The Bartering Process

La Madrague de Giens wreck site
Near Toulon, in southern France

Dressel 1B amphora
Capacity: 48 sextarii [6.8 U.S. gallons]

So much wine then was being produced on the Italian mainland itself that the Romans could export large quantities of it to their new northwestern provinces. Ships laden with hundreds of amphorae filled with wine or olive oil would ply their way along the Italian coastline from the Bay of Naples to the Gulf of Genoa, and offload parts of their cargo at various ports between Genua (Genoa) and Narbo (Narbonne). There the amphorae were exchanged for wood, hides and honey (see Strabo, GeographyIV.6), then trundled by the cartload inland either to provision the settlements of the active legions and their veterans, or to one of the many fast-expanding Gallic market-towns of the day, such as Divona (Cahores) and Vienna (Vienne), where they would be sold to local Celtic leaders who by then had become little more than Rome's tax collectors.