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AI Economy in Antiquity 19 - Caravans on the Roads and Traders in the Days

The Land of Israel after the Holocaust became an exporter of products throughout the Roman Empire and beyond, among other things as a way to recover economically from the upheaval caused by the destruction of the Temple

A mosaic from the Roman period discovered in Lod depicts maritime trade. Photo: shutterstock
A mosaic from the Roman period discovered in Lod depicts maritime trade. Photo: shutterstock

Shaira - this Talmudic term refers to a caravan of merchants in Judea and beyond, when next to it appears the "Orha" and sometimes "Pragmatia" (the term for the customer from the Greek and its concern is goods/trade), such as Rival indicating a special blessing for those (merchants) "who go to Pragmatia" " (Jerusalem Talmud, Megillah, chapter XNUMX Eg, p. XNUMX): "...but sailors of the seas (harriers and sailors) and desert walkers (merchants in caravans and desert routes) recite in their own way (the blessings and laws in the tractate Megillah) on the fourteenth (of the month)." That is, to allow merchants to be absent from the Land of Israel for a long period of time and yet pray as if they were in the Land, when it comes to one of the many reliefs formulated by the members of the Sanhedrin Amal in order to facilitate the commercial-economic activity of the merchants of the Land of Israel and Spain.

Another reference by Chazal relates to "Sheira, who served in the valley and the kipfu with camels and saddles and saddles and sacks and reeds and drains, even three ropes one above the other, movable into it, provided that there should not be between a camel and a camel like a full camel... and between a reed and its mate three taps, so that the goat would enter" ( Tosefta Eruvin 1 (XNUMX) XNUMX). Permits such as those from the Sages were intended to make life easier for guests and caravans, and even in terms of cause and effect, they were retroactive permits to legitimize existing, common phenomena. Another permit, dramatic and groundbreaking, concerns the Butana fair, which was forbidden due to the dire consequences of the Ben Khosva rebellion. The prohibition applies to the individual but not to the shiira
(This is how it was spelled in the original), "... since a caravan road goes everywhere (Yerushalmi Talmud, Avoda Zerah, chapter XNUMX, lat. p. XNUMX).

It should be noted that the abundance of evidence on the guard towers and security on the roads naturally encouraged the proper and safe conduct of the various types of convoys on the roads. Also, the term "the custom of those who walk in Sheira" (Tosefta Baba Metzia 13, XNUMX) may allude to the existence of professional associations of merchants as accepted throughout the Roman Empire under the name collegia nogotiatorum.
who were blessed with many privileges.

The house of Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi was well involved in the fields of local and international trade, and this is evidenced by the sources of Sages in their book about "one caravan (an allusion to a trading caravan) belonging to the house of Rabbi, which sailed more than four miles..." (Talmud Yerushalmi Avoda Zerah chapter XNUMX lat p. d). And Rabbi Yehuda the President is known to be considered a great and extraordinary merchant.

Due to the abundance of maritime trade, we witness in our time the mention of many types of ships such as: just a large or small ship, Arba, Asda, Nadriya Dashkalon, Arivat Jordan, Burni (probably derived from the Latin: Liburna) whose weight reached three Korin to teach us about the volume of its contents, Carmelit and more .

In the period in question, the standard size of the ship was determined - "... (so that) no one builds (builds, designs) a ship that will stand (disabled) in the sea (in the harbor), he shall make its width one-sixth its length, and its height one-tenth its length" (Tosefta Sukkah 7:XNUMX) , considering advice and guidance, and perhaps the instruction is related to standardization on behalf of the Maritime Trade Organization and its foundation, or on behalf of some professional collegium.

With the process of economic establishment and enrichment of Jewish groups, although naturally limited, we are witnessing the appropriation of quite a few sailing vessels by Jews and, for example, as Rabbi Yossi instructs: "And this - Israel shall not rent its ship to a Gentile (for fear or information) to bring leaven on it" (Talmud Yerushalmi Pesachim, chapter XNUMX, p. XNUMX). And the father of Ben Boniyas (name or nickname for a very wealthy person) who associated with Rabbi had no less than a thousand ships. The exaggeration is "wild", but its essence is true. Rabbi Hanina testifies to "one ship belonging to the house of Rabbi which had more than three hundred barrels" (Yerushalmi Talmud Avoda Zerah chapter XNUMX Mb p. XNUMX) and the Midrash also uses the language of sailing in his book on "Ships' shipwrecks". It should be noted that port cities and anchorages were built along the coast with sophisticated mooring, unloading and loading facilities at that time, such as in Acre, Caesarea, Jaffa and more.
The ships sailed in the waters of the Mediterranean Sea, or as the Sage defined "ships that sail in the Great Sea" - to teach us about ships owned by Jews or driven/navigated by Jews - and about ships in the "Sea of ​​Tiberias", the Dead Sea, the Red Sea, in Zion Geber and of course in Jordan. It is interesting to note that in the Midaba map attributed to the fourth-fifth centuries AD, of the three ships depicted there, a pair is in the Dead Sea ("There were times..."), and in this regard, the Jerusalem Talmud says, almost with excitement, that "...we go out to the ancient scroll, this Sea of ​​Samcho, and (the ships) went down to the Arabah - this is the Sea of ​​Tiberias, and they came to Himah - that of the Dead Sea" (Talmud Yerushalmi Shekelim, Chapter XNUMX, p. XNUMX), and in the Treasury of Scriptures it is mentioned "a fleet of Pirtin" ("Yidish "Piratean" as the poet's essay) of Ben Khosva who asks, is similar to striking the Roman fleet from the north of the Dead Sea (and this is another proof, by the way, of Ben Khosva's somewhat predatory nature). And may the Sage's testimony regarding the loss of a thousand ships of Ben Harsum be related to this. The number is obviously excessive, but it has something to support the above address.
We can also learn about maritime trade from the various problems that arose and the sages of the Sanhedrin debated about their solution, such as in the following case: "A ship in the sea is ten fathoms high, there is no movable from it to the sea nor from the sea to it. Rabbi Yehuda says: If it was ten fathoms deep from the water and not ten fathoms higher than the water, moving from it to the sea, but not from the sea to it" (Talmud Yerushalmi Shabbat, Chapter XNUMX, XNUMX, p. XNUMX), or: "Two ships, one empty and one Charged, they transfer discharge from the charged face. Both are discharged or charged, they will make a compromise between them" (Yerushalmi Talmud Baba Kama, Chapter XNUMX, XNUMX, p. XNUMX). It can be assumed that laws of this kind imply the existence of professional associations of ship owners. Alongside this ruling, we find ourselves informed in the light of Sage literature regarding the equipment of the merchant ship, the methods of loading and unloading, the times of sailing, the stay at sea, and more.
It is interesting to note that the professions that were involved in shipping appear in the Bible in slightly later references such as "sailors" and "hubblers" (from rope) in the book of Jonah and Ezekiel, and "ship" once in the book of Jonah, probably in connection with a sealed object or vessel, closed) and seamen In the book of Isaiah and Proverbs.
On the other hand, the use of the word Ania, Aniot and Oni is much more common even in ancient biblical books.
In the literature of the Second Temple and the writings of the Sages, the use of the word "ship" or terms borrowed from Greek and Latin is more common.
The ships were sailed by the sailors, who were called "nautia", as the term for tug comes from the Greek and Latin (nautae), and they were skilled in the laws of the seas and depths and Rabbi Yehuda attests to them, at least by implication, because they were organized in professional associations. And lest we learn from the Talmudic term "the custom of the Sepanis" for a hint about their professional association. And even from the instruction not to employ slaves on a ship as a general instruction, the same conclusion can be reached. Aba Goriya laments that "a man will not teach his son ... (to serve as a) sepan...", considering evidence that quite a few asked to be sepans, when they were not taught about them at all.
According to the inscriptions in Beit Shaarim, it can be assumed that Jewish sailors and/or captains were found, 6 in the number, Synzius in his collection of letters from the end of the third century CE mentions that on the sea voyage to the continent of Africa, the captain and part of the sailors' crew were Jews (epistulae. 1, c)
the trading stations
Next to the caves and the borginin that spread out along the roads, we discover the inn, where the merchants kept their animals and from the prohibition on keeping animals in foreign inns we will learn how to circumvent it. In light of the fact that the merchants were outside the borders of Judah, the Sages drew up quite a few permits in this regard, such as: "A guest staying in an inn abroad for thirty days does not need to give a mezuzah" (Talmud Yerushalmi Megillah chapter XNUMXa, page XNUMX), and Rabbi Hinana and Rabbi Yonatan claim that those who go To climb a fence, one needs to "rent permission from the innkeeper" (Talmud Yerushalmi Erubin, Chapter XNUMX, XNUMX, p. XNUMX), and this is for the sake of good order and the customs of the place.
The sources testify to several inns in the Land of Israel, such as in Tzipori, Caesarea, Tzoar (the city of dates in the Jordan Valley) and more, as well as trading stations in Lod, Beit Govrin, Akhziv and more, and the stations on the Palestinian Limousin Line and Limousin Arabicos will be noted. All those stations, along with the expansion of trading cities and the conquest of new roads, testify to a normal and extensive trading life.
We will end with an interesting comment in my opinion, which has the potential to shed light on the whole chapter under discussion. In the addendum we read as follows: "Rabbi Shimon ben Gamliel (the president) says: If he separates his field, how? Heimno received a field of ten kurin (kur = measure of volume for dry matter = thirty saa = 13.3 liters X 30 X 10) ("Beit kur" = 23.5 dunam) Hittin and said to him: Give me two hundred dinars and an income, and I will give you twelve kur a year , allowed (rather reduced interest). But one does not separate either his ship or his store, nor anything that he does not eat" (Tosefta baba Metzia 13:XNUMX). The trend is clear - to protect the farmer who owns the field from this and the tenant from this, however, and indirectly seek to protect more ship owners and merchants, who may lose their means of livelihood.
In another place, the Tosefta is changed as follows: "... the Beyer... and the Span, while the owner of the house does not have the power of the owner, the power of the cradle ("Aris"), the power of the cradle ("Aris"), and there is no change in the state's custom" (Tosefta Avoda Zera 2) e) XNUMX). We have before us a poignant testimony, like the one that preceded above, regarding the granting of credit to finance maritime trade, when Sages try to find a kind of modus vivendi in all that is involved between the owners and the charterers.
International trade products
From the second half of the second century AD onward we witness an important change in terms of the commercial balance, that is, a reduction in imported products, since most of them were produced and developed in Israel. On the other hand, exports expanded and branched out. This is because after the revolt of Ben Khosva the Jewish population grew in the Galilee and the coastal cities.
With the development of the production of ceramics, weaving, oil, wine, etc., these products were marketed outside the borders of the province in relatively large quantities, and even the Halacha confirms this image, when it clearly declares that "we do not export from Syria (to Syria) things that have soul in them such as Wines, oils, and salads..." And during the time of Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi, the tone changes: "And the Rabbi says - I say (emphasized) that no wine is exported to Syria, because it diminishes the purification, just as one does not export it to Syria, so one does not export it from Hipparchia (an area with an important city in the center) to Hipparchia, and Rabbi Yehudah permits from one hypochondriac to another hypochondriac (perhaps within the province)" (Tosefta Avoda Zerah 2 (e) XNUMX).
Import goods: from Egypt - wheat, beans, lentils, olives, textiles, fruits, and in general - some of these products were developed in Israel, except that they bore the name/nickname of their country of origin, such as "Grisin the Kilkin (from Cilicia) and the Egyptian lentils" (Talmud Yerushalmi Demai chapter XNUMX XNUMX end of p. XNUMX) and immediately following: "These Minin (and their like) that are like them in the Land of Israel, the sages needed to give them a sign (of their source of origin). But, the alzerin and the aphastkin and the acetrobulin, because there is nothing like them in the land of Israel, the sages did not need to give them a sign. Rabbi Abiyu said: Let there be an alternative to the obligation of these minin, by the fact that there is nothing like them outside of the country, the sages consumed their minin. And the dabila in Buzra is worn out, and the tamarind in Alexandria is thin, and the carob in Hiari is a hedge, and the rice in Hulta (Antioch) is a tymutz, and the cumin in Cyprus is crooked." The aforementioned Jerusalem Talmud explicitly states that all fruits, vegetables and all of these products grown abroad are no longer fine and good compared to their counterparts grown in Israel.

The products imported from Egypt were relatively cheap and it paid off to import them from there, despite the transport and customs prices from Syria they imported sandals such as "Sandal Ladiki" from Laodicea (Mishnat Kilik 1. And the act of Rabbi Haya Bar Abba, who sent to buy him a sandal from the fair of the city of Tyre. From the province of Syria they also imported apples, raisins, linen in the fall, glass and sometimes even fish.

From Asia Minor, they imported grits from Cilicia, cheese from Bithynia and various types of fruit, a special type of wine, sponges and woolen fabrics from Miletus and not a little, especially for the burial coffins in Beit Shaarim and even for senior Roman officials and army commanders for example in Ashkelon.

Plants were imported from Greece, for example from Corinth. From Cyprus wine and cumin, from Rome expensive textiles, from the region of Babylon fine cotton, from Spain preserved fish such as "Kolias the Espanin" (from Shabbat 2 XNUMX) and perhaps also lead, from Gallia metals, until Rabbi Elazar testifies: "Even ships coming from Gallia to Aspamia are not blessed except for Israel" (Babylonian Talmud, Yavmot Seg p. XNUMX). Expensive textiles, carpets, perfumes, spices were imported from India.

The import problem arose acutely in the seventh year, which is the year of Shemita, and sages, led by President Rabbi Yehuda, enacted permits that circumvented the limitations of the year of Shemita in a sophisticated manner, and in the sagely version of: "... but Rabbi (Yehuda the President) allowed to bring vegetables from outside the country..." (Jerusalem Talmud Shiviat, Chapter 19, XNUMX, page XNUMX). And so we will change the issue of oleshin, which is a wild vegetable, if it defiles the food, if not, or in another matter: "One does not bring grapes from outside the country and dry them in the country...but brings grocers and raisins and flax seeds from outside the country to the country, but not from outside the country to the country to make them (make them) In the country you rely (according to) cross to the country. Rabbi (Yehuda the President) permitted that Yahweh would bring them from outside the country to make them (make them) in the land of Samach outside the country" (Tosefta VII. XNUMX:XNUMX). This is one of many Rabif regulations, for the purpose of normalizing economic life in Israel. However, a forgotten owner, Rabbi in this matter, had an interest in none of his vast land assets, and in any case encouraged local production.

It should be noted that out of about 240 different products, about 130 were brought from abroad, while later, with the strengthening of the economy, imports were reduced beyond recognition, and in contrast, exports grew/flowered, and in return the company consumed rare and expensive products that somewhat coincided with the increase in the level Life.

Export products - with the development of crafts and industry, along with agriculture and the entry of Jews into the coastal cities - the port cities, exports gained a great impetus, and the addition is used here as a "helpful condition" to be discussed in the saying: "There is no treasurer in the Land of Israel of things (even) that have spiritual life such as: wines , oils and baskets, fruits" (Tosefta Avoda Zerah 1(XNUMX), XNUMX), and following the same tradition, Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi permits the export of wine and in considerable quantities. And as a proof of the Sages to be discussed, I will bring here the information about ceramic receptacles and storage vessels that were found near the shores of the Land of Israel and were intended for the transport of various liquid products such as wine and oil.

It should be noted that despite the limited dimensions of the Jewish settlement in the Land of Israel, the dimensions of production/export were quite extreme. This stems from a strong desire to get out of the crisis of the destruction of the Second Temple and its dire consequences on the one hand and from the willingness of the sages of the Sanhedrin to extend a long series of concessions including permits that enable economic development even at the expense of the provisions of the Halacha.
Oil was used to a large extent for export and especially after the destruction of the house/temple which was a cardinal consumer of oil. In the midrash of the books of Deuteronomy, the scripture is quoted - "And he dipped his feet in oil" (Deuteronomy 24) as follows: "An act of the people of Laodicea in Syria (Laodikia and today Latakia) who needed oil, and they sent an appointed person to buy it. He went to Gush Halab (the Galilee) and found oil at one's house in XNUMX Rivova dinars" (Seferah Devarim XNUMX:XNUMX, Kamach p. XNUMX). There is no doubt that the Midrash, by its very nature, is immersed in sailing, however, the historical core hidden behind it is significant to the subject of our discussion. Oil production centers were also in Zipori, Miron, Beit Netufa, Beit Meaka, Beit Shan, Beit Shaarim and more.

It should be noted that the olive oil was also used by athletes and others in the municipal gymnasiums in the Land of Israel. The distribution of the oil reached Egypt, Syria, Babylon, the cities of Asia Minor and especially Cappadocia.
We learn about the extent of wine production and its export from the words of Rabbi Yochanan: "Tano Rabbanan - inform on parkamtia (commercial products) and even on Shabbat. Rabbi Yochanan said: such as... wine and oil in the Land of Israel" (Talmud Babili Baba Batra C p. XNUMX). Wine was also produced in large quantities in Judea and the ports of Jaffa, Ashkelon and Gaza served as wine export ports. In Israel, grape varieties were developed that, it seems, pushed even the Roman produce and competed even to Gallia.

The volume of wine exports reached Syria, Egypt, Babylon and Tamar (Palmyra). The production of linen and linen utensils were especially well known in Beit Shan. This city was ranked first in the composition of Pausanias "Description of the whole world" (chapter 29) from the fourth century CE as a leader in the production and export of linen. Israel's linen found markets in Syria, Egypt, Greece, Asia Minor and even the Far East. One of the famous merchants who was involved in the export of linen was Rabbi Haya the Great, about whom the Jerusalem Talmud testified, on a long voyage: "His ship from the exile did not stain linen or miss wine, their eyes were given thanks to Rabbi Haya the Great and his sons." d) And we saw him dealing with the pragmatism of linen in Tzur with no less than the president's son. This city, it should be noted, served as an international market for weaving and spinning products. It will also be emphasized that Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi encouraged, in fact, his place of residence and his economic activity in general, the production of coarse peshta in the Arbel Valley and the fine in Beit Shean and Mishora.
Quite a few pottery vessels were exported abroad, and the pottery candle industry that found their way from Israel to the Eastern regions through the international market in Dora Europas and Tadmur is to be noted.
We will also mention the export of glass products, fish, dates, spices and even perfumes.

In conclusion, it was said that the economy of the Land of Israel developed both in accordance with the Roman international economic policy, the recovery long after the destruction, the phenomenon of urbanization in general, the increase in demand for products both in Israel and abroad and the extent of the intervention and influence of the presidency in Israel, especially during the days of Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi.

to the previous chapters
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7 תגובות

  1. Thank you for the wise and knowledgeable reviews.
    In the Sage sources it is mentioned about some of the sages (Rabbi Gamaliel, Rabbi Yehoshua, Rabbi Akiva, Rabbi Elazar bar Rabbi Yossi) who visited Rumi. It is not clear for what purpose and whether it is a "volume of Rome" or Italy. And there are no descriptions about Rumi in their mouths. It is possible that the reference is to a foreign city on the island or near it where the local rulers "Roman greats" were concentrated?

  2. Hello Friedman, Hello. In my humble opinion you lost 200 years of history and not only am I in a perplexed position but also the Byzantine dynasties

  3. The destruction of the Second Temple in the year 70 and especially after the Bar Kochba rebellion caused serious damage to the settlement, however the real exile, the destruction of the Jewish settlement in the Land of Israel and the departure of the land took place in the 5th-7th centuries AD, mainly in light of the application of the Islamic patronage laws.

  4. Prosperity was a process and prolonged and knew ups and downs. The initial and dramatic damage after the destruction was the very decline of Jerusalem and especially the Temple which was an important economic jumpstart and also the dwindling of the Jewish settlement around Jerusalem from the coastal plain and what the Sages called "the south", meaning from the southern coastal plain to the back of the central mountain. The second blow was following the rebellion of Ben Khosva and its results which almost completely sealed the very existence of the settlement in Judea. Add to this the crisis of anarchy that afflicted the Roman Empire from 235 to 284 CE, from which the Empire never recovered and collapsed following the collapse of the Empire's vast geopolitical scope

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