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The Frontiers of Society, Science and Technology, 2021, 3(1); doi: 10.25236/FSST.2021.030112.

Purple empowerment --The political skills of Roman merchants over the Indian Ocean trade


Nan Zeng

Corresponding Author:
Nan Zeng

College of Art, Xiamen University, Xiamen, 361005, China


Periplus leave numbers of the Roman empire trade records in the Indian Ocean. This paper mainly takes the transaction items of the purple clothes from Periplus as the entry point. Purple clothes are luxury goods with expensive value and hierarchical significance. The luxury purple clothing is usually sold along the Mediterranean coast but appears in the Indian Ocean market. Through the location and trade route of purple clothing in the Indian Ocean trading market, this paper reanalyzes the new diplomatic mode that the Roman Empire may carry out in the Indian Ocean, namely the local King obtains the authorization of the Roman Empire through purple clothes. If purple clothing is not only a luxury, but also a symbol of imperial power, then its presence in Indian Ocean trade will have political influence, not only as a diplomatic gift, but also as a potentially authorized item. It also reflects the different forms of expansion of the Roman Empire in the Indian Ocean.


Purple clothes, Indian Ocean, Roman, Periplus

Cite This Paper

Nan Zeng. Purple empowerment --The political skills of Roman merchants over the Indian Ocean trade. The Frontiers of Society, Science and Technology (2021) Vol. 3, Issue 1: 79-82. https://doi.org/10.25236/FSST.2021.030112.


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