term of Silk Road (Die Seidenstrassen) which
was used firstly by F. von Richthofen, well-known German scholar, in 1877, and
then widely accepted as an expression for the main road from the Central Asia
to the West, is said today as Silk Road or Silk Route.
From the earliest period, it was used for the transportation of a number of materials and spiritual goods
together the silk, the luxury good
that was known in the West as “Goldenes Vlies”,
or “the wool of the Chinese forests” just as written by Plinius
the Elder in his work Naturalis Historia towards 70 A.D.
The Silk Road is not a solely road but a network of the routes. Being
the world’s oldest and most historically important trade route, the Silk Road
spanned 7,000 miles from China, linking Central Asia, India, and Arabia with
Rome. Connecting the East and Far East to the West, especially the
Mediterranean countries through Central Asia, the Silk Road played an important
role in international trade, and became significant not only for the trade of
goods, but for the exchange of ideas, religious beliefs, and art.
We have some information about its stations from the West to the East from the
first century A.D. However, here, we will try to show its passage expanding
from the north and northwestern part of present Iran to Georgia by the land-route and the sea-route through the
Main Branches of the Silk Road
The Silk Road was opened firstly
under the rule of Emperor Wudi of Han China (140-87 B.C.), during his activities for opening China to the
West and obtaining the Xiyu region (Eastern Turkestan) from the Xiongnu
in order to set up political,
economical and cultural communications with the Western countries, and
it has a history of 2000 years at least.
Wudi sent envoys to the Parthian
Empire (Arshakids) in Iran in 110 B.C. to find some secondary routes for the
Silk Road trade because the Xiongnu had its main routes in Mongolia and Gansu.
The Xiongnu were intermediaries in the Silk trade with the Western countries,
and created obstacles to China during communicating with the West.
Thus, “the Parthians were early intermediaries in the Rome to China overland
commercial system.” And in
the West, it is known that firstly in 100 A.D. one Macedonian merchant named
Maës Titianos sent some persons to the East
to investigate this route.
Under the information given by them Ptolemaios has given to us some data about
the Silk Road through Marinus of Tyr, “the great geographer” (about 110
According to these information, there were two main routes of the Silk Road by
the land and sea. The Caravan trade was going on from the West [the
Mediterranean countries] to the East because the countries that needed to silk
were the countries in the West, and the Roman Empire was one of those
countries. The Empire began to investigate other routes in order to carry out
the silk trade with the Kushan Empire in the East due to the Parthian obstacle.
“The Kushans controlled essentially what is today modern Afghanistan,
territories to the lower Indus valley, and eventually regions westward to Fars
Province”. Besides, “[they] had reestablished the East-West trade routes
and expanded commercial activities, which included sending a Kushan ambassador
to Rome.” The Roman
Empire was able to contact commercial relations with China and India by the way
of sometimes overland- or mainly sea-routes, but either reached on the Iranian
“The Parthians sought to monopolize the trade in Chinese silks, which led to
the Partho-Roman wars”
and “[they] protected trade along the route, deriving considerable
profit from the payment of taxes and did everything they could to prevent
direct links between China and Rome since their intermediary role was extremely
in the earlier times the Empire tried to do away with the Parthians through a
few wars, it was at her very cost; at the same time, the Parthians were not
powerful enough to gain the eastern provinces of the Empire, and the either
empires had to continue the “peaceful coexistence”.
However, “it seems that towards the end of the first century A.D. the
majority of the silk imported by Mediterranean countries was carried by
sea-route and not overland one through Persia”.
According to the information in
the Chinese source, Hou Hanshu, “The Roman Orient
trades with Parthia and India by sea and gets great profit, ten times of the
capital… their [Ta Ch’in (Roma and Syria)] kings always hope to communicate with Han China, but the
An-hsi [Parthia], wishes to trade Chinese silk with Rome, and disturbs the
Roman trade with China, and so Rome herself cannot come to China… And it is for
this reason that they were cut off from communication. This lasted till the
ninth year of the Yen-hsi period during the emperor Huan-ti’s reign [= A.D.
166] when the king of Ta-ch’in, An-tun, sent an embassy...”
Between the second century B.C. and 4th century A.D. the nomads held the
silk trade routes,
but during the first three
centuries A.D. the intermediaries who interested in Silk trade were the Sogdians
and the Kushans generally; while “the Sogdians played an important role in
the development of trade links with China”,
the Kushans had expanded to the northwestern areas of India subcontinent in
50-75 A.D. And at the
beginning of third century A.D. the Silk Road suffered cutting when the
Sasanians came to power instead of the Parthians in Iran.
the West to the East, the Silk Road, according to F. von Richthofen, consisted
of four routes mainly, together with the main secondary routes.
In the West, the main road, beginning from Antiochia
and going on to China was the most important branch of the Silk Road, due to
its shortage, too. Later, it followed the “Royal Way” at some stations,
and arrived at Seleucia on the Tigris, and came to Ecbatana (Hamadan) and Raga
(Rayy) in Iran. From there,
it came to the regions, Sogdiana and Bactriana through Hecatompylos-Marv-Balkh,
and finally “Tower of Stone” which is Tash-Kurghan today at the foothill
of the Pamirs in the Eastern Turkestan;
the northern route which goes on Kashghar and the southern one which across the
Pamirs towards the West intermingled just here,
and the traders were returning back after they exchanged here the goods in
their hands with those from the East. And its branch in China, as the main or
middle route, beginning at Chang’an and Loyang, the capitals of China and going
through some cities in Gansu and being separated into the two branches as the
Northern and the Southern at Dunhuang in Xinjiang,
intermingled again at Kashghar which was “an important stage in the journey
to China” and re-separation point towards the West.
It was the main intercontinental road connecting China with the
Mediterranean. However, in real,
during the history the Silk Road has shown some changings, basing on the
political conditions in the regions through which it passed, and according to that whether they are in
safety or not. After
Ecbatana, the above-mentioned main middle route of the Silk Road, which was
entering to Iran plateau, coming into Sogdiana via land-route from China, was
also to follow a new route further north- or southwestwards, taking into
consideration of the political conditions, the road safety and the advantages
of the governmental power in the area. For example, “there was a parallel
northern route through Caucasian Albania (Azārbāijān), Iberia and Colchis
debouching on the Black Sea”, except for this main road. In the
light of some archaeological data found in the area it seems that such route
was going between the rivers Phasis and Kura,
though there are some modern and serious objections about that the Indian goods
arrived at the Black Sea via Kura and Phasis through the Caspian Sea and about
its some natural difficulties.
there was a Southern Road which went across the territories of present
Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, and descended into the ports on the banks of
the Indian Ocean. With a number of reasons, the states founded in Iran did not
give permission for passing of the silk trade through further west, or required very highly taxes. During
the Sasanian period, a number of cities in Iran were commercial and handicraft centers, and their hearts were the
bazaars. In Iran a lively trade was established thanks to commercation between
Central Asia, India, Ceylon [Sri Lanka], Arabia, Nubia and the Far East, and
its city-gates were open to the caravans.
But, with some reasons of the
difficulties by the Sasanians,
the caravans and the traders from the East sometimes had to follow other routes: one of them was the sea-route,
which, following the Southern Road, after it came to Indian ports, arrived at
the Mediterranean Sea and Alexandria in Egypt via Indian Ocean and the Red Sea
by the ships, and the other was
the Northern Road, which, beginning in China and rounding the Caspian Sea by its northern sides,
came to the Black Sea and the Bosphorus (Constantinople) and then to the ports
at the Mediterranean Sea.
About the latter road we can obtain some information in detail from the Greek
and Chinese sources in 6th centuries.
Especially, after Yemen was occupied and the sea road was controlled by the
Sasanians in 570s, the caravans from the East had to round the Caspian Sea from
the northside and then to land to the Black Sea and Transcaucasia:
they followed these routes: Syr Daria-the northern sides of the Aral Lake and
the Caspian Sea and then Caucasus- the ports on the seashore of the Black Sea
During the beginning of the Middle Ages, some tribes, regions and sites, such
as Moshchevaia Balka in Northern Caucasus had very important on account of commercial relations in these
routes that connected the Caucasus with the Central Asia.
Some coins belonged to not only the Bosphorus Kingdom and the Roman Empire
found in Dzungaria and on the north sides of Amu Daria, the territories of
Uzbekistan and Tadjikistan, but also Graeco-Bactrian coins
found on the regions of the Black
Sea and Caucasus [for example, near Tbilisi and, Kabala (the center of the
ancient Caucasian Albania in Azarbaidjan)] are most examples for the transit
trade between the Central Asia and the Black Sea. But it is very difficult to
determine that by which roads these coins came there.
sometimes, according to some agreements made between the Rome / Byzantine and
the Parthians or Sasanians in Iran, were determined definite stations for the
control of taxes. For example, in 408-409, the Byzantine emperors, Honorius and
Theodosius the second (according to the decree mentioned in Codex Justinianus) had determined three
stations, with an agreement of the Sasanians as well: “…according to which
international trade was carried on at three previously designated places: on
Persian territory – Nisibis, on imperial territory –Callinicum (the present
Rakka on the Euphrates) and in Armenia – Artaxata.The supervision of this trade
on the Byzantine side was entrusted to certain officials called comites
commercium. Customs were located in the cities designated at which duties on
transit merchandise were collected. For this reason these places were called
dekateutêria, as may be seen in the account of Menander”,
and it was forbidden to make trade outside of these points.
Route from Ecbatana to Phasis
course of this route running from Ecbatana, the center of the Achamenid Empire to Artaxata, northwestwards of
Iran, and vice versa, to southwards, a good description was made by H.A.
Manandian, according to the
data in Tabula
in the second half of 4th century.
This route has turned towards Araxes (Aras) river, and come at Artaxa /
Artaxata / Artashat (on its left side), which was the center of this region
under the reign of the Arshakids (Parthian Empire) and determined as a
commercial point by the Byzantine and Sasanians, according to the agreement
among them. The Roman
Empire and the Parthians made an agreement for 50 years in 66 A.D. to
profit at most from the Silk Road trade; whereas this just route came across
Colchis and the Black Sea through Media, Armenia and Georgia for the next 50
years because of the conflict of
profits among them, and thus, the Parthians took under the control those
section of the road.
When the Romans captured Artaxata in 163 A.D., though the center of the region
became Valarshapat (Kainēpolis) which had been builded as “a new city”, Artaxata became
again an important center especially during the first half of 4th century.
After only that Shapuhr II
(309-379) made peace with Jovianus, the Roman emperor in 363, and made some
expeditions into the region in 364-367, the two cities, just as some other ones, lost completely their advantage,
and after 363, Artaxata and other cities beyond it in Iberia and Armenia (which
originally were not under the Roman hegemony directly, and they were only under
her military protection).
From the time 428 onwards, the
center of the region became Duvin, near and north ancient Artaxata (Tibion / Tibe; Dowin in Armenian
sources; Dabīl in Islamic sources).
In the sources, during his Transcaucasian expedition, the way of Emperor
Heraclios is shown as: Duvin-Naxichevan-Khoi-Tasvidj-Paresaca (on the river
Ajichai and near Tabriz)-Gandzak, and his return way:
Gandzak-Miane-Ardabil-(and acrossing Araxes) Paitakaran-Kagankaituk.
And later, it entered into Georgia, following the course of Artaxata-Duvin.
About further course and main places, in Tabula
Peutingeriana it is mentioned a number of routes that expanded from
Artaxata-Duvin to Iberia,
Armastika and Tbilisi; to the cities Aksaraporti and Akvilei in the
East, and to Sebastopolis (present Suhumi) / Phasis in the West (at the place
that Phasis / Rioni river drained into the Black Sea).
According to R. Hewsen’s sayings, Manandian fixed the course between
Artaxata-Sebastopolis so: “…a road running from the
Armenian capital, up the valey of the river Kasax, through the area of modern
Gyumri (Leninakan), to Lake Paravani, to the Kur river, and across it to a
point somewhere near modern Akhaltsikhe.Thence it would have passed through the
mountains across the Kolkhian
plain to Sebastopolis (here meaning Phasis).”
Hewsen continues: “a
flourishing mercantile center, Artashat lay on the main road connecting
Sebastoupolis and Phasis on the Black Sea with Ekbatana and the other centers
About the course of the route and commercial goods gone westwards and to
Anatolia, it is suggested that in the periods B.C. they went on not to Trapezus (because the road gone on
to Trapezus had been built only after the periods A.D. when the Roman emperors
dominated the region)
but Amisus (Samsun) and Sinope through Comana in the south of the Black Sea,
or, according to Tabula, to Phasis river via Stranguria-Condeso-Gaulita
/ Ganlita (Ganlica)-Pagas-Apulum-Caspiae-Ad Mercurium-Axalcxa-Abastuman, and then Dioscurias,
“one of the most polyglot of ports… on the Black Sea coast.” After this ancient trade route went
on Tbilisi and Duvin from Ardabil in Iran, and connected Iran with Duvin, it
later arrived at Partaw / Parozapat
(the center of the Caucasian Albania and Islamic Arran)
and Tbilisi, the center of Iberia (Eastern Georgia) and one of the most
important cities of Southern Caucasus.
According to Emperor Heraclios’ expedition, the road, running westwards from
Tbilisi, arrived at Borjom, and Ad Metcurium (Minedze) (near Ahalcih) firstly
along with Kura river,
and later Kura-Phasis course. Its westernmost point in Georgia was the Phasis
port (present Poti) on the Black
Sea. Phasis and Dioscurias (now Sebastopolis) “were the points of concentration for the transit caravan trade with
the East and the South of Russia.” Strabon, mentions Phasis as “an emporium of the Colchi”. Really it had a big important for
controlling of the area by the Romans; and even the river that went on to more
internal territories, served as a natural and main road for dispatching armies
and goods, and the Phasis castle protected the commerce.
The collected goods here were being conveyed to western lands via sea routes.
Transcaucasian Route through the Caspian Sea
Another road coming from the East and acrossing
through the territories of Georgia was the sea-route which followed Ozboi, the
ancient course of Amu Daria, and arrived at Transcaucasia through the Caspian
Sea. The opening of this route and increasing of the importance of the
Caucasian trade routes was due to the political obstacle in Iranian territory
and the prolonged wars and struggles between those states in Anatolia and Iran, just as the fact in
the Northern Road rounding the Caspian Sea.
However, there are still some objections about the validity of such sea-route.
Some scholars such as V.V. Bartol’d, W.W. Tarn, K.V. Trever, X.A. Manandian,
S.P. Tolstov and P. Daffinà rejected the existence of this route, by a number
of reasons. Especially
Tolstov, in his almost all works insisted on that the geological investigations
and sky-photographs brought into action that the Ozboi did carry water in no
time during the historical periods. And J. Marquart stated that this epos was a “aitiologisch” at the first sight.
An eminent French archaeologist P. Bernard says that the archaeological structure
of Ozboi region did not support
the possibility of so sea-route.
But, some scholars such as A. Herrmann, M.G. Vorob’eva, A. Ierusalimskaia, B.Ia. Staviskii, X.
Iu.Iusupov, D. Durdyev, B.I. Vainberg, O.D. Lordkipanidze, H.W. Haussig and P.
Callieri have already
accepted the authenticity of the data given in the sources about that the Amu
Daria poured the waters into the Caspian Sea through the Ozboi by some
the first: Herodotos,
Strabon and Plinius have given some information about this matter;
the second: the geological investigations carried out in the region between the
Caspian and Aral Sea (Sarykamysh depression) especially after 1970s and the
archaeological sources and some cities belonged to the Parthians (for example,
Igdy-kala) showed so possibility, the third: the fact that some commercial
finds from the West were found in the East, and the fourth: one Graeco-Bactrian
coin was found near Tbilisi, according to data given by O. Lordkipanidze.
I.V. Pyankov is also among these scholars who accepted this possibility. It is
suggested that this sea-route was used in the first century A.D. during the
Kushan Empire; according to Chinese sources this empire was found by the Yuezhi
as a vast great empire in the region of present Western Turkestan, Afghanistan, Eastern Iran and North
India, where was a junction
area of the Silk Routes with other
ones. The Kushans were in
commercial relations with the environmental great powers such as the Romans,
Parthians and Han China. According to this hypothesis, there was a route that
descended to the Caspian Sea by land, following the lower course of Amu Daria
and the ancient one named “Ozboi” which already dried up in the present.
Not only the fact that, as a result of archaeological diggings, some ruins of a number of cities and water-canals
were found in the region between Aral and Caspian Sea and along with the course
of Ozboi from the Achaemenid Empire on, which are evident signs of city life
there, but also that remnants of goods from the East were met by chance along
the route, point out the existency of so trade route in the ancient times.
According to the results reached by both X.Iu. Iusupov and B.I. Vainberg, the
Ozboi coasts actually have been watered with Amu Daria, and on its northern
borders has been made cattle-breeeding, according to archaeological findings
there (Ichanly-depe on the ancient river-bed of Ozboi);
but, a little change became about flowing of Amu Daria waters in the first
century B.C.-first and second-third centuries A.D., and consequently the water
flowing to Sarykamysh area sharply ceased towards 4th century. Its most obscure
period is 5th-7th centuries. However, the archaeological investigations show
that from 7th century B.C. to 4th-5th centuries A.D. both Sarykamysh Lake and
the whole water courses in the area benefited from Amu Daria waters by their
most parts, though the water flowing of Ozboi already ceased in 4th century,
and the people on its coast left there.
In 5th or 6th century, or in the period between 1220 and 1570 dates, Amu Daria
abondened its ancient course.
to H.W. Haussig (basing on Strabon), the route came to the Caspian Sea from
Khwarezm, and later arrived at
Kura river through ships and has been divided into two branches: one
route goes on Artaxata,
and the other, along the Araxes river, has arrived at Iberia-Mc’heta-Kolchis and the Black Sea.
In real, there are some information about one transit trade route that went on
between Ecbatana and Kura-Araxes rivers. For example, in Aelian there is an information about the trade of
fish-glue between the Caspian Sea and Ecbatana, but according to him, it was not brought to the Black Sea from
the Parthian rule (3rd century B.C. - 3rd century A.D.), the trademen who had
played role actively in this international Silk Road trade were from the
Parthian merchant class in origin, and they imported the Chinese silk through
sea-route and sold it to the Rome.
During the Kushan Empire, the traders who
descended down to the Caspian Sea together with the goods in their
hands, have acrossed it via boats or various sea-vehicles and landed to
Transcaucasia in present Azarbaidjan. About this shorter and sea-route through
the Caspian Sea, Vainberg
conjectures “a sea-travelling
some 350 kms from the mouth of Uzboy at the Turkmen bay to that of Kura
river, and to that of Sefidrud (Kızılözen). These routes arrived at Midia in Atropatene and Gilan, and from there to the Basin of Diyala and the administration center
of the Achaemenid Empire[Ecbatana].” As it known, the river, whose two
branches originated from Turkey, after passing through the territories Georgia,
Armenia and Azarbaidjan as the two rivers named Kura and Araxes flows to the
Caspian Sea as one river.
Thus, wishing to descend down to the Black Sea and then to arrive at the
Mediterranean with the merchandise in their hands, the trademen have come to
the sea at Phasis through Georgia, following Kura river upwards.
In Xth century “Rus pirates had [also] sailed up the Kur from the Caspian
Sea, and destroyed Partaw / Berda’a completely in 944.” Again, according to the Arabic
geographers in 10th century, the sea expeditions made through the Caspian Sea
from Abeskun “have been made towards the South and the West, the Caspian
coasts in general; and the traders from the Islamic countries have gone to the
Khazar land and among Arran,
Gilan, Tabaristan and Gurgan via
[Caspian Sea].” A Russian power of 60 boats had touched at Abeskun
in 909, and then gone to as far as the Black Sea through their boats that each
one was made up from one wood.
in relation to the political attitude of the dominating power in Iran at that
time, if there is not a possibility of passage from the land, the Indian goods
that had been landed to the Transcaucasia through the Caspian Sea “were
conducted up the Araxes valley from its mouth to the Armenian city Artaxata
whence routes spread into the western parts of Asia Minor” -Warmington says -, in order to be sent to Artaxata and then
further west via land-route. While about the
existing of so trading route, well-known geographer Strabon (60 B.C.-25 A.D.) (Geographika,
XI.5.8; XI.7.3;II.1.15; XI.11.6), Plinius the Elder (23 – 79 A.D.) (Naturalis
Historia, VI.52) give information, they also speak about a commercial route
running from India to the Caspian and then the Black Sea through Transcaucasia.
Strabon has given information about that in the time of Alexander the Great,
the Oxus river was convenient to maritime activities and that the goods could
be transported through Hyrcanian (that is, Caspian) Sea and an expedition from
Oxus - Caspian Sea to Transcaucasia. This information was collected by him from
more ancient sources, for example,
speaking about the flow of Oxus [Amu Daria] to the Hyrcania, Plinius points out
that the peoples could be carried down to Oxus and Kura rivers through the
Caspian Sea, and that the Indian goods could be brought to Phasis city (at the
mouth of Phasis river and at a five days’ distance from Colchis).
all data given in the sources about bringing to the Black Sea of the Indian merchandise
by the Caspian Sea in the Hellenistic period were studied by W. Tarn and he
gave a negative answer to this problem.
The Seleucian Emperor Seleucus I. Nicator (312-281B.C.) was already in search of a sea-route
running to the East, and he had the Caspian Sea controlled in order to connect
the two seas, the Caspian and the Black Sea by a canal, “presumably to be cut north of
the Caucasus mountains”,
and this information given about it –which is belonged to Plinius -,
maybe should relate to just this
In real, the great seaman Patrocles therefore had made an investigation on the
Caspian seashores in 283-282 years B.C.
According to the data, Phasis and Cyrus [Kura] rivers had been joined to each
other via a four days’ route made with the floor-stones
and after the great castle here named Sarapana (Scharapani), the goods
could be able to be transported to the Black Sea via the sea-route, that is
Phasis; in 66-65 years B.C. the Roman general Pompeius, after the Pontos
emperor Mithradates VI Eupator (113-63 B.C.) was defeated and then he flight to
Colchis, had entered
there, conquering Iberia (Eastern Georgia), and for this purpose, during his
expedition to Iberia and Colchis through Kura river from Artaxata, had arrived
at Phasis river, going on along with Kura river, and then to Sarapana along
this river and finally descended
to the Black Sea via present Kutais and Phasis (Poti).
While the route from Sebastopolis to Artaxata came to the basin of Kura river, one
passed through the Zekar pass.
Having descended down the Black Sea, the traders have arrived at important
ports such as Amisos and Sinope from Phasis within a few days, because under
the Roman rule, the Eastern border has begun with Colchis where was the final
point of the route that went on from the Caspian Sea and along with Kura-Araxes
The Romans had strengthened their rule on the region already from 20s years
B.C. and got Colchis made a province of the Roman Empire together with Pontos
under the reign of Tigranes
I (the Great) (95-55 B.C.) in 66
(or 72) B.C. thanks to Pompeius;
in addition, they had also made a good contact with the Albanian and Iberian
tribes, and got even some envoys from them. Thus, after 66 B.C. the condition
in the East changed completely with the Roman achievements.
In the sources there are also information about Pompeius’ further expedition to
Albania and the course of his
The Parthians had no any control possibility directly on more northern Caspian
and Caucasian tribes, though, the overland-route coming from
the East through Rhaga and Ecbatana, and connecting it to Artaxata was
completely under the control of the Parthian dynasty in Iran. It seems that in
Transcaucasia the merchandise between the East and the West had caught a good
basis via Oxus river and the Caspian Sea. We have already known that there were
some diplomatical communications between the Roman ((under the rules of Emperors Traianus, 98-117
and Hadrianus, 117-138 A.D.) and Kushan Empires from the end of the first and the
beginning of the second centuries A.D., and that one Roman envoy sent by
Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus
(Anton in Chinese) came to the southern seashores of China in 166 A.D.
conclusion, there was so trade route between the East and the West through the
Caspian, and along with Kura and Araxes rivers. A. Herrmann and E. H.
Warmington had pointed out so trade route on their historical maps.
An Uzbekian archaeologist, A.R. Mukhamedjanov also accepted its existence, saying that “From there [Bactria] merchands travelled by boat down the
Amu Darya, over the Caspian Sea and across Transcaucasia to the Black Sea”. In the classical sources it is
shown that the traders from the West had also followed this route towards the
Though in the
later times, the silk has been
produced in Iran and the Byzantine as well, it has costed to more
expensive, and for this reason, the Western countries had become dependent to
the silk from East and especially China, which was very cheap. The following reasons
compelled the Western countries and traders steadily to find new routes and to
investigate the sea-routes by which Iran would be able to be excluded. One, the
nations in Iran have not attituded to this trade with a tolerence, and the other, they did not allow to
passing of the traders the Iranian territory by overland-route. Thus, as a
result of these all the factors, from 9th century, in order to satisfy the
needs of the new silk-markets in the West, the sea-routes that would connect
the Mediterranean with China were found, and they displaced the land-routes. In order to pass over
these long-routes the “Christians,
Jews, Muslims, Nestorians, and Zoroastrians all participated in the silk trade
via sea routes.” The period between 1st-4th
centuries A.D. was an era of the Kushans, and they also controlled a great part
of the heartland of the Silk Road. They had played a great role in the
development of the Silk Road as an international trade route.
Just as J. Harmatta said, “as a result the Kushans were able to establish
strong commercial relations with the eastern provinces of the Roman Empire by
the maritime routes between north-west India, the Red Sea, and the Persian
Gulf; and with the peoples of the Caucasus and steppes of eastern Europe, by
the land routes along the Oxus river and beyond the Caspian Sea.”
( Dr. Mehmet TEZCAN , The Technical
University of the Black Sea, Faculty of Arts & Sciences, Department of
History, 61080 Trabzon - TURKIYE; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org ; email@example.com
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