The Silk Road, a series of passageways connecting China with the Mediterranean completely changed the world. These series of trade routes allowed the advancement of technology and cultural diversity like never seen before. These routes connected many different civilizations allowing the exchange of goods and ideas. This variety of nationalities made it a “Cultural Bridge between Asia and Europe. ” Before these pathways were established trade was nearly impossible due to extreme desert conditions and high mountain tops. Many people died making the journey, even after the trade routes were established. So why make the trip? How did the Silk Road impact history?
The Chinese were the first to produce silk from the silkworm. This was something that was very much desired by the West. The Romans even referred to it as the ‘land where silk comes from. ’ The Romans set out to find where this wonderful material was coming from. According to the Ancient History Encyclopedia it is thought that the first contact between China and the west was around 200 BCE . Many types of merchandise were traded along this road. China had things like silk, bamboo work, and Chinese lacquers. The West had many new fruits, vegetables, spices, gold, and medicinal materials that China wanted. So this was a mutually beneficial trade route. As mentioned before much more than just material things were traded among this road like ideals, beliefs, and technology.
There were 3 different routes to the Silk Road covering many different countries and civilizations. This cultural diversity was bound to start mixing with so many different people and beliefs mingling every day. They exchanged music, art, architecture and as people settled along the road different cultures combined making new civilizations. Many different architectural findings along the route show a mixture of Western Asia and European influence mixed with Eastern influence. Like the Kushan people. The Kushan mixed Greek and Buddhist art. They also were the first people to have artwork that depicted Buddha in human form, with him resembling the Greek God Apollo. Religious beliefs were also exchanged.
“The most significant commodity carried along this route was not silk, but religion. ” Buddhism, one of China’s largest religions was brought there from India via the Silk Road. This alone makes the Silk Road very significant because of the effect Buddhism has had on the world, especially China. Mingdi, a Han Emperor had a vision about Buddha and sent an official West to India. This official brought back two Buddhist Monks with him. From there Buddhism continually grew. The rise of Buddhism can be seen all along the Silk Road. With many different monasteries, statues, and artwork. Not only did the West have influences on China, China also had a huge influences on western civilizations.
The Chinese had what is called the Chinese Four Great Inventions to offer the West. These are paper making, printing, gunpowder and the...