Date of Award

Fall 2011

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Evan Haley


Claude Eilers



Committee Member

Spencer Pope


Rome’s Eastern trade flourished for over two centuries, from reign of Augustus to that of Caracalla, bringing highly valuable goods from India and East Africa to consumers in Rome, and this thesis examines the traders who operated in Egypt and transported goods between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean. Chapter 1 examines the identities of the traders, in terms of ethnicity, wealth, and social standing, and also examines the evidence for the involvement of the imperial family in the Eastern trade, while Chapter 2 analyzes the many different customs dues, transit tolls, and other taxes imposed upon Eastern traders operating in Egypt. Chapter 3 presents an analysis of customs abuses, including the forms of abuses which occurred, legislative attempts to curb abuses, and the frequency of abuses. Chapter 4 investigates the potential for profits in the Eastern trade, taking into consideration the various expenses, such as transport fees and customs dues, incurred in the course of transporting the goods across Egypt, as well as the evidence for the value of Eastern goods at Rome.

McMaster University Library