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Roman Trade Routes

Goods were continually transported throughout the Roman Empire. TheMap Roman Trade Routes most effective way to transport goods was by sea. The type of ship commonly used by the Romans was known as a Corbitas. It is described as "a round-hulled ship with curving prow and stern. Depending on its size, it could carry cargo weighing between 70 and 350 ton" (Snedden 1998, pg. 41). Ships could carry as many as six hundred passengers or six thousdand amphorae (clay jars) of wine, oil, or other liquids. Ships transported more goods in a shorter amount of time than could be moved overland. It took only two to three weeks by ship to go from Egypt to Rome. In order to increase the effectiveness of shipping, the Romans developed deep harbors at key locations. One of the largest harbors was at Ostia, about 15 miles from Rome on the Mediterranean Coast. In A.D. 50, a lighthouse was set up at Ostia to guide sailors. At its peak, Rome set up lighthouses in forty different locations to aid sailors. Pompey the Great promised the senate that the pirate threat on the Mediterranean Sea would be eliminated. When the threat was removed, Rome was able to get its much needed grain shipments for its citizens.

16-21 days Alexandria to Ostia
9-10 days Alexandria to Antichia
10-12 days Byzantium to Gaza
3-5 Days Ostia to Carthago
9-10 days Ostia to Gades
20 days Rome to Caesaria







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