Camel caravan

Camel caravan
Mosaic from Deir al-Adas, Syria, 8th century (photo: J.C.Meyer)
The research project Mechanisms of cross-cultural interaction: Networks in the Roman Near East (2013-2016) investigates the resilient everyday ties, such as trade, religion and power, connecting people within and across fluctuating imperial borders in the Near East in the Roman Period. The project is funded under the Research Council of Norway's SAMKUL initiative, and hosted by the Department of archaeology, history, cultural studies and religion, University of Bergen, Norway.

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Wednesday, 28 September 2016

New publication: The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea: A network approach

The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea is a Roman period guide to trade and navigation in the Indian Ocean. Justly famous for offering a contemporary and descriptive account of early Indian Ocean trade, the work has been subject to and a point of departure for numerous studies. Its extensive influence on scholarship is, however, also problematic, as it reflects the limited information and cultural and personal bias of its unknown author. Network analysis allows us to map, visualize and measure interconnectedness in this text. Many of these connections are not explicitly mentioned in the text, but by connecting not only places with places, but also products with places that export and import them, we get a partly different impression of Indian Ocean trade from that conventionally gathered from the Periplus. It allows us to ask questions about the relationship between coastal cabotage and transoceanic shipping, to identify regional trading circuits, and unexpected centres of long-distance exchange.

Asian Review of World Histories // Volume 4, Issue 2/JULY 2016, pp. 191-205

Zoomable figures and dataset are available from Bergen Open Research Archive