A Brief History with DocumentsFirst Edition| ©2012 Xinru Liu
For more than 1500 years, across more than 4000 miles, the Silk Roads connected East and West. These overland trails and sea lanes carried not only silks, but also cotton textiles, dyes, horses, incense, spices, gems, glass, and ceramics along with religious ideas, governing customs, and technology. For this book, Xinru Liu has assembled primary sources from ancient China, India, Central Asia, Rome and the Mediterranean, and the Islamic world, many of them difficult to access and some translated into English for the first time. Court histories, geographies and philosophical treatises, letters, travelers’ accounts, inventories, inscriptions, laws, religious texts, and more, introduce students to the complexities of cultural exchange. Liu’s thoughtful introduction considers the many ways the peoples along the Silk Roads interacted and helps students understand the implications for economies and societies, as well as political and religious institutions, over space and time. Maps, document headnotes and annotations, a chronology, questions for consideration, and a selected bibliography offer additional pedagogical support.
New to This Edition
“This is an important book for students of the Silk Roads, because it has brought together a substantial number of primary sources in one convenient collection.”
—Craig Benjamin, Grand Valley State University“This book is an exemplary reader on the Silk Road network with an emphasis on cultural encounters, prefaced by an introduction by a leading scholar in the field.”
—Robert Strayer, California State University, Monterey Bay
“The documents translated by Liu are among the best and most useful.”
—Steven C. Davidson, Southwestern University
First Edition| ©2012
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First Edition| 2012
Table of Contents
List of Maps and Illustrations
China's Trade on the Western Frontier, Second-First Centuries B.C.E
Rome's Trade to the East, First Century BCE-Second Century C.E.
The Kushan Empire and the Influence of Buddhism, Second Century B.C.E.-Second Century C.E
.The Oasis Towns of Central Asia and the Spread of Buddhism, Third-Seventh Centuries C.E.
The Byzantine Empire and Silks in Royal Purple, Sixth-Ninth Centuries C.E.
The Tang Empire and Foreign Traders and Priests, Eighth-Tenth Centuries C.E.
Muslim Baghdad in the Eurasian Market, Ninth-Eleventh Centuries C.E.
Trade Networks from the Mediterranean to the South China Sea, Tenth-Thirteenth Centuries C.E.
1. China's Trade on the Western Frontier, Second-First Centuries B.C.E.
1. Sima Qian, Records of the Grand Historian of China, Early First Century B.C.E.
2. Ban Gu, History of the Former Han Dynasty, Late First Century C.E.
3. Documents Excavated from Juyan Fort on the Great Wall, ca. 103 B.C.E.-40 C.E.
Letter from an Officer to His Wife
Soldiers' Work Assignments
4. Strabo, The Geography, Early First Century C.E.
5. Arrian, The Campaigns of Alexander, ca. 145-60 C.E.
6. Pliny, Natural History, 77 C.E.
7. The Voyage around the Red Sea, First Century C.E.
8. Ptolemy, The Geography, Mid-Second Century C.E.
3. The Kushan Empire and the Influence of Buddhism, Second Century B.C.E.-Second Century C.E.
9. The Questions of King Milinda, ca. 166-150 B.C.E.
10. The Lotus of the True Law, First Century B.C.E.-First Century C.E.
11. The Amitabha Sutra, First Century B.C.E.-First Century C.E.
12. Votive Inscription on a Silver Plaque from Taxila, First-Second Centuries C.E.
13. Documents Excavated from the Ruins of Niya, Third Century C.E.
Contract for the Sale of a Vineyard
An Ownership Dispute about a Slave
Regulations for a Community of Monks
14. Nanai-vandak, Letter to the Noble Lord Varzákk, ca. 313 C.E.
15. Faxian, A Record of the Buddhist Kingdoms, ca. 416 C.E.
16. Song Yun and Huisheng, The Mission of Song Yun and Huisheng, ca. 547 C.E.
17. Huili and Yanzong, The Life of Xuanzang, ca. 664-688 C.E.
18. Inventories Excavated from a Turfan Cemetery, Mid-Seventh Century C.E.
Tang Zhuanghui, ca. 641 C.E.
Xinfu, 672 C.E.
5. The Byzantine Empire and Silks in Royal Purple, Sixth-Ninth Centuries C.E.
19. Procopius, History of the Wars, ca. 550 C.E.
20. Procopius, The Secret History, ca. 550 C.E.
21. The Book of the Eparch, ca. 895 C.E.
6. The Tang Empire and Foreign Traders and Priests, Eighth-Tenth Centuries C.E.
22. Zhang Zhuo, Anecdotes from the Court and the Country, ca. 705 C.E.
23. Jingjing, Inscriptions from the Nestorian Stele, 781 C.E.
The Messiah of Christians
The Development of the Christian Church in China
24. Liu Xu and Others, The Old Tang History, 941-45 C.E.
25. Sulayman al-Tajir and Others, An Account of China and India, ca. 851 C.E.
26. Mas'udi, The Meadows of Gold: The Abbasids, ca. 947 C.E.
27. Book of Gifts and Rarities, eleventh century C.E.
8. Trade Networks from the Mediterranean to the South China Sea, Tenth-Thirteenth Centuries C.E.
28. Captain Buzurg Ibn Shahriyar, The Book of the Wonders of India, 953 C.E.
29. Inscription on a Cliff in the Port of Quanzhou, 1183 C.E.
30. Ibn Jubayr, The Travels of Ibn Jubayr, ca. 1185 C.E.
31. Letter from a Jewish Trader in India to His Wife in Cairo, 1204 C.E.
32. Zhao Rukuo, Records Concerning Foreign Countries, 1225 C.E.
33. Marco Polo, The Travels of Marco Polo, the Venetian, ca. 1298 C.E.
34. Song Lian and Others, History of the Yuan Dynasty, 1370 C.E.
A Chronology of the Silk Roads (Second Century B.C.E.-Thirteenth Century C.E.)
Questions for Consideration
First Edition| 2012
First Edition| 2012