... Jerusalem ... 22 Just as the new earth and the new heavens will endure by my power, so your descendants and your name will endure ... Isaiah 66 (GNT), 18 ... Jerusalem will be rebuilt, and its PALACE restored. Jeremiah 30:18 (GNT)


Israel's boarders through ages:kingdoms and empires, maps part 1 of 7 - Trade

Trade routes

Several routes - a network of a series of pathways and stoppages either by land or sea used for transportation of goods and people connecting markets and nations - for trade went over the Mediterranean Sea through Mediterranean ports inland as far as the Far East and North Africa.

One of the many goods traded over ancient trade routes was Lapis Lazuli. Its obtained from a deep blue coloured semi-precious stone acquired through mining in Afghanistan as early as the 7th millennium BCE. Afghanistan was the source of Lapis Lazuli for the ancient Egyptians, the civilizations of ancient Mesopotamia, and later for the Greeks and Romans. It was used to obtain different shades of blue in the ancient world including ancient Mesopotamia. This blue was not that of sapphire. Because scholars agree that sapphires were not known before the Roman Empire, that imported sapphires from Sri Lanka - maintained close ties to European civilizations, including the Romans - to be used in their jewelery. 
Lapis Lazuli, source: Wikipedia
Lapis Lazuli has been exported to the Mediterranean peoples and South Asia, and was used in for instance ancient Canaan, in Egypt as eye-shadow, for ornaments and jewelery In Mesopotamia the Akkadians, Assyrians and Babylonians used it for seals and jewelery and in our current era at the end of the Middle Ages it began to be exported to Europe where it was made into the most finest and expensive ultramarine pigment. Today mines in north-east Afghanistan are still a major source of Lapis Lazuli.

This colour - symbol of divinity to Jews - is mentioned in biblical scripture, for instance Ezekiel 28:12-14 and Exodus 24:9-11 (NIV),
9 Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel went up 10 and saw the God of Israel. Under his feet was something like a pavement made of lapis lazuli, as bright blue as the sky. 11 But God did not raise his hand against these leaders of the Israelites; they saw God, and they ate and drank. 12 The Lord said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain and stay here, and I will give you the tablets of stone with the law and commandments I have written for their instruction.”

Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea which is surrounded by the Mediterranean region and connects to the Atlantic Ocean was an important central route of transport for travellers and merchants in ancient times, allowing trade trade and cultural exchange between the peoples of the region which contributed to the development of many ancient civilizations into the modern societies of today. The trade encompassed three continents, being Southern Europe, North Africa with Egypt playing an important role and Western Asia from the Near – Middle East - to the Far East.

One of the notable ancient peoples whom were known for their excellent seafare were the people of Northern Canaan, also called by others the Phoenicians.

Phoenician trade, source: Wikipedia

They had an extended commercial network over the Mediterranean Sea heaving their base on the east shore of the Mediterranean Sea in Sidon, Byblos and Tyre.

In ancient times west-east canals were build to facilitate travel through the Nile in Egypt to the Red Sea. Much later the Sea. Suez Canal - a man-made 10 year project, opened in 1869 - connects the Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea providing a short-cut route enabling sea fare to Asia.

There were several well traveled trade routes in the Middle East, which shows the importance of this region for trade in the past. For instance the ancient Via Maris as early as the Bronze Age, Silk Road and the incense route between the 7th century BCE to the 2nd century CE.

Ancient trade routes Midle East, Via Maris, source: Wikipedia

Via Maris
Via Maris – the way of the sea – is modern name for an ancient major trade route that linked Egypt with the northern empires of Syria, Anatolia – in modern-day Turkey – and Mesopotamia. The route dates from early Bronze Age, from 3600 to 1200 BCE in the Middle East. It was crossed by other trading routes, in such way that it was possible to travel from Africa to Europe or from Asia to Africa. It was also in use by the Romans and the Crusaders. The state in control of the route was in the position to insure safe passage for its own citizens and to impose tolls on outsiders using the route for either commercial trade or non-commercial travellers

Its name in ancient times was the Way of the Philistines, with a passageway through the Philisine Plain – modern-day Israel – branching out further into two ways. One running along the Mediterranean coast and the other an inland route through Megiddo, the Jezreel Valley, the Sea of Galilee, from where the road continued through Hazor, Dan and further to cross the river Jordan, to go over the Golan Hights and continued its way north-east into Damascus. Travelers could continue over other routes to the Euphrates River or proceed northward into Anatolia.

The name Via Maris seems to be based on a biblical – the Vulgate bible, Latin translation – passage, Matthew 4:15 (NIV),
15 “Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles. [also Isaiah 9:1]

Silk Road
Silk Road was a trade route of the ancient world that extended about 6,437 kilometres, which linked the West and the East by land and sea. It got its name from the lucrative Chinese silk trade (206 BCE – 220 CE) – during the Iron Age - that began during the Han Dynasty. And besides silk many other goods were traded, such as precious gems - Egypt was also a source of gems - incense, Lapis Lazuli and much more. 

Silk Road, source: WikipediaThere was also an exchange of various technologies - such as the art of Chinese paper-making - religions and philosophies amongst the peoples along this route. But, merchants also took diseases along with them on the Silk Road, the most devastating one was the bubonic plague or Black Death that was transferred from the East to the West, which caused the deaths of fifty million people world wide including one third of the European population at that time.

Incense route
The ancient incense route was a major land and sea trading routes linking the Mediterranean world with Eastern and Southern lands that provided luxury goods. The incense route stretched from the Mediterranean ports across the Land of Israel and Egypt through north-eastern Africa and Arabia to India and beyond.

Traded goods were spices, incense, precious stones, pearls, ebony, silk and fine textiles, Arabian frankincense and myrrh, and from the Horn of Africa – modern-day Eritrea, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Somalia - rare woods, feathers, animal skins and gold. With Saudi Arabian's incense land trade flourishing roughly between the 7th century BCE to the 2nd century CE.

Many travellers and merchants went through these routes, one of which being the Jewish Radhanites.

Author: © Mrs A. vd Laan-LeitoPosted in: History