12. Cross-Cultural Exchanges on the Silk Roads

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Chapter 12
Cross-cultural Exchanges on the Silk Roads
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Long-Distance Travel in the Ancient
World
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Lack of police enforcement outside of established
settlements
Changed in classical period
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Improvement of infrastructure
Development of empires
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Trade Networks Develop
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Dramatic increase in trade due to Greek
colonization
Maintenance of roads, bridges
Discovery of Monsoon wind patterns
Increased tariff revenues used to maintain open
routes
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Trade in the Hellenistic World
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Bactria/India
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Persia, Egypt
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Grain
Mediterranean
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Spices, pepper, cosmetics, gems, pearls
Wine, oil, jewelry, art
Development of professional merchant class
4
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The Silk Roads
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Named for principal commodity from China
Dependent on imperial stability
Overland trade routes from China to Roman
Empire
Sea Lanes and Maritime trade as well
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The Silk Roads 200 BCE – 30 CE
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Organization of Long-Distance Trade
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Divided into small segments
Tariffs and tolls finance local supervision
Tax income incentives to maintain safety,
maintenance of passage
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Cultural Trade: Buddhism and Hinduism
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Merchants carry religious ideas along silk routes
India through central Asia to east Asia
Cosmopolitan centers promote development of
monasteries to shelter traveling merchants
Buddhism becomes dominant faith of silk roads,
200 BCE-700 CE
8
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The spread of Buddhism, Hinduism, and
Christianity, 200 BCE – 400 CE
9
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Buddhism in China
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Originally, Buddhism restricted to foreign
merchant populations
Gradual spread to larger population beginning 5th
c. CE
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Buddhism and Hinduism in SE Asia
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Sea lanes in Indian Ocean
1st c. CE clear Indian influence in SE Asia
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Rulers called “rajas”
Sanskrit used for written communication
Buddhism, Hinduism increasingly popular faiths
11
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Christianity in Mediterranean Basin
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Gregory the Wonderworker, central Anatolia 3rd c.
CE
Christianity spreads through Middle East, North
Africa, Europe
Sizeable communities as far east as India
Judaism, Zoroastrianism also practiced
12
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Christianity in SW Asia
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Influence of ascetic practices from India
Desert-dwelling hermits, monastic societies
After 5th c. CE, followed Nestorius
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Emphasized human nature of Jesus
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Spread of Manichaeism
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Mani a devout Zoroastrian (216-272 CE)
Viewed himself a prophet for all humanity
Influenced by Christianity and Buddhism
Dualist
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good vs. evil
light vs. dark
spirit vs. matter
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Manichaean Society
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Devout: “the Elect”
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Ascetic lifestyle
Celibacy, vegetarianism
Life of prayer and fasting
Laity: “the Hearers”
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Material supporters of “the Elect”
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Decline of Manichaeism
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Spread through silk routes to major cities in
Roman Empire
Zoroastrian opposition provokes Sassanid
persecution
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Mani arrested, dies in captivity
Romans, fearing Persian influence, also persecute
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The Spread of Epidemic Disease
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Role of trade routes in spread of pathogens
Limited data, but trends in demographics
reasonably clear
Smallpox, measles, bubonic plague
Effect: Economic slowdown, move to regional
self-sufficiency
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Epidemics in the Han and Roman
Empires
Chinese Population, 0600 CE
60
50
40
30
20
10
0
c. 0 c. c. c.
CE 200 400 600
CE CE CE
Millions
Roman Population, 0400 CE
60
50
40
30
20
10
0
c. 0 CE c. 200 c. 400
CE
Millions
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Internal Decay of the Han State
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Court intrigue
Formation of actions
Problem of land distribution
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Large landholders develop private armies
Epidemics
Peasant rebellions

184 CE Yellow Turban Rebellion
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Collapse of the Han Dynasty
China after the Han Dynasty,
220 CE
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Generals assume authority,
reduce Emperor to puppet
figure
Alliance with landowners
200 CE Han Dynasty
abolished, replaced by 3
kingdoms
Immigration of northern
nomads increases
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Sinicization of Nomadic Peoples
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Social and cultural changes to a Chinese way of
life
Adapted to the Chinese environment
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Agriculture
Adoption of Chinese names, dress, intermarriage
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Popularity of Buddhism and Daoism
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Disintegration of political order casts doubt on
Confucian doctrines
Buddhism, Daoism gain popularity
Religions of salvation
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Fall of the Roman Empire: Internal
Factors
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The Barracks Emperors
235-284 26 claimants to the throne, all but one
killed in power struggles
Epidemics
Disintegration of imperial economy in favor of
local and regional self-sufficient economies
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Diocletian (r. 284-305 CE)
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Divided empire into two administrative districts
Co-Emperors, dual Lieutenants
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“Tetrarchs”
Currency, budget reform
Relative stability disappears after Diocletian's
death, civil war follows
Constantine emerges victorious
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Fall of the Roman Empire: External
Factors
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Visigoths, influenced by Roman law, Christianity
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Formerly buffer states for Roman Empire
Attacked by Huns under Attila in 5th c. CE
Massive migration of Germanic peoples into
Roman Empire
Sacked Rome in 410 CE, established Germanic
emperor in 476 CE
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Germanic invasions and the fall of the western
Roman Empire, 450-476 CE
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Cultural Change in the Roman Empire
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Growth of Christianity
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Constantine’s Vision, 312 CE
Promulgates Edict of Milan, allows Christian practice
Converts to Christianity
380 CE Emperor Theodosius proclaims
Christianity official religion of Roman Empire
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St. Augustine (354-430 CE)
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Hippo, North Africa
Experimented with Greek thought, Manichaeism
387 converts to Christianity
Major theologian
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The Institutional Church
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Conflicts over doctrine and practice in early
Church
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Divinity of Jesus
Role of women
Church hierarchy established
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Patriarchs, Bishop of Rome primus inter pares
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