Ancient China and its Enemies: The Rise of Nomadic Power in East Asian History

Cambridge University Press
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Relations between Inner Asian nomads and Chinese are a continuous theme throughout Chinese history. By investigating the formation of nomadic cultures, by analyzing the evolution of patterns of interaction along China's frontiers, and by exploring how this interaction was recorded in historiography, this looks at the origins of the cultural and political tensions between these two civilizations through the first millennium BC. The main purpose of the book is to analyze ethnic, cultural, and political frontiers between nomads and Chinese in the historical contexts that led to their formation, and to look at cultural perceptions of 'others' as a function of the same historical process. Based on both archaeological and textual sources, this 2002 book also introduces a new methodological approach to Chinese frontier history, which combines extensive factual data with a careful scrutiny of the motives, methods, and general conception of history that informed the Chinese historian Ssu-ma Ch'ien.
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About the author

Nicola Di Cosmo is Senior Lecturer in Chinese History at the University of Canterbury (Christchurch, New Zealand).

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Additional Information

Publisher
Cambridge University Press
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Published on
Feb 25, 2002
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Pages
369
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ISBN
9781139431651
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Ancient / General
History / Asia / General
History / Europe / Medieval
Social Science / Archaeology
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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The first complete history of Central Eurasia from ancient times to the present day, Empires of the Silk Road represents a fundamental rethinking of the origins, history, and significance of this major world region. Christopher Beckwith describes the rise and fall of the great Central Eurasian empires, including those of the Scythians, Attila the Hun, the Turks and Tibetans, and Genghis Khan and the Mongols. In addition, he explains why the heartland of Central Eurasia led the world economically, scientifically, and artistically for many centuries despite invasions by Persians, Greeks, Arabs, Chinese, and others. In retelling the story of the Old World from the perspective of Central Eurasia, Beckwith provides a new understanding of the internal and external dynamics of the Central Eurasian states and shows how their people repeatedly revolutionized Eurasian civilization.

Beckwith recounts the Indo-Europeans' migration out of Central Eurasia, their mixture with local peoples, and the resulting development of the Graeco-Roman, Persian, Indian, and Chinese civilizations; he details the basis for the thriving economy of premodern Central Eurasia, the economy's disintegration following the region's partition by the Chinese and Russians in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and the damaging of Central Eurasian culture by Modernism; and he discusses the significance for world history of the partial reemergence of Central Eurasian nations after the collapse of the Soviet Union.



Empires of the Silk Road places Central Eurasia within a world historical framework and demonstrates why the region is central to understanding the history of civilization.

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