The Arabian peninsula was not a state, but a land occupied by inter-related tribes and powerful families. The nomadic Bedouin raised sheep and traded goods across the desert, while farmers were settled around the oases. The camel helped the nomadic tribes to grow in power, and the variety of tribes produced many different fighting styles but infantry remained important in Arab armies. Unarmoured slingers were fast and effective skirmishers, and Arabs also prided themselves on their close-combat skills. Traditionally, they fought as raiders looking for loot rather than conquest. Raids or 'razzias' brought honour to victorious warriors, as well as livestock and goods for their tribes. Conflicts were usually small in scale and casualties were largely avoided as a fighting retreat in the face of great odds was not considered shameful. After the conquest of Egypt, Rome had to cross the Arabian Peninsula in order to secure the lucrative trade with India, but the Romans never fully conquered the desert or the desert peoples.