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The Development of Maritime Trade between India and the West from c. 1000 to c. 120 B.C. 

Mark Andrew Smith

May 1985
Chair of Advisory Committee: Dr. George Bass


Maritime trade between the Roman world and India has gathered a considerable amount of attention from scholars. It is seldom appreciated, however, that this commerce evolved directly from that of previous periods.



As early as the first quarter of the first millennium B.C. there is indirect evidence for sea-borne trade in the Arabian Sea. Most early references from Mesopotamia, however, regard regional trade in the Persian Gulf. During the Persian period the trade network was extended to India. Contacts between India and the West were stimulated by the activities of Persian leadership. The Persian empire ranged from Egypt to India and Persian kings made concerted efforts to integrate, commercially, its various provinces. These endeavors were later paralleled by those of Alexander of Macedon. Because of their frequent conflicts, the subsequent

Hellenistic kings were too preoccupied to expend their resources on such endeavors.


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