In antiquity, an emporion (Greek) or emporium (Latin; the plural is emporia in both languages, although in Greek there should be no plural) was a place which the traders of one nation had reserved to their business interests within the territory of another nation. Famous emporia include Sais, where Solon went to acquire the knowledge of Egypt; Elim, where Hatshepsut kept her Red Sea fleet; Elat, where Thebes was supplied with mortuary materials, linen, bitumen, naphtha, frankincense, myrrh and carved stone amulets from Palestine, Canaan, Aram, Lebanon, Ammon, Hazor, Moab, Edom, Punt and the Arabian Peninsula from Petra to Midian; and Olbia, which exported cereals, fish and slaves.
Emporia functioned much like European trading colonies in China.
In the Hellenic and Ptolemaic realm, emporia included the various Greek, Phoenician, Egyptian and other city-states and trading posts in the circum-Mediterranean area. Among these commercial hubs were cities like Avaris and Syene in Lower Egypt, Thebes in Upper Egypt, and Opone, Elim, Elat and other Red Sea ports. For the Hittites, it encompassed Kanesh and Kadesh. For Phoenicia, it included Gadges, Carthage, Leptis Magna, and Cyrene, among others (although Cyrene had been founded by Greeks).
- Ivan Dikov (July 12, 2015). "BULGARIAN ARCHAEOLOGISTS TO START EXCAVATIONS OF ANCIENT GREEK EMPORIUM IN THRACIANS' ODRYSIAN KINGDOM". Archaeology in Bulgaria. Retrieved 28 October 2016.
An emporium (in Latin; “emporion" in Greek) was a settlement reserved as a trading post, usually for the Ancient Greeks, on the territory of another ancient nation, in this case the Ancient Thracian Odrysian Kingdom (5th century BC – 1st century AD), the most powerful Thracian state.
- Septimius Severus; The African Emperor, Anthony R. Birley, pgs. 1-7