Some have considered the Indian Ocean trade as primarily a means for western traders to directly engage with India and Eastern Asia, skipping the political instability of the central Asian trade routes and the power of the Parthians/Persians in Mesopotamia and on the Iranian Plateau. Even the Gulf sea route has been considered almost entirely a ‘Palmyrene matter’, a network of western colonies, existing by themselves and serving the needs of the western market. Gregoratti challenges this view by exploring the role of the Characenian thalassocratic kingdom in the Gulf and its connection with the Palmyrene activities, the archaeological situation in the Gulf and in southern Iran, and new discoveries in India. He argues that the Parthian Empire should not be seen as a mere facilitator of western trading ventures, but that this trade activity should be more appropriately understood in terms of synergistic cooperation.