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Ancient sea routes in the Black Sea

from HISTORICAL CASE STUDIES: The Mediterranean world

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 April 2017

Sergey Saprykin
Affiliation:
Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow State University, Russia
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Summary

ABSTRACT.This contribution assesses how sea routes in the Black Sea developed as arteries of commerce, integrating the coastal communities and the peoples of their hinterlands with other parts of the Classical world and making its maritime trade a key element of the economy of Classical Antiquity. It also considers measures undertaken to safeguard these routes from the depredations of pirates.

RÉSUMÉ.Cette contribution analyse comment les routes maritimes en mer Noire se sont développées en artères commerciales, intégrant les communautés côtières et les populations de leurs arrièrepays aux autres parties du monde classique, ce qui a permis à son commerce maritime de devenir un élément clé de l'économie de l'Antiquité classique. Elle étudie également les mesures prises pour protéger ces routes des déprédations causées par les pirates.

The aim of this contribution is to examine sea routes in the Black Sea (Pontos Euxeinos in Greek, and in Latin Pontus Euxinus) in Classical Antiquity and assess how they developed as arteries of commerce, integrating the coastal communities of the Black Sea and the peoples of their hinterlands with other parts of the Classical world, making the Black Sea and its maritime trade a key element of the economy of Classical Antiquity. It also considers measures undertaken by various political powers to safeguard these routes from the depredations of pirates.

The evidence from the Archaic period of Greek history (c. 800–500 BC) is sparse, but if we bear in mind the foundation of the earliest Greek colonies in the western and the northern coasts of the Black Sea (Apollonia Pontica – late 7th century BC; Istria – around 657 BC; Borysthenis/Olbia – late 7th century BC), we can see that the western seaway with its continuation to the west and south-west coasts of Taurica was already used in the 7th century BC.

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Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Print publication year: 2017

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