The Roman Empire and the Indian Ocean, The Ancient World Economy & the Kingdoms of Africa, Arabia & India

B2067

This book will contain many surprises for most readers. The established wisdom of historians has concentrated on the Roman Navy operating in the Mediterranean and to a very limited extent between the British Isles and the European mainland. As with most civilizations of the Ancient World, the need for trade, and the advantage of rivers, lakes and oceans as highways, meant that travel by sea was far more common and extensive than most have been taught. Even far into history, true ocean voyages were undertaken, many being involuntary voyages resulting from violent storms, but many also being deliberate voyages of trade and exploration. Read this book and change your view of the importance and scope of maritime activity in Ancient Rome.

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NAME: The Roman Empire and the Indian Ocean, The Ancient World Economy & the Kingdoms of Africa, Arabia & India
DATE: 141114
FILE: R2067
AUTHOR: Raoul McLaughlin
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword
BINDING: hard back
PAGES: 352
PRICE: £25.00
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: Roman Navy, galleys, seamanship, India, Africa, Arabia, Ancient World, technology, economics, trading centres, influence, exploration
ISBN: 1-78346-381-3
IMAGE: B2067.jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/ol6l4fb
LINKS:
DESCRIPTION: This book will contain many surprises for most readers. The established wisdom of historians has concentrated on the Roman Navy operating in the Mediterranean and to a very limited extent between the British Isles and the European mainland. As with most civilizations of the Ancient World, the need for trade, and the advantage of rivers, lakes and oceans as highways, meant that travel by sea was far more common and extensive than most have been taught. Even far into history, true ocean voyages were undertaken, many being involuntary voyages resulting from violent storms, but many also being deliberate voyages of trade and exploration. Read this book and change your view of the importance and scope of maritime activity in Ancient Rome.

It is very easy to think of the Mediterranean as some kind of benevolent inland water if the reader has no direct experience of this Sea. Conditions in the Mediterranean can turn from calm warm water to violent storm that can rival even those waters that enjoy a grim reputation. It is true that most Ancient sailors attempted to stay close to shore and to put into port as conditions deteriorated. In part that was due to a general lack of navigation instruments that would allow deep water sailing with some prospect of safety and success. However, that is far short of the full story and archaeology has already uncovered some interesting devices that suggest at least some sailors of Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome did have access to mechanical computers and other navigational devices of some complexity and accuracy.
From the Ancient Egyptians, Mediterranean warships and cargo vessels were equipped with sail and oars. The design of galleys with several banks of oars required geometric precision and technical skill. The power to operate the oars was most frequently provided by slaves who lived uncomfortable lives where a short life was virtually guaranteed by overwork, sickness and malnourishment, but then slaves were acquired in large numbers and those serving as galley slaves were most frequently convicted offenders and those taken captive in battle. Unlike domestic slaves who might come close to being members of the family, and were certainly a financial value, galley slaves were expendable. It is probable that galleys spent little time under sail, although cargo vessels were probably under sail most of the time, using oars only to navigate in or near ports and when the wind failed. It is also more likely that cargo vessels were crewed by professional seaman and that many would be highly skilled.

What has been known for some time is that the Romans traded widely and took produce, animals and products from as far as the Pacific and China. What is now becoming accepted is that much of this trade was undertaken by Roman merchant vessels. The author has presented a credible account of this trade and his text is supported by a plate section illustrating this international trading. There are also some interesting ancient maps in introduction.

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