The Silk Road Essay

The Silk Road Essay

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     The four hundred years between the collapse of the Han dynasty (206 B.C.E.- C.E. 220) and the establishment of the Tang dynasty (618-906) mark a division in the history of China. During this period, foreign invasion, transcontinental trade, and missionary ambition opened the region to an unprecedented wealth of foreign cultural influences. These influences were both secular and sacred. Nomads, merchants, emissaries and missionaries flooded into China, bringing new customs, providing exotic wares, and generating new religious beliefs. Foremost among these beliefs was Buddhism, born in India, but which now took root in China. These new influences entered China by a vast network of overland routes, popularly known as the Silk Road
     The term Silk Road does not refer to a single, clearly defined road or highway, but rather denotes a network of trails and trading posts, oasis and markets scattered all across Central Asia. All along the way, branch routes led to destinations off to the side of the main route, with one especially important branch leading to northwestern India, and thus to other routes throughout the subcontinent. The Silk Road network is generally thought of as stretching from an eastern station at the old Chinese capital city of Chang'an to westward stations at Byzantium (Constantinople), Antioch, Damascus, and other Middle Eastern cities. But beyond those end points, other trade networks distributed Silk Road goods throughout the Mediterranean world and Europe, on one end, and throughout eastern Asia on the other end.
     It is not possible to think clearly about the Silk Road without taking into consideration the whole of Eurasia as its geographical context. Trade along the Silk Road flourished or diminished according to the conditions in China, Byzantium, Persia, and other countries along the way. There was also competition for alternative routes, by land and sea, to absorb long-distance
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Eurasian trade when conditions along the Silk Road were unfavorable. For this reason, the geographical context of the Silk Road must be thought of in the broadest possible terms, including sea rout...


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     Works Cited
Beers, Burton F. (1988). World History Patterns of Civilization. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall

Clyde, Paul H., Beers, Burton F. (1971) The Far East: A History of the Western Impact and the
     Eastern Response. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall.

Goodrich, L. Carrington (1959). A Short History Of The Chinese People. New York: Harper &
     Row.
     The Great Silk Road. (Retrieved November 11, 2004) from http://www.lotossutra.at/english/seidentstr.ht.
          
The Silk Road (Retrieved November 10, 2004) from http://www.imperialtours.net/silk_road.htm
The Silk Road. (Retrieved November 11, 2004) from http://www.ess.uci.edu/%7Eoliver/silk.htm
Welcome to the Silk Road (Retrieved November 12, 2004) from http://www.silkroad.com




























































































































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