Rethinking Classical Indo-Roman Trade: Political Economy of Eastern Mediterranean Exchange Relations

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9780199460854: Rethinking Classical Indo-Roman Trade: Political Economy of Eastern Mediterranean Exchange Relations

The book is a critical rethinking of the nature of the classical eastern Mediterranean exchange relations with the coasts of the Indian sub-continent. It examines in the light of the extant source material and theoretical insights whether the expression aIndo a Roman tradea is tenable. The book characterizing the nature of contemporary exchanges in detail, maintains that the expression, aIndo-Roman tradea is inappropriate. It starts off with the theoretical premise that the term atradea if applies uniformly to all kinds of transactions in time and place, will lead to many anachronistic correlations, causations and generalisations about the nature of early forms of exchange.

An important factor is that contemporary Mediterranean exchange of goods from the eastern world was a combination of multiple forms of exchange in which trade was just one and confined to Rome. The management of this ensemble was a heavily collaborative, extensively networked, document based, enterprise, with precise notions of weights, measures, rates of rent, interest, price and profit accounted in terms of money. It had necessitated a stratified society, aristocracy, state system and the entailing political economy of demand for luxury goods from far off lands. The book dismisses the claims in the South Indian historiography for the early historic Tamil Chieftains to have conducted overseas commerce, on the ground that such institutional and structural pre-requisites were absent in the social formations of contemporary Peninsular India. It was not possible for the merchant bodies to conduct independent overseas trade for there was no naval technology in the sub-continent efficient enough to conduct cross-oceanic voyages. There was no need for it either.

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Rajan Gurukkal is Visiting Professor at Centre for Contemporary Studies, Indian Institute of Sciences, Banglore.

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Gurukkal, Rajan
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Book Description Oxford University Press, New Delhi, India. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. India’s maritime contact with eastern Mediterranean and classical Rome (c. 1st century BCE–3rd century CE) has often been celebrated as ‘Indo-Roman trade’—a prominent theme in Indian historiography. Rajan Gurukkal critically rethinks this exchange relation—he argues that the expression ‘Indo-Roman trade’, when examined in the light of extant source material and theoretical insights, is a misnomer. Exchange of goods between the Mediterranean and the contemporaneous eastern world was a combination of multiple forms of exchanges in which trade was just one of many and was confined to Rome. Managing this ensemble was a highly collaborative, extensively networked, and document-based enterprise. It necessitated a stratified society, state system, and the entailing political economy of demand for luxury goods. Considering that such institutional and social structures were absent in contemporaneous peninsular India, this book dismisses the claims in south Indian historiography that early Tamil chieftains conducted overseas commerce. Neither there existed adequate naval technology to allow merchant bodies to conduct independent overseas trade nor was it necessary. Printed Pages: 330. Size: 15 x 23 Cm. Bookseller Inventory # 107464

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Book Description Oxford University Press, 2016. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Contents: List of Illustrations Preface 1. Introduction: Theoretical Preliminaries and Methodology 2. Sources and Historiography 3. Eastern Mediterranean Overseas Exchanges 4. Ports, Marts, and Ship Technology in Early South India 5. Exchange Relations in Early Peninsular India 6. Polity, Statecraft, and Overseas Exchange 7. Afterword Bibliography Index About the Author Printed Pages: 346. Bookseller Inventory # 107670

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