Vision, Folly and Balance: Imperial Approaches to Commerce and War in the Roman Near East, 27 BCE-180 CE

Michael E. Paranac
Few occurrences in antiquity are as widely discussed by a diverse, ancient authorship as transcontinental commerce between the Mediterranean Sea and East Asia. Yet modern historians remain profoundly divided over long-distance trade's origin, operation and effect with regard to the governance of the Roman Principate. There is broad consensus, however, that the volume and value of this trade consistently increased between the administrations of Augustus and Marcus Aurelius. These two centuries
more » ... so witness curiously divergent foreign policies between emperors, particularly in Rome's Near Eastern possessions. It is thus argued that these phenomena are intrinsically connected and further, that emperors considered them so in deliberating policy. These findings throw light on previous topical historiography and propose a different approach to writing—and understanding—a Roman commercial history.
doi:10.7916/d8639wnm fatcat:s67inspb4bc5jc5mlfzhhvstdu