Empires of the Silk Road: A History of Central Eurasia from the Bronze Age to the Present Summary î 100

Christopher I. Beckwith Æ 0 Characters

Empires of the Silk Road: A History of Central Eurasia from the Bronze Age to the Present Summary î 100 ½ 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 sE 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 thriv. Although interesting at times this book is not uite what it sets itself out to be Rather than a history of Central Eurasia per se it is actually a history of ALL of Eurasia with a slight focus on the central bit spanning the bronze age to the present If that seems rather broad well it is Beckwith does a good job laying out the importance of Central Eurasia to world history and I definitely came away with a better understanding of the region and its connections to the rest of the globe Instead of a hole in the map I now think of an important node that not only connects East and West but a region that has its own distinct cultures and happenings that forced East and West to react to ITUnfortunately the book gets bogged down in its breadth and Beckwith's enemies which are apparently numerous Did we really need a huge section on the ills of the Modernist art movement And how many times do we have to hear about how terrible China is But its really how far it stretches that does the book in His definition of Central Eurasian cultures seems a bit broad especially when he starts encompassing regions as diffuse as Ukraine Tibet and India But perhaps that's the accepted definition; I don't know Regardless the book could have used a lot focus I came away appreciative of Central Eurasia but hardly knowledgeable

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Ing 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 civilizati. Firstly I need to say that i am not a professional historian I have a great interest in this region simply because it constitutes a gap in my understanding of the history of the world Also there are not many books available in english to fill it This region is often treated as a part of Middle East which creates additional problems for any person intrested to know about Therefore this review is written from the perspective a curious reader not weathered professional historianI was driven to this book after reading The Silk Road by Peter Frankopan Which I found well written but not very relevant This book on the contrast is much relevant scholarly but sometimes uite difficult to get through In spite of this I learned uite a few things especially in respect of the historical reasons according to the author of the current state of the region The most interesting part of the book was about the ancient period of history up to 15th centuryI appreciate the author trying to give much balanced view on the history compared to the recounts when the nomad tribes considered as a barbarians vs settled civilised societies of the period However I think this book is almost unbalanced into other direction big chunks of it are written in defence of the barbarians But some negative facts are not considered in sufficient details For example a sacking of the cities and killing off almost all the population indiscriminately were used like a legible tactic eg Baghdad by the Mongols Also it is unclear from the book whether those tribes had developed its own literacyBut my main criticism of this book is that nearly the uarter of it is devoted to the author's rant against Modernism There are a lot of definitions of modernism in the book But according to the author it is an overwhelming evil It created Russian revolution Chinese Modernisation Hitler and you name it Neither TS Eliot no Stravinskiy is spared in the process of this long and angry rantThe author takes lots of time and space philosophizing whether Modernism is real art and compares the old day to the current situationLife undoubtfully has always been difficult for creative people but it used to be that there was a fairly foxed socioeconomic slot for artists and artisants because the aristocrats needed them The aristocrats bad as they sometimes might have been in reality or in practice represented an ideal not only something people could look up to but something the aristocrats expected of themseleves too Looking upward they demanded perfection or as close to it as they could get so they hired the best artistists to produce it and those working for them tried their best to achieve it If artists were not looking up and doing their best to serve God they were doing their best to serve men they thought were better; it had nothing to do with the Church or the aristocrats really were somehow better Trying to upend things so the basest type of man above the others cannot actually replace the old order no one can look up to someone who is by definition as low as can be so the result is elimination of order itself Today the artist socioeconomic slot not longer exist and nothing has really replaced it But the entire purpose of art or goal of art is largely gone anyway The total victory of Modernism meant consciences rejection of the traditional values of Reason artistic order and BeautyThis is just an example how far it goes from the Central Asian history If it would be written by some post revolutionary offended Russian exile a century ago I would totally sympathise But to generalise so grossly at the beginning of the 21th century looks simply ridiculous and even unfair And it is not relevant for me as a reader

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Empires of the Silk Road A History of Central Eurasia from the Bronze Age to the PresentThe 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 despit. Make no mistake this is an academic treatise Beckwith explains in his preface he intended to write an informed but readable essay for a general audience His goal was to minimize notes and avoid chronology yet his pedagogical instincts got the better of him The result is a book that a lay person can follow only with patience and commitment and the 320 page text extends to 480 pages He writes it has been said and the footnotes lead to uotes of his ownThe theme advanced is that images of raiding hordes came from hostile sources and are an incomplete picture Through the ages the region hosted agriculture thriving commercial trade and cross cultural pollination Great wealth was accumulated and knowledge from Greece to China exchanged Still casting coastal empires from the Yellow Sea Indian Ocean and Mediterranean as 'peripheral' to the 'Central Eurasian Culture Complex' seems a stretchThe idea Central Asian nomads in the Caucasus developed horse husbandry families of language and migrated from Pacific to Atlantic and Arctic to Tropic is not new William Jones and earlier linguists had suggested it since the mid 1600's I once saw a dictionary map showing the spread of Indo European languages and found further information impossible to resist Called barbarians by the Greeks and Chinese Central Asians were urbane and innovativeThe chariot was one secret to their success Chariots were rode from the Volga to the Indus and the Nile to the Yellow River From 2100 1200 BC it was the super weapon of choice until javelin infantry and cavalry archers defeated them Another cultural legacy was the comitatus warriors sworn to live and die with their leader If the head man was hit the rest would get buried with him This archetype lasted through the days of Genghis Khan in the 13th centuryAmong Central Asians in the mid to late bronze age were the Scythians who helped advance European Chinese and Indian civilizations Early iron age Xinjiang and Tibet were populated by Central Asians until the in dynasty united China in 221 BC Beckwith speculates the feared Xiongnu may have originated from proto Iranian mounted archers yet this theory seems sketchy Even Japan's bushido are claimed as derivative of Central Asian warriorsBeckwith continues to outline history across Eurasia for two millennia It becomes an arduous task as he races towards the finish The Roman and Chinese empires Goths Huns Franks Persians Muslims Turks Mongols and many play cameo roles Back and forth wars are waged in a Cliff's notes version of political and military history It would be better if he had stayed with his original plan of a short 'French style' essay I'm not sure why he didn'tBeckwith is a linguist who translates and teaches ancient tongues from Tokharian to Turkic Things this old involve archaeology and DNA research yet few recent findings are mentioned Random critiues of modernism seem misplaced Some find this book either too general or too specific It doesn't achieve what it sets out to do to clarify Central Asian cultural contributions over three continents Barbarians were sophisticated but their story has yet to be told