Rome had trading ports in the Mumbai region of India with 120 ship-voyages a year from Roman Egypt at the peak . Chinese plates from this trade have been found in the mud of the Thames river London. Here is evidence for Greek-Roman voyages to Bali Indonesia over 2000 years ago. A book by Jesuit priest da Volta 500 years ago "A Voyage to Moluccas" described trading boats with a dragon-head having many paddlers( which suggests Viking boats). The priest was reminded of the boats used in Lisbon Portugal for Corpus Christi ceremonies. Greek Egypt had Celtic mercenaries who fought Persians 2300 years ago so Asia was open for a great number of western travellers.
"Silver coins issued by Augustus and Tiberius have over a period of time been discovered in large numbers from the Coimbatore-Karur region.( south India).
Among the Chera coins, the "Makkotai series" bears a unique pattern not found in other Tamil coins of its age. They contain both the portrait of a king (facing right) and a written legend, in this case the word "Makkotai" written in Tamil-Brahmi script. These coins exhibit similarities with the Roman coins of emperors Augustus and Tiberius; like the Roman coins, the portraits on the Makkotai series do not show any jewellery on the king.
A Chera coin with the portrait of a king wearing a Roman helmet was discovered from Karur. The obverse side of the silver coin has the portrait of a king, facing left, wearing a Roman-type bristled-crown helmet. This coin may belong to the 1st century BC and may be earlier to Makkotai and Kuttuvan Kotai coins. The coin points to Romans having had trade contacts with the Chera kings and establishes that the Roman soldiers had landed in the Chera country to give protection to the Roman traders who had come there to buy materials.
The Hindu . January 28, 2007
Roman connection in Tamil Nadu
Sources of Ancient Tamil History - Numismatic Sources ...
Many of the coins assigned to the Chera kings of Sangam age with a portrait and ... the portrait of a king wearing a Roman helmet was discovered from Karur.
Sembiran and Pacung on the north coast of Bali: a strategic ...
"New archaeological research at Sembiran and Pacung in 2012 ..to late 2nd century BC... ..... Most of the Bali gold samples are made of electrum, a naturally occurring ... show no correlation with the samples from the Cambodian and Vietnamese sites. However, three out of the ten plot close to a Prohear Cambodian gold ring inscribed with a horseman motif, which stands out from the Prohear assemblage stylistically and has been conﬁrmed to be non-Southeast- Asian, based on its composition. Stylistically, the Prohear ring resembles inscribed gold, copper and bronze rings typical of Saka-Parthian (ﬁrst century AD) levels at the site of Sirkap, in the Taxila region of Pakistan . A Sembiran potsherd inscribed with characters in Kharoshthi script , found in SBN VII in 1989, also implies links with the north Indian subcontinent, particularly the Taxila region. The Kharoshthi script was of Aramaic origin in the Achaemenid Empire of Persia (sixth to ﬁfth century BC), and was typically inscribed on gold and copper rings from Saka-Parthian levels at Sirkap .The central Asian region that includes modern Afghanistan and northern Pakistan was under Achaemenid and then Greek rule into the early ﬁrst millennium AD, and was critical in the early long-distance movement of gold towards Southeast Asia. Perhaps signiﬁcantly ,SBN XIX produced a unique, comma-shaped gold object , which resembles typical central Asian gold units soldered together to form ornaments. Other gold objects found in Southeast Asia,which bear stylistic parallels with Sirkap gold and copper ornaments include: a) inscribed gold rings from Pyu sites in Burma; b) the above-mentioned inscribed gold ring with horseman motif from Prohear in Cambodia;c)s-shaped gold units from Khao Sam Kaeo in Thailand ; and d)a gold bracelet with ﬂat band and coiled-wire knots from a Buni-phase burial at Batujaya, Sunda west Java, of a type unknown elsewhere in Island Southeast Asia, but which resembles copper bracelets from Sirkap Taxila . At present, the distribution of gold artefacts that carry Western afﬁnities in Southeast Asia highlights a route from north India across the Bay of Bengal to Burma, Thailand,the Thai-Malay Peninsula and Indonesia.
..coarse-fabric south Indian imitations of Rouletted Ware , identified as Type 3 in the pioneering study of Indian ware found at the port site of Arikamedu on India’s south-eastern coast (Wheeler et al. 1946), and Balinese imitations of Indian dishes .In South Asia, coarse dishes in the shape of Rouletted Ware were not found in northern India, but were widely found in Sri Lanka and southern India, together with Rouletted Ware.
The second century BC south Indian and Sri Lankan production of coarse-fabric dishes imitating the shape of Rouletted Ware, which instead was imported from the Ganges Valley of northern India, has been argued for based on the pottery sequence at Tissamaharama in Sri Lanka (Schenk 2001, 2006; Pavan & Schenk 2012). A single geological origin for fine grey-fabric Indian ware, including Rouletted Ware and Northern Black Polished Ware, is indicated by geochemical data (Ardika et al. 1993; Gogte 2001; Ford et al. 2005; Magee 2010).We suggest here that Pacung and Sembiran have also produced these south Indian coarse dishes, as well as local Indian-style dishes. In Southeast Asia, Indian-style coarse dishes are
also known, together with Rouletted Ware, from Khao Sam Kaeo and Phu Khao Thong in peninsular Thailand (Bellina & Silapanth 2008), and Batujaya in north-western Jav(Manguin & Indradjaya 2011). Rouletted Ware is also known from Go Cam and Tra Kieu in central Vietnam (Nguyen et al. 2006) and, within the Roman world, from the port sites.
To date, the total count of fine Indian sherds from Sembiran and Pacung can beconservatively estimated at over 600, with a similar quantity of coarse-fabric sherds of possible Indian manufacture. This underlines the significance of the sites for Indian traders, possibly involved in the early commerce of Moluccan spices, and reaching Bali mainly
from the south Indian subcontinent since thelate first millennium BC from sites such as Arikamedu, which produced pre-Roman Rouletted Ware and also Julio-Claudian Arretine ware and coins (Begley 1996). Roman glass has been newly identified in SBN XIX through chemical data, indicating indirect contact with the Roman world via India, and new compositional data from gold and carnelian artefacts suggest a route from the north Indian subcontinent to Indonesia, via Mainland Southeast Asia."