stolen goods. Dishonesty in trade was, however, not a rare phenomenon, in
spite of such rules.
Prices and Measurements The Gupta period differed from the Mauryan
age in one important respect. Unlike the Mauryas, the Guptas did not try to
fix the prices, which, therefore, fluctuated according to supply and demand.
In the Gupta period not only prices but also units of measurements varied
from place to place.
External Trade
Inspite of evidence of arts and crafts, foreign trade of the Gupta period does
not seem to have been as extensive as in the pre-Gupta period. Trade with
Rome, which was the main source of earning bullion for India, was
undermined by the Roman reaction against the drain of gold and was
completely stopped because of the barbarian invasions of the Roman and
Gupta empires. Trade was, however, revived between India and the
Byzantine empire, as we learn from the account of Procopius, and it probably
worked in favour of India.
Trade with the Byzantine Empire There was a considerable volume of
trade going on between the Byzantine empire and India. This is obvious from
the Byzantine gold coins discovered in southern, eastern and western parts of
India. In his law digest, Justinian gave a long list of imports many of which
were clearly stated to be Indian and few others were in all likelihood of
Indian origin. They included iron, ivory and cotton, but the most important
were spices and silk. The Persian traders used to make inordinate profits from
the silk trade between India and Byzantine, and Justinian tried in various
ways to break the Persian monopoly in silk trade. Besides, India had also
trade contacts with Arabia, Persia and perhaps Armenia.
Trade with Ceylon India had close commercial relations with Ceylon
during this period. Ceylon received a wide variety of commodities from India
like textiles, spices, sandalwood, musk, castor oil, horses and elephants.
These were probably again exported to other countries from Ceylon. India’s
imports from Ceylon were perhaps pearls and silver.
Trade with South-East Asia The coastal people of southern and eastern