To the left is a map of our route. We will start in the
Nabataean capital city of Petra, and travel south through the
desert to the port city of Leuce Come. Boats are unloading cargo
there for us to pick up and bring to Petra.
It might have been possible for some of the boats to travel
up the coast to Aila, but there are dangerous coral reefs and
bad cross winds. The merchants are afraid that they might loose
some of their very valuable cargo by going farther by boat. So,
we will take the trip south to get the cargo.
Moving goods by land was a very expensive undertaking in
the ancient world. In Rome, it was cheaper to ship wheat by boat
from Alexandria in Egypt to Rome, at a distance of some 1,250
miles, than to transport it fifty miles by land. But the threat
of loosing the cargo is worth the cost of transporting it by
camel caravan. So we have a job to do!
Ancient camel caravans traveled about 40 miles a day, if
they traveled around ten hours a day at a speed of four miles
an hour. Some people have argued that camels can go faster, but
in the case of a loaded camel caravan, the caravan drives usually
walked, and the camels carried the heavy loads.