This paper seeks to redefine scholarly understanding of the roles and functions of emporoi and nauklçroi within the mechanisms for interregional trade. From the late 1930s onwards, it has become widely accepted that both emporoi and nauklçroi were primarily traders whose main source of income was generated by selling or exchanging commodities for profit and that the primary difference between these two occupational groups was that nauklçroi were merchants who were affluent enough to own their own vessel, whilst emporoi were merchants who chartered transport space from a third party. However, an analysis of the usage of the terms offers little support to this conclusion; rather, it provides compelling evidence that the distinction between these two occupational groups was far more substantial. This article will therefore challenge previous scholarship on two counts: firstly, that there were only slight differences in the commercial functions of emporoi and nauklçroi and, secondly, that ownership of a vessel was a factor which the Greeks used to distinguish between them. Instead, it will argue that a more reliable way of distinguishing between these two groups is according to the differing roles they fulfilled within the mechanisms of inter-regional exchange. It will therefore be
Journal of Ancient History – de Gruyter
Published: Dec 1, 2015
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