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

Darley, Rebecca R. (2014). Indo-Byzantine exchange, 4th to 7th centuries: a global history. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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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: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of History and Cultures, Centre for Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek Studies
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D051 Ancient History
D History General and Old World > DE The Mediterranean Region. The Greco-Roman World
D History General and Old World > DS Asia


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