The Term Silk road was invented by a Germany traveler and geographer known as ‘Ferdinand Freiherr Von Ricthofen’ Richtofen, ‘who coined the term “Silk Road” translated from the term “seidenstrasses and plural “seidenstrassen” this term has been a route since 206 B.C. Originally thought that Chinese silk moved from the Han Empire to the Western Roman Empire.
To try and understand what is the silk road it is a product or something that is an exciting subject amongst empires or culture. Things such as porcelain that would have traveled from China to the Ottoman Empire in 16 century which the painted porcelain and iznik tiles or plates, which were important!. or carpets made of exotic materials which were exchanged and ideas of symbolism transferred.
Here some representations of what was exchanged in the past:
The ‘silk road’ is such an important word or phase throughout history, but the actual importance of it , is the actually meaning and the route taken over the last 2,000 years, possibly more years because of the trade, cultural, religion and medicine it held great importance in the transmission of such things.
Central Asia and all the major routes from china stretched from Mongolia into the India, throughout the Middle Eastern Empires to Europe, as well the access to the sea, making it useful to Maritime Empires as well, such as the Ottomans and the Venetians.
Then what was the purpose of the change to the current affairs of the silk trade route? What was important is why the trading post was so engaging among different cultures and empires due to its position in the world it could trade with many different empires. Empires would have wanted control of the different parts of the silk trade routes & posts. Furthermore the changing shift of the boundaries of empire itself played a defining moment for trade, culture and many more!
Important empires that change the foundations of the silk trade route or known as the ‘ the silk road’
Such as the ‘Ming empire’ ‘ Mongol Empire’ ‘Sogidans Empire’ ‘Gok Turk Empire’ Mandarin Empire ‘ Safavids Empire, Mughal Empire , Ottoman Empire , Seljuk Empire , Byzantium , Romans, and various other empires that led the way and carved different parts and added new trades and spice.
Importance of the silk road has played a major part in empire, cultural and social transmission of knowledge along the silk road, from medicine and plagues of diseases which spread through trade. From what we learn from history silk road has a vital route for many purposes, religion, trade, politics, economical, culture and knowledge.
Art has played a important role in the silk road as you can see the development from the Greek and Buddhist influences from the past empires cultural shared heritage, this is one of the influences and legacy which was left behind from the silk road.
A famous traveler and archaeologist known as Aurel stein went to the silk road and done many adventurous brought or barter for many historical artefacts brought back to Europe in 20 century.
It is vital to remember that the silk road has been apart of many communities and empires which had all had to different perception of what they truly thought of it and what it was meant to them!
James A.Millward, The Silk Road A Very Short Introduction (New York: Oxford university Press,2013)
Images website : http://www.silkroutes.net/orient/mapssilkroutestrade.htm