Juwan Henderson December 13, 2012
Chapter 12 Essay Questions
In what ways did the network of trade routes called the silk roads make life during the classical era a significantly different from life in the preclassical world? Consider all the different effects and the various cultures involved.
Trade is an important part of a nation’s commerce. Many things were traded, both good and bad. An important trade network during the preclassical and classical times was the silk roads. Rulers invested a lot of money to repair and make roads and bridges. The large empires expanded so their borders were much closer together. There, many important things were traded; silk, food, religious and cultural ideas, law, military plans, and disease. The silk roads made life during the classical era significantly different from life in the preclassical era in many ways. Religion was a big deal in the classical and preclassical eras. Many changes were brought to religion as well during the classical era. Jesus Christ was no longer seen with divine nature, he just had human nature. Christianity spread like wildfire all around, following the trade routes, from Europe to Southwest Asia in areas such as Mesopotamia, Iran, India, and China. Buddhism also spread. Buddhism became the chief religion of merchants. While Catholicism was in Southwest Asia, Buddhism was in Southeast Asia. Manichaeism is the best example of a religion spread along the silk roads. It drew influence from Christianity and Buddhism and called for high ethic standards and ascetic lifestyle. It also appealed to merchants. From merchants it spread to Europe and Mesopotamia. Disease was also spread with the merchants. Some common epidemics were smallpox, measles, and the bubonic plague. In Rome, the population dropped a whole quarter between the first to the tenth century, weakening the empire and lessening imports to the empire. China’s population also dropped a quarter from the first to the seventh...