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Rome and the Distant East
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Table of Contents

1. The ancient sources for Rome's eastern trade; 2. Diplomatic contacts between the Roman Empire and the distant East; 3. Roman Egypt and the sea route to India; 4. The Roman Empire and Arabian trade; 5. Trade routes through Persia and the Silk Road connection; 6. The impact on the Roman world.

About the Author

Dr Raoul McLaughlin is a Tutor at Queen's University Belfast. His research interests include Roman commerce and the ancient economy

Reviews

Featured on further reading list in History Today article.
'In the half century since Mortimer Wheeler's pioneering Rome beyond the imperial frontier appeared, the archaeological and scholarly inquiry of the Far East has expanded dramatically. A synthetic up-to-date account of the progress of this inquiry has been a desideratum. Raoul McLaughlin's Rome and the Distant East has heroically tacked this important task, assembling the exotic and esoteric literature, and with penetrating insight analyzed the extensive trade that characterized the international world of the early Roman imperium. The study is comprehensive, involving both the aromatics trade with Arabia and India, and the fabled Silk Road that connected China with the distant Da Qin as the Chinese called Rome in the west, and exploring the commercial arteries, both the overland caravan routes and sea routes, and including a discussion of the impact of the luxury trade on the Roman economy. There is much to glean from this stimulating and interesting study that should attract historians, economists, and a variety of other scholars.' - Professor David Graf, University of Miami, USA
In the half century since Mortimer Wheeler's pioneering Rome Beyond the Imperial Frontiers appeared, the archaeological and scholarly inquiry of the Far East has expanded dramatically. A synthetic up-to-date account of the progress of this inquiry has been a desideratum. Raoul McLaughlin's Rome and the Distant East has heroically tackled this important task, assembling the exotic and esoteric literature, and with penetrating insight analyzed the extensive trade that characterized the international world of the early Roman imperium. The study is comprehensive, involving both the aromatics trade with Arabia and India, and the fabled Silk Road that connected China with the distant Da Qin as the Chinese called Rome in the west, and exploring the commercial arteries, both the overland caravan routes and sea routes, and including a discussion of the impact of the luxury trade on the Roman economy. There is much to glean from this stimulating and interesting study that should attract historians, economists, and a variety of other scholars--Sanford Lakoff
This is the first comprehensive, reliable account of the extensive overland and maritime trade between the Roman Empire and the "Distant East" in the early centuries CE. It is well-researched, well-written, and well-supported with liberal quotes, useful maps, and an excellent bibliography. It clearly describes how important these early contacts were, both economically and for the exchange of ideas, across Eurasia - contacts that continue to influence our world today and our understanding of it. His vivid descriptions of the difficulties faced and overcome in establishing these intercontinental and trans-oceanic trade routes are particularly fascinating. This work already has a permanent place among the few treasured references I always keep to hand while writing. I heartily recommend it as essential reading for anyone with an interest in the ancient history of the Silk Routes, the Roman or Chinese Empires, India, Persia, or the lands between. It is certain to open new vistas, and deepen appreciation of both ancient and modern societies.--Sanford Lakoff

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