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Silk Roads or Steppe Roads? The Silk Roads in World History

Silk Roads or Steppe Roads? The Silk Roads in World History david christian Macquarie University odern historiography has not fully appreciated the ecological complexity of the Silk Roads. As a result, it has failed to understand their antiquity, or to grasp their full importance in Eurasian history. The role played by the Silk Roads in exchanging goods, technologies, and ideas between regions of agrarian civilization is well understood. Less well understood is the trans-ecological role of the Silk Roads--the fact that they also exchanged goods and ideas between the pastoralist and agrarian worlds. The second of these systems of exchange, though less well known, predated the more familiar "transcivilizational" exchanges, and was equally integral to the functioning of the entire system. A clear awareness of this system of trans-ecological exchanges should force us to revise our understanding of the age, the significance, and the geography of the Silk Roads. Further, an appreciation of the double role of the Silk Roads affects our understanding of the history of the entire Afro-Eurasian region. The many trans-ecological exchanges mediated by the Silk Roads linked all regions of the Afro-Eurasian landmass, from its agrarian civilizations to its many stateless communities of woodland foragers and steppe pastoralists, into a single system of exchanges that http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of World History University of Hawai'I Press

Silk Roads or Steppe Roads? The Silk Roads in World History

Journal of World History , Volume 11 (1) – Mar 1, 2000

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Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2000 by University of Hawai'i Press.
ISSN
1527-8050
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Abstract

david christian Macquarie University odern historiography has not fully appreciated the ecological complexity of the Silk Roads. As a result, it has failed to understand their antiquity, or to grasp their full importance in Eurasian history. The role played by the Silk Roads in exchanging goods, technologies, and ideas between regions of agrarian civilization is well understood. Less well understood is the trans-ecological role of the Silk Roads--the fact that they also exchanged goods and ideas between the pastoralist and agrarian worlds. The second of these systems of exchange, though less well known, predated the more familiar "transcivilizational" exchanges, and was equally integral to the functioning of the entire system. A clear awareness of this system of trans-ecological exchanges should force us to revise our understanding of the age, the significance, and the geography of the Silk Roads. Further, an appreciation of the double role of the Silk Roads affects our understanding of the history of the entire Afro-Eurasian region. The many trans-ecological exchanges mediated by the Silk Roads linked all regions of the Afro-Eurasian landmass, from its agrarian civilizations to its many stateless communities of woodland foragers and steppe pastoralists, into a single system of exchanges that

Journal

Journal of World HistoryUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Mar 1, 2000

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