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Life along the silk road ( tang dynsaty) - Essay Example

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(Name) (Professor) (Subject) (Date) The Challenges that Confronted Merchants Along The Silk Road The Tang Dynasty was one of the most glorious, prosperous and powerful kingdoms in Chinese history and was at its peak from 618 to 906 AD. It was also during this time that China opened its doors to the world, thus welcoming diverse people of diverse cultures such as “traders of Persia, priests of Rome, sailors of Arabia, students of Japan, Buddhist and Islamic scholars,” and many others (The Great Tang Dynasty)…
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Download file to see previous pages Merchants and traders both traveled and did business on the Silk Road and faced numerous challenges that always confronted them. Harsh Weather Conditions One of the more obvious challenges that merchants faced along the Silk Road was the harsh weather conditions. In fact, the Silk Road is surrounded by the Taklimakan Desert, whose severe and hostile climate would cause temperatures to soar to as high as 50 degrees Celsius in the summer or fall to as low as minus 20 degrees in the winter. Aside from this, strong winds brought about numerous dangerous sandstorms in the Taklimakan Desert (Mon). Moreover, the Taklimakan Desert had fewer oases than the neighboring Gobi Desert (Wild). Lastly, clouds of dust and silt may blow with the wind and persist for days (Wood 16). Wars and Conflicts There were numerous routes along the Silk Road, and because of this, “The issues caused by the development of the route included invasion and robbery by nomadic tribes and increased merchant costs” (What is the History of the Silk Road?). the increased merchant costs were necessary as the need for escort and protection increased through the years. Based on the account of a robbery as retold by the Sogdian merchant Nanaivandak, a number of his fellow merchants who wandered along the routes in smaller groups were ambushed, robbed and killed by bandits (Whitfield 48). There was indeed a great risk of traveling along the Silk Road in small groups as Central Asian bandits would often seize the opportunity to inflict harm on the merchants and steal their goods and kill them if they resisted. Besides, it was not only silk that was being traded along these routes but also “jewels, ivories, pearls…corals, diamonds…bronze ware, porcelains” whether being sold by merchants or carried home by them (The Great Tang Dynasty). These products from various parts of the world would be very attractive to all robbers and bandits of Central Asia. Disease According to William McNeill’s Plagues and Peoples, there was “diffusion of diseases via the Silk Road” (Rossabi). Even before the Black Death ravaged Europe, there may have already been several diseases that have come from Europe and which may have spread throughout China and Asia through the Silk Road. Nevertheless, there was little evidence on this. However, one of these diseases that may have spread through Asia through the Silk Road was Behcet’s disease. Behcet’s disease, which currently affects Far Eastern and Middle Eastern countries, may have come from Western Europe and affects 4 for every 1,000 people even now. Behcet’s disease is a vascular disease characterized by an overactivity of the body’s inflammatory immune response thus resulting in the destruction of blood vessels, severe mouth and genital ulcers, skin lesions and in severe cases, blindness (Disease genes that followed the Silk Road identified). According to medical experts, the genes for this disease may have come from the interactions of infected people along Silk Road during the Tang Dynasty. Negative Influences There was also an exchange of religious ideas along the Silk Road in addition to trading (Culture). However, this was the introduction of new religions to ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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