Dr. Mehmet TEZCAN
2004-07-21 11:17:08 阅读
Published in 1st International Silk Road Symposium 25-27 June 2003 Tbilisi / Georgia, 2004-Izmir



            The term of Silk Road (Die Seidenstrassen)[1]  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.[2] 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”,[3] or “the wool of the Chinese forests” just as written by Plinius the Elder in his work Naturalis Historia towards 70 A.D.[4] 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.[5] 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 Caspian Sea.


a.      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.[6] 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.[7] Thus, “the Parthians were early intermediaries in the Rome to China overland commercial system.”[8] 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[9] to investigate this route.[10] 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 A.D.).[11] 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.”[12] 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 border consequently.[13]The Parthians sought to monopolize the trade in Chinese silks, which led to the Partho-Roman wars[14] 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 profitable.”[15] Though, 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”.[16] 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”.[17] 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...” [18] Between the second century B.C. and 4th century A.D. the nomads held the silk trade routes,[19] 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”,[20] the Kushans had expanded to the northwestern areas of India subcontinent in 50-75 A.D.[21] 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.

            Connecting the West to the East, the Silk Road, according to F. von Richthofen, consisted of four routes mainly, together with the main secondary routes.[22] In the West, the main road, beginning from Antiochia[23] 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,[24] and arrived at Seleucia on the Tigris, and came to Ecbatana (Hamadan) and Raga (Rayy) in Iran.[25] 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;[26] the northern route which goes on Kashghar and the southern one which across the Pamirs towards the West intermingled just here,[27] 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,[28] intermingled again at Kashghar which was “an important stage in the journey to China” and re-separation point towards the West.[29] 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.[30] 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”,[31]  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,[32] 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.[33]

            And 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.[34] But, with some  reasons of the difficulties by the Sasanians,[35] 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.[36] About the latter road we can obtain some information in detail from the Greek and Chinese sources in 6th centuries.[37] 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:[38] 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 and Constantinople.[39] 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.[40] 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[41] 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.[42]

            Again, 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”,[43] and it was forbidden to make trade outside of these points.[44]


b.      The Route from Ecbatana to Phasis


About the 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 Peutingeriana written in the second half of 4th century.[45] 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.[46] 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.[47] 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”,[48] 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,[49] 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).[50] 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).[51] 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.[52] 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).[53] 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).”[54] Hewsen continues:  “a flourishing mercantile center, Artashat[55] lay on the main road connecting Sebastoupolis and Phasis on the Black Sea with Ekbatana and the other centers of Iran…”[56] 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)[57] 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[58]-Abastuman, and then Dioscurias,[59]one of the most polyglot of ports… on the Black Sea coast.[60] 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[61] (the center of the Caucasian Albania and Islamic Arran)[62] and Tbilisi, the center of Iberia (Eastern Georgia) and one of the most important cities of Southern Caucasus.[63] 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,[64] 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.[65] The collected goods here were being conveyed to western lands via sea routes.



c.       The 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.[66] 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.[67] 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.[68] An eminent French archaeologist P. Bernard says that the archaeological structure of Ozboi region did not support  the possibility of so sea-route.[69] 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 important reasons:[70] 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.[71] 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.[72] 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);[73] 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.[74] In 5th or 6th century, or in the period between 1220 and 1570 dates, Amu Daria abondened its ancient course.[75]

            According 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,[76] and the other, along the Araxes river, has arrived at Iberia-Mc’heta-Kolchis and the Black Sea.[77] 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 Caspian.[78]

            During 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.[79] 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].”[80] 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.[81] 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.[82] In Xth century “Rus pirates had [also] sailed up the Kur from the Caspian Sea, and destroyed Partaw / Berda’a completely in 944.”[83] 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.[84]

            Generally, 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[85] -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.[86] 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, Aristobulos.[87] While 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).[88]

            The 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.[89] 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[90], and this information given about it –which is belonged to  Plinius -,[91] maybe  should relate to just this matter.[92] In real, the great seaman Patrocles therefore had made an investigation on the Caspian seashores in 283-282 years B.C.[93] 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[94] 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,[95] 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).[96] While the route from Sebastopolis to Artaxata came to the basin of Kura river, one passed through the Zekar pass.[97] 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 rivers.[98] 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;[99] 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.[100] In the sources there are also information about Pompeius’ further expedition to Albania and  the course of his return journey.[101] The Parthians had no any control possibility directly on more northern Caspian and Caucasian tribes,[102]  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.[103]

In 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.[104] 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”.[105]  In the classical sources it is shown that the traders from the West had also followed this route towards the East.

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.”[106] 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.[107] 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.”[108] 


( Dr. Mehmet TEZCAN , The Technical University of the Black Sea, Faculty of Arts & Sciences, Department of History, 61080 Trabzon - TURKIYE; e-mail: tezcanm@isbank.net.tr   ; tezcanm@risc01.ktu.edu.tr  .)





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         http://parthia.com/parthian_stations.htm (Pathian Stations by Isidore of Charax. An Account of the Overland Trade  Route between the Levant and India in the First Century B.C.).

         http://depts.washington.edu/uwch/silkroad/exhibit/rome/essay.html (D. C. Waugh, Rome’s Eastern trade).

http://rbedrosian.com/pb1.htm (R. Bedrosian, P'awstos Buzandac'i's History of the Armenians)


[1] Herrmann 1910, p. 10; Christian 2000, p. 2 (I am very grateful to the author who sent to me this article) Staviskiy 2002, p. 763; Ierusalimskaya 2002, p. 243.

[2] Sudzuki 1975, p. 77 (I was very grateful to my colleague,  M. Compareti who obtained to me this article).

[3] Haussig 1980, p. 14.

[4] Christian 2000, p. 24.

[5] For details, see Koshelenko-Pilipko 1994, p. 138-139.

[6] Frank-Brownstone 1986, p. 1.

[7] Sudzuki 1975, p. 75-76.

[8] Kolb 1983, p. 76.

[9] About Maes’ personality and the date of his  expedition to the East to explorate the main routes of the  Silk Road see Alemany 2002, p. 106-113, 113-118 (I am very grateful to the author who sent to me this article).

[10] The persons sent by Titianos were wellcomed with honourable just as Buddha’s apostles. See Bratianu 1969, p. 102.

[11] Herrmann 1910, p. 18-19; Hannestad 1955, p. 428, fn. 3; Aymard-Auboyer 1959, p. 614; Boulnois 1966, p. 62; Tihvinskii-Litvinskii 1988, p. 207. About Maes’ and Marinus’ information see Marquart 1946, p. 140-141.

[12] Komb 1983, p. 77.

[13] Pigulevskaia 1947, p. 186.

[14] Komb 1983, p. 78.

[15] Enoki-Koshelenko-Haidary 1994, p. 187.

[16] Lattimore 1968, p. 10.

[17] Boulnois 1966, p. 56.

[18] Hirth 1975, p. 42; Sudzuki 1975, p. 83; Ierusalimskaja 1996, p. 120; Tezcan 2002, p. 76.

[19] Mielczarek 1997, p. 135-136 (I am very grateful to my colleague,  M. Compareti who obtained to me this article).

[20] Mukhamedjanov 1994, s. 286.

[21] Raschke 1978, p. 630.

[22] See Sudzuki 1975, p. 77.

[23] Uhlig 1987, p. 49.

[24] See Koshelenko-Pilipko 1994, p. 138; Sudzuki 1975, p. 83: “It also shows that the Royal Road through Iran had served as the Silk Road from the 5th century B.C. down to the 2nd century A.D.”

[25] For Ecbatana and Raga and further east routes in the first century B.C. see Komb 1983, p. 78; http://parthia.com/parthian_stations.htm

[26] For other places named “Tashkurghan” in Central Asia and the exact place of “the Stone Tower” see Boulnois 1966, p. 62-63. It should be wrong that Komb mentioned it as “Tashkurgan in north-central Afghanistan”, in my opinion. See Komb 1983, p. 79.

[27] Bagchi 1950, p. 12.

[28] About the Northern and Southern branches of this route in Xinjiang and mainly stations, see, for example, Hulsewé 1979, p. 72-73;  Uhlig 1987, p. 49.

[29] Bagchi 1950, p. 12.

[30] For the principal stations of the Silk Road see: Tarn 1951, p. 61, 112;  Aymard-Auboyer 1959, p. 612-619; Rice 1965, p. 176; Grousset 1969, p. 78-80; Tihvinskii-Litvinskii 1988, p. 212-222; Mukhamedjanov 1994, p. 287; Staviskiy 2002, p. 765-766; http://depts.washington.edu/uwch/silkroad/exhibit/rome/essay.html.

[31] Lang 1983, p. 509.

[32] See Callieri 1999, p. 39 (I am grateful to my colleague, C. Lo Muzio who obtained to me this article).

[33] See Braund 1994, p. 40-41.

[34] Pigulevskaia 1946, p. 227.

[35] For example, they did not allow the caravans to sell the goods within Iran, and even made difficult to pass further west. See Ierusalimskaya 2002, p. 246.

[36] Ascherson 1996, p. 18.

[37] For the main routes of this road see Ierusalimskaia 1978, p. 156-157.

[38] Aymard-Auboyer 1959, p. 311.

[39] Pigulevskaia 1947, p. 186; Ierusalimkaia 1967, p. 72; Koshelenko 1985, p. 63.

[40] See Ierusalimskaja 1996; Mielczarek 1997, p. 136, fn. 9.

[41] One of these Graeco-Bactrian coins is belonged to the King Eucratides (I am very grateful to the Museum director who showed to me personally this important coin in the Museum of Tbilisi during the visiting the Museum).

[42] Sudzuki 1975, p. 72-73; Mielczarek 1997, p. 131, 133.

[43] Manandian 1965, p. 80.

[44] Pigulevskaia 1947, p. 187.

[45] For possible fixing of this route during the Roman period see  Hewsen 2001, p. 70, map 59.

[46] Koshelenko 1985, p. 69.

[47] Rice 1965, p. 91.

[48] See Hübschmann 1969, p. 469.

[49] Koshelenko 1985, p. 69; Hewsen 2001, p. 71.

[50] Honigmann 1970, p. 4.

[51] Pigulevskaia 1947, p. 196-197; Pigulewskaja 1969, p. 155; Hübschmann 1969, p. 422.

[52] Manandian 1984, p. 380-381.

[53] Pigulevskaia 1947, p. 197; Pigulewskaja 1969, p. 156.

[54] Hewsen 2001, p. 65.

[55] Artaxata was founded by King Artashes in 176 B.C.

[56] Hewsen 2001, p. 62.

[57] Manandian 1965, p. 51-52.

[58] Axalc’ixe is a castle on the right side of  Aragvi river, a tributary of  Kura river. See Hewsen 1992, p. 137, fn. 47.

[59] Manandian 1965, p. 51, 106-110. About this route see Manandian 1984, p. 359 (“Kaspiiskaia doroga”).

[60] Tarn 1951, p. 112.

[61] Rice 1965, p. 258.

[62] The region south Kura river was called “Ar-Ran / Arran”, and its northern “Shirvan”. See Minorskii 1963, p. 38.

[63] Hewsen 1992, p. 136.

[64] Manandian 1984, p. 398-399.

[65] Manandian 1965, p. 50; Braund 1994, p. 192.

[66] Pigulevskaia 1947, p. 196.

[67] See Bk. Callieri 1999, p. 40.

[68] Marquart 1946, p. 138.

[69] Callieri 1999, p. 41.

[70] Aymard-Auboyer 1959, p. 616-617, fig.30; Franz 1987, p. 19; Staviskij 1986, p. 190, fn. 79. See also Vainberg 1999, p. 223.

[71] See Callieri 1999, p. 38.

[72] Callieri 1999, p. 40.

[73] Vainberg-Iusupov 1990, p. 30-31.

[74] Vainberg 1999, p. 32-36, 233.

[75] Franz 1987, p. 19.

[76] And J. Marquart, according to Ptolemaios and the Tabula, accepted that there was a route between Artaxata and Caspian Sea, and vice versa. See  Marquart 1928, p. 63, Tafel I, Abb.2.

[77] Haussig 1983, p. 79.

[78] See Bais 2001, p. 71; Braund 1994, p. 41.

[79] Sudzuki 1975, p. 83; Koshelenko 1985, p. 222; Koshelenko-Pilipko 1994, p. 138.

[80] Vainberg 1999, p. 26.

[81] Hewsen 1992, p. 133.

[82] Warmington 1974, p. 26.

[83] Hewsen 1992, p. 263, fn. 174A.

[84] See Zahoder 1962, p. 23-24.

[85] Warmington 1974, p. 26.

[86] For a transit trade route between India and the Black Sea see Z.I. Jampol’skiy, “K izucheniu drevnego puti iz Kaspiiskogo moria po reke Kure cherez Gruzii k Chernomu Moriu”, Trudy Instituta istorii im. I.A. Dzhavakhishvili, AN Gruzinskoj SSR, II, 1956, pp. 161-180; G.K. Gozalishvili, “O drevnem torgovom puti v Zakavkaz’e”, ibid., pp. 153-160;  O.D. Lordkipanidze, “O tranzitno-torgovom puti iz Indii k Chernomu moryu”, Soobshchenia AN Gruzinskoi SSR, 1957, p. 377-384; O. Lordkipanidze, Das alte Georgien (Kolchis und Iberien), in: Strabons Geographie. Neue Scholien, Amsterdam 1996.

[87] Callieri 1999, p. 38.

[88] Tarn 1951, p. 489.

[89] See Tarn 1951, p. 112-113. See also W.W. Tarn, “Patrocles and the Oxo-Caspian Trade Route”, JHS, XXI, 1901, pp. 10-29.

[90] Braund 1994, p. 42.

[91] Frye 1984, p. 153; Bais 2001, p. 70, 76, fn. 302. 

[92] Rice 1965, p. 222.

[93] Bais 2001, p. 70, 76; Callieri 1999, p. 35-37.

[94] About Kura-Rion / Phasis route see Koshelenko 1985, p. 98.

[95] Lomouri 1979, p. 113; Callieri 1999, p. 39.

[96] See Manandian 1963, p. 180-181; Manandian  1984, p. 227, map 2.

[97] Manandian 1984, p. 366, 371 (“Meotid-Kolhid route”).

[98] Haussig 1980, p. 14.

[99] Chaumont 1976, p. 67; Lang 1983, p. 516; Koshelenko 1985, p. 56; Hewsen 1992, p. 125; Hewsen 2001, p. 38; Bais 2001, p. 75. See also Braund 1994, p. 152-170.

[100] Pigulevskaja 1963, p. 56-57.

[101] Manandian 1963, p. 185; Manandian 1984, p. 232-233 (Map 3), 233-237 (Map 4).

[102] Warmington 1974, p. 26-27, 34.

[103] See Sudzuki 1975, p. 83; Puri 1994, p. 256-257.

[104] Herrmann 1966, p. 18-19.

[105] Mukhamedjanov 1994, p. 285.

[106] Xinru Liu 1998, p. 28 (I am very grateful to the author who sent me this book).

[107] Mukhamedjanov 1994, s. 287.

[108] Harmatta 1994, p. 21.



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