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The Silk Road in World History

Author: Xinru Liu
Publisher: Oxford University Press
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The Silk Road was the contemporary name for a complex of ancient trade routes linking East Asia with Central Asia, South Asia, and the Mediterranean world. This network of exchange emerged along the borders between agricultural China and the steppe nomads during the Han Dynasty (206BCE-220CE), in consequence of the inter-dependence and the conflicts of these two distinctive societies. In their quest for horses, fragrances, spices, gems, glassware, and other exotics from the lands to their west, the Han Empire extended its dominion over the oases around the Takla Makan Desert and sent silk all the way to the Mediterranean, either through the land routes leading to the caravan city of Palmyra in Syria desert, or by way of northwest India, the Arabian Sea and the Red Sea, landing at Alexandria. The Silk Road survived the turmoil of the demise of the Han and Roman Empires, reached its golden age during the early middle age, when the Byzantine Empire and the Tang Empire became centers of silk culture and established the models for high culture of the Eurasian world. The coming of Islam extended silk culture to an even larger area and paved the way for an expanded market for textiles and other commodities. By the 11th century, however, the Silk Road was in decline because of intense competition from the sea routes of the Indian Ocean. Using supply and demand as the framework for analyzing the formation and development of the Silk Road, the book examines the dynamics of the interactions of the nomadic pastoralists with sedentary agriculturalists, and the spread of new ideas, religions, and values into the world of commerce, thus illustrating the cultural forces underlying material transactions. This effort at tracing the interconnections of the diverse participants in the transcontinental Silk Road exchange will demonstrate that the world had been linked through economic and ideological forces long before the modern era.


The Silk Road

Author: Frances Wood
Publisher: Univ of California Press
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Covering five thousand years of history and delving deeply into the archives the British Museum and other famous collections of art and antiquities, this fascinating tour of a storied trade route introduces readers to the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of this legendary trail. (History)


The Silk Road

Author: Valerie Hansen
Publisher: Oxford University Press
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The Silk Road is as iconic in world history as the Colossus of Rhodes or the Suez Canal. But what was it, exactly? It conjures up a hazy image of a caravan of camels laden with silk on a dusty desert track, reaching from China to Rome. The reality was different--and far more interesting--as revealed in this new history. In The Silk Road, Valerie Hansen describes the remarkable archeological finds that revolutionize our understanding of these trade routes. For centuries, key records remained hidden--sometimes deliberately buried by bureaucrats for safe keeping. But the sands of the Taklamakan Desert have revealed fascinating material, sometimes preserved by illiterate locals who recycled official documents to make insoles for shoes or garments for the dead. Hansen explores seven oases along the road, from Xi'an to Samarkand, where merchants, envoys, pilgrims, and travelers mixed in cosmopolitan communities, tolerant of religions from Buddhism to Zoroastrianism. There was no single, continuous road, but a chain of markets that traded between east and west. China and the Roman Empire had very little direct trade. China's main partners were the peoples of modern-day Iran, whose tombs in China reveal much about their Zoroastrian beliefs. Silk was not the most important good on the road; paper, invented in China before Julius Caesar was born, had a bigger impact in Europe, while metals, spices, and glass were just as important as silk. Perhaps most significant of all was the road's transmission of ideas, technologies, and artistic motifs. The Silk Road is a fascinating story of archeological discovery, cultural transmission, and the intricate chains across Central Asia and China.


Empires of the Silk Road

Author: Christopher I. Beckwith
Publisher: Princeton University Press
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The first complete history of Central Eurasia from ancient times to the present day, Empires of the Silk Road represents a fundamental rethinking of the origins, history, and significance of this major world region. Christopher Beckwith describes the rise and fall of the great Central Eurasian empires, including those of the Scythians, Attila the Hun, the Turks and Tibetans, and Genghis Khan and the Mongols. In addition, he explains why the heartland of Central Eurasia led the world economically, scientifically, and artistically for many centuries despite invasions by Persians, Greeks, Arabs, Chinese, and others. In retelling the story of the Old World from the perspective of Central Eurasia, Beckwith provides a new understanding of the internal and external dynamics of the Central Eurasian states and shows how their people repeatedly revolutionized Eurasian civilization. Beckwith recounts the Indo-Europeans' migration out of Central Eurasia, their mixture with local peoples, and the resulting development of the Graeco-Roman, Persian, Indian, and Chinese civilizations; he details the basis for the thriving economy of premodern Central Eurasia, the economy's disintegration following the region's partition by the Chinese and Russians in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and the damaging of Central Eurasian culture by Modernism; and he discusses the significance for world history of the partial reemergence of Central Eurasian nations after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Empires of the Silk Road places Central Eurasia within a world historical framework and demonstrates why the region is central to understanding the history of civilization.


Realms of the Silk Roads

Author: David Christian
Publisher: Brepols Pub
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Contents: Realms of the Silk Roads Part 1: New Sources on Inner Asian History N. Sims-Williams, Some Reflections on Zoroastrianism in Sogdiana and Bactria; G. Mikkelsen, Traiteacute;/Sermon on the Light-Nous in Chinese and its Parallels in the Parthian, Sogdian and Old Turkish; A.V.G. Betts & V.N. Yagodin, Hunting Traps on the Ustiurt Plateau, Uzbekistan. Part 2: Long Distance Contacts S. Lieu, Byzantium, Persia and China: Interstate Relations on the Eve of the Islamic Conquest; D. Christian, Silk Roads or Steppe Roads ? The Silk Roads in World History; M. Underdown, The Northern Silk Road: Ties between Turfan and Korea. Part 3: Political Life C. Benjamin, The Yuezhi and their Neighbours: Evidence for the Yuezhi in the Chinese Sources c. 220 - c. 25 BCE; K. Nourzhanov, Politics of National Reconciliation in Tajikistan: From Peace Talks to (Partial) Political Settlements; S. Akbarzadeh, Islam and Regional Stability in Central Asia; C. Mackerras, Relations Between the Uygur State and China's Tang Dynasty, 744-840. Part 4: Perspectives G. Watson, Prestigious Peregrinations : British Travellers in Central Asia c. 1830-1914; F. Patrikeeff, The Geopolitics of Myth: Interwar Northeast Asia and Images of an Inner Asian Empire; D. Thwaites, The Road to Urumqui: Zunun Kadir's Lost World; F. Patrikeeff & J. Perkins, National and Imperial Identity: A Triptych of Baltic Germans in Inner Asia. Part 5: Teaching Inner Asian History R. Fletcher & E. Hetherington, The China TimeMap Project: China and the Silk Roads; M. With, Creating Responsible Educational Images of Judaic / Christian / Islamic Relations.


Life Along the Silk Road

Author: Susan Whitfield
Publisher: Univ of California Press
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Draws on contemporary sources and first-hand accounts to reconstruct the history of the route through the personal experiences of these characters.


The Silk Roads

Author: Peter Frankopan
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
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The No. 1 Sunday Times and international bestseller - a major reassessment of world history in light of the economic and political renaissance in the re-emerging east. 'Magnificent' Sunday Times 'Immensely entertaining ... so ambitious, so detailed, so fascinating' The Times For centuries, fame and fortune were to be found in the west – in the New World of the Americas. Today, it is the east which calls out to those in search of riches and adventure. Sweeping right across Central Asia and deep into China and India, a region that once took centre stage is again rising to dominate global politics, commerce and culture. A major reassessment of world history, The Silk Roads is a dazzling exploration of the forces that have driven the rise and fall of empires, determined the flow of ideas and goods and are now heralding a new dawn in international affairs.


Teaching the Silk Road

Author: Jacqueline M. Moore
Publisher: SUNY Press
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Advocating a global as opposed to a Eurocentric perspective in the college classroom, discusses why and how to teach about China’s Silk Road. The romance of the Silk Road journey, with its exotic locales and luxury goods, still excites the popular imagination. But study of the trade routes between China and central Asia that flourished from about 200 BCE to the 1500s can also greatly enhance contemporary higher education curricula. Indeed, with people, plants, animals, ideas, and beliefs traversing it, the Silk Road is both a metaphor of globalization and an early example of it. Teaching the Silk Road highlights the reasons to incorporate this material into a variety of courses and shares resources to facilitate that process. It is intended for those who are not Silk Road or Asian specialists but who wish to embrace a global history and civilizations perspective in teaching, as opposed to the more traditional approach that focuses on cultures in isolation. The book explores both classroom and experiential learning and is intentionally interdisciplinary. Each essay focuses on pedagogical strategies or themes that teachers can use to bring the Silk Road into the classroom. “Based on years of experience, the authors of Teaching the Silk Road offer sound strategies for both stand-alone courses on aspects of the route and mainstreaming what has been uncovered in three decades of research into existing courses in a variety of disciplines.” — H-Net Reviews (H-Asia) “This collection of essays and personal reflections allows the reader to listen in on a relaxed conversation on teaching the topic of the Silk Road. It offers a nice blueprint for integrating the Silk Road into new or existing curricula.” — J. Michael Farmer, author of The Talent of Shu: Qiao Zhou and the Intellectual World of Early Medieval Sichuan


Southern Silk Road

Author: Christoph Baumer
Publisher: Orchid Pr
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Central Asia and the Silk Road

Author: Stephan Barisitz
Publisher: Springer
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This book offers a comprehensive overview of the pre-modern economic history of Central Asia and the Silk Road, covering several millennia. By analyzing an abundance of sources and materials, it illustrates the repeated economic heydays of the Silk Road, during which it linked the Orient and Occident for many centuries. Nomadic steppe empires frequently dominated Central Asia, molded its economy and influenced trade along the Silk Road. The book assesses the causes and effects of the wide-ranging overland trade booms, while also discussing various internal and external factors that led to the gradual economic decline of Central Asia and eventual demise of the Silk Road. Lastly, it explains how the economic decline gave rise to Chinese and Russian colonialism in the 18th and 19th centuries. Detailed information, e.g. on the Silk Road’s trajectories in various epochs, is offered in the form of numerous newly drafted maps.


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