TRADE BETWEEN ROME AND INDIA 100B.C. TO 300 A.D.



Roman silver and gold coins of 1st Century B.C / A.D from Eyyal between Kodungallur and Palayur













Roman gold and silver coins unearthed around the Palayur-Kodungallur-Parur belt at Eyyal (1945) and Valuvally (1984) Shown above are some gold coins of Tiberius Caesar, Nero and from these collections
By the first century of A.D., Greek and Roman merchants were trading with India as a matter of course, as confirmed by finds of Roman coins and pottery at Indian sites.By that time, too, trade with southern Arabia, India and China—the three key exporters in a complex network—appeared as a growing threat to the Roman economy.
The gold and silver of the empire was draining to the east
to pay for unnecessary luxuries. “And by the lowest reckoning India, China and the Arabian Peninsula take from our empire
100 million sesterces every year—that is the sum which our luxuries and our women cost us,” wrote Pliny
in a famous passage. He returns again and again to the theme. It became a commonplace in the literature of the time to contrast the “manly” austerity of the past with the “effeminate” luxury of the present, to view Rome as emasculated by spices, aromatics, perfumes, Indian muslins and Chinese silk. In fact, 100 million sesterces was not a particularly large sum: Pliny’s nephew, Pliny the Younger, left more than three million sesterces in his will, and he was not considered particularly wealthy.
Greek traders sold or exchanged Italian and Greek wine, copper, tin, lead, coral, cloth, glass, storax and antimony for ivory, bdellium gum, onyx, myrrh, woven and unwoven silk, “mallow cloth” pepper, cardamom, turmeric
In 975 BC King Hiram of Phoenicia, for the sake of King Solomon of Israel, trades with the port of Ophir.
In 950 BC Jewish people arrive in India in King Solomon’s merchant fleet. Later Jewish colonies find India a tolerant home
ROMAN GOLD COINS DUG OUT RECENTLY:-
Obverse and reverse of the Iyyal Roman gold
coins of Tiberius
(r.figure of clemency seated),
Claudius (r.winged figure of Victory standing),
Nero (r.a cereal wreath), Nero (r.sacerdotal objects),
and Trajan (r.seated female figure).
The Iyyal hoard consists of the following coins: Republican period (126-86 B. C.) 4 denarii Octavian (44-31 B.C.)
12 ” Octavian from Gaul (29-27 B. C.) 1
” Augusts (Rome 17, Gaul 15, 36
” Ephesus 1, Pergamum 3) Tiberius 6 ” 8 aureii Claudius (A.D.41-54) 4
” 1 ” Nero (A.D.54-68)
5 ” 2 ” Trajan (A. d. 98-117)
1 ” Like the silver punch marked coins of the hoard the Roman denarii are extremely worn; while the Roman aureii are in preserved condition. The aureus of Trajan is almost fresh.
One of the earliest references to maritime trade with India is from the Bible
(I Kings 9:28) which states that King Solomon
collaborated with King Hiram of Tyre/Sidon, and built a fleet at Elath and Eziongeher (or Ezion-geber). Manned by Phoenician sailors, it sailed to Ophir (KODUNGALOOR OF KERALA)
We are told that a
shipwrecked Indian sailor
was discovered, half-dead, by coast guards on the Red Sea, and was brought to the Egyptian King Physkon (also known as Physcon or Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II) during
118 BC.
The sailor said he was the sole survivor of a ship that had sailed from India.
The sailor promised to guide any of the King’s navigators on a voyage to India
. So a Greek sailor, Eudoxus of Kyzicus (himself an envoy from Greece to Ptolemy VIII), was appointed to that mission.Poseidonius recounted two direct journeys to India.

The first in 118 BC, guided by the Indian sailor, proved successful.
From Berenice Harbor to Muziris below Calicut took 70 days.
Eudoxus returned with a cargo of aromatics and precious stones.
Ptolemy VIII promptly confiscated the cargo.The second, under the sole guidance of Eudoxus, occurred in 116 BC,
just after the death of Ptolemy VIII and
during the reign of Cleopatra III, his wife and queen