Comparison between Egyptian and Roman Domestic trade
|Criteria||Egyptian Domestic Trade||Roman Domestic Trade|
|Economic Importance||- The needs of the farming population were basic, grain for baking bread, dried fish, vegetables, linen for a simple loincloth and mud bricks for houses .
- Food and flax was self grown, mud was found at the nearby river bank.
- Surplus was exchanged
|- . Romans were businessmen and the longevity of their empire was due to their commercial trade, which was the engine that drove the economy
- The population of the city of Rome was one million and such a population required vast domestic trade activities.
- By trading goods Roman citizens raised their standard of living and were able to acquire luxuries
|Money||- Trade was done by barter, a reasonably efficient method when mostly basic necessities were exchanged,
- Coins were not used until the Ptolemaic Period
|- A market economy based on coinage
- Roman coins were a fairly standard and stable currency, which facilitated the trade
|Merchants||- Small scale commerce was often in the hands of farmers or their wives. They sold mostly grain, fruit, vegetables, fowl and cattle but also processed products like oil, beer, wine, bread and linen.
- No professional class of merchants existed in ancient Egypt
|- Roman free citizens held shops and taverns at markets and worked as merchants, while the slaves did most of the hard work. The slaves were themselves also the subject of commercial transactions.
- The Romans knew two types of businessmen, the negotiatores and the mercatores.
- The negotiatores were bankers who lent money on interest, bought and sold staples in bulk or did commerce in wholesale quantities of goods. The mercatores were ordinary retail merchants.
- Merchants kept strict books, or tabulae, which were considered as legal proof by the courts.
|Marketplaces||- These limited economic activities took place in open-air temporary markets, in small villages.||- The Roman Forum was the market which offered general goods in main cities
- Other large markets specialized in specific goods such as cattle, vegetables and slaves
- The small retail units were the tabernae, established in residential and public buildings, These sold a variety of agricultural and industrial products like wheat, bread, wine and jewelry
- Foreign Commerce was limited to official state expeditions set up for the purpose of exchanging luxury goods and commodities.
|Commerce within the vast empire was vital, using a network of routes. Sea commerce was
achieved by vast Roman commercial fleets, and a developed infrastructure of harbors, moles, warehouses and lighthouses
- The Roman Empire also traded with the Chinese over the Silk Road.