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This Greco-Roman periplus, written in Greek, describing navigation and trading opportunities from Roman Egyptian ports along the coast of the Red Sea, and others along Northeast Africa and the Indian subcontinent.

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El Periplo del Mar Eritreo parece ser la descripción de primera mano de un comerciante egipcio que escribe en griego. 

El periplo describe cómo Hípalo fue el primero en descubrir la ruta directa desde el mar Rojo hasta el sur de India. El texto que ha llegado hasta nosotros deriva de un manuscrito bizantino del siglo X en letra minúscula, guardado en las colecciones de la Universidad de Heidelberg, y de una copia de éste, del  siglo XVI o XV, en el Museo Británico. En el primero es donde el texto se atribuye a Flavio Arriano, probablemente por la cercanía temporal a su Periplus Pontus Euxini. La primera edición moderna del texto se debió a Segismundo Gelenio, publicada en 1553.

Una característica interesante del periplo es que algunas palabras que describen mercancías objeto de comercio no se conocen en ninguna otra obra literaria, con lo que su significado real sólo es una elucubración. 

En muchos casos la descripción de los lugares es lo suficientemente precisa como para identificar inequívocamente las localizaciones actuales; en otros no lo es tanto. Por ejemplo se menciona Rhapta como el mercado más importante en la costa africana de Azania, pero hay al menos cinco localidades que se ajustan a la descripción, desde el sur de Tanga hasta el delta del río Rufiji. La descripción de la costa hindú menciona explícitamente el río Ganges, pero China es confusamente descrita como la gran ciudad interior Thina, productora de seda. 

El Periplo del Mar Eritreo es un periplo griego que describe la navegación y las oportunidades de comercio desde puertos egipcio-romanos como Berenice, a lo largo de la costa del mar Rojo y África Oriental, hasta la India.
El texto ha sido datado entre los siglos I y III, aunque la fecha más aceptada es de mediados del siglo I. Tras haber sido atribuido mucho tiempo al geógrafo Flavius Arrianus Alexandrinus, la crítica filológica convino en que la identidad del autor es desconocida.
El Periplo del Mar Eritreo es un texto único por las descripciones precisas de la zona. Aunque "Mar Eritreo" se refiere generalmente al mar Rojo, para los antiguos griegos la definición incluía el el golfo Pérsico y el océano Índico.

Nombres, rutas y localidades del Periplo del Mar Eritreo.

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16th century map depicting the locations of the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea.
Map by Abraham Ortelius, (1527-1598) for the Periplus Maris Erythraei (Περίπλους τὴς Ἐρυθράς Θαλάσσης "Periplus of the Erythraean Sea"), attributed to Arrian

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OPONE (SOMALIA)

Ras Hafun in northern Somalia is believed to be the location of the ancient trade center of Opone. Ancient Egyptian, Roman and Persian Gulf pottery has been recovered from the site by an archaeological team from the University of Michigan. Opone is in the thirteenth entry of the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea

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MALAO (SOMALIA)
The ancient port city of Malao, situated in present-day Berbera in northwestern Somalia, is also mentioned in the Periplus

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AKSUM EMPIRE (EROTREA & ETHIOPIA)

Aksum is mentioned in the Periplus as an important market place for ivory, which was exported throughout the ancient world. According to the Periplus, the ruler of Aksum in the 1st century CE was Zoscales, who, besides ruling in Aksum also held under his sway two harbours on the Red Sea: Adulis (near Massawa) and Avalites (Assab). He is also said to have been familiar with Greek literature

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HIMYARITE KINGDOM & SABA (ARABIA)

Ships from Himyar regularly traveled the East African coast. The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea describes the trading empire of Himyar and Saba, regrouped under a single ruler Charibael (Karab Il Watar Yuhan'em II), who is said to have been on friendly terms with Rome

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FRANKINCENSE KINGDOM (HADRAMAUT)

The Frankincense kingdom is described further east along the southern coast of the Arabian Peninsula, with the harbour of Cana (South Arabic Qana, modern Bir Ali in Hadramaut). The ruler of this kingdom is named Eleazus, or Eleazar, thought to correspond to King Iliazz Yalit I

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RHAPTA (TANZANIA OR MOZAMBIQUE)

Recent research by the Tanzanian archaeologist Felix Chami has uncovered extensive remains of Roman trade items near the mouth of the Rufiji River and the nearby Mafia island, and makes a strong case that the ancient port of Rhapta was situated on the banks of the Rufiji River just south of Dar es Salaam

In recent years, Felix Chami has found archaeological evidence for extensive Roman trade on Mafia Island and, not far away, on the mainland, near the mouth of the Rufiji River, which he dated to the first few centuries CE. Furthermore, J. Innes Miller points out that Roman coins have been found on Pemba island, just north of Rhapta.[13]

Nevertheless, Carl Peters has argued that Rhapta was near modern-day Quelimane in Mozambique,[14] citing the fact that (according to the Periplus) the coastline there ran down towards the southwest. Peters also suggests that the description of the "Pyralaoi" (i.e., the "Fire people") - "situated at the entry to the [Mozambique] Channel" - indicates that they were the inhabitants of the volcanic Comoro Islands. He also maintains that Menuthias (with its abundance of rivers and crocodiles) cannot have been Zanzibar; i.e., Madagascar seems more likely.

Interestingly, the Periplus informs us that Rhapta, was under the firm control of a governor appointed by Arabian king of Musa,  taxes were collected, and it was serviced by "merchant craft that they staff mostly with Arab skippers and agents who, through continual intercourse and intermarriage, are familiar with the area and its language."[11]

The Periplus explicitly states that Azania (which included Rhapta) was subject to Charibaêl, the king of both the Sabaeans and Homerites in the southwest corner of Arabia. The kingdom is known to have been a Roman ally at this period. Charibaêl is stated in the Periplus to be “a friend of the (Roman) emperors, thanks to continuous embassies and gifts” and, therefore, Azania could fairly be described as a vassal or dependency of Rome, just as Zesan is described in the 3rd-century Chinese history, the Weilüe.[15][16]

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BARYGAZA (INDIA)

Trade with the Indian harbour of Barygaza is described extensively in the Periplus. Nahapana, ruler of the Indo-Scythian Western Satraps is mentioned under the name Nambanus,[17] as ruler of the area around Barigaza

Under the Western Satraps, Barigaza was one of the main centers of Roman trade with India. The Periplus describes the many goods exchanged

Goods were also brought down in quantity from Ujjain, the capital of the Western Satraps 

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EARLY CHERA, PANDYAN & CHOLA KINGDOMS (INDIA)

The lost port city of Muziris (Near present day Cochin) in the Chera kingdom, as well as the Early Pandyan Kingdom are mentioned in the Periplus as major centers of trade, pepper and other spices, metal work and semiprecious stones, between Damirica and the Roman Empire.

According to the Periplus, numerous Greek seamen managed an intense trade with Muziris

Damirica or Limyrike is Tamilagam  – the "Tamil country". Further, this area served as a hub for trade with the interior, in the Gangetic plain

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NORTHEAST INDIA

The Periplus also describes the annual fair in present-day Northeast India, on the border with China.

Sêsatai[20] are the source of malabathron.

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REMAINS OR THE INDO-GREEK KINGDOM.

The Periplus describes numerous Greek buildings and fortifications in Barigaza, although mistakenly attributing them to Alexander the Great, who never went this far south. If true, this account would relate to the remains of the southern expansion of the Indo-Greeks into Gujarat

The Periplus further testifies to the circulation of Indo-Greek coinage in the region

The Greek city of Alexandria Bucephalous on the Jhelum River is mentioned in the Periplus, as well as in the Roman Peutinger Table

 

READ MORE

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Periplus_of_the_Erythraean_Sea

http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Periplo_por_la_Mar_Eritrea

 

 

 

Names, routes and locations of the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea.

 

The Periplus explains that coins of the Indo-Greek king Menander I were current in Barigaza.

 

 

Coin of the Himyarite Kingdom, southern coast of the Arabian Peninsula, in which stopped ships between Egypt and India passed. This is an imitation of a coin of Augustus. 1st Century CE.

 

Coins of king Endybis, 227-235 CE. British Museum. The left one reads in Greek "AΧWMITW BACIΛEYC", "King of Axum". The right one reads in Greek: ΕΝΔΥΒΙC ΒΑCΙΛΕΥC, "King Endybis".

 

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