The period from the death of Alexander the Great to the rise of the Islam (c. late fourth century BCE to seventh century CE) saw a significant growth in economic, diplomatic and cultural exchange between various civilisations in Africa, Europe and Asia. This was in large part thanks to the Indian Ocean trade. Peoples living in the Roman Empire, Parthia, India and South East Asia increasingly had access to exotic foreign products, while the lands from which they derived, and the peoples inhabiting these lands, also captured the imagination, finding expression in a number of literary and poetic works.

The Indian Ocean Trade in Antiquity provides a range of chapters that explore the economic, political and cultural impact of this trade on these diverse societies, written by international experts working in the fields of Classics, Archaeology, South Asian studies, Near Eastern studies and Art History. The three major themes of the book are the development of this trade, how consumption and exchange impacted on societal developments, and how the Indian Ocean trade influenced the literary creations of Graeco-Roman and Indian authors.

This volume will be of interest not only to academics and students of antiquity, but also to scholars working on later periods of Indian Ocean history who will find this work a valuable resource.

chapter 1|14 pages


The Indian Ocean in Antiquity and global history
ByMatthew Adam Cobb

part 1|2 pages

The western Indian Ocean

chapter 2|35 pages

From the Ptolemies to Augustus

Mediterranean integration into the Indian Ocean trade 1
ByMatthew Adam Cobb

chapter 3|21 pages

Indian Ocean trade

The role of Parthia
ByLeonardo Gregoratti

chapter 4|22 pages

Ethnographies of sailing

From the Red Sea to the Bay of Bengal in Antiquity
ByHimanshu Prabha Ray

chapter 5|19 pages

Patchworking the west coast of India

Notes on the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea
ByFederico De Romanis

part 2|3 pages

The Indian Ocean and cross-cultural engagement

chapter 6|18 pages

Indian Ocean commerce in context

The economic and revenue significance of eastern trade in the ancient world
ByRaoul John McLaughlin

chapter 7|22 pages

Erythraean pearls in the Roman world

Features and aspects of luxury consumption (late second century bce–second century ce)
ByPierre Schneider

chapter 8|13 pages

India abroad

Evidence for ancient Indian maritime activity 1
ByFrederick M. Asher

part 3|2 pages

The Indian Ocean influence on literary culture

chapter 9|20 pages

The universe from an egg

Creation narratives in the ancient Indian and Greek texts
ByFiona Mitchell

chapter 10|22 pages

The impact of the Indian Ocean trade on the Ancient novel

ByJuan Pablo Sánchez Hernández

chapter 11|15 pages

Between Egypt and India

On the route of the Ancient novel
ByMarco Palone

chapter 12|2 pages


ByMatthew Adam Cobb