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  • 1 Research Institute for Linguistics, Hungarian Academy of Sciences H-1068 Budapest, Benczúr u. 33, Hungary
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The paper throws fresh light on an important aspect of Augustus' Oriental policy. It is a reassessment of his attitude towards the role the South-Arabian States played in the East-West trade circuit on the one hand, and of his attempts to develop an independent Roman seaborne trade with India on the other. In order to understand the perspective of this undertaking, one has to analyse the far-reaching changes which took place in South Arabia just at that time. The earlier “caravan-kingdoms” had been in a state of decline and have gradually been replaced by the rule of tribal confederations and States of the Highlands. Aelius Gallus' campaign was a total failure showing that the Roman Oriental trade should not be based on military conquest and on a rather expensive direct control of the middlemen.

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