Relationships between East and West have always fascinated historians of Greece and Rome, whether ancient or modern. Roman trade with India, which took off massively in the first century CE and continued actively over several centuries, proved immensely alluring and profitable to ancient Roman investors, bankers and merchant-mariners but disturbing to moralists, who viewed the haemorrhage of Western wealth to the East with deep foreboding.Modern Euro-centric scholarship has until the recent past been preoccupied with Greco-Roman sources and the problems they posed. But in the last few decades Indian archaeology, literature and history have added new dimensions and stimulated radical reappraisals of the routes to India and Sri Lanka, the trading networks in both the Indian and Roman world and the impact of such trade on the Roman and Indian economies.
This book collects and translates into English some of the studies that have been recently published by French and Italian scholars. It also includes a specially contributed overview by the eminent Indian historian Romila Thapar that demonstrates how far the ethnocentric vision of Indo-Roman history has shifted. The intention is to open up European scholarship to Indian scholars and encourage the ongoing dialogue between scholars on both sides of the Indian Ocean.