The Silk Roads
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“This is history on a grand scale, with a sweep and ambition that is rare… A proper historical epic of dazzling range and achievement.” —William Dalrymple, The Guardian The epic history of the crossroads of the world—the meeting place of East and West and the birthplace of civilization It was on the Silk Roads that East and West first encountered each other through trade and conquest, leading to the spread of ideas, cultures and religions. From the rise and fall of empires to the spread of Buddhism and the advent of Christianity and Islam, right up to the great wars of the twentieth century—this book shows how the fate of the West has always been inextricably linked to the East. Peter Frankopan realigns our understanding of the world, pointing us eastward. He vividly re-creates the emergence of the first cities in Mesopotamia and the birth of empires in Persia, Rome and Constantinople, as well as the depredations by the Mongols, the transmission of the Black Death and the violent struggles over Western imperialism. Throughout the millennia, it was the appetite for foreign goods that brought East and West together, driving economies and the growth of nations. From the Middle East and its political instability to China and its economic rise, the vast region stretching eastward from the Balkans across the steppe and South Asia has been thrust into the global spotlight in recent years. Frankopan teaches us that to understand what is at stake for the cities and nations built on these intricate trade routes, we must first understand their astounding pasts. Far more than a history of the Silk Roads, this book is truly a revelatory new history of the world, promising to destabilize notions of where we come from and where we are headed next. From the Hardcover edition.
A major reassessment of world history in light of the economic and political renaissance in the re-emerging east - and a fascinating rediscovery of the seductive cities of Samarkand, Bukhara, Isfahan and Constantinople.
The No. 1 Sunday Times and international bestseller - a major reassessment of world history in light of the economic and political renaissance in the re-emerging east. 'Magnificent' Sunday Times 'Immensely entertaining ... so ambitious, so detailed, so fascinating' The Times For centuries, fame and fortune were to be found in the west – in the New World of the Americas. Today, it is the east which calls out to those in search of riches and adventure. Sweeping right across Central Asia and deep into China and India, a region that once took centre stage is again rising to dominate global politics, commerce and culture. A major reassessment of world history, The Silk Roads is a dazzling exploration of the forces that have driven the rise and fall of empires, determined the flow of ideas and goods and are now heralding a new dawn in international affairs.
From the bestselling author of The Silk Roads comes an updated, timely, and visionary book about the dramatic and profound changes our world is undergoing right now--as seen from the perspective of the rising powers of the East. "All roads used to lead to Rome. Today they lead to Beijing." So argues Peter Frankopan in this revelatory new book. In the age of Brexit and Trump, the West is buffeted by the tides of isolationism and fragmentation. Yet to the East, this is a moment of optimism as a new network of relationships takes shape along the ancient trade routes. In The New Silk Roads, Peter Frankopan takes us on an eye-opening journey through the region, from China's breathtaking infrastructure investments to the flood of trade deals among Central Asian republics to the growing rapprochement between Turkey and Russia. This important book asks us to put aside our preconceptions and see the world from a new--and ultimately hopeful--perspective.
A look at the cultural, or intercultural, exchange that took place in the Silk Roads and the role this has played in the shaping of cultures and civilizations.
Covering five thousand years of history and delving deeply into the archives the British Museum and other famous collections of art and antiquities, this fascinating tour of a storied trade route introduces readers to the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of this legendary trail. (History)
The ancient trade routes that made up the Silk Road were some of the great conduits of cultural and material exchange in world history. In this intriguing book, Xinru Liu reveals both why and how this long-distance trade in luxury goods emerged in the late third century BCE, following its story through to the Mongol conquest. Liu starts with China's desperate need for what the Chinese called "the heavenly horses" of Central Asia, and describes how the traders who brought these horses also brought other exotic products, some all the way from the Mediterranean. Likewise, the Roman Empire, as a result of its imperial ambition as well as the desire of its citizens for Chinese silk, responded with easterly explorations for trade. The book shows how the middle men, the Kushan Empire, spread Buddhism to China. Missionaries and pilgrims facilitated cave temples along the mountainous routes and monasteries in various oases and urban centers, forming the backbone of the Silk Road. The author also explains how Islamic and Mongol conquerors in turn controlled the various routes until the rise of sea travel diminished their importance.
Draws on contemporary sources and first-hand accounts to reconstruct the history of the route through the personal experiences of these characters.
The Silk Road is as iconic in world history as the Colossus of Rhodes or the Suez Canal. But what was it, exactly? It conjures up a hazy image of a caravan of camels laden with silk on a dusty desert track, reaching from China to Rome. The reality was different--and far more interesting--as revealed in this new history. In The Silk Road, Valerie Hansen describes the remarkable archeological finds that revolutionize our understanding of these trade routes. For centuries, key records remained hidden--sometimes deliberately buried by bureaucrats for safe keeping. But the sands of the Taklamakan Desert have revealed fascinating material, sometimes preserved by illiterate locals who recycled official documents to make insoles for shoes or garments for the dead. Hansen explores seven oases along the road, from Xi'an to Samarkand, where merchants, envoys, pilgrims, and travelers mixed in cosmopolitan communities, tolerant of religions from Buddhism to Zoroastrianism. There was no single, continuous road, but a chain of markets that traded between east and west. China and the Roman Empire had very little direct trade. China's main partners were the peoples of modern-day Iran, whose tombs in China reveal much about their Zoroastrian beliefs. Silk was not the most important good on the road; paper, invented in China before Julius Caesar was born, had a bigger impact in Europe, while metals, spices, and glass were just as important as silk. Perhaps most significant of all was the road's transmission of ideas, technologies, and artistic motifs. The Silk Road is a fascinating story of archeological discovery, cultural transmission, and the intricate chains across Central Asia and China.
Set your sails east with this stunningly original new history of the world. Peter Frankopan explores the connections made by people, trade, disease, war, religion, adventure, science and technology in this extraordinary book about how the east married the west with a remarkable voyage at its heart – the journey along the Silk Roads. From ancient world laws laid down by King Hammurabi and the mighty Persian empire, to terrifying huns, the rise of Europe, two world wars and politics today, The Silk Roads moves through time and history sewing together the threads from different peoples, empires and continents into a phenomenal history of the globe. With stories from each and every corner of society, Frankopan's magnificent retelling of his literary triumph The Silk Roads, sumptuously illustrated by Neil Packer, is a must-have world history.