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The impact of the third century crisis on the international trade with the east

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses the impact of the third century crisis on the international trade with the east. The commerce between the Roman Empire and the East was a flourishing one. From the far East came silk, spices and other similar goods. This commerce has frequently been described as a trade in luxuries, the result of decadent tastes and desires, especially of the Roman élites. The Romans were not the first to recognize and exploit lucrative trade opportunities with Eastern regions. There is considerable evidence that the Erythrean trade suffered a marked downturn in the later third century, and there is good reason to believe that the volume of commerce passing through the Red Sea ports declined significantly at this time. The archaeological evidence for such a decline is generally negative: there are very few finds that could be related to the later third century.

Keywords: Eastern regions; Erythrean trade; international trade; Red Sea ports; Roman Empire; third century crisis

10.1163/ej.9789004160507.i-448.59
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