Pliny, Petra and the Aromatics Trade
Andrew Smith [+]
George Washington University
This paper provides a survey of the overland trade in frankincense and myrrh that passed through Nabataean and Roman Arabia, with special attention given to the various trade routes that converged on Petra from the south and those west of Petra that crossed the Wadi Araba. This includes the renowned Incense Route that linked Petra with Gaza as the Roman author Pliny describes. The opportunity will be taken here to summarize what we know about the regional trade patterns associated with Petra as well as to present new evidence derived from recent archaeological fieldwork in the central Wadi Araba. The focus will be on assessing Pliny’s account of the Incense Route with the available geographical, historical, and archaeological evidence.