Networks of the East in the Roman West

26-09-2013, 17:00

The last few years have seen a welcome development in debates about trade in the Roman world: rather than focusing solely on the sheer existence and nature of long distance maritime trade in bulk goods, there has been increasing interest in understanding the human factor, and more specifically, the way in which certain institutions and certain social structures facilitated trade over longer distances, and helped to overcome the deficiencies of information and control that inevitably emerge along long-distance and sea-born communication and transport routes. Examples include the epigraphic work by Nicolas Tran on port cities, and the recent book by Wim Broekaert, on navicularii and negotiantes.[1] Indeed, one might want to see this development perhaps as the beginnings of a shift of emphasis—from studying trade flows to studying trade networks, and from the macro-scale to the micro scale—a development that also takes place in other branches of the debate on the Roman economy. 

There is little need to emphasize the relevance of understanding social networks that were stretched over longer distances in discussing the cultural, political and economic dynamics of the Roman world. Yet, it may be relevant to emphasize that, from a perspective of economic history, two different issues are at stake. On a phenomenological level, and on the first place, there are the questions about how such networks operated and what role they plaid. In the second place, and on a historical level, there are the questions focusing on how these networks developed, and how they responded to changing circumstances. The recent focus in the debate on institutional analysis has meant that debate about networks in the Roman world has thus far mainly concentrated on the first category of questions, and has bothered less with how such networks developed over the centuries.

This paper will discuss one aspect of how the Roman Near East was, economically, connected to the rest of the Roman World. There are two sides to this connection. On the one hand, there are the Romans, who lived in the Near East while maintaining ties with Roman Italy and other places in the empire. On the other hand, there are those who swarmed out of the Near east as itinerant traders or to settle elsewhere in the Roman world, forming trading communities that remained strongly connected to the homeland. It is this second group of people, who happen to have left some clear traces in our evidence, that can best help us to understand the dynamics of Near Eastern trade with the rest of the Roman world: the geographic spread of people or communities of Near Eastern origin, including Syrians, Phoenicians, Nabataeans, and Jews, tells us something about not only trade routes but also about their core clientele.

In what follows I will discuss the three locations in the Roman Mediterranean where evidence for considerable concentrations of people from the Near east has been found: Delos, Puteoli, and Rome. These three concentrations, and their varying chronology, themselves already tell a story about Near Eastern Trade networks. Then, I will discuss to which degree traders from the Near East penetrated beyond these core centers, before discussing in broader terms what this may tell us about trade from the middle east towards the rest of the Roman world.

Understanding the evidence

First, however, a couple of introductory remarks on recognizing networks, trade, and trading communities in the evidence. Obviously, not all people from the near east who ended up elsewhere in the Roman world were part of a ‘network’ dominated by people from the same geographical origin. A major role in spreading people over the Roman world was of course played by the army, and a considerable proportion of individuals that seem to have had strong ties with the Roman east but lived elsewhere can be associated with the army. For example, most of the epigraphically attested dedications to Iuppiter Heliopolitanus of Baalbek that have been found in Roman Europe were made by veterans or soldiers.[2] It is hard to see the people making these dedications, even if they originally came from the region, which is not always so certain, as part of a strictly near-eastern network.

Secondly, and relatedly, one epigraphically attested individual, even when not related to the army, does not necessarily represent a trade network. Especially in isolated cases, more is necessary than just a name or a reference to specific geographic origins. Examples of cases where convincing interpretation is impeded by the incidental and vague nature of the evidence are the case of Lucius Aelius Datius and Lucius Aelius Ointus, who seem to come from Antioch in Syria, but ended up in Lusitania—for unclear reasons.[3] The same is true for the 4th century AD civis antiochensis whose name is unknown, but who was buried in Trier in Germany—though some may want to relate him to the imperial court.[4] In what follows, the distinguishing criterion will be that there needs to be a certain regional concentration of people of Near-Eastern origin, or that the people attested are explicitly listed as traders coming from the Near East.

Thirdly, local communities of people from the Near East that are visible in our sources are not necessarily rooted in or defined by trade. This is not so much of a problem in locations that are otherwise known as cosmopolitan centers of trade, but elsewhere it is much less straightforward, particularly in the city of Rome, where people may have ended up for a variety of social, political or economic reasons, and may have formed ethnic communities, but without a necessary relation to trade, and without direct or close ties with the homeland: there is a difference between a trading community and a diaspora community, and the evidence does not necessarily always allow us to distinguish between the two, especially because a significant proportion of our most explicit evidence is related to cults and religion, rather than to trade and commerce.  

Finally, there has been quite a bit of literature on trading communities and foreigners in the Roman world, and in the cities to be discussed in this paper. In general, there is the very recent monograph on trading communities in the Roman world by Taco Terpstra, and a recent article on Resident Aliens and Translocal Merchant Collegia by Koen Verboven.[5] On religion, there is the book by Steuernagel on cult and everyday life in Roman port societies, including Puteoli.[6] There is the book on foreigners at Rome by David Noy.[7] None of these works specifically focuses on people from the near east, but they discuss some of the evidence that will be discussed below. Besides this, there is a tradition of scholarship on trade with the Near East, though a dominant part of this discourse is primarily Romano-centric, and focuses primarily on Romans in the Near East, rather than the other way around—a tradition that goes back to, at least, Hatzfelds 1919 dissertation Les Trafiquants Italiens dans l’Orient Hellénique, and continues right to Young’s ‘Rome’s Eastern Trade’.[8] In this tradition, there is less attention for Near Eastern traders going out to sell stuff than there is for Romans coming to get stuff.


The first of our three key sites, Delos, is also the easiest to make sense of, as far as the economic context of Near Eastern communities is concerned: it is all directly related to the fact that Delos, between 166 and 88 BC, was the hotspot for long-distance trade in the eastern Mediterranean. Delos was not a population center of supra-regional importance, nor was it an attractive place to settle for political reasons. Hence, any significant foreign community in this period in Delos in all probability must be seen as related to its nodal position in the Mediterranean trade network. However, Delos has not been part of recent debate on trading communities in the Roman world – it is only mentioned in passing by Verboven and Terpstra.[9]

The evidence for people from the Near East on Delos is abundant, and of exceptional quality. Moreover, there seem to have been permanent foreign communities from the entire region. Most important is the large terrace containing the sanctuary of Hadad and Atargatis, two Syrian gods, situated a little bit away from the city center, a bit higher up the hill, overlooking the harbor. It was close to the source of the Inopos, to which it was connected by means of a long staircase. Immediately around the sanctuary were several other foreign cult buildings, amongst which three in honor of Serapis. The building was built in the first half of the second century, and the last dedication was made around 90 BC, just before the destruction of Delos by Mithradates in 88 BC.[10] Initially, the sanctuary seems to have been dominated by people from Hierapolis Bambyke, where the main sanctuary of Atargatis was situated. Later on, reference is made to people from, prominently, Antiochia on the Orontes, Laodicea in Syria, Arados, Damas, Seleucia, Askelon, and Philadelphia. Beyond the Near East, there were worshippers from Miletos, Ephesos, Alexandria, Naples and several smaller places in the eastern Mediterranean. Thus, the sanctuary did not only bring together people from the Near East: it also provided a platform on which they could meet with others. Romans also appear to have been involved. This function as a meeting place also shows in the architecture of the place, which was highly monumentalized, with a spectacular view over the lower city and the harbor, decorated with mosaics and equipped with a portico that could serve as a meeting place.

A second location with considerable evidence for foreign cults is just behind the sanctuary of Hadad and Atargatis, on and around the summit of mount Cynthus, the highest point of the Island. This seems to have been an area of exceptional religious significance to a wide variety of people from a wide variety of directions. Its archaeological and epigraphic records were thoroughly studied by Plassart in the 1920s. Plassard identified a number of ‘oriental’ cults, and a variety of people from the Near East participating in religious activities. The main sanctuary on the summit saw dedications by people from Gerrha in Arabia, from Seleucia on the Tigris, from Gaza and from Ascalon.[11] Buildings devoted to specific oriental cults were also present: a small temenos was devoted to the gods of Ascalon, in Palestine; a shrine to a certain Zeus Hypsistos probably was in reality devoted to Baal, and an Arab from Hadramaut, all the way down in Jemen, honored his own moon god in an inscription in his own language.[12]

There were also people on Delos from Judea and Samaria. There has been significant debate about the identification of a building close to the stadium, on the east shore, as a synagogue, which has continued from its excavation in 1913 until the present day—mutually exclusive interpretations were published as recent as 2004 and 2007.[13] Yet, even if we leave the synagogue aside for the moment, the evidence for communities from the land Israel is attested by literary and epigraphic sources. Two inscriptions found in 1979 refer to the ‘Israelites on Delos’ – interpreted by Bruneau as referring to Samaritans rather than Jews.[14] Flavius Josephus refers to a Jewish community on Delos in the time of Caesar—after the Mithradatic destruction—which makes it likely that there also was some Jewish community beforehand. There is no reason to assume that they came to do anything else than serving their commercial interests.

Finally, there is, of course, the building of the Poseidoniasts of Berytus, in the Quartier du Lac, close to the sanctuary of Apollo and the harbor. This building was, probably, acquired and restructures by the Poseidoniasts in 153/2 BC, and contained a shrine for their homeland gods. Interesting, however, is an inscription probably dating from about 110 BC speaking, explicitly of the τὸ κοινὸν Βηρυτίων Ποσειδωνιαστῶν ἐμπόρων καὶ ναυκλήρων καὶ ἐγδοχέων—the assembled traders, shippers and depot holders from Berytos.[15] This clearly is a trading community that had its own gathering spot within the town, and thus a central place to maintain the network. There also appears to be a trading community from Tyros, which is epigraphically attested in similar words, but without the connection to a gathering place.[16]

The evidence for communities of people from the Near east is thus abundant, but it is important to emphasize their function within Delian society: these were not networks that operated independently from Greeks and Romans. Rather, we see them in constant interaction: indeed, they served to form a bridge, as trading communities tend to do, between the homeland, the locals, and other trading communities.


The rich archaeological context of Delos is lacking in the other sites with evidence for Near Eastern trading communities. It is only rarely that we are able to understand the spatial context in which near eastern trading communities gathered. The example of Delos does, however, make clear that such places did not necessarily have a close relation to the port: it can literally be anywhere in the city.

For Puteoli, there is a significant amount of epigraphic evidence for trading communities from the Near East. Best known, and most frequently discussed in recent years, is the letter that the Tyrian community sent to their home city in AD 174.[17] This document attests not only the existence of a permanently residing foreign trading community in Puteoli over a longer period of time, but also gives a detailed sketch of the local and supra-local network ties that the community maintained. The originally numerous and wealthy community appears to have shrunk in the period preceding the letter and now is unable to pay the rent of its statio, and asks their home town to subsidize them, which then indeed seems to happen. Though the Tyrian community already existed for some time, ties with the homeland were still strong. Yet, there were also strong ties with the Tyrian community in the city of Rome—indeed, the first solution to the financial difficulties was to request the statio at Rome for a contribution, and Tyros itself only gets involved when the Tyrians in Rome refuse to pay any more. Besides ties with other Tyrians, the statio participates actively in community life in Puteoli—as follows from the fact that they seem to have invested considerably in the size and the embellishment of their statio—and thus in maintaining a prominent visual presence in the city.

The letter of the Tyrians from Puteoli shows, better than any other document, what a network from the East in the Roman west might look like, and it warns us against envisioning these networks in a bipolar way—they may often have been much more complex than that. Besides the Tyrians, there also was a Nabataean community in Puteoli, and remains of a sanctuary dedicated to their local gods have been found in the bay near modern Pozzuoli.[18] The location of the sanctuary was in the urban periphery, between Puteoli and Baia. The two most important inscriptions discovered on the site were in Nabataean, and list dates according to the Nabataean calendar. One of these texts—written on marble from Luni, so not imported—reveal that the sanctuary, dedicated to Dusares, the main figure in the Nabataean pantheon, was founded as early as 50 BC, and was restructured in AD 5. Another  refers to the sacrifice—real or symbolic—of two camels to the Nabataean king in AD 11. Though the dates differ a bit, the analogy with the Tyrians is clear: this was a long lasting community of permanent residents that remained closely related to the homeland. Whether the Nabataeans had, beyond this spatially marginal sanctuary, also had a more prominent statio in the city centre, like the Tyrians, is unclear, but it is not unlikely.

A third set of evidence pointing to foreign communities from the Near East consists of a number of inscriptions erected in honour of Iuppiter Heliopolitanus of Baalbek. Two inscriptions stand out in this respect. In the first place, there is an inscription erected during the reign of Trajan by a group of people from Berytus. Though the text does not mention an official association or a statio, the loose formula Berytenses qui Puteolis consistunt makes clear enough that there was, in the early second century, a permanent community of people from Berytus. Though Berytus had been a Roman colony for over a century at that point, the fact that many of the Berytenses at Puteoli were involved in the cult of Iuppiter Heliopolitanus suggests that they were not Romans, but Syrians. To the same god there is an—undated—dedication that refers to a Templum Geremellensium, and while it is unclear to which context Geremellenses refers specifically (it is a hapax), it has been assumed in the past, on linguistic grounds, that it at least refers to a group of people from some place in the Roman Near east.[19]

Beyond these three clusters of evidence, there are some isolated inscriptions apparently referring to people from Syria, in the widest sense of the word.[20] Taken together, all this evidence emphasizes how networks of traders from the Near East played a structural role in Puteoli’s cosmopolitan harbour community – at least from the mid first century BC until well into the second century, and perhaps even beyond that.  


The city of Rome, and its surrounding metropolitan area, obviously was a magnet for people from all parts of the empire, and perhaps beyond. This in fact causes a bit of a paradox: while it is to be expected, especially for the imperial period, that communities of people from many regions existed in the city, it is much less obvious that they also were part of supra-local trade networks: the critical mass of people with roots in a certain region may simply have been large enough for them to build a temple that has left remains in our epigraphic record. Thus, for the city of Rome, the sheer presence of communities from a certain region, or of certain oriental cults, is not in itself enough for the present purpose: people may have ended up in Rome as slaves, or after military service. The evidence has to be a bit more explicit.

It has already become clear that, in the second century, there was a statio of Tyrians in the city, and this provides a possible angle from which to look at things. There is more evidence for such stations in Rome—cities from Asia Minor like Ephesos, Tralles, and Sardes, had one, as did Tarsus and Mopsuestia in Cilicia.[21] An inscription dating to before the late second century refers to a combined statio  of traders from Tiberias Claudiopolis in Syria Palestina.[22] There may have been more stationes that have not left traces in our sources, but on the whole, the evidence for stationes related to cities in the Roman Near East is not really overwhelming.

Besides the stationes there are two other clusters of evidence that may be addressed. The first one is related to a number of inscriptions found in Trastevere with dedications to Palmyrene gods Baal, Iaribal and Malakhbal.[23] Most of these texts are bilingual, using either Greek or Roman in combination with Palmyrene.[24] Significantly, two inscriptions attest the construction of a ναος for the gods by a certain Heliodoros from Palmyra and a Gaius Licinius in 116 AD, suggesting that the amount of Palmyrenes residing in Rome at that point was structurally high enough to take the effort of building a temple for their gods.[25] While this in itself is not enough to argue for a trading community, the specific nature of Palmyra as a pivotal trading centre connecting the Roman world to Mesopotamia, the Arab Gulf, India and China makes it extremely likely that a considerable proportion of Palmyrenes in Rome were involved in trade.[26]

The second set of evidence, dating from the late second century onwards, concerns a sanctuary devoted to oriental gods discovered in the early twentieth century on the Janiculum.[27] Epigraphic evidence, a significant proportion of it in Greek, attests cults related to a number of gods, most prominently Jupiter Heliopolitanus, but also including Hadad, Atargatis, Iuppiter Maleciabrudes and Zeus Keraunios.[28] There is also evidence related to the Palmyrene gods Aglibel and Iarhibol.[29] While Noy, who discussed the sanctuary as part of his assessment on foreigners in Rome,  saw the it mainly as being used by ‘workers’ in the harbour area and Trastevere, more recent scholars, including De Romanis and Terpstra, have argued that the area seems to have maintained particularly close ties with Berytus and its surrounding region, suggesting the evidence might reflect the existence of some trading community.[30] This option should not be discarded, but as Terpstra rightly argues, the epigraphic evidence is very vague about the precise economic background of those involved in maintaining the sanctuary.[31]

Beyond Delos, Puteoli and Rome

Outside the three centers discussed so far, the evidence for networks of traders from the Near East is almost nonexistent, also in cities that are otherwise known as trading centers, perhaps with the possible exception of a fragmentarily preserved inscription from Malaca.[32] There is no evidence suggesting the existence of Near-Eastern trading communities in pivotal trading cities like Arles or Lugdunum; dedications to oriental gods are sporadic, and related to individuals, most of whom appear related to the army rather than to trade.[33] This does not prove, however, that traders from the Near East did not operate in the Roman west beyond Rome and Puteoli: a small number of inscriptions seems to attest people specifically referred to as traders. This might suggest a model in which, on a very small scale, traders from the Near East circulated in the Roman west. Yet, the evidence is not compelling. There is a funerary inscription from Messina on Sicily referring to a trader from Syrian Antioch who died there, but his presence in Messina may have been a coincidence—as it is on the route between Antioch and Rome.[34] A similar inscription from Brundisium refers to a shipper from Laodicea, but it is unclear whether it is referring to the one in Syria, and he may equally have been involved in trade between the Near East and central Italy.[35] Beyond central Italy, there only is an inscription referring to a negotians natione Suri from Salona, but there may be some relation with the army here.[36] There is a negotiator Laudecenarius in Lyon, but he has been associated mostly with Laodicea on the Lycus.[37] In fact, the only reasonably secure trader with roots the Roman Near East in the western half of the empire is the negotians Aurelius Philippus Syrus, son of Aurelius Samitus, whose epitaph was found in Volubilis.[38]

This scarcity of evidence seems to point to a situation in which it was highly exceptional for people from the Near East to operate, on a structural basis, in the Roman West beyond Puteoli and Rome. Remarkably, and significantly, this also seems to hold true for Ostia and Portus, where no evidence for trading communities from the Near East has been found. Indeed, the stationes of the Piazzale Corporazioni are all related to naviculari from the Roman west, with the exception of Alexandria;[39] Noy’s identification of a statio of Gaza on the basis of a third century dedication at Portus is unconvincing.[40] Whatever trade took place between the Near East and the Roman metropolis may easily have passed through Portus and Ostia without going through any trading procedure.

The point about this scarcity of evidence beyond Delos, Puteoli and Rome lies in what it says about the nature of the trade: this consisted primarily of luxury goods. None of the regions of the Roman Middle East produced agricultural products on a scale warranting structural export on a large scale, while there was a consistent flow of luxury goods reaching the harbors of the region through trans-desert trade routes. For these goods, there simply was very little structural demand from people who did not belong to the higher echelons of the Roman elite—who were, to a considerable extent, clustered around Rome and the bay of Naples. Any demand from individuals living further away was perhaps most efficiently met by secondary traders who had no personal roots in the Roman Near East, or by itinerant traders based in Rome and the Bay of Naples.


Yet, as emphasized in the introduction, the agenda of this paper was not only with sketching the dynamics of the system in its most developed form, but also its historical development. This involves zooming in on two issues: the shift, in the first century BC, of the trade network from Delos to Puteoli, and a possible second shift from Puteoli to Rome in the late first or early second century AD.

As to the first shift, there is no real doubt about whether it happened—Delos simply disappears from the scene after the events of 88 BC and 69 BC, and the evidence from Puteoli suggests that there were no Near Eastern trading communities before the mid first century BC. The question is when the shift took place. In this respect, it is relevant to note that the sanctuary of the Syrian gods at Delos contained not a single dedication post-dating the Mithradatean attack. The same is true for the building of the Poseidoniasts of Berytus. This could suggest that trade route between the Near East and Italy were quickly rearranged in 88 BC, and never returned to Delos afterwards. This makes sense: Delos was the place where trade connections between Rome and the Near East were first established on a structural scale, but the disadvantage of this indirect route in terms of transaction costs and transport times was obvious. The attack by Mithradates, in which the Italian community on Delos was basically wiped out, may simply have been the push needed for the entire network to switch to a state that was more efficient anyway.

The chronological distinction between Puteoli and Rome is much less clear-cut. It has often been emphasized that the construction of the Claudian and Trajanic harbours in Portus completely changed the economic geography of the region, and marked the beginning of the end for Puteoli. This is undoubtedly true as far as the Egyptian grain fleet is concerned, but it must be emphasized that this is not necessarily also true for the trade with the Near East. Indeed, there is no clear chronological distinction visible in our evidence, and it is worth noting that Tyrus had a statio in both places at the same time. Moreover, the fact that there appears to have been a thriving competition at Puteoli between stationes of various places as late as 174 AD should warn us against too pessimistic a view on the Puteolean economy after the upgrade of the Roman harbor system. At the same time, there is no compelling reason to exclude the presence of Near Eastern trading communities in Rome before the late first century AD. Rather than harbor facilities, which are more important to the transport of bulk goods than they are to that of luxury goods, it is the location of the customer base that is important: the Roman elite was to be found around the Bay of Naples as well as in Rome and its direct environment. From early on, it therefore made sense for Near eastern trading communities to have a presence in both key markets, as indeed the Tyrians seem to have done. The development that may have tilted the balance in favour of Rome this is not the construction of a harbor in Portus, but the gradual disappearance of the imperial elite from the Bay of Naples. This may have happened in the course of the second century, or perhaps rather from the AD 79 eruption onwards, but it is likely to have been a much slower development than the sudden shift away from Delos in 88 BC.

In conclusion, while recent literature has emphasized the role to be played by trading communities, it has paid less attention to the historical development and to the limits of the phenomenon. The present paper has attempted to address this issue to some extent. The late republican and imperial periods saw the development, and flourishing, of networks of the east in the Roman west, but only to a relatively limited extent: large permanent Near Eastern trading communities outside of Puteoli and Rome probably did not exist. Things may have been different in the Eastern Mediterranean, and especially in Alexandria, but that has not been part of the present analysis, and it does not take away anything from the more fundamental point that is to be emphasized here, namely that, however abundant the evidence from Imperial Italy is, there are limits to the role played by ‘trading communities’ in the economy of the Roman world: in centers of demand or trade, a complex system of trading diasporas, from a variety of origins, could emerge, and the Near East played its part in it, but outside those centers, things were different, especially for groups of traders who relied on luxury trade goods rather than everyday products.

Paper presented at an expert meeting in Voss organized by Eivind Heldaas Seeland (Bergen University), September 26, 2013.

[1] Tran - presentations at several conferences not yet published. Broekaert 2013.

[2] CIL 3, 1353 and 1353 (Vetel, Romania); 3462 (Budapest); 11137-11138 (Carnuntum); CIL 8, 2627 and 2628 (Lambaesis); CIL 12, 3072 (Nîmes); CIL 13, 6658 (Zellhausen, Germany); InscrAq. 1, 261 (Aquileia).

[3] CIL 2, 830, (Plasencia, Spain).

[4] SEG 57, 995.

[5] Terpstra 2013; Verboven 2011.

[6] Steuernagel 2004.

[7] Noy 2000.

[8] Hatzfeld 1919; Young 2001.Cf. Thorley 1969.

[9] See esp. Terpstra 2013, 3, on not including Delos in the analysis. Cf. Verboven 2011, 338.

[10] On the history of the sanctuary and its community of users see Will and Schmid 1985, 139-143.

[11] Plassart 1928, 311.

[12] Plassart 1928, 263-269 (Hadramaut, Sidon); 279 (Iamneia in Palestine); 285-289 (Ascalon); 289-293 (Ba’al).

[13] Plassart (1913) claimed to have found a synagogue; this interpretation was rejected by Mazur (1935), but reinstated by Bruneau (1982). A thorough study of the material remains of the building led Trümper (2004) to embrace this view, but it was rejected, again, by Matassa (2007).

[14] SEG 32, 809 and 801: ‘οἱ ἐν Δήλῳ Ἰσραελεῖται’. Bruneau 1982, 467-475.

[15] ID 1774.

[16] ID 1519.

[17] IG 14, 830. See esp. Terpstra 2013, Verboven 2011.

[18] Steuernagel 1999, 162; fig. 1 nr. 12. The location is between Pozzuoli and Baia, just west of the now defunct, train factory Sofer.

[19] Already noted by Gildemeister 1869, 153. Cf. Dessau, ILS 4290.

[20] E.g. CIL 10, 1975, 1979, 1984, 1985.

[21] Cf. Noy 2000, 160-164.

[22] IGUR I, 82: στατίων [Τιβε]ριέων τῶν καὶ Κλ[α]υδιοπολιτῶν ∙  Συρίᾳ Παλε̣[σ]τείνῃ [․․․]ε̣μονι[․․]ς̣ τῇ πατρίδι, dated before 194 AD. Cf. IGUR I, 83, from the same location: Ἰσμῆνος ∙ Ἰωήνου υἱὸς Τ̣ι̣β̣εριεὺς ∙ τῇ ∙ στατίωνι.

[23] Terpstra 2013, 157-159. Noy 2000, 242-244; Savage 1940, 52-54.

[24] E.g. IGUR 1, 117-119.

[25] IGUR 117-118.

[26] See for Palmyra as a trading centre and its ties with cities in Mesopotamia and beyond e.g. Matthews 1984, 164-166.

[27] Clermont-Ganneau 1907; Darier and Nicole 1909; Gauckler 1909; Savage 1940, 44-52.

[28] Hadad: IGUR 1, 110 (cf. Noy 2000, 240); Iuppiter Maleciabrudes: CIL 6, 36792; Zeus Keraunios: IGUR 1, 111.

[29] Noy 2000, 240;

[30] De Romanis 2008; Terpstra 2013, 162-3.

[31] Terpstra 2013, 163-4.

[32] IG XIV 2540; the reading of Verboven (2011, 338) that the text refers to a collegium of Asian and Syrian traders is not compelling.

[33] See the overview by Moore 1907.

[34] IG XIV 19: Οὔλπιος Νικήφορος Ἀ<ν>τιοχεὺς Κοίλης Συρίας τῆς πρὸς Δάφνην, ἔμπορος τυχαίων(?) ἐνθάδε [—]․․ΙΗΓΑΠΟΑΙΘΑϹ

[35] SEG 48, 1260b: Φαρίων Θεοδώρου Λαδικεὺς ναύκληρος vv ἔζη(σε) ἔτη οʹ.

[36] CIL 3, 2006:  T(ito) Aureli(o) / Apollo/nio fra/tri eius / |(centurioni) coh(ortis) I |(milliariae) / def(uncto) Sirmi / ann(orum) XXXIII / Aur(elius) Aqu/ila pater / infeliciss/imus vivu/s fecit et // Aureli / Elavi neg/otiantis / natione / Suri / defunc/to ann/orum LV / Sirmi / et [Au]r(elio) Luciano def(uncto) an[n(orum) 3] / amico eor(um) mer[enti]

[37] CIL 13, 2003:  [D(is) M(anibus)] et / [memoriae] aetern(ae) / Iul(i) Verecundi neg(otiatoris) / Ladcenarii(!) et Iulior/um Verissimi et Ver/ecundi filiorum / eius Aurelia Aquinia(?) / coniugi fili(i)sque / carissimis cum qu/o vixit ann(os) XXII m(enses) V / sne ulla animi / laesione p(onendum) c(uravit) et s/ub ascia dedic/avit. Cf. Reddé 1977.

[38] AE 1942/3 21:  D(is) M(anibus)] s(acrum) / [Aure]l(ius)] Phili/[pp]us Syrus / negotians / Aur(eli) Samiti / Maximi fil(ius) / vix(it) ann(os) XL poss(uerunt) / fratres piis(simi). Cf. IAM 2, 2, 543, where (probably) the same Aurelius Samitus is mentioned.

[39] CIL 14, 4549.

[40] I.Portus.5 (238-244 AD). The inscription refers to ‘ἡ πόλις ἡ τῶν Γαζαίων ἱερὰ καὶ ἄσυλος καὶ αὐτόνομος’, so to the city itself rather than to a permanently established trading community. Moreover, even if it would refer to a permanent trading community, this may also have been situated in Rome rather than in Portus itself.





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