evidence of the Ptolemaic occupation at Berenike includes pottery (Fig. 28), coins,112 an early in situ Ptolemaic ‘industrial dump’ in trench BE96-11 (Map 10), possibly of a

Wilkinson, J.G. (1835) General View of Egypt. London: John Murray. Excavation reports have been published for the 1994-1998 seasons and are briefly summarized online. Unfortunately I only had direct access to the publication for the 1996 season, and have used online references for the other material. 109 Elephantagoi 110 Is this a reference to the fact that the sailors could not swim? 111 Papyri Petrie, II, 40 = Wilcken, Chrestomathie, 452. 112 In the 1995 season 120 coins were found, one-fourth of which were identifiable. Three bronze Ptolemaic coins were found, two from the time of Ptolemy II (c. 275 BC), and another which depicted Zeus (Baldridge,




brick making facility (Sidebotham 1997: 119), a small brick-built installation (Trench BE96/9713- Phase I) which was covered with wind-blown sand indicating a period of abandonment before Roman occupation (Phase II). In 1998 a Ptolemaic pottery dump was found at the lowest level excavated in trench BE97/98-16 (Phase I). All of these trenches are located on the western side of the main site. Sidebotham and Wendrich (2000:414) conclude that the town grew eastwards along with the silting up of the harbour, and we must await further reports on excavations in the north-west section of the site.

Evidence for contact with foreigners is well-attested at Berenike in the Roman period. For contact with East Africa, Sidebotham (1991: 33) reports an Old Ethiopic inscription of the fourth century AD was found on the Berenike-Nile road, which provides evidence of contact with the kingdom of Axum at that date.113 Also, a near complete amphora was recovered in trench BE96-5 of the ‘Ayla-Axum’ type (Fig. 29). As for evidence of contact with India, we have a Tamil-Brahmi graffito114 (Fig. 30) naming a Chera chieftain, Korran, showing the presence at Berenike of Tamil-speaking individuals in the first century AD115 (Young, 2001:62). In addition, there is pottery116 and archaeobotanical remains (Appendix 2) that provide confirmation of trade with India. A recent

1995). The 1998 season produced a large aes coin of either Ptolemy III (246-221 BC) or of Ptolemy IV (221205 BC) from trench BE 97/98-16, Phase I (Sidebotham 2000:46, cat. no. 14). 113 E. Littmann & D. Meredith, “An Old Ethiopic Inscription from the Berenice Road,” JRAS 3rd ser. (1954) 11923. 114 The graffito is on an early Roman amphora. 115 Mahadevan, I. (1996) ‘Tamil-Brahmi Graffito’ in Sidebotham and Wendrich (eds.) Berenike ’95, p. 205-8. 116 Based on macroscopic comparison, some of the Quseir and Berenike sherds appear to belong to the same fabric and therefore a similar source is likely, probably India. “The fabrics of the Berenike sherds, and therefore in turn the Quseir ones, share a similar range of inclusions (dominated by quartz, feldspars, micas and ferro-magnesian minerals) to those found at Arikamedu and further afield in India, although they are not identical. Equally, although the Egyptian and Arikamedu vessels share similar techniques of manufacture, both being handmade and finished with red burnished slip, many of the Egyptian vessels display deep internal organic wiping marks that are not found at Arikamedu or at a number of sites in north-west India examined by this writer” (Peacock, 2000, online).



report by the directors117 of the excavation at Berenike indicates the team has found, “spices, gems and other exotic cargo...(they have) unearthed the largest single cache of black pepper118 ‘about 8 kg’ ever excavated from a Roman dig”119(Kochi, 2002). The team was able to establish that this variety of pepper only grew in southern India in antiquity. They have also uncovered numerous beams of teak. Indian textiles recovered include sailcloth, matting and baskets dating from 30-70 AD.

During the second and third centuries AD at Berenike there seems to be a reduction in use of the site, but interestingly a couple of Palmyrene inscriptions give us insight into another aspect of the history here. A report that offering tables, a statue of a stylized lion and fragments of a near life-size bronze statue of a female figure were found in trench BE95-6 in the 1995 season. But prior to the following season the trench had been robbed. The statue base had been dug up and large blocks removed from the resulting pit had been thrown around the trench, and several items had been stolen. An examination of the blocks removed from the robber pit, but left in the trench revealed that two had lengthy inscriptions in Greek. The inscriptions on the two blocks were part of a single dedication made in AD 215 by a Palmyrene archer named Marcus Aurelius Mokimos, on behalf of the emperor Caracalla and his mother Julia Domna (Sidebotham 1998: 31). This inscription was from an earlier phase (Map 11) and probably unrelated to the standing building. The translation reads as follows:

“For the eternal power and permanence of our lord, Lord of the World, Marcus Aurelius Severus Antoninus Pius Augustus (and) for Julia Domna, mater
Willeke Wendrich, of the University of California, Los Angeles and Steven Sidebotham, of the University of Delaware – reported in the journal Sahara in July 2002. 118 Pliny prices the varieties of pepper, with long pepper being much more expensive at 15 denarii, and black pepper 4 denarii per pound (NH 12.14.28-29). 119 Cappers reports that peppercorns have also been discovered at Shenshef, Quseir al-Qadim, and Mons Claudianus (1998:81).



castorum,120 the Lady Augusta and (for) their whole house, (has dedicated) Marcus Aurelius Mocimus, son of Abdaeus, Palmyrene, Antonine archer,---, Year 24, Thoth 10.” (Verhoogt, 1998:195) An associated trench was dug the following season (BE97-16) and found within it was a second inscription written in Greek with a ‘summary’ in Palmyrene (Fig. 33). It records the visit of the Roman governor to Berenike and several Roman military officials. This inscription mentions the Palmyrene deity Hierobol and the name of the Palmyrene sculptor who carved a statue or altar, probably placed somewhere else in the same building. It also mentions the Ala Heracliana, which was stationed in Koptos in 185 AD (Sidebotham and Wendrich 2000:415). Here then is archaeological evidence that the so-called ‘third century gap’ in the use of the port is not completely true. These two monumental dedications indicate that there must have been a substantial level of activity in the town. They provide a terminus post quem date of circa 180/185 and 215 AD (Sidebotham & Wendrich, 2000:415).

A well-executed 'ship graffito' (Fig.34) of a sailing vessel was found at Berenike during the 1995 field season. It was inscribed on a large sherd of an amphora that is securely dated to ca. 50 - 70 AD. It appears to be an ocean-going ship similar to the ones that might have been utilized by the author of the Periplus, which also dates to this time period. This graffito, along with the maritime artifacts found at Quseir al-Qadim provide us with great insight into the look and capacity of merchant ships that were plying their trade between the Red Sea and India.

The final tally is that long distance commercial contacts have been recorded through the archaeological record which includes floral and faunal remains, and artifacts from great distances. These include inscriptions in “at least eleven different written languages” (Sidebotham & Wendrich 2002).

‘mother of the camp’



The excavators conclude that the peak periods of Berenike’s long distance trade were in first century AD and again in the mid-fourth to fifth centuries AD. The reasons for Berenike's ultimate, but gradual, demise are uncertain. “Silting of its harbor, intense competition from the Kingdom of Axum and, possibly, a plague may have contributed to Berenike's final abandonment sometime before the middle of the sixth century A.D” (Sidebotham & Wendrich, 2002). Foreign Ports There were other ports in the Red Sea that the Egyptians utilized for trade, according to the Periplus. First there is a site on the west coast of Arabia, called Ampelone (Leukê Kômê)121 (Map 12) at the mouth of the Gulf of Aqaba. Sidebotham (1986:3) states the site was apparently founded as a colony by either Philadelphus or Ptolemy III, along with the Milesians. The location of Ampelone has not been definitively identified, “but perhaps it was later the site of Leuke Kômê, this new harbor superseding the older port of Egra to the South.” “To the left of Berenicê, after a voyage of two or three runs eastward from Myos Hormos past the gulf lying alongside, there is another harbor with a fort called Leukê Kômê [‘white village’], through which there is a way inland up to Petra, to Malichus, king of the Nabataeans.” (Periplus 19) This site is also known as being a stop over for the men of Aelius Gallus on the return from his campaign against Arabia Felix in 25 BC.122 The author of the Periplus makes a telling note that a guard was stationed there to collect the tetarte123 for the Roman Empire and to prevent offloading of incense there in the hope of avoiding collection in Egypt.

This port was part of the trade route by which incense was delivered to Petra, according to Young (2001: 45) it is probably to be found on the site of the modern ‘Aynunah. 122 “Gallus put in at Leucê Comê, his army now being sorely tried with scurvy and with lameness in the leg, which are native ailments…At all events, he was forced to spend both the summer and the winter there, waiting for the sick to recover.” (Strabo XVI 4.24) 123 quarter tax




This harbor also serves in a way the function of a port of trade for the craft, none large, that come to it loaded with freight from Arabia. For that reason, as a safeguard there is dispatched for duty in it a customs officer to deal with the fourth (tax) on incoming merchandise as well as a centurion with a detachment of soldiers.” (Periplus 19) During the Hellenistic period, the Ptolemies began to expand their sea trade for luxury items from both India and Arabia.124 Strabo however, indicates that the volume of commerce was much greater after the Roman takeover.125 It is only with the discovery of the monsoon winds that sea routes of trade were established that provided a confident means of return within a reasonable amount of time. This enabled the ships trading with India to travel there directly instead of being forced to make a long and dangerous coastal voyage (Young, 2001: 19). The Periplus mentions a time when there were no direct sailings from Egypt to India, but all cargo was conveyed through Eudaimon Arabia (Aden).126

“Eudaimon Arabia was called ‘fortunate’, being once a city, when, because ships neither came from India to Egypt nor did those from Egypt dare sail to the places further on but came only this far, it received the cargoes from both, just as Alexandria receives goods brought from outside and from Egypt. And now, not long before our time, Caesar sacked it.” (Periplus 26) Casson (1989:160) argues against this last sentence because it would appear from other classical literature that Aelius Gallus turned back before reaching the vicinity of Aden.

For commerce in the Red Sea under the Achaemenids, Seleucids and Ptolemies see now J.-F. Salles ‘Achaemenid and Hellenistic Trade in the Indian Ocean’ in J. Reade (ed.) The Indian Ocean in Antiquity (London 1996), 251-67; J.-F. Salles ‘Hellenistic Seafaring in the Indian Ocean: a Perspective from Arabia’ in H.P. Ray and J.-F. Salles (eds) Tradition and Archaeology: Early Maritime Contacts in the Indian Ocean (New Delhi 1996), 293309. 125 Strabo Geog. XVII. 1.13 126 Arabia Felix in Latin (Casson, 1989: 158).




With the discovery of the monsoon by the Greek seamen, ships sailed directly to India, and some of the ports of South Arabia were reduced to way stations to load up water for the sea crossing.127 Ptolemais Thêrôn128 was another important site that was again established during the early Ptolemaic period by Philadelphus at around 270-264 BC.129 Strabo (XVI 4.7) describes this foundation and how a certain Eumedes was sent south to establish a base for elephant hunting. He chose a site some ‘4000 stades from Berenike’ and named his new settlement after the King, ‘Ptolemais of the Hunts’ (Murray & Warmington, 1967:26). It was set up as a colony, a base camp for elephant hunts and a port for the transportation of elephants north to Berenike. The location is described by both Claudius Ptolemy (Geog. Bk 2, section 15.11) and by the author of the Periplus, who speaks of the elephant hunt and of its exports: “Beyond the Moschophagoi,130 about 4000 stades distant…on the sea is a small port of trade called Ptolemais Thêrôn; from it, in the days of the Ptolemies, the royal huntsmen made their way inland. The port of trade offers genuine tortoise shell, a little land tortoise, and a light-colored variety with rather small shields. On occasion, even a little ivory is to be found there, similar to that from Adulis. The place has no harbor and offers refuge only to small craft.” (Periplus 3) The exact location has again not been completely established but the current debates all agree on the same general vicinity (Map 12) and amongst the choices are Suakin, Marsa Maqdam, Trinkitat and Aqiq.131

Casson (1989: 158-9) It should be noted, however, that the kingdoms of South Arabia continued to trade with India, most probably to supply their own local market for Indian goods, and they still supplied Egypt with incense. 128 Berenike and Ptolemais ‘of the Hunts’ were among the ‘geodetic stations’ which helped Eratosthenes to determine the size of the globe. Murray, et al. (1967: 28) quotes Pliny VI. 171, ‘(Berenice) is 602 ½ miles from Ptolemais…it being here that the structure of the world was discovered, because Eratosthenes derived from it the idea of working out the earth’s dimensions from an exact method of noting the shadows.’ 129 A description on the Pithom Stele of the expedition helps to narrow the date (Casson, 1989:100). 130 Casson says the Greeks gave names to the dwellers of foreign lands based on their diets. Moschophagoi meant that the people there are ‘edible shoots and stalks’ (1989:97). 131 Casson (1989:101) gives a bibliography for each argument.




Along the east coast of Africa, the port furthest south that is attested to in the Periplus was Rhapta. “Beyond Opônê, with the coast trending more to the south…comes Menuthias Island, about 300 stades from the mainland…Two runs beyond this island comes the very last port of trade on the coast of Azania,132 called Rhapta133…where there are great quantities of ivory and tortoise shell…” (Periplus 15, 16) Research in Tanzania has recently focused on both the district of Rufiji and the identification of Early Iron Working sites. Chami (1999: 238) reports that over 20 sites in the area have been found, which date from the first to fifth centuries AD. During the third survey (1996) of the immediate area of the Rufiji Delta (Map 13), a site called Mkukutu was found that produced the first evidence of Roman trade in an archaeological context this far south.134 Four Roman beads (Fig. 35) were found. “Three of the beads (one segmented,135 one light blue136 and another dark blue) were recovered from a sealed Early Iron Working cultural horizon. The fourth bead, dark blue, was found near the surface in an area where the top 30 cm had been deposited by bulldozers. The beads were the only foreign objects recovered from the four trenches”

Azania is the Swahili coastline. It was called Azania by both the author of the Periplus (AD 40-70) and by Claudius Ptolemy (2nd-3rd century AD) (Chami, 1999:237). 133 Meaning ‘sewn’ a name derived from the boats used in the area of Menuthias Island. Casson (1989:140) says that Menuthias island has been identified with both Zanzibar and Pemba Islands, with the latter argument standing slightly more conclusive. 134 “The only glass objects recovered from East Africa to the south of Hafun that might conceivably date to the period in question are beads. The coiled, opaque red, green, yellow, blue, and black beads reported from Zanzibar, perhaps only two runs short of Rhapta (Casson 1989:141), may be as early as 2nd century BC to 2nd century AD” (Meyer, 1992: 59). 135 “The segmented bead is bilobate gold/silver-in-glass. Its colour is silver with a slight golden tint. It is about 9mm long, each lobe measuring 4mm in length and diameter. The ends are well-finished, with no rough breakage of the segmenting part. The perforation is narrow. The bead is in pristine condition apart from the fact that it has developed some longitudinal cracks” (Chami, 1999: 239). 136 “A wound light-blue bead collected from the same context is round with a large perforation. The other two, smaller, dark-blue beads are gadroonic (?) in shape. They have narrow perforations and canelike features suggesting they were made by drawing” (Chami, 1999:239).




(Chami, 1999: 239). Because the date and the context are well attributed, Chami has made a strong claim for this being the site of ancient Rhapta.137 Kanê was a very important port on the southern coast of Arabia (Map 14) involved not just in sea trade but was also a major player in the overland route of the trade of incense. It is some 2000 stades past Eudaimôn Arabia…beyond the projecting headland… “…is Kanê, belonging to the kingdom of Eleazos, the frankincense-bearing land; near it are two barren islands, one called Orneôn138 and the other Trullas, 120 stades offshore from Kanê. Above it inland lies the metropolis of Saubatha, which is also the residence of the king. All the frankincense grown in the land is brought into Kanê, as if to a warehouse, by camel as well as by rafts of a local type made of leathern bags, and by boats. It also carries on trade with the ports across the water – Barygaza, Skythia, Omana – and with its neighbor, Persis.” (Periplus 27) The author of the Periplus goes on to state that the only exports from this port are frankincense and aloe, all other exports are not indigenous but trade goods from the other ports that Kanê deals with (Periplus 28). Casson (1989:162) notes that all the frankincense was brought here for redistribution through caravan routes north and by sea, as Kanê was the major port of call and a point of departure for ships making a direct crossing to India (Map 15).139 Kanê is noted by the writer of the Periplus to import from Egypt wheat, wine, Arab clothing, copper, tin, coral, storax, and for the king embossed silverware and money, horses, statuary, and fine-quality clothing (Periplus 28). While ceramics are not mentioned per se, Ballet (1998: 48) has reported that Egyptian ceramics have shown up on the site (Fig. 36). The amphora (which possibly held wine) fabric is ‘extremely close’ to that of Upper Egyptian forms and those

The site records well with Ptolemy’s description of it (Bk IV, Chapter 7) being located at 8ºS and slightly (1º) inland near a major river with a similar name. 138 ‘of the birds’ Casson (1989: 161) says the candidate for this Island is Sikha (6 ½ nm to the SE), and for Trullas, Barraqah; “both rise to peaks that are white with guano, a feature that explains such a name as ‘Isle of Birds’.” 139 Meyer (1992) Fig. 4 (my handout no. 11 from lecture on Quseir al-Qadim – dated March 18, 2004) shows Kanê as the departure point for India.




that have been found from the Wadi Hammamat. Also found was a fine ware bowl of Aswan fabric140 (Fig. 36, right) that has been attested outside the Nile Valley at sites in the North-Sinai and several points along the Levantine coast, but never this far south before (Ballet, 1998: 49). From Arabia the ships and their crews made for the far western shores of India. The Periplus mentions sites in the north (Barbarikon and Barygaza) which provided the west with costus, bdellium, lykion, nard, Indian myrrh, indigo, turquoise, lapis lazuli, onyx, agate, ivory, cotton cloth, fine cotton garments, silk cloth and yarn, Chinese pelts and long pepper (Periplus 39, 48). Just inland off the western coast of India, and south of Barygaza, is the site of Kolhapur (Map 16). It is not mentioned in the Periplus, but it may be the same site as the ancient Hippokoura, mentioned by Claudius Ptolemy (Geog. 7.1.6 and 83). In 1945, excavations under the direction of K.G. Kundangar on the Brahmapuri mound at Kolhapur, recovered the “largest single deposit of Roman bronzes found to date on the Indian subcontinent” (De Puma, 1991: 82). This obviously provides evidence of trade with Rome, via the nearby coast. For brevity I have only included a few objects here that are readily determined as being Roman. A bronze and silver oinochoe (Fig. 37) with a trefoil rim and solid cast handle that terminates in the head of a lion, is an excellent example. It has been dated by De Puma (1991: 84) to c. 50 AD based on parallels that have been assigned a range of dates in the Julio-Claudian and Flavian periods (27 BC-AD 98).141

céramiques kaolinitiques There are at least thirty-six parallels for this type of vessel and approximately twenty that are almost identical in size and decorative details. Those with known findspots come from sites in southern Italy, Hungary, the Levant, and especially northern Europe (De Puma: 1991: 83).




The second piece is a statuette of Poseidon (Fig. 38). While only 12.8 cm tall, this example is extremely well made and fortunately, very well preserved. De Puma (1991:87) states this is a copy of Lysippos’ famous statue and that these small-scale replicas date from ca. 300 BC – AD 200. He dates this example to about 250 BC and suggests that a Hellenistic date “seems appropriate because the quality of the Kolhapur Poseidon is far better than most extant (presumably Roman) versions.”142 The bronze hoard at Kolhapur also contained an outstanding pair of almost identical, solid-cast handles (Fig. 39) that probably were from a large amphora.143 They are elaborately decorated with several Bacchic motifs that became popularized in later Hellenistic art (De Puma, 1991:105). With confirmation from Suzanne Tassinari, who has studied such bronze vessels from sites destroyed by Vesuvius in AD 79, De Puma dates these to the early imperial period (1991:105). Muziris has very recently been identified at the site of Pattanam,144 12 km south of the current Periyar river-mouth (Map 16). Muziris is one of two main sites listed in the Periplus on the southern coast of India and which, along with Nelkynda to the south, exported pepper, finequality pearls, ivory, Chinese cloth, Gangetic nard, malabathron, transparent gems, diamonds, sapphires and two types of tortoise shell (Periplus 56).145 These two sites imported “peridots,146
142 The detailed modeling is superb for a piece this size and De Puma feels it is also most similar to depictions found on Hellenistic coins (1991:98). 143 De Puma feels they were connected to a large amphora (Schreiber Type Gb) due to the shape of the upper attachment (1991:105). 144 Pattanam site is also known as `Neeleswaram' and `Ithilparambu'. Govind, M.H. (2004) Archaeologists stumble upon Muziris. The Hindu. Tuesday, Mar 23, 2004. 145 Casson (1989:222-223) states that this meant pearls from the Gulf of Mannar; Chinese cloth means silk; the transparent gems are likely beryls from the Coimbatore district nearby; the source of diamonds nearest to Muziris/Nelkynda would be from Madras; sapphires are likely to have come from Ceylon; and, tortoise shell from the Laccadive Islands. 146 Casson (1989: 190) notes that the Greek word chrysolithon means ‘golden stone’ and records that Pliny (37) and Strabo (16. 7) call the stone topazos, but name the island off Berenike as the source. This can only apply to peridots which was the only source of this stone in ancient times. “After the gulf, one comes to the island Ophiodes,146 so



clothing, multi-colored textiles, sulphide of antimony, coral, raw glass, copper tin, lead, wine, realgar, orpiment, and grain in sufficient amount for those involved with shipping, because the (local) merchants do not use it” (Periplus 56). All of this trade implies this was a major port during the Roman period. Some researchers have even interpreted the Tabula Peutinger’s147 depiction of Muziris (Map 17) with its nearby Templ Augusti as evidence for Roman colonization of the site.148 Sidebotham (1986: 92) states that it would not have been unheard of for Roman subjects to reside elsewhere. He quotes a census list from Arsinoë (AD 72/73), already mentioned above (see n. 58), that speaks of one of its residents, a Hellenized Egyptian or Greek, living in India.

Earlier attempts to locate the site based on information from both the Periplus (55, 56) and from Tamil poetry149 confounded archaeologists who looked to the north coast of the Periyar River at Cranganore, which only produced remains from the 12th century AD onwards. Dr. K.P. Shajan is a geoarchaeologist whose hypothesis paid off. He and his team utilized remote sensing to determine that the course of the Periyar had changed over time, and they started searching south of the current river along a branch called the Periyar Thodu, near Pattanam (Govind, 2004).

called from the fact in the case; but it was freed from the serpents by the king, both because of their destruction of the people who landed there and on account of the topazes found there.” (Strabo XVI 4.6) 147 The Tabula Peutinger is a 12th century copy of a ca. 3rd century AD Roman map. It was originally a long parchment map 6.80 metres by 34 cm, but during the 19th century the map was divided into 11 segments for preservation purposes, plus one segment was reconstructed in 1916 because the original was lost. 148 Sidebotham notes that A.L. Basham (1968) The Wonder that was India. New York: Taplinger; believes that there was no temple to Augustus at Muziris, but that the name Augustus was a mistake for Agastya, a legendary sage. Sidebotham goes on to disagree with Bashram’s argument, by stating that it is not unheard of to have temples to Augustus outside Roman territory (1986: 92). 149 Sangam literature which Sidebotham (1986:23) quotes “…When the good vessels, masterpieces of the Yavanas, come they mix the white foam of the Periyar, river of Ceralas. They arrive with gold and depart with pepper…”



The site was littered with ancient bricks and sherds and covers an area of about 1.5 sq. km. Shajan reports that the deposit is about two metres thick and has produced fragments of “imported Roman amphora, mainly used for transporting wine and olive oil, Yemenese150 and West Asian pottery, besides Indian rouletted ware common on the East Coast of India and also found in Berenike in Egypt” (Govind, 2004). Roberta Tomber151 from the University of Southampton, worked with local archaeologists in Kerala152 where she identified the first fragments of Roman wine amphorae found on the south-west coast of India.153 One fine example is the rim and handle of a classic Italian wine amphora from Naples which was common between the late first century BC and 79 AD (Tomber, 2004: online).

On the south-eastern coast of India is listed several other ports by the writer of the Periplus. He says that they are the “home ports for local boats that sail along the coast as far as Limyrikê”154 and that “there is a market in these places for all the trade goods imported by Limyrikê, and generally speaking, there come to them all year round both the cash originating from Egypt and most kinds of goods…” (Periplus 60).155 Of these other ports, one is called Podukê. This site has been long identified with Pondicherry based on geographical and linguistic reasons, which was strengthened by the discovery of Arikamedu (Map 16) just to the south, which produced extensive Roman remains (Casson, 1989: 228).

Yemenite storage jar and Mesopotamian storage jar (Govind, 2004). Tomber has extensive experience working on Roman sites at Quseir al-Qadim and at Berenike with Professor David Peacock. 152 The name of the province in which Pattanam is situated. 153 See the University of Southampton press release, online. 154 Limyrikê is the Malabar coast (Map 14) on the south-western edge of India. 155 It seems likely that what is meant is that Egyptian traders did not go around Ceylon all the way to the east coast, but that small local boats made the trip between Limyrikê and Arikamedu with goods from the western kingdoms (Casson, 1989: 229).




Arikamedu156 was first investigated by Sir. Mortimer Wheeler in 1945, who stated the site was established as an Indo-Roman trading centre in the Augustan period. Begley (1983:461) disagrees because the site has yielded occupation levels dating back to ca. 250 BC. It is the only site in India to show continuous contact with the Mediterranean from such an early period and to as late as 200 AD (Begley, 1983: 477). Further evidence of contact comes from Indian inscriptions like that of Asoka (a Mauryan king), who sent diplomatic missions to his contemporaries in the west, and specifically mentions Ptolemy II Philadelphus in his edicts.157 The finds at Arikamedu are, needless to say, extensive, and far too large to deal with in this paper, but worthy of mention nonetheless.

The Traders So from Egypt to India and back, it was a very long trip. Who were the men that ventured this far and for what gains? We have lots of evidence of individuals involved with these dangerous excursions and there fortitude says a lot about the ambitions of these men. One of the earliest accounts (from the Ptolemaic period) of a long distant venture comes from the details of an interest-free loan of one Arkhippos (150 BC),158 made to five private traders, for a sailing expedition to Punt159 to secure some unnamed cargo, likely some aromatics. Sidebotham (1986: 5) feels that because the loan was interest free, this indicates that Arkhippos was not solely the creditor, but also participated financially in the commerce at hand.

Also known as Virampatnam, is located just 3km south of Pondicherry (Begley, 1983: 462). Begley (1983:478) notes this from the Major Rock Edict XIII of Asoka; for text and translation see E. Hultzsch, Inscriptions of Asoka (Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum 1, Delhi 1969 reprint) 22-25. 158 From the time of Ptolemy VI Philometor who ruled 163-145 BC. 159 Sidebotham cites Wilcken, U. (1925) Punt-Fahrten in der Ptolemäerzeit. Zeitschrift für ägyptische Sprache und Altertumskunde 60: 86-102.




During the subsequent reign of Ptolemy VIII (145-116 BC), close on the heels of the mission by Arkhippos, Eudoxus of Cyzicus160 sailed from the Red Sea to India. Strabo states he made the trip twice.161 Casson (1974: 118-120) gives a thorough account of the circumstances surrounding this incredible feat. At the time (around 120 BC) both Arkhippos, and his backer Ptolemy VIII, were eagerly anticipating a chance to ‘break into the rich trade that flowed from India to Arabia to the Greek world.’ Eudoxus was in Alexandria when an Indian sailor was brought to court. He was the sole survivor of his crew and offered to prove it by showing the way back to India to anyone the king picked. Eudoxus accompanied the Indian, knowledgeable in the ways of the monsoon,162 to guide him over the open water. He returned safely both times, but Ptolemy’s customs officials confiscated the cargo.

When cargoes arrived via the Red Sea, many had to be sold to the government at fixed prices. Sidebotham (1986) refers to P. Tebtunis 35 (ca. 111 BC), which suggests a Ptolemaic government monopoly on myrrh, and an earlier edict The Revenue Laws of Ptolemy II (259 BC),163 which indicated that the government used private tax farmers and businessmen to collect their duties, rather than undertake their exploitation directly. The idea of the cargoes of Eudoxus being confiscated by the Ptolemies “would suggest that such commodities were considered part of this monopoly system, or alternatively, Eudoxus’ voyage was sponsored directly by the crown, which was merely claiming its rightful property”164 (Sidebotham, 1986:5).

160 161

Cyzikus is on the Sea of Marmora. Salles (1996: 252) – see J.H. Thiel (1967) Eudoxus of Cyzicus. English edition. Utrecht. 162 The knowledge of the monsoons had been kept a closely guarded secret by the Arabs and the Indians who could then keep a tight control of the trade between them. 163 Bingen, J. (1978) Le Papyrus Revenue Laws – Traditions grecque et Adaptation hellénistique. Opladen : Westdeutscher Verlag. p. 8ff. 164 Thiel (1967) 19-21.



As for the discovery of the extremely important monsoon winds, despite Eudoxus apparent use of them, it has been assigned to a Greek navigator Hippalus ca. 116BC – 40 AD (Diodorus III.43). This discovery of the periodic change of the monsoons (Appendix 3) allowed navigators to lay a direct course to India from the Gulf of Aden (Kanê) without having to coast round the mouth of the Persian Gulf (Murray, 1967: 27). A round trip to India could now be accomplished within a year. Due to the cessation of elephant hunting in the first century BC and with the increase in trade following Hippalus’ discovery, Coptos began to replace Apollinopolis as a trading centre. Strabo (Bk. XVII, 44) calls Coptos “a city common to the Egyptians and the Arabs” and an emporium “for all the Indian merchandise and the Arabian and such of the Ethiopian as is brought down by the Red Sea” (Strabo, Bk. XVII, 45). This consolidation of roads from Berenike and Myos Hormos to Coptos was probably so the Romans could effectively monitor and control the traffic from the coast to the Nile, and to “specifically ensure that the caravans traversing the route paid all the taxes they were required to pay” (Young, 2001:47). A toll to traverse the route between Coptos and the Red Sea is described on the Coptos Tariff Stela (Fig. 41).165 Young notes that the tariff was probably collected by the military to pay for the maintenance of the Eastern Desert roads and military stations along them (2001: 48). Sidebotham (1986: 81) stipulates that the Coptos Tariff list is incomplete; it did not apply to members of the military, only to those traversing the route that were specified and had business to conduct. The fees charged were for both animals and people: “From the precept of…how much is payable for the duties owing to the arabarch in Coptos, according to the judgment he has written on this stele by Lucius Antistius Asiaticus, prefect of Mount Berenike:


It was discovered in a toll house in Coptos, and dated 90 AD (Jackson, 2003: 103).



for a helmsman (ship’s captain ?) of the Red Sea 8 drachmas166 a ship’s lookout 10 drachmas a guard 5 drachmas a sailor 5 drachmas a shipbuilder’s servant 5 drachmas an artisan 8 drachmas women for the purpose of prostitution 108 drachmas women arriving by ship 20 drachmas women of the soldiers 20 drachmas a ticket for a camel 1 obol a seal for a ticket 2 obols per outward journey for each ticket of a man going up, 1 drachma all women going up 4 drachmas an ass 2 obols a covered wagon 4 drachmas a mast 20 drachmas an animal horn 4 drachmas a funeral procession going up and down 1 drachma, 4 obols Year 9 of the Emperor Caesar (Domitianus) Augustus (Germanicus), the 15th day of the month of Pachys. (Young, 2001: 49-50) It seems from this account that strict control was placed on the eastern desert, in large part due to the increase in trade passing through it, in addition to the many mines that are along the route. Murray (1967: 32) notes that following this increase in trade, an increase in piracy also occurred. Of the Arabs at the mouth of the Gulf of ‘Aqaba, Diodorus wrote: “Not content with plundering wrecks, they fitted out ships and preyed upon the travellers until they were caught by some quadriremes167 and punished as they deserved” (Diodorus III. 43). It is not as though piracy was a new means of living on the Red Sea. During the Ptolemaic period, commercial activity was curbed by the Nabataeans, who seem to have preyed on Ptolemaic shipping.168 Sidebotham (1986:6) states this may have been as a result of direct orders

The drachma, minted in silver and bronze, was the standard unit of currency and weight in Egypt during the Ptolemaic and Roman periods. One drachma weighed 3.5 grams. An obol was equivalent to one-sixth of a drachma. (Jackson, 2003: 103, n. 23) 167 Galleys from Myos Hormos could, in light airs, not only catch pirate dhows, but maintain communications with Arsinoë – otherwise a difficult matter. 168 As already noted above, the Nabataeans are charged with destroying Cleopatra’s fleet on the Red Sea. Plutarch, Antony LXIX 2-3.



from the Nabataean government “in an effort to curb Ptolemaic commercial expansion” or as “freebooters”. This may have included, on occasion, raids of some of the Ptolemaic ports on the Red Sea coast. “Such piratical activities by the Nabataeans and putative responses made by Ptolemy II to them169 were symptomatic of expanded commercial interest in the Red Sea region and the need to protect it” (Sidebotham, 1986:6). Strabo describes the Ptolemaic response: “…these Nabataeans formerly lived a peaceful life, but later, by means of rafts, went to plundering the vessels of people sailing from Aegypt. But they paid the penalty when a fleet went over and sacked their country.” (Strabo, XVI 4.18) Now, there is evidence that it wasn’t only men that had interests in the Red Sea trade, and I’m not referring to the prostitutes and sailor’s women listed in the Coptos Tariff above. There is an ostrakon (Fig. 42) in the Petrie Museum (part of the Nicanor archive) that speaks of Isidora, daughter of Menodoros. She is a female associate of the Nicanor firm which carried out caravan trade between the Nile and the Red Sea ports, providing necessities to those who lived on the coast. Sidebotham (1986: 83) reports that this Ostracon, plus two others – “one from El Heita on the Myos Hormos road and O. Brüssel-Berlin 7” - indicate that the Nicanor firm included Nicanor, his two brothers Philostratos and Apollos, his two sons Miresis and Peteharpochrates, and Isidora. While there is no specific reference to Isidora as being a family member, she may have had the capital, and perhaps social standing,170 to be involved with the firm. The ostrakon reads: “Isidora, daughter of Menodoros greets Peteharpochrates son of Nicanor (...). I received from you from Myos Hormos for the account of Gaius Norbanus Ptolemy, six deliveries (of corn?), together 26 artabes, nine metreters of medicine (possible 480 liters), that is to say four loadings and nine rush mats, that is to say eight. (...)
Diodorus Siculus III.43; Strabo XVI 4.18 Owning a ship by a woman was an expression of social prominence. An Agathoclea is recorded in pStrasbourg 6.562 and 6.563, and in pStrasbourg II 113, as being the owner of a grain boat, shipmaster Heracleides (from the time of Ptolemy IV). Rowlandson (1998: 36) states that “Because little land could be privately owned, boats were an important form of private property in Ptolemaic Egypt; queens (Kleopatra II for example) and upper-class Alexandrian women owned such barges, which were often used for the transport of tax-grain.”
170 169



son of ... odoros, I wrote for her, because she is illeterate. (Year ... of Gaius) Caesar Augustus Germanicus (month and day).” (University College London translation, 2002) So while it seems that Isidora was an agent for commerce along the land route, Sidebotham (1986) also notes that other women were involved in the business of Erythraean Sea trade outright. He is referring to a late second-early third century171 dedicatory inscription to the goddess Leto from a temple in Medamoud.172 In the inscription by Aelia Isidora and Aelia Olympias, they called themselves matronai stolatai, a term indicating that they were “women with more than three children who owned property and were free to pursue their own commercial ventures without a guardian” (Sidebotham, 1986:87). “Aelia173 Isidora and Aelia Olympias, matronai stolatai, Erythraean nauklêroi and emporoi together with Apolinarios, eparch174 of the fleet of Olympias and Isidora, both set up this dedication to the greatest goddess Leto.”175 (Sidebotham, 1986: 87) The term nauklêroi indicates that they either owned or chartered merchant ships, in this case ships plying the Red Sea (Young, 2001: 59). The term emporoi would imply they were “more likely, financial backers, and merchants” (Sidebotham, 1986: 88). The eparch176 Apolinarios was apparently the captain of their fleet, or possibly their business manager (Young, 2001: 59). Conclusion

171 On matronai stolatai see B. Holtheide (1980): 127-134; on nauklêroi and emporoi see Holtheide (1982): 3-13; for the late second/early third century date of the inscription see Jouguet (1931): 2, 10. 172 Jouguet (1931): 1-29 = SB 7539 = SEG VIII.703. 173 The nomina Aelia show that they acquired Roman citizenship under Hadrian, but this provides only a terminus post quem for the inscription. The nomina Aelia were common in the later second and third centuries too (Sidebotham, 1986: 87). 174 H.J. Mason (1974):138 for eparchos as a naval term for praefectus (admiral); Seneca, Ad Lucilium Epistulae Morales 77.1 uses the term ‘classis’ to refer to a civilian trading fleet – the Alexandrian grain fleet. 175 SEG 8.703 – Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum, eds. H.W. Pleket, et al., Alphen aan den Rijn: Sitjhoff & Noordhof, 1923 - ). 176 Wolfe (1952: 95 n. 12) suggests that the nauklêroi were shipowners who in some cases piloted their own ships; if, however, they engaged in large-scale operations, the nauklêroi would enlist subsidiary kubernêtai to pilot either ships of their own or those of the nauklêroi.



While trade on the Red Sea was full of risk and challenge, it appears to have been part of the livelihood of the Egyptians from almost their earliest history. Technological advancements and ambition drove pharaohs and the subsequent Ptolemaic and Roman rulers to pursue trade from distant lands. This was due in part to remain independent of supply through intermediaries (Arabia), and also to flex their own muscle. Evidence of this trade exists in inscriptions, flora, fauna, and artifacts traded from foreign ports and found in Egypt’s ports and along its routes to the emporion in Coptos, from whence shipments headed north to Alexandria to be distributed throughout the rest of the Roman Empire. The bravery and status associated with such trade is due in part to the individual’s ability to finance such dangerous yet lucrative missions.

I would like to conclude with the following quote which sums up the courage and knowledge of those ancient seamen: “Although a maritime career could rebuild a noble’s fallen fortunes or enrich that of an ambitious freedman, it did not come without risk. Unlike landholding elements, ancient merchants wilfully exposed themselves to an inescapable variety of dangers. Hard-won knowledge of the sea could enable maritime voyagers to avoid submerged rocks and shoals, or failure to make landfall through erroneous navigation, but it could do little to divert violent storms, contrary winds that drive vessels off course, sudden raids by pirates, or worse, confiscation by warring states at sea. Adrift at sea with expensive, heavily mortgaged cargoes stored in the hold, the Roman merchant had no acropolis for refuge when confronted by armed hosts with hostile intent. Even assuming that one was fortunate enough to escape the perils of jettisoning cargoes during storms at sea, of running aground on jagged rocks, or encountering armed ambuscades by pirates lurking amid the islands and craggy height that bordered the main sea-lanes, endless rounds of swindling and bureaucratic difficulties awaited merchants in every crowded port.” (Rauh, 2003: 139)



Appendix 1

Sidebotham (1994)



Appendix 2
Adapted from R.T.J Cappers (1998) Table 2

Trade items of botanical origin according to the Periplus (D = dye; F = food; M = medicine; R = resin, gum, bark; W = wood; I = import item; E = export item; B = both import and export items; BE = Berenike; OP = other ports). O = other purpose; MH = Myos Ho Africa BE OP
D D/M F F F F F F F F F F M M M M M M M M R R R R? R R R R R R R W W W F/O W O saffron indigo178 olive oil grape/olive wine grain long pepper179 black pepper rice sesame oil dates spices cyperus yellow clover makeir aloe lykion costus nard (spike-) sugar cane storax180 aromatics mokrotu duaka cassia181 kankemon cinnabar frankincense myrrh bdellium malabathron teakwood ebony sissoo coconut bamboo Job’s tears E I E E E E I I* * * I I I I


India MH
B *

Pliny’s price177 denarii/pound

?/I I




* *

15 den 4 den

E E I I I I I E I I I I I I I I I I *

I E E E E E E I 5 ½ den 40-100 den


5-50 den 50 sestertii/pound 3-6 den 3-50 den E E B B B E? 1-400 den *



The following are not attested in the Periplus but have been found in Egyptian sites.
* * * *

As referenced in NH (Sidebotham 1986:34-35). Indigo is listed as a dye, but Sidebotham quotes Pliny (NH 35.27.46) that it had medicinal qualities, allaying cramps and fits and drying up sores (1986:34. 179 While Cappers has placed Long pepper (Piper longum) under the food category, its principal use in Roman times was pharmaceutical, as it is still used today (Casson, 1989:210) – Periplus 49. 180 Storax is an aromatic resin that the Greeks and Romans used as a medicament. It comes from Asia Minor (Casson, 1989:163). 181 The author (of the Periplus) refers only to cassia, never cinnamon, although other ancient writers use both terms (Casson, 1989:123).




Appendix 3 Casson (1989)




Map 1 Area of the two valleys of Wadi Gâsûs and Wadi Gâwâsis and various Ancient remains. Sayed (1977)

Map 2 Contoured map of the mouth of the Wadi Gâwâsis (northern side – excavation site). Sayed (1977)



Map 3 – Nile to Red Sea Canal Naville (1894)

Map 4 Map of the course of the Via Hadriana. Drawing by R.E. Zitterkopf. Sidebotham, et al (2000)


Map 5 The Eastern Desert Routes Jackson (2002) Map 2 (with additions)



Quseir al Qadim

Map 6

Meyer (1992)

Map 7 Southwestern Section of Quseir al-Qadim



Map 8 Plan of Pit 10,000 Quseir al-Qadim. U. of Southampton, 2000.


Map 9 Map showing Marsa Nakari (Nechesia?) – Edfu route. Drawing by R.E. Zitterkopf. Sidebotham (1999) Fig. 19-11.

Donnelly 53

Map 11 Trench 6 (early phase) Berenike ’96, Fig.3-5.

Map 10

Donnelly 54

Map 12 Political Geography of the Red Sea After Casson (1989) maps 2 & 3.

Map 13 The East Coast of Africa After Casson (1989) map 10.



Map 14 Caravan tracks of the Arabian Peninsula used in the first centuries BC and AD. Young (2001) Map 3.1

Map 15 Open water routes to India. Casson (1989: 225)



Map 16 Ancient India Begley & De Puma (1991) Map A.

Map 17 Peutinger's Tabula, a 12th century copy of a Roman road map. Section of Southern India and Taprobane.



Fig. 1 Stela of Khentekhtay-wer. Sayed (1977) pl. 8 b – (Birch, Catal. of the Collection of Egyptian Antiq. At Alnwick Castle, pl. 3)

Fig. 2 Front view of the stela of Ankhow showing its pedestal and base, the texts on its outer face and the middle block. Sayed (1977) Fig. 3

Fig. 3 Shrine-stela of Ankhow as seen from above, showing the texts on its inner face. Sayed (1977) Fig. 4 Fig. 5 Theban Tomb 143 Meeks (2003) Fig. 4.11

Donnelly 58

Fig. 4

Herzog, R. (1968) Punt. Glückstadt: Verlag J.J. Augustin. Tafel 1



Fig. 6 Stele from Tell al-Maskhuta Fig. 7 Kabret Stele (cuneiform)

Fig. 8 a. and b. Alexander the Great attacking Porus on an elephant, decadrachms minted in Babylon. c. Alexander the Great in elephant-scalp head-dress. Scullard (1974) XIII

Fig. 9 Elephant petroglyph from Kanais



Fig. 10 Abu Sha’ar - Greek inscription from AS92-W (no. 2), drawing, Bagnall & Sheridan (1994b) Pl. 23.

Fig. 11 View of the harbour of Quseir during the Napoleonic expedition. Russell (2001) Vol.1, Pl. 2.

Figs. 12 & 13 - Papyrus & Ostraka from Quseir al-Qadim associated with the name Leukos Limen (Bagnall 1986) n. 18, 54

Fig. 14 Ostracon with Muos. Bagnall (1986) no. 45



Fig. 15 Papyrus containing name Myos Hormos. Excavation by U of Southampton, 2000.

Fig. 16 Letter of Ioulios Maximos OMax 175; 2nd cent. AD Bülow-Jacobsen (1994) Pl. 1

Fig. 17 Letter from Sarapias to Ammonios OMax 279+467; 2nd cent. AD Bülow-Jacobsen (1994) Pl. 1



Fig. 18 Private letter, listing pepper. Bagnall (1986) n.28, pl. 11.

Fig. 19 (below) Ostracon with graffito in Tamil-Brahmi script, from Quseir al Qadim. Sidebotham (1991) 2.22 Courtesy of J.H. Johnson.

Fig. 21 (right) South Arabian script from Quseir al- Qadim. University of Southampton online excavation report for 2002. Fig. 20 Tamil graffito 1978 excavation at Quseir Whitcomb & Johnson, 1979: pl. 27j

Fig. 23 (below) Indian fineware, University of Southampton, (2001)

Fig. 22 Nabataean graffito Whitcomb & Johnson (1979) Pl.76.



Fig. 24 Indian or Indian-style coarse wares Southampton 2000.

Fig. 25 Indian finewares, Southampton 2001.

Fig. 26 (below) ‘Indian’ ware parallels from locus B4a (1978 season) Whitcomb & Johnson (1979) pl. 22, 23.



Fig. 27 Maritime Artefacts
Wooden Dead-Eye, Trench 8 Quseir – Southampton 2001 Brail rings

Sheath Tacks Fig. 28 Pottery from Ptolemaic deposit, Berenike ’96, from Figs. 6-2, 6-3. Fig. 29 ‘Ayla-Axum amphora, Trench BE96-5.

Fig. 30 Pottery with Tamil-Brahmi inscription, Berenike, First Century A.D. Berenike ’95.



Fig. 31 Trench BE95/96 – 6 Marcus Aurelius Mokimos inscription Sidebotham & Wendrich 1998 Fig. 8.1, Pl. 3-18

Fig. 32 Trench BE95/96-6, artist’s reconstruction of statue base, inscription and statue. Drawing by A.M. Hense Sidebotham & Wendrich 1998 Fig. 3-19

Fig. 33 (below) Greek/Palmyrene inscription. BE97-16, Berenike ‘97



Fig. 34 ‘Ship’ graffito Berenike ‘95

Fig. 35 Roman beads from Mkukutu. Chami (1999) Fig. 1.

Fig. 36 Egyptian vessels found at Kanê (Yemen). (à gauche) Col d’amphore égyptienne bitronconique. (à droite) Kanê. Céramique fine d’Assouan. Ballet (1998) Fig. 21 & 22.



Fig. 37 Millingen type oinochoe, H:21 cm; Date c. 50 AD KM Inv. 948

Fig. 38 Poseidon H: 12.8 cm; Date c. 250 BC KM Inv. 932

Bronzes from Kolhapur, India De Puma (1991)

Fig. 39 Bronze handle, with Amor riding a panther. c. 5080 AD KM Inv. 950

Fig. 40 Roman Cameo from Karvan. Deo (1991) Fig. 3.5



Fig. 41 Tariff Stele, Coptos. Burkhalter (2002) Fig. 1

Fig. 42 Isidora, daughter of Menodoros Petrie Museum Ostrakon UC 32372



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Bill Thayer (edition used: Claudius Ptolemy (c. 130 AD) Geography. Dover edition, 1991) Bill Thayer (edition used: Strabo (23 AD) Geography. Loeb Classical Library, 8 volumes, Greek texts with facing English translation by Horace White. Harvard University Press, 1917 thru 1932.) * not available at the University of Toronto

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