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Trade and economy in the Roman Empire

from 978-3-14-100790-9 from page 29 fig. 3
Diercke Karte Trade and economy in the Roman Empire
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Trade and economy in the Roman Empire
In 117 BC, the Roman Empire encompassed the entire Mediterranean region, Asia Minor and Egypt as well as Gaul and Britannia in the North. Emperor Trajan had conquered Dacia after 117 BC and expanded Roman rule into Syria (the province of Arabia) and Asia (the provinces of Armenia, Assyria and Mesopotamia). That marked the farthest point of expansion of the Roman Empire. The most important sectors of the Roman economy were agriculture, manual crafts, trade and administration. Gaul, Britannia and Germania supplied natural raw materials and mining products as well as significant quantities of handmade goods. These regions were linked to Rome by sea and overland routes along two main axes that are still important traffic and trade arteries today: the Rhone and Rhine Valleys. The province of Hispania occupied a similarly important position as a source of food. Aside from the maritime routes, the coastal route via Genoa, Massila, Narbo and Tarraco was the most important trading link. The African provinces served as important mediators for trade with Central and West Africa and supplied agricultural products as well as special goods, such as purple dye. Trade relations were established with Nubia, the upper reaches of the Nile, Arabia and Asia via Syria and Egypt. Foodstuffs and above all such special products as purple dye, papyrus, spices, herbs, drugs and derivative cosmetics were traded in several major ports, including Alexandria and Tyrus. Greece, Asia Minor and the coastal fringe of the Black Sea were particularly important suppliers of raw materials, wood and foodstuffs and also served as



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