How were relations between Carthage and Ptolemaic Egypt?

#21
Thanks! You just slapped me upside the head.

It didn't sound right to me that Egyptian wheat only became important to Rome in ACE ... but you are absolutely correct. Egypt became the most important single source for Roman wheat in ACE. I'm having difficulty finding out where their wheat went in BCE.

It looks like there was a major switchover from barley to wheat in Ptolemaic times to address "foreign" markets, but I can only guess Greece, Cyprus, & the Middle East? Any help here?
African grain also continued to be important. Thus, whenever Roman emperors suffered a usurpation or rebellion in Africa, e.g. Domitius Alexander and Gildo, they dealt with the issue quickly.
 

Ichon

Ad Honorem
Mar 2013
3,453
#22
I'm having difficulty finding out where their wheat went in BCE.

It looks like there was a major switchover from barley to wheat in Ptolemaic times to address "foreign" markets, but I can only guess Greece, Cyprus, & the Middle East? Any help here?
Barley was used primarily for the production of beer once emmer was well established since barely lacks gluten it is mostly unleavened bread while emmer/wheat can make leavened bread that rises and tastes better. More importantly, emmer stores better than barley and can last over a decade in good storage conditions whereas barely is usually going to be stored for a year or less.

Egypt with well-maintained canals and floods tended to produce multiple crops of grain per year and prior to Roman rule the surplus went to granaries, the Pharaoh, and the temple priests. The Pharaoh used mostly a combination of grain and gold to fund overseas 'gift' trade while the temple priests were free to trade goods produced on temple lands overseas.

The largest importers of Egyptian grain prior to Rome were probably Greece and Syria with a couple very important Greek colonies established in Egypt long before Alexander's conquest. There are so many Egyptian items in several sites in Syria it was a common theory for quite a while that Egypt had colonies there but now it is mostly accepted these goods were accumulated via continuous trade with Egypt. Greece primarily exported silver and olive oil to Egypt where Egypt valued gold, copper, and silver less than most other places (they had values but were not used in coinage or directly saved in some treasury).

The decline of wheat production in Egypt is more likely to have been caused by Roman preference for wine and similar to what occurred in Italy- grape plantations supplanted fields of grain because wine commanded a higher market price. Egypt still had surplus grain but converted some areas of production to grapes for wine worth more in Roman culture than beer.
 
Oct 2016
888
Merryland
#23
That's a rather strange thing to say. The New Kingdom expanded into the near east repeatedly and hard. The Persians seem to have had a great deal of trouble in subduing Egypt and never really managed it. The Ptolemies were a huge power and constantly at war with the Seleucid. Egypt was one of the most important Roman provinces, and Alexandria its 3rd or 4th largest city.
I'm not familiar with an Egyptian presence in the near East. geography tended to restrict Egypt to the Nile areas.
the Ptolemies were a major force but I don't know of any expansionism. IIRC the levant (East shore of the Mediterranean) was originally assigned to Ptolemy but the Seleucids took it from them. Egypt was a major province, but still just a province subject to Rome.

interesting section in the Bible about the global marketplace in ancient times in the 27th chapter of Ezekiel

"Tarshish was your merchant because of your many luxury goods. They gave you silver, iron, tin, and lead for your goods.

"Javan, Tubal, and Meshech were your traders. They bartered human lives and vessels of bronze for your merchandise.

"Those from the house of Togarmah traded for your wares with horses, steeds, and mules.

"The men of Dedan were your traders; many isles were the market of your hand. They brought you ivory tusks and ebony as payment.

"Syria was your merchant because of the abundance of goods you made. They gave you for your wares emeralds, purple, embroidery, fine linen, corals, and rubies.

"Judah and the land of Israel were your traders. They traded for your merchandise wheat of Minnith, millet, honey, oil, and balm."

that's just a part of the section.
must admit not sure the modern names of some of these places
 
#25
I'm not familiar with an Egyptian presence in the near East. geography tended to restrict Egypt to the Nile areas.
the Ptolemies were a major force but I don't know of any expansionism. IIRC the levant (East shore of the Mediterranean) was originally assigned to Ptolemy but the Seleucids took it from them. Egypt was a major province, but still just a province subject to Rome.
As Olleus mentioned, both the New Kingdom and the Ptolemaic empire were expansionist. The New Kingdom conquered Nubia and much of the Near East. Two of the earliest known accounts of battles in history refer to Egyptian campaigns of expansion in the Near East (Megiddo, Qadesh). Thutmose III was especially expansionist.

As for the Ptolemies, they repeatedly fought the Seleucids over possessions in the Near East. Outside of Egypt they controlled Palestine, Coele-Syria, Cyprus, parts of southern Anatolia and Cyrenaica. They also regularly intervened politically and militarily in Greece and the Aegean. Their navy was the most powerful in the eastern Mediterranean and attested to their world-player status.

Egypt was indeed a province under Rome, but I think it worth me emphasizing just how important it was. It was by far the largest bread-basket for the empire, and it was also via ports in Egypt that Rome engaged in the Red Sea/East African/South Arabian trade networks. Losing Egypt to a usurper or Persia was a massive deal. Even local rebellions were given special attention. It is notable that, when the cities of Coptos and Boresis, in the Thebaid, revolted against Rome in 293, the Caesar Galerius personally retook the cities. These places were important for the Red Sea Trade, and this was presumably a factor behind his personal intervention and why it would have been a great propaganda move on Galerius' part. It is also notable that the Prefect of Egypt was among the most prestigious men in the empire. Only him, the Praetorian Prefect(s) and the Prefect of the Grain received the title 'Most Eminent', which was the most prestigious title that could be taken by an equestrian.
 
Mar 2018
478
UK
#26
Diocletian said it better than I could have done. I'd like to add that, once the empire was divided into west/east, Egypt lost *some* of it's important as a grain basket. It supplied Constantinople with grain, but Rome itself was more fed from Carthage and that part of the North African coast.

As for Egypt, it was mostly confined to the Nile *until* the New Kingdom. At that point it definitely wasn't.
 
#27
Diocletian said it better than I could have done. I'd like to add that, once the empire was divided into west/east, Egypt lost *some* of it's important as a grain basket. It supplied Constantinople with grain, but Rome itself was more fed from Carthage and that part of the North African coast.
This makes clear just how risky things became when the Vandals took North Africa.