Rise Of The Silk Road

1586 Words 7 Pages
Many will argue that the Silk Road was fueled by the simple economic principles of supply and demand. And in part, this claim is true. But more accurately, the Silk Road depended on humankind’s intrinsic desire for connection and relationships. Surely to start people solely coveted rare and valuable goods from distant lands, but amid times of chaos, peace could be found in the market places, the booming trade cities, and the monasteries along the Silk Road. Bonds were forged along this route, ideas were spread, empires rose and fell, and religion flourished. Curiosities of other people in far away places and wonder about exotic goods galvanized a hunger for knowledge and human connection. The Silk Road opened up previously isolated and …show more content…
The goals of opening China to trade lay solely in the promise of economic growth and the hope of gaining a militarial upper hand over the nomads on the Central Asian Steppe. The main threat to Chinese borders was northern nomads, so in attempt to foster appeasement and build nomadic alliances, China gifted luxuries such as silk to nomad chiefs. This strategy worked well with the Yuezhi nomads, but the Xiongnu nomads remained hostile, going so far as to drive the Yuezhi westward out of the steppe and into Bactria. Then, they continued to loot and raid towns on Chinese borders. At a loss without their alliance with the Yuezhi, the Chinese military was subpar compared to the Xiongnu’s cavalry. A massive demand for horses grew within China with no internal supply to fulfill it. Thus, one of the major goals of opening the Silk Road trade became to acquire horses for defense. Meanwhile, the Roman Empire’s conquests spread eastward, nearing closer and closer to Central Asia where the Yuezhi settled and became the Kushan Empire. It was …show more content…
It was during this period that cultural diffusion bloomed in the caravan cities of the mediators and the middlemen. Of course the foundations for the focus on culture were laid during the first stage of the Silk Road trade, but it was not until the Han dynasty and the Roman empire fell that the main emphasis was placed upon the human aspects of trade instead of the economic benefits of commerce. Control over trade became decentralized, with the Kushan and Gupta empires offering the Silk Road the only stability available. At this point in time, if the goals of Silk Road trade still remained tied only to economic growth it is likely trade would have ceased amid this time of chaos. But despite everything, the Silk Road continued to boom. The continuing success of the Silk Road can be attributed to the heavy emphasis on culture and human connection. The entire Kushan empire essentially became a melting pot of cultural diffusion. Bactria developed into a city dependent on commerce, and due to its Persian, Greek, and Parthian founding roots as well as its central trade location, it also became a city of many cultures. Additionally, the Gupta empire grew to perpetuate the success of the Silk Road by controlling a majority of maritime trade (the Gupta monopolized knowledge of monsoon winds that made sea trade easier), as well as spreading the religion that would heavily influence

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