The knowledge of important trade winds, development of major empires stretching across Europe to China (there were only 4 major states between Britain and China in the 1st century CE), and increased contacts and movement of people in general now made pepper become commonly imported into Roman Europe. The Roman increasingly made pepper part of their diets, while its popularity also spread in the Near East and China. Traders in Arabia and Middle East probably played important roles as middle men in the trade network. This not only made them wealthy but they likely continued to have a hold of this connection even after the fall of Rome. Both the Silk Road and connections via the Indian Ocean were now vital to this trade.
The role of Arabian and Middle Eastern traders continued through the early Medieval period. Increasingly, however, Italian traders from Genoa and Venice became important in the Medieval trade in pepper to Europe. After the disruptions of the fall of Rome, pepper only began to make a comeback in Europe by the later parts of the Medieval period. By
then, the Italian traders controlled much of it, which meant that the price of black pepper in Europe became very high , likely meaning it was not commonly consumed as it may have been even in the Roman period. Arab traders also controlled shipping in the Indian Ocean and trade across the Middle East, giving them a lot of power in trade activities in the Silk Road. Pepper was one of the most important products in the Silk Road. To keep prices artificially high, traders even made stories such as black pepper being guarded by poisonous serpents.
In fact, it was the rise of prices of pepper and other products that put greater impetus to find new routes to India. European powers wanted to avoid having to have their trade to the east controlled by the
Italian and Middle Eastern middlemen. This prompted the eventual discovery of the New World, which was initially thought by Christopher Columbus to be a new route to India rather than a new continent all together .