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The development of Roman maritime trade after the Second Punic war

from HISTORICAL CASE STUDIES: The Mediterranean world

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 April 2017

Michele Stefanile
Affiliation:
Università degli Studi di Napoli ‘L'Orientale’, Italy
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Summary

ABSTRACT.This contribution describes the expansion of Roman maritime trade from the end of the 3rd century BC to the end of the 2nd century AD. It emphasizes the enormous transformations that took place in the scale and complexity of Roman maritime trade, and the associated infrastructures, as a result of Rome's conquest of the Mediterranean and the growth of the city of Rome. It includes a case study of the rapid rise of traders of Italian origin in the port of Carthago Nova (modern Cartagena) in the 2nd and 1st centuries BC.

RÉSUMÉ.Cette contribution retrace l'essor du commerce maritime romain de la fin du IIIème siècle av. J.-C. à la fin du IIème siècle ap. J.-C. Elle témoigne des transformations énormes qui se sont produites, à l’échelle de l'ampleur et de la complexité du commerce maritime romain, et des infrastructures qui y sont liées, comme le résultat de l'expansion de Rome et de sa conquête de la Méditerranée. Elle inclue une étude de cas sur l'augmentation rapide du nombre de marchands d'origine italienne dans le port de Carthago Nova (actuelle Carthagène) au IIème et Ier siècles av. J.-C.

When, ‘pace terra marique parta’, Publius Cornelius Scipio returned victorious from the battlefield of Zama, in 201 BC, the Senate and the People of Rome granted him a magnificent triumph.2 After eighteen years of conflict, and the terrible invasion of Italy by Hannibal, the second war against the powerful city of Carthage (218–201 BC) was finally over, and with a clear success. The consequences of that victory for the history of a great part of the then-known world were impressive: the city on the Tiber had now unexpectedly extended its domination over the entire Italian Peninsula, over Sicily, Sardinia and Corsica, and over the Mediterranean coast of the Iberian Peninsula, de facto dominating the entirety of the Western Mediterranean. Northern Africa and Greece would be added half a century later, following the end of the Third Punic War (149–146 BC) and the sacking of Corinth, also in 146 BC.

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Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Print publication year: 2017

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