From Infogalactic: the planetary knowledge core
Jump to: navigation, search
Location Somalia
City-state existed: 1st century AD

Malao was an ancient Somali port city in present-day northwestern Somalia. The town was situated on the site of what later became the city of Berbera. It was a key trading member involved in the Red Sea-Indian Ocean commerce in the early centuries CE. The town also maintained an important monetary market for merchants exchanging goods in the currencies of the Roman Empire.[1]

History and trade

The ancient port city of Malao was positioned in the historic Somali city of Berbera. It is mentioned in the 1st century CE Periplus of the Erythraean Sea:

"After Avalites there is another market-town, better than this, called Malao, distant a sail of about eight hundred stadia. The anchorage is an open roadstead, sheltered by a spit running out from the east. Here the natives are more peaceable. There are imported into this place the things already mentioned, and many tunics, cloaks from Arsinoe, dressed and dyed; drinking-cups, sheets of soft copper in small quantity, iron, and gold and silver coin, not much. There are exported from these places myrrh, a little frankincense, (that known as far-side), the harder cinnamon, duaca, Indian copal and macir, which are imported into Arabia; and slaves, but rarely."

— Chap.8.[2]

See also


  1. Ray, Himanshu Prabha (2003). The Archaeology of Seafaring in Ancient South Asia. Cambridge University Press. p. 209. ISBN 0521011094.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, Schoff's 1912 translation