Imperial Rome, Indian Ocean Regions and Muziris: Recent Researches and New Perspectives on Maritime trade
Date: 8-12 September 2013
Venue: Azhikode near Pattanam, Kerala. India

     India was connected with the Mediterranean ports through different trade routes like the ancient silk routes and sea-route during the Hellenistic and Roman periods though none of these routes was direct .Commerce between Alexandria and the ports of Indian Ocean regions intensified after the Roman annexation of Egypt in 30 B.C. Myos Hormos, Quseir al-Qadim or the ancient Leukos Limen, and Berenice on the Red Sea regions were important centres in the trade route that connected Barygaza on the Gujarat coast and Muzirs,on the Malabar coast, rival to Barygaza with Alexandria. Arikamedu and Alagankulam on the Coromandel coast and Mantai on the Sri Lankan coast were the other important centres of trade with Rome. Presence of Indian merchants in Red Sea regions and even Alexandria during the heydays of Roman empire has been proved in the light of archaeological excavations in Quseir al-Qadim and Berenice and the discovery of Vienna Papyrus. It is generally proved that the first centry A.D. was the peak period of Indo-Roman trade though there are indications that the trade was in existence in the first century B.C. It is further asserted that contacts between western India and the lands to its west and north could have been made via inland routes, the early contacts between Coromandel coast and the Mediterranean could have been made only by sea routes.

     The details of Indo-Roman maritime trade have been studied chiefly based on classical literary sources like those of Strabo , Periplus Maris Maris Erythraei and so on. The works of E.H. Warmington, The Commerce between the Roman Empire and India and of M.G.Raschke, “New Studies in Roman Commerce with the East” come under this category. The findings of the of the excavations conducted by scholars like Mortimer Wheeler,Vimala Begley, L.Casson, Steven E.Sidebotham, Kathleen Warner Slane, John Carswell Elizabeth Lyding Will, Howard Comfort, L.Blue, and J.M. Casal bring out material evidences showing Roman contacts with India. A joint reading of classical literary sources, the evidences unearthed through of excavations conducted in various sites in the Indian Ocean regions and the recent researches on the Indo-Roman trade under new perspectives will shed considerable light on the ancient maritime trade of India.

     The findings brought out by the excavations conducted in the lower Periyar basin on the Malabar coast and especially in Pattanam and its hypothetical identification with the Muziris of Periplus Maris Erythraei and the Sangam Literature can be discussed against the backdrop of the Roman trade with Indian Ocean Regions.

     Therefore, IRISH through its branch in Azhikode near Pattinam proposes to organise an international seminar with the participation of eminent scholars from various institutions higher education in India like those from the M.S. University of Baroda, Postgraduate and research centre of Deccan college, Pondicherry Central University, Tamil University Thanjavoor, K.C. H.R , Kerala Circle of Archaeological Survey of India , Department of Archaeology, Govt.of Kerala have shown keen interest in this academic venture. Scholars from U.S.A, France, Italy, Russia, U.K., Thailand, and Sri Lanka who worked in this area have consented to present research papers and participate in the discussions.

     Professors K.Rajan from the Pondicherry Central University and Krishnan Nambuthiri from the M.S. University of Baroda along with Dr. Shajan K. Paul and Dr V..Selvakumar have agreed to take lead in the academic co-ordination of this event in view of their expertise in the field.

     The seminar is proposed to be inaugurated in the afternoon of 8 September 2013 and will come to an end by the valedictory session in the evening of 11September 2013.
Those who are interested in the seminar may register name using the registration form available in “Downloads”.

     Contact ksmtry@hotmail.com in this connection.Tele. 91-9447087076