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Mecca On The Caravan Routes In Pre-Islamic Antiquity

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Chapter Summary

An important contribution to the study of pre-Islamic Meccan trade has been made by Patricia Crone in her Meccan Trade and the Rise of Islam, which has once again raised the question of Mecca's position in Arabian trade as a whole, and on the Incense Road in particular. Serjeant's analysis of the Arabic sources can be considered exhaustive. This chapter proposes to offer a number of supplementary observations based on classical and South Arabian sources which are likely to throw more light on the problem of Mecca's position in the trans-Arabian caravan trade. The data to be reviewed below strongly suggests that the caravan trade routes functioned throughout the entire pre-Islamic period, that they passed through the territory around today's Mecca, and that the inhabitants of Southern Ḥijāz did trade with South Arabia and East Africa in perfumes and spices.

Keywords: Meccan trade; pre-Islamic period; trans-Arabian caravan trade



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