The silkroad: A trade route that changed history as we know it forever. This road/trailwas a spider web of trade routes that spanned from China to Central Asia,Westward, and eventually to Europe. The silk road was not just a road on land;it was also road on the ocean. The peoples that lived alongside the silk road actuallydid not call it that, they called it whatever the road to the nearest city was (Hansen,2012). The path later became known as the silk road because of the abundance ofsilk that was traded there. In Afro-Eurasia the peoples who live there only had three types ofclothing: wool, animal skins, linen. Although, cotton was available in Egyptand India, it was harder to make cotton so it was more money than silk at thetime (Bernstein, 2008). This made the silk trade extremely popular.
Spanningfrom the Mediterranean to India, the silk road made silk become extremely popular and the main product theruling class.Although, Silkwas not just used to make clothes. Silk was also used for objects such as:fishing lines, bows, armor for war, and making clothes (Pollard, 2015). Silkwas a very coveted item. Everyone wanted it. This made the silk trade flourishon the silk road and especially in china. Peoples also used silk, as well ascoins, to barter. This encouraged maritime and long distance land trade.
Aftersometime, Peoples did not just trade on land, they also used ships to tradewith Europe. This new trade route reinforced new government polities, producednew societal classes, formed new city locations, and carried Buddhism andHellenism way beyond where they were created from. Although,what was mostly traded there was silk, there were numerous items peoplesexchanged on the road. Such as: religions, philosophies, Textiles, Coral,Glassware, Horses, Slaves, Diseases, Incense, cultures, and currency. Easilytransported items such as glass beads were used as currency. Glass beads wereused as a statement for peoples that were powerful.Additionally,The Silk road made using textiles possible. When using silk as a textile it wasmore sturdy, convenient and more useful for drawings than wood or bamboo.
Thismade silk textiles very popular. Peoples used cannabis paper for sacred texts and purple mulberry paper forimportant documents and as a notepad (Grotenhuis, 2006). Texts made from silkwere put in tombs of the wealthy and upper-class lords. Many peoples that lived alongside thesilk road actually did not engage in trade at all. Many of them were . The silk road essentially was not a road; itwas a dirt path that went over all kinds of different terrain.
One of thereligions that the silk road influenced greatly was Buddhism. Caravans facilitated the spread of Buddhism. Peoples sometimesjourneyed on the Silk Road in search of a higher power rather than trading orpersonal wealth (Davis, 2006). Monks would travel the silk road and spreadtheir new religions. This made Buddhism widespread in the Afro-Eurasian part ofthe silk road but, less widespread in the Western part because Christians werepreaching there. If the silk road did not exist; China would not be the way, weknow it today. One of theways peoples traveled the silk road was by using caravans.
Many caravans consistedof camels because camels could. Caravan cities (such as Petra) connected the MediterraneanSea with the incense and silk trade paths of Afro-Eurasia. Petra and Palmyrahad major trade ports. Boats carried olive oil, glasses, wine, and linen up theNile river. Many peoplesthat lived alongside the silk road had a genetic disorder called Behcet’sdisease. This disease caused mouth and genitals ulcers, eye and blood vesselinflammation, joint swelling and pain, and brain inflammation. This disease wascaused by a gene that many people had that lived alongside the silk road. Thisdisease was not the only illness that traveled the silk road.
The silkroad also shaped how people nowadays trade with each other. It took trade tothe sea. This was a pivotal moment in history because we still use the oceanfor trade nowadays.
With the ocean now used for trade the silk road could nowspan from Afro-Eurasia to Europe. The trade route expanding to Europe aided inthe extreme spread of the bubonic plague.Many nomadsof Inner-Eurasia rode horses.
This made long distance trade achievable. The bubonicplague was spread throughout the silk road. This is where the black plagueoriginated. Some people thought that that the plague epidemics were caused by pest-ridden rats inAfro-Eurasia (Sarchet,2015). This plague killed more than 4,119 people inAfro-Eurasia. The camel’s nomads used to travel along the silk road could havecaught fleas and given them to their owner.
This plague would eventually spreadacross the ocean to effect more people. The Mongolswere a group of people who were barbarians. The Mongols would kill anyone intheir way including pregnant women and the unborn. They created a sense of fearthat they stirred up carefully. When they conquered a city they would pile upall the corpses in order to convince other cities to surrender (Frankopan,2015).
This tactic helped the Mongols become pioneers of the silk road. The Kushanswere a nomadic group that was very powerful on the silk road. They adoptedGreek as their language. The Kushans rode horses which became a very soughtafter item for the rich. The Kushans and the Mongols were nomads. The constantmoving about made their immune systems very good.
They became immune to mostpathogens because they were exposed to so many microbes on the silk road. TheKushans were illiterate but implemented Greek as their language (Pollard,2015). Their rule stabilized the silk road and helped it stretch from the eastto the west. The Kushans and the Mongols were pioneers of the silk road. The legacythe silk road left is a major one. The silk road shaped how the world is today.It took trade across land and sea.
It also brought different religions,diseases, art, Technology, cultures, and philosophies throughout Afro-Eurasiaand onward. The silk road also aided in the spreading of the bubonic plague,which killed millions of people across Afro-Eurasia and Europe. However, theKushans and the Mongols were pioneers of the Silk Road. The silk road was trulya monumental invention.In conclusionthe researcher found that the silk road was a key factor in developing theworld as we know it today. The silk road spread religion, philosophy, art,ideas, and diseases.
The silk road was essentially the main artery ofAfro-Eurasia.