The Roman Empire and the Silk Routes: The Ancient World Economy & the Empires of Parthia, Central Asia & Han China

Pen and Sword
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A fascinating history of the intricate web of trade routes connecting ancient Rome to Eastern civilizations, including its powerful rival, the Han Empire.
 
The Roman Empire and the Silk Routes investigates the trade routes between Rome and the powerful empires of inner Asia, including the Parthian Empire of ancient Persia, and the Kushan Empire which seized power in Bactria (Afghanistan), laying claim to the Indus Kingdoms. Further chapters examine the development of Palmyra as a leading caravan city on the edge of Roman Syria. Raoul McLaughlin also delves deeply into Rome’s trade ventures through the Tarim territories, which led its merchants to the Han Empire of ancient China.
 
Having established a system of Central Asian trade routes known as the Silk Road, the Han carried eastern products as far as Persia and the frontiers of the Roman Empire. Though they were matched in scale, the Han surpassed its European rival in military technology.
 
The first book to address these subjects in a single comprehensive study, The Roman Empire and the Silk Routes explores Rome’s impact on the ancient world economy and reveals what the Chinese and Romans knew about their rival Empires.
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About the author

Dr. Raoul McLaughlin was educated at Lagan College, the first Integrated School in Northern Ireland. He studied Archaeology and Ancient history in Belfast before completing a Master’s degree and then a PhD on the study of trade beyond Rome’s eastern frontiers. He lives in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Pen and Sword
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Published on
Nov 11, 2016
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Pages
282
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ISBN
9781473889811
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Ancient / Rome
History / Europe / Medieval
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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The Migration Age is still envisioned as an onrush of expansionary "Germans" pouring unwanted into the Roman Empire and subjecting it to pressures so great that its western parts collapsed under the weight. Further developing the themes set forth in his classic Barbarians and Romans, Walter Goffart dismantles this grand narrative, shaking the barbarians of late antiquity out of this "Germanic" setting and reimagining the role of foreigners in the Later Roman Empire.

The Empire was not swamped by a migratory Germanic flood for the simple reason that there was no single ancient Germanic civilization to be transplanted onto ex-Roman soil. Since the sixteenth century, the belief that purposeful Germans existed in parallel with the Romans has been a fixed point in European history. Goffart uncovers the origins of this historical untruth and argues that any projection of a modern Germany out of an ancient one is illusory. Rather, the multiplicity of northern peoples once living on the edges of the Empire participated with the Romans in the larger stirrings of late antiquity. Most relevant among these was the long militarization that gripped late Roman society concurrently with its Christianization.

If the fragmented foreign peoples with which the Empire dealt gave Rome an advantage in maintaining its ascendancy, the readiness to admit military talents of any social origin to positions of leadership opened the door of imperial service to immigrants from beyond its frontiers. Many barbarians were settled in the provinces without dislodging the Roman residents or destabilizing landownership; some were even incorporated into the ruling families of the Empire. The outcome of this process, Goffart argues, was a society headed by elites of soldiers and Christian clergy—one we have come to call medieval.

In the 250 years between 250 and 500 C.E., Rome found itself transformed from a mighty global empire into a limited collection of Germanic kingdoms. The aspiration exhibited in these kingdoms (as well as in Constantinople and later in the person of Charlemagne) to recreate and reclaim the glory of the Roman Empire persists to this day, and an examination of this time is critical to anyone interested in politics or history. James Ermatinger's multifaceted account allows the reader a unique opportunity to view through various lenses the many and complex elements that contributed to the demise of this once-vast empire, investigating, among other things: the general religious and political issues of the age, the cultural and economic climate, the nature of the imperial household, and the role of the Germanic invaders. In so doing, he paints a vivid picture of a dying dream. This volume is ideal for use in the classroom, as well as for use in school and public libraries.

Designed as an accessible introduction to this critical period, The Decline and Fall of Rome offers readers and researchers an appealing mix of descriptive chapters, biographical sketches, and annotated primary documents. An overview of the period is presented in the introduction, and is followed by chapters on late Roman culture, society, and economics in late antiquity; religious conflicts in Christian Rome; enemies of Rome; and why and when Rome fell. The narrative chapters conclude with a section placing Rome's fall in modern perspective. An annotated bibliography and index are included.

This is a sweeping tour of the Mediterranean world from the Atlantic to Persia during the last half-century of the Roman Empire. By focusing on a single year not overshadowed by an epochal event, 428 AD provides a truly fresh look at a civilization in the midst of enormous change--as Christianity takes hold in rural areas across the empire, as western Roman provinces fall away from those in the Byzantine east, and as power shifts from Rome to Constantinople. Taking readers on a journey through the region, Giusto Traina describes the empires' people, places, and events in all their simultaneous richness and variety. The result is an original snapshot of a fraying Roman world on the edge of the medieval era. The result is an original snapshot of a fraying Roman world on the edge of the medieval era.

Readers meet many important figures, including the Roman general Flavius Dionysius as he encounters a delegation from Persia after the Sassanids annex Armenia; the Christian ascetic Simeon Stylites as he stands and preaches atop his column near Antioch; the eastern Roman emperor Theodosius II as he prepares to commission his legal code; and Genseric as he is elected king of the Vandals and begins to turn his people into a formidable power. We are also introduced to Pulcheria, the powerful sister of Theodosius, and Galla Placidia, the queen mother of the western empire, as well as Augustine, Pope Celestine I, and nine-year-old Roman emperor Valentinian III.


Full of telling details, 428 AD illustrates the uneven march of history. As the west unravels, the east remains intact. As Christianity spreads, pagan ideas and schools persist. And, despite the presence of the forces that will eventually tear the classical world apart, Rome remains at the center, exerting a powerful unifying force over disparate peoples stretched across the Mediterranean.

The ancient evidence suggests that international commerce supplied Roman government with up to a third of the revenues that sustained their empire. In ancient times large fleets of Roman merchant ships set sail from Egypt on voyages across the Indian Ocean. They sailed from Roman ports on the Red Sea to distant kingdoms on the east coast of Africa and the seaboard off southern Arabia. Many continued their voyages across the ocean to trade with the rich kingdoms of ancient India. Freighters from the Roman Empire left with bullion and returned with cargo holds filled with valuable trade goods, including exotic African products, Arabian incense and eastern spices. ??This book examines Roman commerce with Indian kingdoms from the Indus region to the Tamil lands. It investigates contacts between the Roman Empire and powerful African kingdoms, including the Nilotic regime that ruled Meroe and the rising Axumite Realm. Further chapters explore Roman dealings with the Arab kingdoms of south Arabia, including the Saba-Himyarites and the Hadramaut Regime, which sent caravans along the incense trail to the ancient rock-carved city of Petra.??The Roman Empire and the Indian Ocean is the first book to bring these subjects together in a single comprehensive study that reveals Rome's impact on the ancient world and explains how international trade funded the Legions that maintained imperial rule. It offers a new international perspective on the Roman Empire and its legacy for modern society.
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