Alexandreia, Eparchy of Kato Cheme, Anactoria of Egypt and Kush
The Anassa stood on the balcony of the Anactorial Palace looking pensively at the busy harbor of Alexandreia. There were ships of all shapes and sizes there from all corners of the world: some of them came from the frozen lands in the North and others arrived from the faraway lands in the South and East. The latter had to cross the Erythraean Sea and sail through the Canals; the winds always blew from north to south in Egypt which, since ancient times, allowed the river barges to sail up the Nile propelled by the wind and make their return voyage carried by the current. But there was no favorable current in the Canals and ships had to be towed by teams of oxen or camels on their northward journey. Dues collected from the trade flowing through the Erythraean ports and the Canals provided significant income for the Anactorial Treasury.
But most of the ships in the harbor were, of course, Egyptian and Marian. Roma and its provinces were the most important buyers of the Egyptian grain as well as other goods, such as papyrus, ivory, spices and precious woods, that could only be transported to the ports of Mare Nostrum by ways of the Nile or the Canals. Those goods were traded here in Alexandreia against Marian silver, wool, wine, olive oil, leather and parchment. This trade was essential for both the Anactoria and the Imperium.
Berenice turned around as she heard a sound of footsteps. The guest, a tall dark-skinned woman, bowed in obeisance before the pharaoh. “I greet thee, O Great Anassa!” she said with respect.
“It is good to see thee as well, Merné,” Berenice greeted the guest with a slight nod of her head. “I hope your journey was agreeable?”
“Tiresome, but blissfully uneventful,” the dark-skinned woman replied.
“At least you will have a chance to enjoy the splendors of the Capital,” the pharaoh smiled. “But not for too long, I fear, for I have a new task for you.”
“I live to serve my Anassa,” Merné smiled back at her sovereign. “But what shall this new task be, if I may be so bold to inquire?”
“You may indeed,” Berenice replied. “I am pleased with how well you have done as port prefect of Adoulis, Merné; my revenues from duties have more than doubled since you took over. But I need your talents elsewhere, my friend… You see, there is no reason why all those middlemen should be getting fat from reselling my grain, ivory and spices if I can trade with the Marians directly. I therefore decided to found the Anactorial Trading Company which shall have a monopoly in trading all exclusive exports of my land. And I wish you to represent my interests in Roma.”
“As my Anassa commands,” the other woman nodded and bowed.
A richly dressed woman approached the gate of the Imperial Palace. She was in her late 30’s or early 40’s perhaps, though one would not describe her as anything less than exquisitely beautiful. Her dark complexion and exotic attire betrayed her as a native of southern lands. She was followed by a small band of guards, all wearing high bronze helmets and turquoise cloaks. “I am Kyria Merné, envoy of the great Anassa of Egypt and Kush,” she spoke in perfect Latin to the officer at the gates. “I wish to present my respect to the Imperator.”