The Silk Road began in eastern Asia around 200 B.C.E. From there, it expanded and flourished over the next few centuries until it became outdated and fell to trade by sea. Stretching from China to parts of Western Europe, it was the most important trade route of its time. The economic system, goods traded, technology, religions prominent, and people in power varied over time. However the importance of silk along with other spices, the spread of ideas as well as disease, and the continuous diffusion of culture remained the same. Many subtle transformations and changes occurred during this era, but the road still upheld its original purpose through it all.
The main purpose of the Silk Road had been to deliver goods from place to place. Trade initially was completed using a barter system, so one area could get what it wanted by giving away the extras of what it had. Different empires could obtain resources that others were unable to produce. As wealth and the separation between classes became more prominent, luxury items were in much higher demand. What began as necessities and small leisurely goods, transformed into high end products made for the upper class. The introduction to new goods along the Silk Road changed the way civilizations worked. The first money to be used was small gold and silver coins. They were understood to be worth a certain amount, and by using them to buy goods some empires set up an easier and more understandable way to trade. Slowly, the way the Silk Road’s goods were bought changed. Instead of bartering and haggling for prices that were not previously determined and could change based on the customer. With a more stable economic method, it was quicker and easier to live within one’s means and know what they would get for a certain amount.
As time went on, the empires and civilizations located along the Silk Road fluctuated. When it began, the Han Dynasty was in control of China. By it’s demise, five other dynasties had gained power...
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