Networks of Communication and Exchange
I. The Silk Road A. Origins and Operations
1. The Silk Road was a central Asian trade route. In 247 BCE, Parthians became a major force and left writings of war with Greece and Rome. They shared their culture with the East steppe nomads.
2. In 128 BCE, General Zhang Jian found the land of Ferghana. There, he saw west flowing rivers and started Western trade there. Zhang found different plants their like the alfalfa (used for horse fodder) and wine grapes.
3. Steppe nomads did more long distance travel than the Chinese. Traders from China brought different fruits and spices. The Greeks could now buy silk not just from China, but Mesopotamia as well by 100 BCE.
II. The Sassanid Empire A. Basics of the Empire
1. Rise of the empire continued a rivalry with the Parthians and Rome, and also raised Silk Road trade. The empire began in 224 when Ardashir defeated the Parthians, and the Sassanid was in the southwest.
2. The Sassanid had silver and silk work and sent new crops to Mesopotamia. They had warrior elite and were military based with long distance trade.
3. They practiced Zoroastrianism (some Christianity was practiced), which was used as a political instrument and increased culture. Nestorians, a Christian sect, stressed the humanness of Jesus Christ and were persecuted so they took refuge under the Sassanid. Manichaeism also spread across the Silk Road.
B. Impact of Silk Road
1. In 6th century BCE, nomads from farther east spread and became a pastoral group. Nomads lived in huts called yorts, whereas the Turks and Iranian elite lived in large, decorated homes.
2. Buddhism competed with Nestorian Christianity and Manichaeism. Missionary influences impacted foreign customs and beliefs on the Silk Road. Military technology advanced such as chariot warfare and mounted bowmen (spread East and West from military migrations). The Kushans created the stirrup which gave more stability than just a saddle.
III. The Indian Ocean Maritime System A. Basics of the Trade Route
1. The Indian Ocean Maritime System was a trade network that went across India and the South China Sea. Trade was in 3 different places; SC Sea and the Malays dominated trade, India to South Asia were the man traders, and West Coast India to the Persian Gulf and East Coast Africa.
2. Stories tell of Hippalus, a Greek ship pilot who found that monsoons aided in sailing. Mediterranean sailors used square sail and long oars to move among the islands and harbors. Monsoons did aid sailors to cover long reaches all at sea.
3. The difference of the Greeks and Indian Ocean traders were that the Greeks and Phoenicians kept in touch with homeland and were bound to it.
B. Origins of Contact and Trade
1. In 2000 BCE, there was regular trade between Mesopotamia, Persian Gulf, Oman, and Indonesian Islands. The Indian Ocean route touched the coasts of India and South Arabia on Indonesian journeys.
2. Africans found their way across the Mozambique Channel. The descendants of these people preserved the language and culture of their homeland (cultivation of bananas).
C. Impact of Indian Ocean Trade
1. Increased demand of products caused mariners to persist long voyages. There were pearls in the Persian Gulf and copper mines in South East Asia and Oman. Spices were in SE Asia and pottery was in China (which had high value products, but low trade.)
2. East India, Malay Peninsula, and Indonesia were hospitable, populated, and had easy access. There was a long series of Kingdoms in the west and importance of sea born trade in the east.
3. Women didn’t have many rights, but men usually married women from local ports. This resulted in a bicultural and bilingual society. Women acted as mediators’ b/w cultures, raised children, and introduced men to the culture.
IV. Routes across the Sahara A. Early Saharan Cultures
1. Routes went from the Red Sea to the Atlantic Ocean. Hunting societies were