Peddlers have been known since antiquity and possibly earlier. They were known by a variety of names throughout the ages, including Arabber, hawker, costermonger (English), chapman (medieval English), huckster, itinerant vendor or street vendor. According to marketing historian, Eric Shaw, the peddler is “perhaps the only substantiated type of retail marketing practice that evolved from Neolithic times to the present.” The political philosopher, John Stuart Mill wrote that “even before the resources of society permitted the establishment of shops, the supply of [consumer] wants fell universally into the hands of itinerant dealers, the pedlars who might appear once a month, being preferred to the fair, which only returned once a year.”
Typically, peddlers operated door-to-door, plied the streets or stationed themselves at the fringes of formal trade venues such as open air markets or fairs. In the Greco-Roman world, open-air markets served urban customers, while peddlers filled in the gaps in distribution by selling to rural or geographically distant customers.
Source: Peddler – Wikipedia