Drop the anchor ,
weigh the sail and prepare to embark on tour of Rome. But first
please comply with the Italian officials.
First we visit the
Roman authority of historic trade.
TO THE ROMAN TRADE PAGE!
was vital to Ancient Rome. The Empire cost a huge sum of money to
maintain and trade brought in much of that money. The population of
the city of Rome was one million and such a vast population required
many things that could only be got from distant lands ,So
people had to turn to trade to get these items.
The Roman Empire was criss-crossed
with trade routes. There were sea routes that covered the
Mediterranean and Black Seas and numerous land routes using the
roads built by the Romans. Trade and moving the Roman Army around
were the two principle reasons for building roads.
The Romans did what they could to make sea journeys safe -
lighthouses were built as were safe harbours and docks. The Roman
Navy did what it could to make the Mediterranean Sea safe from
The most important port was Ostia as it was the nearest major port
to Rome itself. Ostia was situated at the mouth of the River Tiber
and was only 15 miles from Rome. Many ships traveled between Ostia
and the major North African city of Carthage, a journey that took
between three and five days. Ships also arrived from Spain and
France at Ostia. All their goods could be quickly moved to Rome
itself as it was only 15miles from Rome . Ironically, Ostia
was to play a major part in the downfall of Rome when Alaric the
Goth captured Ostia in AD 409 knowing that this would starve Rome of
much needed food.
The Romans made trade as easy as
possible. There was only one currency used and there were no
complicating customs dues. Trade was also encouraged by many years
of peace within the Empire. Trade was vital to the success of the
Empire. When the Empire collapsed, trade throughout the lands that
had once made up the Roman Empire, also collapsed. The Mediterranean
Sea became a dangerous place for merchants as there were no powers
to control the activities of pirates who marauded as far north as
the English Channel.
What was acquired from where?
The Romans imported a whole variety of materials: beef, corn,
glassware, iron, lead, leather, marble, olive oil, perfumes, purple
dye, silk, silver, spices, timber, tin and wine. The main trading
partners were the Spaniards, Franks, the Middle Easterners
and the North Africans.
Britain exported lead, woollen products and tin. In return, it
imported from Rome wine, olive oil, pottery and papyrus. British
merchants relied on the Romans to provide security within the
Empire. When this collapsed (when Rome was invaded by Goths) and
Europe was seemingly overrun by Barbarians, no one could guarantee
traders that their goods would get through. Also, without the power
of Rome, who would be willing to buy what was produced in Britain
and other parts of Europe, whose chief trade partner was Rome
Our Next Stop will be the Historic
Roman Naval Headquarters.