Q. Yavanas is term used for which of the following?

[A] Foreign Merchants

[B] Priest

[C] Sailors

[D] Taxes

Answer: A

The expansion of overseas trade and shipping brought foreign merchants and sailors to the Tamil region.  

  • Because of the seasonal nature of the monsoon winds, and the prevailing levels of technology, long voyages necessitated long periods of stay in host countries.  
  • Yavana merchants lived in especially ear-marked residential quarters in the harbour area.  
  • Though they were allowed to trade freely, and were noted for their attractive goods, there was a good deal of reserve in the attitude of the local Tamils to foreign merchants who were considered an alien, barbaric people, who spoke a harsh-sounding language.  
  • Other yavanas also came with the merchants. The fortress of Madurai was guarded by yavanas carrying large swords.  
  • There are also references to yavana metal workers and carpenters, who were described as “hard-eyed” probably because they had grey or blue eyes.  
  • All these may not have been strictly of Greek origin, as implied by the term yavana, which had become a generic word to denote persons from the eastern Mediterranean regions. 

Source: Tamil Nadu state board.