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Silk Road - Essay Example

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A Historical Analysis of ‘Silk Routes’ and its Role in Ancient and Medieval Trade, Commerce and International Affairs A Historical Analysis of ‘Silk Routes’ and its Role in Ancient and Medieval Trade, Commerce and International Affairs Introduction The ‘Silk Routes’, also popularly known as ‘Silk Road’, was essentially a network of commercial communication routes which was established during the Han Dynasty in the 2nd Century BCE…
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Download file to see previous pages “Both terms for this network of roads”, as Joshua J Mark notes, “were coined by the German geographer and traveler, Ferdinand von Richthofen, in 1877 CE, who designated them `Seidenstrasse’ (silk road) or `Seidenstrassen’ (silk routes)” (Pars. 1). After its establishment during the Han Dynasty in 130 BCE, the commercial routes have been regularly used by different peoples until the Ottomans imposed blockade on the routes in 1453 CE in order to cut off the Europeans’ commercial relation with the East. Along the passage of time, the routes have played significant roles in the international military as well as cultural relationships among the ancient and medieval nations. At any given point of history, the “Silk Routes” also have “played the role of a determiner of international relationship” (Elisseeff 45). Therefore, the routes have undergone various transformations, additions and often contractions according to the natures of the existing socio-political, geographical and cultural milieus of the world. Early History of the Silk Routes Historians popularly believe that the “Silk Routes” had been established in 130 BCE during the Han Dynasty. But in reality, its history dates back in the 5th century BCE to the 3rd century BCE, when the commercial relationships among the nations were being determined by the imperial influences and control over countries and nations. Before Alexander’s military enterprise began to expand eastward, the commercial relationship of Europe with Eastern nations was not that deep and intense. Instead, the Greeks and the Romans would maintain their commercial and trade relationship with few of the Middle Eastern nations such the Syrians and the Persians who were then in control of the Achaemenid Empire, and sometimes, with the Indian nations through the “Persian Royal Road” which would “come to serve as one of the main arteries of the Silk Road, was established during the Achaemenid Empire (500-330 BCE)” (Mark pars. 2). In fact, the commercial route between the Greeks-Romans and the Middle-Eastern had been facilitated by the Mare Internum maritime route, in the Mediterranean Sea, which easily connected the Greeks and the Roman City states with the Middle East, and by the Syrian-Persian Terrain which was much friendly to the merchants. This western commercial route, which stretched to the Indian Subcontinent, achieved individuality because of its contribution to the growth of regional commerce among those countries (Elisseeff 56-62). Though the Persian Achaemenids maintained intermittent trade relationship with the Chinese, it was not as frequent as it was with the Greeks and the Romans. After Alexander the Great conquered the Persians in 339 BCE, the root of the ‘Persian Royal Road’ (the predecessor of the Silk Routes) further became solidified. Yet the west’s commercial relationship with China did not open up. By the time, the Greco Bactrian was ruling in Fergana Valley of Neb of Tajikistan, Central Asia, the Han Dynasty was struggling against the nomadic Mongolian invaders of the Xiongu on the north-western border of China. The harassments ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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