Szabolcs Felföldi (University of Szeged, Hungary) “Trade in Conventional Rut? Long-distance Trading Systems and Rivers”


The connection between rivers and trade is one of the basic elements of the research on commercialism. Most of the scholars think that rivers were the ”comfort zones” of trading systems. In their view rivers could ensure not just the easiest and literally the smoothest way of travelling but also of commerce. Under certain conditions this statement seems to be true, but in numerous cases we can detect just the opposite. That is why I presume that this is only a ”topos”. The aim of my lecture is to investigate the cases where rivers or river valleys are indeed very important scenes of trading and cases where merchants chose other routes for their commercial activities.  In essence I deal with the region of the Silk Road from this point of view, but I will take account of other regions and long-distance trading systems as well.