Romans In Bali and Broome

Hobbits - or the Romans invade Broome …

posted Thu, 06 Mar 2008 07:55:12 -0800

Suddenly we've another stoush about wether homo floriensis is a new species of human being or a cretin. And why are we having this argument?

Because the sample size is so bloody small.

And because the sample size is so small we have intense arguments about the meaning of the evidence that are based on supposition and precedent. Nothing more.

To put this into context consider the following:

We know the Romans (well probably Graeco-Egyptians living in the Roman period) sailed regularly to India, and that Roman ambassadors, or merchants masquerading as ambassadors got to China in 166 probably coming via South East Asia by boat.

So it's possible, though there's no evidence, that the Romans traded as far as Java in search of spices, just as European traders did 1500 years later.

And it's equally just possible, in the same way as happened to Dutch and Portugese ships, that every now and then one would be caught in a storm, blown south, and end up wrecked on the coast of WA, probably somewhere around Broome, or possibly further south.

If we found eveidence of such a wreck it would be interesting. Just that, Interesting. We already know a lot about Roman commerce. We know pepper was prized. Finding such a wreck would confirm that Roman trading ships sailed as far as what is today Indonesia, rather than relying on goods sold on at ports in India.

It would be a footnote. Homo Floriensis is not a footnote, purely because we know so little. We need more finds, more evidence before we can say either way. For now we have to suffer the clash of egos and reputations

Romans in India …

posted Mon, 26 Mar 2007 16:06:22 -0700

One of my fascinations is roman history, not the stories of the augusti, oligarchs and the like, although they certainly add colour to history, but more the lives of people, how they dressed, what they ate, how they wiped their bums and so on.

And of course where they travelled tp. The Romans knew more of the world than just the empire. Some sailed to China, others established trading posts.

As well as Pondicherry, now comes news of another possible Roman tradng post in Kerala.

Kerala makes sense as it would be possible to sail almost directly there from the Horn of Africa after exiting the Red Sea given the prevailing winds at certain times of the year

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License