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Merchant from a Pre-1500 World Essay Sample

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Merchant from a Pre-1500 World Essay Sample

The year is 1505 B.C., a period when incredible progress is taking the whole of Egypt and its neighboring kingdoms and territories by storm. As a merchant born in the heart of the kingdom of Egypt ruled by a royal pharaoh, my honest judgment tells me that this epoch of Egyptian history is the most favorable to struggling traders, craftsmen, and artisans. A lot of wonders have been created by men of ability like bronze, wooden ships, and glass that all make this territory the center of trade and industry in the whole world.

The number of goods and new creations produced has been increasing each year, a situation that motivates merchants, artisans, and craftsmen to trade their goods not only to local traders or buyers, but also to merchants from nearby territories like Mesopotamia and the Indus (Bryant & Patton, 2005, p. 38). Since the discovery of glass pot (Le Bourhis, 2007, p.30), a very precious item that attracts local and distant traders, I have decided to focus on this new merchandise. This kind of trade is almost the same as selling barley, wine, colored beads and precious objects  like bronze, silver and gold. I order glass pots from an expert glassmaker who lives near the Nile River and then sell the same to local and overseas buyers.

There are only a few good glassmakers in the kingdom. I have heard rumors that the best glassmakers came from the far-east region after a successful military campaign of Pharaoh Thutmosis III (Davison & Newton, 2003, p.20). The pharaoh was attracted to glass pots as servants at the palace saw a few pieces with his name engraved on their glossy, luminous surfaces. The glassmaker from whom I obtain glass pots require me to pay either by a thing of the same value like silk made from the far-east, breads, ceramics, barley,  or pieces of bronze, silver, and gold. Gold coins have become scarce in the territory since there had been costly military campaigns in the past, and as a result, people result to trade by barter— by exchanging value for value.

In my journey, there were traders who wanted to exchange their merchandise like ornaments made of bronze and gold with glass pots. They were fascinated with this new creation adorned with its distinct feature. Like gold, glass pots glitter when exposed to sun light. I have been to remote places like Mesopotamia, Malta, Anatolia, and in the Far East. Sailing ships make it possible for wandering merchants like me to trade their goods and commodities with either objects with the same value or precious metals and shells. Of all places, Mesopotamia is one of the best places for business.

Like Egypt, Mesopotamia has a very rich history, culture, religion, and heritage. Apart from religion, culture, and political differences, the main barrier among traders and merchants is language. Merchants from the Far East and nearby territories usually gather in Mesopotamia where one can see all kinds of marketable items from different parts of the world. In my voyage through Mesopotamia, I have met seafarers, travelers and merchants from the east selling silk, linen, dried fish and foods, and many kinds of ornaments made of precious metals and stones.

However, the main obstacles to merchants are sea pirates who lurk off Tigris, Euphrates and other high seas. Massive plundering and looting usually take place in the high seas as the number of plundering pirates with unusual weapons continues to grow. I have learned that the weapons they used came from craftsmen in the east, as other may have been taken from seized military fleets.

The Mesopotamians are excellent at building walls and palaces. This can be attributed to their interest in geometry. My roots, Egypt, is also known for pioneering mathematics and numerical calculations like algebra. People in Mesopotamia also love arts, music, poems, and literature. I was amazed the first time I set foot in its great city. I saw walls with artistic designs and engravings, they use stone tablets where they engrave their important laws and codes, they have an organized law established by their early leaders, and they have well-known poets, orators and writers.

Egypt and Mesopotamia are opposites. The Mesopotamians are happy people, as they seem contented with their lives, with their culture and their civilization. People in Egypt do not experience the kind of life Mesopotamians usually enjoy. Perhaps this is the reason why there are more merchants in those parts than in Egypt. The powerful pharaohs in Egypt are known for their temper and ruthless leadership. They are the law.

 Trade is never safe in almost all places I have ever been. Merchants are always anxious of pirates in the high seas. There were also times wherein merchants stood in the middle of two warring kingdoms. The whole region is afraid of the invading Aryans who have already conquered tiny kingdoms. There are successful merchants I know of who lost their fortune to invaders, to looters who lurk in barren deserts, as well as pirates.

There were rumors that the high priests of the pharaoh and other well-known sorcerers had long predicted the conquest and even downfall of Egypt. The sustained fear of the royal members now affects not only trade in the region, but the common people as well. When there is an impending war, all able men are required to join the army, while merchants scramble to keep their fortune safe.

It is disappointing that we, the merchants, craftsmen, and artisans, who produce the goods, suffer from the actions and whims of our leaders. War seems inevitable these days, but we all have no choice since the pharaoh is himself the law of the kingdom. I am glad that there are still those who produce. Because of them, metals like bronze were created. Now we have glass pots that astonish not just the common people, but the wealthy, pharaohs and kings as well. Sailing ships continue to improve— becoming bigger, safer and more efficient. In the future I know there will be more goods, new great objects, more metals, and more astonishing creations to be produced.


Bryant, E. & Patton, L.L. (2005). The Indo-Aryan Controversy: Evidence and Inference in

Indian History. New York: Routledge

Davison, S. & Newton, R. (2003). Conservation and Restoration of Glass. Maryland:


Le Bourhis, E. (2007). Glass: Mechanics and Technology. Berlin, Germany: Wiley-VCH

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