Silk Road Essay

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Chapter 9

What were some of the chief destinations along the Silk Road, and what kinds of products and ideas traveled along the route?

The Silk Road was a major trade route between India and Europe. Much of the trade that was done between India and Europe was transported through the Silk Road. From here, goods were shipped to Rome through the Persian Gulf or the Red Sea. Trade between India and Europe had begun long before the rise of the Roman Empire, but it extended during the first century when sailors figured out patterns of monsoon winds. Commerce between the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean was widespread and often lucrative. It resulted in the organization of quite a few small trading settlements along the Indian coast. Rome imported ivory, indigo, textiles, precious stones, and pepper from India and silk from China. The Romans occasionally paid cash for these items but also exported silver, wine, perfume, slaves, and glass and cloth from Egypt. Overall, Rome imported much more than it sold to the Far East. The Silk road was a channel not only for material goods, but also technology and ideas. It is believed that the first Indian monks to visit China traveled over the Silk Road. By the time the famous Chinese Buddhist monk, Fa Xian arrived in India, the numbers of Buddhist monks began increasing. they were visiting holy sites in India. The barter of visits not only cultivated the study of Buddhism in the two countries, but it also led to an abundant exchange of ideas and technological advances in astronomy, mathematics, and linguistics. According to one scholar, the importation of Buddhist writings from India encouraged the development of printing in China. The Chinese also received lessons in health care from monks returned from the Asian subcontinent.

After the overthrow of the Mauryas, the dominant force in the north of India was the Kushan state. The Kushans infiltrated through the mountains north of the Indus River, where they ultimately...

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