Commerce, Transportation, & Communication


Communication over long distances was a complicated and long drawn out process. There was no postal system. If you wanted to write a letter to family or friends either you, or a friend had to carry it to its destination. This would have been similar to the way that some of the books of the Bible would have been received. The Apostle Paul who was an author of thirteen different New Testament books would often send others with letters for their intended recipients. One courier written about for her assistance in taking a letter to the Roman Christians was Phoebe. She was a Deacon of the early church. There were also official Roman couriers for the government who carried important documents, letters, etc. It took these couriers around forty-five days to take a letter from Rome to Caesarea or modern day Israel (Strauss, 159).


Communicating over these long distances was successful in no small part because of the roads created. Romans were impressive builders.  The roads were straight, paved, and wide enough for two chariots to pass by one another. (Strauss, 159). Today many Roman roads are still in existence. Individuals from Roman generals all the way down to common men traveled on these roads for transportation. While these roads were quite the engineering feat, they were often dangerous. One biblical example of this is exemplified in the story of the Good Samaritan. In the story a man was traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho and was jumped, beaten, and left for dead by a band of robbers There he was left until the Good Samaritan came to his aide.



The wealthy people would most likely ride a horse. Merchants often had donkeys, camels, or other beasts of burden (Strauss, 159). Like previously mentioned the common man walked everywhere. Traveling by ship was often the quickest and most efficient way to trade and transport. One downfall to this was in the winter the seas were known to be dangerous. Paul, who traveled often, shipwrecked three different times. Trips were known for varying from three weeks to three months depending on the direction of the voyage and winds (Strauss, 159).


The markets were not only the center of commerce in the city, but also a place to visit with one another. The markets would be located within the city walls. Merchants would sell goods, officials would meet, the common man would find work, and preachers would find an audience to preach (Strauss,159). Shops lined the city’s alley like streets. These shops often contained living quarters in the back and didn’t have running water or sewage. Boards would be also be on display to share public announcements for the people (Strauss, 159). These markets were the place to be.





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