In 30 bce, the triumvir Octavian (Augustus from 27 bce) annexed Egypt and ushered in a politically unified Mediterranean world, as well as inaugurating a ‘Roman phase’ of participation in the Indian Ocean trade. This transition raises a number of questions about the extent of continuity and change between the Ptolemaic and Roman periods. Did this political transition usher not only a quantitative change in terms of the scale of the trade but also a qualitative difference as some have argued? Cobb proposes the view that in many respects the development of Roman-era trade in the Indian Ocean was heavily influenced by its Ptolemaic precedents, and that while there were certainly developments (particularly in terms of infrastructure), a strict dividing line between these blurs the degree of continuity that in fact existed.