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Reappraising the Silk Road: Byzantium and Ancient China

Reappraising the Silk Road: Byzantium and Ancient China

Paper by Qiang Li

Given online as part of the Byzantine Seminar Series ‘Byzantium at Ankara‘, hosted in collaboration by the Department of History at Bilkent University and the Department of History of Art at Hacettepe University, on April 16, 2021

Abstract: In recent years, the Silk Road (or Roads) has being becoming a very popular subject in academic and non-academic circle all around the world. This phenomenon has many causes, and the foremost is the impact of the globalization of the world. In this special time with the COVID 19, we can clearly and strongly feel the impact of that on us. As to the Silk Road in history, how should we see it? There are already a lot of views on that, accepting, rejecting, or exaggerating it, etc.

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In this talk, as a Chinese byzantinist, I will present the recent focuses on Byzantium and ancient China along the Silk Road, based on which, to reappraise the significance of the Silk Road in the historical context. The talk will include three parts: 1. a short introduction for the Roman-Byzantine Empire and ancient China in sources of them; 2. archaeological evidence for their interactions; 3. reappraising the Silk Road in the historical context.


Li Qiang is Associate Professor in Byzantine Studies, Institute for the History of Ancient Civilizations (IHAC), Northeast Normal University, Changchun, China. You can learn more his research on his Academia.edu page.

Top Image: Map by Belsky / Wikimedia Commons

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