Land Routes: The Silk Roads
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.
- 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?
- Beckwith, Christopher. Empires of the Silk Road (2009), pp. 204-231.
- Christian, David, ‘Silk Roads or Steppe Roads? The Silk Roads in World History’, Journal of World History, 11, 1 (2000).
- Abu-Lughod, Janet Lippman, ‘The World System in the Thirteenth Century: Dead-End or Precursor?’, in Michael Adas, ed., Islamic and European Expansion. The Forging of a Global Order (Philadelphia, 1993), pp. 75-102.
- 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'?
- Adshead, S.M., Central Asia in World History (Basingstoke, 1993). Shows the significance of the region. [DS 785.A3]
- Bentley, Jerry, Old World Encounters (New York, 1993). Emphasis on cultural relations and interactions. [CB 251.B3]
- Curtin, Philip, Cross-cultural Trade in World History (Cambridge, 1984). [HY 3000.C8]
Dales, Stephen F., 'Silk Road, Cotton Road or.... Indo-Chinese Trade in Pre-European Times,' Modern Asian Studies 43.1 (2009): 79-88.
- Elisseeff, Vadime, ed. The Silk Roads: Highways of Culture and Commerce (Oxford, 1999) [DS 12.S4]
- Foltz, Richard, Religions of the Silk Road: Overland Trade and Cultural Exchange from Antiquity to the Fifteenth Century (New York, 1999) [BL 1050.F6]
- Frank, Andre Gunder, The Centrality of Central Asia (1992)
- Frank, 'The Centrality of Central Asia', Studies in History 8/1 (1992), pp. 43-97
- Hopkirk, Peter, Foreign Devils of the Silk Road: The Search for the Lost Cities and Treasure of Chinese Central Asia (Oxford, 1984) - about the controversial foreign appropriation of Silk Road treasure.
Levi, Scott, ‘India, Russia and the Eighteenth-Century Transformation of the Central Asian Caravan Trade,’ Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 42.4 (1999): 519-48. http://www.jstor.org/stable/3632605
- Liu Xinru, The Silk Road: Overland Trade and Cultural Interactions in Eurasia (Washington, 1998). [DS 33.1.L4]
- McNeill, William, ‘The Eccentricity of Wheels or Eurasian Transportation in Historical Perspective’, American Historical Review, 92, 5 (1987), pp. 1111-1126.
- Rossabi, Morris, ‘The “Decline” of the Central Asian Caravan Trade’, in James Tracy, ed., The Rise of Merchant Empires (Cambridge, 1990), pp. 351-370. [HY 3030.R4]
- Steensgaard, Niels, The Asian Trade Revolution of the Seventeenth Century:The East India Companies and the Decline of the Caravan Trade (1973) [HY 3040.S8]
- Walker, Annabel, Aurel Stein: Pioneer of the Silk Road (1998)
- Wolff, Robert S., ‘Da Gama’s Blundering: Trade Encounters in Africa and Asia during the European “Age of Discovery”, 1450-1520’, The History Teacher, 31, no. 3 (1998), pp. 297-318.
- Wood, Frances, The Silk Road: Two Thousand Years in the Heart of Asia (Berkeley, 2002). A general introduction to the history of the Silk Road [DS 33.1.W6]
6. External Links
- The Silk Road Foundation publishes an excellent annual newsletter. See here for details.
- The website of the International Dunhuang Project at the British Library, where much of Aurel Stein’s materials were deposited: http://idp.bl.uk
- Interactive website on the Silk Road: http://virtuallabs.stanford.edu/silkroad/
- A basic introduction to the silk road: http://www.ess.uci.edu/~oliver/silk.html
- A map of the Eurasian land routes: http://faculty.washington.edu/dwaugh/01hist225/srmap2.jpg
- A map of silk route: http://www.burlington.mec.edu/memorial/silk-road-printout.gif
- San Jose State University has an interesting website with images and information about the silk road: http://gallery.sjsu.edu/silkroad/
detail of 'Kublai Khan Hunting'
Yüan Dynasty (1279-1368)
National Palace Museum, Taiwan