OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS

Sale
 

The Silk Road: A Very Short Introduction

ISBN : 9780199782864

Price(incl.tax): 
¥1,628
Author: 
James A. Millward
Pages
168 Pages
Format
Paperback
Size
114 x 174 mm
Pub date
Aug 2013
Series
Very Short Introductions

カートに入れる

To purchase this item, please add the product to your basket and click the Shopping basket link above to view your basket and continue.

Send mail
Print
  • Highlights biological, technological, and cultural as well as economic exchanges on the silk road
  • Explains the dynamics of silk road communication as a function of the rise of Central Eurasian nomad empires and their interaction with sedentary agrarian states
  • Disputes the common assertion of a "silk road decline" from around 1500

 
The phrase "silk road" evokes vivid images: of merchants leading camel caravans over deserts and steppes to trade exotic goods in the bazaars of glittering Oriental cities, of pilgrims braving bandits and frozen mountain passes to gather scriptures and spread their faith across continental expanses. Beyond the exotica, however, this VSI will be a sketch of the historical background against which the silk road flourished, and an essay on the significance of old-world intercultural exchange to Eurasian and world history generally. On the one hand, Millward treats the silk road broadly, as a metonym for the cross-fertilizing communication between peoples across the Eurasian continent since at least the Neolithic era. On the other, he highlights specific examples of goods and ideas exchanged between the Mediterranean, Persian, Indian, and Chinese regions, along with the significance of these exchanges. While including silks, spices, travelers' tales of colorful locales, the main focus of the book is to outline the dynamics of Central Eurasian history that promoted silk road interactions, especially the role of nomad empires; and to highlight the importance of the biological, technological, artistic, intellectual, and religious interchanges across the continent. Millward shows that these exchanges had a profound effect on the old world that was akin to, if not yet on the scale of, modern globalization. 

Millward also considers some of the more abstract contemporary uses to which the silk road concept has been put. It is, of course, a popular marketing device for boutiques, museums, restaurants, and tour operators from Venice to Kyoto. More than that, however, the silk road has ideological connotations, used sometimes to soften the face of Chinese expansion in Central Asia, or, in the US culture wars, as a challenge to the "clash of civilizations" understanding of intersocietal relations. Finally, while it has often been argued that the silk road declined or closed after the collapse of the Mongol empire or the opening of direct maritime communications from Europe to Asia, Millard disputes this view, showing how silk road phenomena continued through the early modern and modern expansion of Russian and Chinese states across Central Asia. 

Index: 

List of illustrations
Acknowledgments

Chapter 1: Environment, empires and ecumenes
Chapter 2: Eras of silk road fluorescence
Chapter 3: The biological silk road
Chapter 4: The technological silk road
Chapter 5: The arts on the silk road
Chapter 6: Whither the silk road?
References
Further Reading
Index

About the author: 

James A. Millward is professor of history, School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University. His books include Eurasian Crossroads: A History of Xinjiang.

The price listed on this page is the recommended retail price for Japan. When a discount is applied, the discounted price is indicated as “Discount price”. Prices are subject to change without notice.