In the ancient world, even the first and most important for people’s survival is the food, but for the country, the first and most important for its survival is the military power. Just like the Roma Empire, even its land was poorer than the lands in the North Africa, it still could conquer the more fertile countries. How it could be? Was it because the grain trade? Obviously, it was not. We could image, before the Roman conquer Egypt, it was already a strong state with powerful military which could drive the Roman to occupy more lands and wealth out of Penisola Italiana.
Let’s take another degree, even Roman didn’t control the Egypt, it still could import grain from there for its great population or social development. As we know that the trade is originally from the reasonable allocation of the resources of the world, but not depend on one country’s power. Looking back the human history, where ever there was the pillaging, there was no trading. The trading is built on the fair position of both two countries, no matter which one is more powerful.
Even the powerless country can do business with others if there is no wars threaten. Thus, the trade could help one country to use the resource reasonably, but it couldn’t help it to be stronger. The strength of the country mostly depends on its ruling elite and the resource it owned. Besides, in the ancient world before the industry revolution in UK, the most important industry for each country was the agriculture. As the poor development of the science and technology, there was no industrialization or commercialization in the long course of human history.
Therefore, even there were part trade or economy activities in some area, but these phenomenons could only play a positive role for the social development of ancient country, but couldn’t say it could strength the country as a whole. However, we need to admit that the sustainable development of the Roman city needed the enough food to satisfy its great population. As there was not enough grain nearby, the grain trade from other places played an essential role for its continued flourishing, which in turn enhanced its power and absolute control over its widespread territory.