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Land Routes: The Silk Roads


1. Lecture

Three Silk Roads were a network of trade routes passing through Central Asia and a variety of other commercial routes that connected China to the rest of Asia and Europe in the period before the thirteenth century. This lecture considers the role of the silk roads in shaping a complex of artistic, linguistic and religious interchange, and the legacy of that exchange in the form of an extremely rich material culture.


PowerPoint Presentation



2. Seminar 

  • What was the nature of exchage in the period before the thirteenth century?
  • How did the silk roads shape cultural interchange?
  • What were the obstacles to “connectedness” in the early modern world?
3. Core Readings
4. Essay Questions
  • What were 'the Silk Roads'? How and when were they significant, and who were involved?
  • What was the significance of the Silk Roads in the development of a world economy?
  • Was/Is Central Asia 'central'?
5. Further Reading

6. External Links



detail of 'Kublai Khan Hunting'
Liu Guandao

Y√ľan Dynasty (1279-1368)
National Palace Museum, Taiwan