[Buddha-l] Spread of Buddhism

Kate marshallarts at bigpond.com
Sun May 29 03:38:34 MDT 2005

 But there is
> very little solid evidence of trade between Greco-Roman Egypt and India 
> that I am personally aware of. Perhaps someone on the list can flesh that 
> out.

Hi Michel and Erik,

According to The Penguin Atlas of Ancient History by Colin McEvedy, it is 
believed that goods found their haphazard way between the Indus and Nile 
Valleys via the Tigris and Euphrates Valley for thousands of years before a 
formal trade route was established.  By 145BC goods were shipped from India 
to the Persian Gulf and then transported across the north of Arabia. However 
it wasn't until about 230AD that a direct trade route between Egypt and 
India has made possible by the discovery of the monsoons blowing between the 
exit from the Red Sea and the west coast of India.  The non-stop crossing 
made possible by these winds led to a greatly increased traffic between the 
two countries.  This trade was considered so important that in Egypt the 
Imperial administration built roads and ports along the eastern seaboard and 
refurbished the Nile-Red Sea canal.  However because the winds at the 
northern end of the Red Sea are unreliable, merchants preferred to 
trans-ship at the level of Thebes and take the safe passage down the Nile.

Goods from India included ivory, ebony, spices, resins, pigments, dyes and 
mordants.  The most important spice was Indian pepper.  Egypt's main exports 
at this time were wheat, papyrus, glass, linen and most importantly, gold.

Hope this helps

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