Chapter 8 Questions
1. Long-distance commerce acted as a motor of change in pre-modern world history by altering consumption and daily life. Essential food and useful tools such as salt were traded from the Sahara desert all the way to West Africa and salt was used as a food preserver. Some incenses essential to religious ceremonies were traded across the world because there was a huge demand for them. Trade diminished economic self-sufficiency by creating a reliance on traded goods and encouraged people to specialize and trade a particular skill. Trade motivated the creation of a state due to the wealth accumulated from controlling and taxing trade. Trade posed the problem of if the government or private companies should control it. Trade spread religious ideas, technology, plants and animals and diseases.
2. There were many reasons behind the emergence of the Silk Road. One reason was the exchange of products of the forest and of the semi-arid northern grasslands of inner Eurasia, which were controlled by pastoral peoples, for the agricultural products and manufactured goods of the warmer, well-watered lands of outer Eurasia. This included the Mediterranean, the Middle East, India, and China. Another reason were the construction of classical civilizations and their imperial states during the last five centuries B.C.E.; classical civilizations invaded the territory of pastoral peoples, securing sections of the Silk Roads and providing security for merchants and travelers. The Silk Road kept going for many centuries because it had the continued support of later states, including the Byzantine, Abbasid, and Mongol empires, which also benefited from the trade. There was also a continuing demand for hard-to-find luxury goods among elites across Eurasia.
Silk was a highly desired commodity across Eurasia because silk was used as currency and as a means of accumulating wealth in Central Asia. It also became a symbol of high...
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