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A review of the trade routes during the classical era

Several prominent trade systems developed that linked the empires together in a complex network of exchange that greatly exceeded that of the foundational and River Valley civilizations. Luxury goods and raw materials traveled in caravans and on boats to distant markets. Traveling with them were belief systems, ideas, technology, culture and diseases. Globally, these tranregional networks were limited to Eurasia and Africa in this time period.

Trade networks that developed in Oceania and the Americas remained localized for the time being. Land and water routes became the basis for transregional trade, communication, and exchange networks in the Eastern Hemisphere. The major networks of trade that developed in the classical age were influenced by economic, cultural, environmental, and geographic factors.

You should be familiar with the following examples of trade networks: Trade between China and the central Asian nomads took place at this passage in the Great Wall. John Hill The Silk Roads were made up of an indirect chain of separate transactions through which goods crossed the entire land area of Eurasia. Rarely did merchants themselves travel the length of these routes; in fact, few of them knew the complexity and breadth of the Silk Roads.

Merchants primarily engaged in local instances of "relay trade" in which goods changed "hands many times before reaching their final destinations. Consequently, trade focused on luxury items that would bring a nice profit making the greater risks worthwhile. Particularly important were luxury items with a high value to weight ratio. The Silk Roads had their origins in Asia as nomadic and settled people exchanged goods. In part, it began because of environmental conditions.

The soil in China lacks selenium, a deficiency that contributes to muscular weakness, low fertility, and reduced growth in horses. Even after the construction of the Great Wall, nomads gathered at the gates of the wall to exchange items. Soldiers sent to guard the wall were often paid in bolts of silk which they traded with the nomads.

Silk Oasis towns became stepping stones of cultural dissemination. Merchants became agents of cultural diffusion. The oasis towns that connected segments of trade became nodes of cultural exchange, especially Buddhism. Mahayana Buddhism spread rapidly, leap-frogging from oasis town to oasis town. The process was facilitated by these towns which often built beautiful Buddhist temples to attract Buddhist merchants abroad. Nestorian Christianity also spread across the Silk Roads into China.

Not surprisingly, silk took on a sacred meaning in Buddhist and Christian rituals. Merchants also carried disease. The disease epidemics that devastated the classical civilizations were spread across large ecological zones via the Silk Roads. The volume of trade increased dramatically as the classical empires formed.

Moreover, the laws and legal systems of these empires provided security for merchants, encouraging them to take more risks. As always, the primary items of trade were luxury goods, and nomadic people continued to play an important role; their movements a review of the trade routes during the classical era served as important connections between segments of trade, buying in one place and selling in another. Some nomads became settled people and made their living off of trade.

Nevertheless, the volume of trade on the Silk Roads was connected to the strength of the classical civilizations during this period and declined when they fell into ruin. Mediterranean Sea Routes Another major trade network a review of the trade routes during the classical era the classical period developed in the Mediterranean Sea. Maritime trade routes, unlike land-based routes such as the Silk Roads, were better suited for heavy and bulky items. Wine, olive oil and grain were mainstays of this network.

Other items of trade included timber, marble, glassware, perfumes, silver, spices and silk. Like the Silk Roads, the the Mediterranean trade network went through major changes during the classical period.

In its early stage, merchants trading on these sea lanes were predominately from the city states of Phoenicia and the Greek peninsula. The Phoenicians were sea-faring people who traded widely across the Mediterranean area, especially in the era before the classical age. They established a network of colonies across the region, the most famous of which was Carthage.

After Phoenicia was defeated by Persia, Carthage went on to create its own empire in the Mediterranean, eventually clashing with Rome in the Punic Wars. The most lasting legacy of the Phoenicians was the diffusion of the first truly phonetic alphabet.

As the Phoenician presence in the Mediterranean declined, the Greeks became more involved. In order to feed their people, Greek cities created a network of colonies throughout the Mediterranean. Grain poured into the city-states of Greece from the colonies, for which they in turn traded olive oil and wine, products much better suited to Greek soil. A major consequence of this trade was the diffusion of Greek culture across the Trade reached a high point in this era when the entire Mediterranean region was united under Roman civilization.

The most significant change in Mediterranean trade occurred when Carthage fell to Rome and the entire rim of the Mediterranean Sea was controlled by the Roman government. Roman laws were now enforced across the region, providing a consistent legal system. The wide spread use of Latin facilitated trade. Piracy on the Mediterranean Sea was controlled by the Roman navy.

During this Roman period, trade reached its peak. Engulfed by Roman civilization, the Romans referred to the Mediterranean as mare nostrum "our sea," Latin. The Romans exported copper, tin, glass, wine and olive oil. Indian Ocean Trade Although Indian Ocean trade would reach its heyday in the post-classical period, it was an important trade network during this time, particularly for the Gupta Dynasty. Pepper, cotton textiles, and dye became lucrative commodities on this maritime network.

A unique feature of Indian Ocean trade was its dependence on the weather.

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Each monsoon season brought with it predictable patterns of winds, which reversed six months later. Merchants had to time their departures with these cycles of winds in mind. Trans-Saharan Trade Trans-Saharan trade was another network that would reach its peak in the post-classical age 600 to 1450 when Islam comes to the region. Nevertheless, merchants carried goods across these routes during the classical age, facilitated by the domestication of the camel. Many of the items that were exchanged between Egypt and Nubia in the previous period continued across the Saraha slaves, gold, and ivory.

One of the most important items that merchants carried to sub-Saharan Africa from North Africa was salt, a needed commodity before refrigeration. New technologies facilitated long-distance communication and exchange. This coin from the Kushan Empire in central Asia depicts a god using a stirrup to ride a horse, c. Land trade increased when people learned to use the power of animals for their benefit.

The camel, originally a herd animal, was domesticated in the middle east for its use in the incense trade. Camels extended the scope and volume of trade in the arid Arabian climate. They carried military supplies for the Assyrian armies under the command of Sargon II. Camels could carry up to 50 percent more cargo than other pack animals, could go longer without water, and lived longer than most of them as well. The patterns of monsoon winds remain constant each year allowing merchants to time their departures for maximum efficiency.

A review of the trade routes during the classical era

In Central Asia nomads domesticated the horse and became expert trainers, so much so that the Han dynasty traded silk with them for their horses. The invention of the stirrup, a small ring or strap that holds the feet of rider, allowed for much greater control of the animal.

With new technologies such as the stirrup and saddle, pack animals permitted humans to greatly increase their ability to trade, travel, and communicate. Advances in technology aided maritime trade as well. On the Indian Ocean merchants were recognizing the seasonal patterns of monsoon winds and they began adapting their voyages to harness these winds. New technologies helped them adapt more efficiently to the dynamics of this trade route.

The Dhow, a long slender boat with a lateen sail, became a common vessel for Indian Ocean trade.

  • Analyze and describe the development and spread of two of the following religions during the classical era trade routes during the classical era review;
  • This coin from the Kushan Empire in central Asia depicts a god using a stirrup to ride a horse, c;
  • Absolutely central to this spiritual calling was a monastic life and the rejection of all possessions, except a modest robe and a begging bowl;
  • Brahmin priests resisted his efforts, and after the fall of Ashoka's Dynasty India experience a Hindu revival;
  • Merchants also carried disease.

The dhow was used for heavy items that were not as fit for land-based trade. One of its primary characteristics was the lateen sail which allowed sailors to tack against the wind.

  • Trade routes not only diffuse the things merchants carry on their animals; they also spread the ideas and beliefs they carry in their heads;
  • Mahayana Buddhism spread rapidly, leap-frogging from oasis town to oasis town;
  • This is particularly true with a branch of Hinduism called bhakti which emerged in southern India and spread to the north;;
  • You should be familiar with the following examples of trade networks:

The dhow and lateen sail did for maritime trade what the saddle and stirrup did for land trade: Alongside the trade in goods, the exchange of people, technology, religious and cultural beliefs, food crops, domesticated animals, and disease pathogens developed across far-flung networks of communication and exchange. Cotton is indigenous to South Asia and has a long history of cultivation in India.

In Persia, for example, wheat and barley could be planted in the Fall, remain dormant over winter, and left to sprout in the Spring, thus avoiding the terribly hot summer months of the Iranian piedmont. Cotton, on the other hand, is a summer crop, planted in April and harvested in the Fall.

Consequently, much of Persia modern day Iran was initially too hot and dry to accommodate this important crop. The solution to this problem was the introduction of a new irrigation system known as the qanat system. By linking vertical shafts and gently sloping horizontal passages, water was drawn from the aquifer and released to the agricultural fields at a lower level. This system not only allowed for the cultivation of cotton, but was applied to other crops as well.

The effect was profound. Qanats doubled the amount of available water for irrigation and urban use in Iran. Rice was another crop that spread during this time period. First cultivated on the southern slopes of the Himalayas [11]it spread from China across the caravan routes of the central Asian steppes. Because Buddhist monks were vegetarian and avoided the meat-based diets of pastoral nomads, they would carry rice with them on their journeys across the steppes.

It was first grown in India and probably spread through the Khyber pass, into Afghanistan, and then diffused across the central Asian caravan routes. The Note the limited spread of sugarcane before the coming of Islam. When Roman troops moved into Mesopotamia in the second century, a major epidemic of smallpox broke out among the soldiers stationed in Parthia.

Enduring for 15 years, probably 10 percent of the population of the Roman Empire, about 5 million people, perished from disease. Merchant ships on maritime trade routes and pack animals on caravan routes introduced the Roman Empire to devastating epidemics.