The Age of the Silk Roads (c 200 BC- c 900 AD) shaped the course of the future. The foundation by the Han dynasty of an extensive network of interlinking trade routes, collectively known as the Silk Road, led to an explosion of cultural and commercial transactions across Central Asia that had a profound impact on civilization. In this second volume of his authoritative history of the region, Christoph Baumer explores the unique flow of goods, peoples and ideas along the dusty tracks and wandering caravan routes that brought European and Mediterranean orbits into contact with Asia. The Silk Roads, the author shows, enabled the spread across the known world of Christianity, Manichaeism, Buddhism and Islam, just as earlier they had caused Roman citizens to crave the exotic silk goods of the mysterious Far East. Tracing the rise and fall of empires, this richly illustrated book charts the ebb and flow of epic history: the bitter rivalry of Rome and Parthia; the lucrative mercantile empire of the Sogdians; the founding of Samarkand; and Chinese defeat at the Battle of Talas (751 AD) by the forces of Islam.
Christoph Baumer - a leading explorer and historian of Central Asia, Tibet and China - has written several well-received books in the fields of history, religion, archaeology and travel. These include The Church of the East: An Illustrated History of Assyrian Christianity, Traces in the Desert: Journeys of Discovery across Central Asia and China's Holy Mountain: An Illustrated Journey into the Heart of Buddhism, all published by I.B.Tauris. His ambitious four-volume study of Central Asia was launched in 2012 with volume 1, The History of Central Asia: The Age of the Steppe Warriors.
Table of Contents
Introduction PART I: EARLY EMPIRES AND KINGDOMS IN EAST CENTRAL ASIA 1. The Xiongnu, the First Steppe Nomad Empire 1.1. The Chinese Sources 1.2. The Early Xiongnu and Their Ancestors 1.3. The Xiongnu Rise to Power 1.4. The Xiongnu Exact Tribute from China 1.5. The Xiongnu and China Fight Over East Turkestan Excursus: Ambassador Zhang Qian Scouts Out the Silk Road to Sogdiana and Bactria 1.6. China Acquires 'Horses That Sweat Blood' and East Central Asia Becomes a Chinese Protectorate 1.7. The Collapse of the Xiongnu Steppe Empire 1.8. Xiongnu Customs in Life and Death 1.9. The Second Chinese Protectorate Over the 'Western Regions' 2. The Wusun 3. The Parthians: An Empire between East and West 4. Kingdoms of Central Asian Peoples in Afghanistan and the North of the Indian Subcontinent 4.1. The Indo-Greek Kingdoms 4.2. The Indo-Saka Rulers 4.3. The Indo-Parthian Kingdom 4.4. The Yuezhi and the Kushan Empire 4.4.1. The 'Long March' of the Yuezhi 4.4.2. The Kushan Empire 4.4.3. Silk and the Kushan Trade Network 4.4.4. The Kushan Pantheon and its Dynastic Art PART II: EARLY BUDDHISM IN CENTRAL ASIA AND THE GANDHARA SCHOOL 1. Indian Buddhism before the Kushans 2. Diffusion into Central Asia Excursus: A Murder Uncovers East Turkestan's Pre-Islamic Past 3. The Art of Gandhara PART III: THE MIGRATION OF HUNNIC PEOPLES TO NORTHERN CHINA, CENTRAL ASIA AND EASTERN EUROPE 1. Mongolia and North-West China: the 'Barbarian' Kingdoms of the Xiongnu, the Xianbei and the Rouran, Supporters of Buddhism 1.1. The Four Xiongnu States and the Emergence of Early Buddhist Art in north-west China 1.2. The Northern Wei and the Yungang Grottoes 1.3. The Rouran and Gaoche 2. Hunnic Peoples of Central Asia 2.1. The Chionites 2. 2. The Kidarites 2.3. The Central Asian Hephthalites 2.4. The Alkhan 2.5. The Nezak 3. Pre-Islamic Chorasmia 4. The Huns of Eastern Europe PART IV: THE KINGDOMS OF THE TARIM BASIN AND THEIR SCHOOLS OF BUDDHIST ART 1. The Archaeological Exploration of the Tarim Basin – An Overview 1.1. Early Explorers of the Southern Silk Road 1.2. The Riddle of the Lop-Nor Lake – Nikolai Przhevalsky and Sven Hedin 1.3. Sir Aurel Stein, Pioneer Archaeologist of the Tarim Basin 1.4. The Exploration of the Northern Silk Road 1.5 Latest Research 2. The Southern Silk Road 2.1. Kashgar and Yarkand 2.2. The Kingdom of Khotan 2.2.1. Origins and History 2.2.2. Artworks in the Sands Excursus: Jade, Silk and Paper 2.3. The Kingdom of Shan-shan 3. The Northern Silk Road 3.1. The Kingdom of Kucha 3.2. The Kingdoms of Jiaohe and Gaochang in the Turfan Oasis Excursus: The Karez Irrigation System PART V: THE FIRST TURKIC KHAGANATE 1. A Two-in-One Khaganate 1.1. A Military and Commercial Alliance with Byzantium 1.2. Buddhism, Funerary Rituals, and the Splitting of the Khaganate 2. The Eastern Turkic Khaganate Excursus: Chinese Pilgrim Monks 3. The Western Turkic Khaganate PART VI: TURKIC KINGDOMS OF EASTERN EUROPE 1. The Empire of the Avars (568–796) 2. The Pre-Christian Bulgar empires 2.1. Great Bulgaria on the Sea of Azov 2.2. The Empire of the Volga Bulgars 2.3. The First Empire of the Danube Bulgars Excursus: Ahmad ibn Fadlan's Journey to the Volga Bulgars 3. The Khazars and the Adoption of Judaism PART VII: THE SOGDIANS 1. A Trade Empire from the Crimea to China 1.1. Sogdian Trade before Old Turkic Rule 1.2. The Sogdian-Turkic Alliance 2. Sogdian Religion and Art Excursus: The Church of the East 3. De Facto Independence under Nominal Chinese Rule 4. The Arab Conquest of Sogdiana PART VIII: THE SECOND TURKIC KHAGANATE AND THE TURGESH 1. The Unification of the Turkic Tribes 2. A Short-Lived Great Power 3. The Western Turkic Türgesh PART IX: CHINA, TIBET AND THE ARABS: THE STRUGGLE FOR SUPREMACY IN CENTRAL ASIA 1. The Emergence of Tibet as a Major Central Asian Power 2. Sassanid Princes Seek Chinese Military Assistance 3. The Tibetan-Chinese War in the Pamirs 3.1. The Turkic-Sogdian Insurrection of An Lushan 4. East Turkestan and the Pamirs under Tibetan Suzerainty 4.1. The Tibetan Reconquest 4.2. Central Asian Influence on Tibetan Culture 4.3. Tibetan Withdrawal from Central Asia PART X: THE UYGHURS 1. The Early History 2. The Uyghur Empire Excursus: Manichaeism 3.1. The Flight of the Uyghur Tribes 3.1. Uyghur Refugees at the Northern Border of China 3.2. The Western Uyghur Kingdoms 3.2.1. The Uyghur Kingdom in Gansu 3.2.2. The Uyghur Kingdom of Kocho PART XI: OUTLOOK Appendix The Most Important Dynasties and Rulers of Central Asia Notes Bibliography List of Maps Photo Credits Acknowledgements Index Concepts People Places