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Indo-Byzantine exchange, 4th to 7th centuries: a global history

Darley, Rebecca R. (2014)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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This thesis uses Byzantine coins in south India to re-examine pre-Islamic maritime trade between the Mediterranean and south India. Analysis of historiographical trends, key textual sources (the Periplous of the Erythreian Sea and the Christian Topography, Book Eleven), and archaeological evidence from the Red Sea, Aksum, the Persian Gulf and India, alongside the numismatic evidence yields two main methodological and three historical conclusions. Methodologically, the multi-disciplinary tradition of Indo-Roman studies needs to incorporate greater sensitivity to the complexities of different evidence types and engage with wider scholarship on the economic and state structures of the Mediterranean and India. Furthermore, pre-Islamic Indo-Mediterranean trade offers an ideal locus for experimenting with a practical global history, particularly using new technologies to enhance data sharing and access to scholarship. Historically, this thesis concludes: first, that the significance of pre-Islamic trade between the Mediterranean and India was minimal for any of the participating states; second, that this trade should be understood in the context of wider Indian Ocean networks, connecting India, Sri Lanka and southeast Asia; third, that the Persian Gulf rather than the Red Sea probably formed the major meeting point of trade from east and west, but this is not yet demonstrable archaeologically, numismatically or textually.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Brubaker, Leslie and Dunn, Archie
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
Department:Centre for Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek Studies
Subjects:CC Archaeology
D051 Ancient History
DE The Mediterranean Region. The Greco-Roman World
DS Asia
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:5357
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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