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For other uses, see Silk Road (disambiguation).
The Silk Road extending from Southern Europe through Arabia, Somalia, Egypt, Persia, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Java, and Vietnam until it reaches China. Land routes are red, water routes blue
The Silk Road (German: Seidenstraße) (or Silk Routes) is an extensive interconnected network of trade routes across the Asian continent connecting East, South, and Western Asia with the Mediterranean world, as well as North and East Africa and Europe. The term "Seidenstraße" (literally "Silk Road") was coined retrospectively by the German geographer Ferdinand von Richthofen in 1877 and has found since its way into general usage. It gets its name from the lucrative Chinese silk trade, which began during the Han Dynasty (206 BCE–220 CE), and was the major reason for the connection of trade routes into an extensive trans-continental network. In recent years, both the maritime and overland Silk Routes are again being used, often closely following the ancient routes.
|Contents | |[hide] | |1 Overview | |2 Etymology | |3 Routes taken | |3.1 Overland silk routes | |3.2 Maritime silk routes | |4 Background | |4.1 Cross-continental journeys | |4.2 Prehistoric transport and trade | |4.3 Trans-Saharan trade | |4.4 Egyptian maritime trade | |4.5 Ancient canal construction | |4.6 Chinese and Central Asian contacts | |4.7 Persian Royal Road | |5 History | |5.1 Hellenistic era | |5.2 Chinese exploration of Central Asia | |5.3 The Roman Empire | |5.4 Medieval age | |5.5 Mongol age | |5.6 Disintegration | |5.7 The great explorers: Europe reaching for Asia | |6 Cultural exchanges on the Silk Road | |6.1 Artistic transmission | |6.1.1 Buddhist deities | |6.1.2 Wind god | |6.2 Technological transfer...