Trade Routes of the Post-Classical World

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AP World History~Fall Semester Performance Final Exam
By: Bonnie McRae

From 600 to 1400 C.E., two essential trade routes of the Post-Classical world were the Silk Roads and that of the Indian Ocean Basin, which were both vast networks of many ancient routes linking various destinations within their intricate systems of trade and exchange. Each of these trade routes yielded extremely numerous effects and implications for the future that would affect life on earth for many years to come—and these effects are similar for the major trade routes of the Silk Roads and the Indian Ocean Basin with social regards to the fact that both routes majorly influenced the significant spread of religions and, thus, cultures; however, the effects are very different with regards to the resulting opportunities for cross-cultural encounters due to the fact that the Silk Road’s spreading of epidemic disease diminished these encounters and the Indian Ocean Basin’s mastery of sailing techniques allowed for abundant trade to result in a rich plethora of cross-cultural exchange. Both the trade and exchange occurring through the Silk Roads and through the Indian Ocean Maritime networks resulted in the spread of religions. In both cases, this is because the vast networks of roads were a medium for merchants coming from homelands of imperially sponsored religions to trade and establish communities where they would promote their faith along the way, in order that mission work might be accomplished and so that mutual cultural customs between their own country and the foreign lands with which they trade would create a peaceful relationship in which both parties would benefit from mutual respect and understanding. From 200 B.C. to 700 C.E. on the Silk Roads, Buddhism was the most prominent and popular faith among the travelling merchants due to emperor Ashoka’s imperial sponsorship back in India. The faith first started to attract converts in numerous oasis towns, where the merchants—along...
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