This volume explores human migration, communication, and cross-cultural exchange on the Silk Road, a complex network of trade routes spanning the Eurasian continent and beyond. It covers thousands of years of human history, from the 3rd millennium BCE to the early 2nd millennium CE.
Consolidating archaeological discoveries, historical analyses, and linguistic studies in one comprehensive volume, The World of the Ancient Silk Road brings to light diverse perspectives from scholars who have lived and worked across this vast region, many of which are published here in English for the first time. It contains extensive references of primary and secondary sources in their original languages and scripts. From Early Bronze Age cultures to the rise of regional Islamic empires, from the Mediterranean to the Yellow River basin, this multidisciplinary volume seeks to offer new insights and expand Silk Road studies to the Anglophone world.
The World of the Ancient Silk Road provides an essential reference work for students and scholars of world history, particularly those studying the regions, cultures, and peoples explored in this volume.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Changing landscape of the world of Silk Roads: terrains, ecology, languages, technology, Xinru Liu, Part I: Landscape of the Silk Road: from the Bronze age to the Beginning of Historical Records, 1. Kongquehe Bronze Age Culture - A Page of Early Eurasian History, Wang Binghua, 2. Tocharian Controversy: A Mobile Language Landscape of Central Asia, Xinru Liu, 3. Aramaic in the First Millennium BCE: Its Reception and Diffusion, Liu Jian, 4. Qirqiz, a People in the Forest and on the Steppe, Jia Yiken, 5. Invention and spread of horse chariots around Afro-Eurasia, Bruno Genito, 6. Horse Wagon with Bronze Wheel Felloe from Zhouyuan – Implication to the Exchanges between the East and West, Wang Peng, 7. Natural and Cultural History of the Camel, Renato Sala, 8. Cannabis and other plants with Peculiar Properties on the Silk Road, Kazim Abdullaev, Part II: Pastoral Nomads and Agricultural Societies, 9. Horse Archery Warfare and Rises and Falls of Nomadic Empires on the Eurasian Steppe, Craig Benjamin, 10. The Kushans, viz. the Dà Yuèzhī: A Century-Long Fallacy, Kuwayama Shoshin, 11. Looking for the city of horse, Mingtepa during the time of Dayuan Kingdom, Zhu Yanshi and Liu Tao, 12. Qirqiz/Kyrgyz, a People lived between Empires, Jia Yiken, 13. Images of Knights on the Great Silk Road, Kazim Abdullaev, Part III: Silk Trade and Caravan Cities, 14. Rise and Demise of Jingjue Kingdom, a Case of Tarim Oasis Politics, Ye Junshi, 15. Astana, Jiaohe, and other Turfan Cemeteries: the Movement of People, Ideas, and Objects in Gaochang Kingdom (442-640), Armin Selbitschka, 16. Turfan, the Frontier transmitting Smallpox to Tang China, Song Xian, 17. Caravan cities in the Roman Near East: Palmyra and Petra, Hamish Cameron, 18. The Chitral Yaβγu雙靡翕侯and a Route Southward in the First Century BCE, Shoshin Kuwayama, 19. Kābul and the Regional Centers of Eastern Afghanistan in their Historical Perspective, Minoru Inaba, 20. Routes of Swat, New Perspectives, Luca M. Olivieri, 21. The Silk Road and the ‘Cotton Road’: Buddhist Art and Practice between Central Asia and the Western Deccan, Pia Branccacio, 22. Egyptian Textiles and Networks of Exchange prior to and following the Arab-Islamic Conquest, Arielle Winnik, 23. Sino-Arabian Economic and Cultural Exchanges from the 8th to the 15th centuries, Lin Meicun and Ran Zhang, Part IV: Empires and Religions, 24. Elephants, Greeks, and Gold: The Silk Road in the Age of Hellenistic Empires, Benjamin Abbott, 25. The Western Lord of Treasures – Viewing the Byzantine Empire from Tang Dynasty Chang’an, Lin Ying, 26. Sogdian Religion along the Silk Road: Variations of Zoroastrianism in Medieval China, Zhang Xiaogui, 27. Buddhist Propagation and Language Barriers, Xinru Liu, 28. Silk-Horse between the Tang Empire and the Xiagasi/Kyrgyz, Li Jinxiu, 29. Roman market for silks, heavy brocade or light crepe?, Berit Hildebrandt, 30. Christian discourses about silks in antiquity, Berit Hildebrandt, 31. The Creation and Spread of Tiraz Textiles across the Silk Road, Arielle Winnik, 32. Virtual Silk Roads: Objects, Exhibitions, Learners, Daniel Waugh.
Xinru Liu received her PhD from the University of Pennsylvania in 1985. She is Professor Emeritus at the College of New Jersey. She has published extensively on topics related to the Silk Road, including Ancient India and Ancient China; Silk and Religion; The Silk Road in World History; and The Silk Roads, a Brief History With Documents. She has been teaching courses on the Silk Roads for more than thirty years.
"An outstanding collection of essays that brings the history of the peoples, cultures and places of the Silk Roads into sharp focus. Each essay is a gem; taken together, they are a collection that delights." - Peter Frankopan, University of Oxford