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Location Somalia

Mosylon (Ancient Greek: Μοσυλλόν), also known as Mosullon, was an ancient proto-Somali trading center on or near the site that later became the city of Bosaso.[1]


Mosylon was the most prominent emporium on the Red Sea coast, as outlined in the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea. With its large ships, it handled the bulk of the cinnamon trade arriving from the ports of ancient India. Dioscorides consequently noted that the city became known as the source of the best variety of the spice in the ancient world.[2] A specific species of cinnamon exported from the harbour was known as Mosyllitic.[3] Due to its high quality and rarity at the time in Ancient Rome, the imported cinnamon was typically deposited in the Romans' Royal Treasury.[4]

According to classical writers such as Pliny and Herodutus, the inhabitants of Mosylon imported flint glass and glass vessels from Ancient Egypt, unripe grapes from Diospolis, unmilled cloths for the Berberi markets, including tunics and cloths manufactured at Arsinoe, as well as wine and tin. The main export items were gums, tortoise shells, incense and ivory.[5] Pliny also indicated that, en route to the cinnamon hub of Mosylon, the Egyptian Pharaoh Sesostris led his forces passed the Port of Isis.[1] The latter ancient local commercial center is believed to correspond with the town of Bulhar, situated near Zeila.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Hussein, Said M-Shidad. "The Ancient Kingdom of Punt and its Factor in Egyptian History Part IV" (PDF). WardheerNews. Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 November 2014. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
  2. ^ Byzantine trade, 4th-12th centuries: the archaeology of local, regional and International Exchange By Marlia Mundell Mango pg 278
  3. ^ A Cyclopaedia of Biblical Literature: Ibz-Zuz edited by John Kitto pg 211
  4. ^ Peter, William. An Appeal to the British Government in behalf the British Colony and Province of Ceylon: with an appendix containing various notices of the island by authors and travellers of the early and middle ages ... The second edition with additions. 1836. p. 136. Retrieved 5 August 2014.
  5. ^ A System of Geography, popular and scientific, or a Physical , Political and Statistical Account of the World and Its Various divisions Volume 6 By James Bell pg 434
  6. ^ Österreichische Leo-Gesellschaft, Görres-Gesellschaft, Anthropos Institute (1941). Anthropos, Volumes 35-36. Zaunrith'sche Buch-, Kunst- und Steindruckerei. p. 212. Archived from the original on 22 September 2014. Retrieved 22 September 2014.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)