Alexandra von Lieven
Trade Contacts and Cultural Exchange between Egypt and India in the Ptolemaic and Roman Period
Abstract When speaking about Egypt’s cultural contacts, only the nearest Mediterranean, African and Near Eastern civilizations are usually taken into account. However, during the Greco-Roman period, Egypt also had direct contact with Ancient India via the Red Sea trade. While this fact is in principle well known, these contacts are usually seen as relating to Greco-Roman trade. However, this trade was physically conducted via Egypt and consequently generated a cultural exchange between Egypt and India, a fact which has not yet elicited much study. This is perhaps due to the fact that specialists in Ancient History did not have a particular interest in Egypt, while Egyptologists were for a long time not interested in the later epochs, believing that
Egyptian culture had long since declined by then. As recent research has shown that Ancient Egyptian culture was alive and thriving until well into the Roman period, this question now needs to be re-evaluated.