Silk Road trade: A preliminary study on why Sogdian merchants dominate Chinese merchants in Tang Dynasty Tang Dynasty was long regarded as the Golden age in the history of China. As the largest empire in the period, it enjoys a dominant role in many areas like military and economy. Despite the privilege, Tang merchants were not successful in the trading along silk road, which was dominated by the sogdian, a group of Iranian people living in the Central Asia. Sogdian occupied a key position along the Silk Road, playing a major role in facilitating trade between China and Central Asia and dominating the East-West trade. This studies focus on investigating why Sogdian can dominate in Silk Road Trade in geographical, political and cultural perspective. Also, the disadvantage of Chinese in Silk Road Trade was also investigated. Geographical
Sogdian didn’t form a political state over its history. It was mainly centered around their main city of Samarkand(撒馬爾干). Though the exact limits of Sogdian region are poorly known, it lay north of Bactria(大夏), east of Khwarezm(花剌子模), and southeast of Kangju(康國) between the Oxus (Amu Darya阿姆河) and the Jaxartes (Syr Darya錫爾河), embracing the fertile valley of the Zarafshan (ancient Polytimetus). Sogdian region is highly accessible to a wide-range of countries, including China, India, Mongolia, Persian Empire, Byzantine Empire, etc. This characteristic contributed to the reason why Sogdian region was the center of Central Asian Trade, connecting to Mideterranean region, East Asia and Europe. Sogdian lived around different grasslands in Central Asia. The nature of grasslands contributed to the good breeds of horses, camels and donkeys. Sogdian developed good skills in rasing these kinds of animals, which were the main transport equipments along Silk Road trade, in which large parts were consisting of grasslands and deserts. The good breeds of these animals facilitate the long-distance trade for Sogdian and help foster their development of dominant role in Silk Road Trade. Political
Sogdian has never politically united and has a relatively week military development. There were several times in history that Sogdian were conquered and become subordinate of several empires, including Cyrus, Achaemenid Empire, Alexander the Great amd the Parthian Empire. Although Sogdian has been conquered by several empires in its history, certain degree of economic independence was still maintained and given by those empires, ensuring the existence of their trading activities. Furthermore, thanks to those conquering events, Sogdian developed a very flexible characteristic. They realized that cooperating with the surrounding strong empires is the key method of maintaining the stability of their business activities. They made use of small portion of the profits in long-distance trade, to corrupt the officials of surrounding empires, requesting a safe route to carry our business. The high flexibility and adaptability of Sogdian, which was mainly developed by facing the pressure of subsistence over its surrounding empires, contributed to their success in Central Asia Trade. These characteristics foster their development in trading activities, surpassing other races, Cultural
Cultural differentiating was the main aspect contributing to the success of Sogdian in East-West Trade. To explain the culture identity of Sogdian, 6 parts would be explained, they are Education, Profit-oriented business mind, Language, Script, Flexibility and Entertainment. a)
Education is the core part in nurturing an individual and it contributed a huge part in developing a culture. Sogdian has a very different focus on education with other races. Their traditional family education focuses a lot on commerce and business. 羽田享 suggested in that Sogdian train their children in business activities while they were only 5 years old, and because of that, most Sogdian became experts in obtaining profits on trading. When...
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