There are few descriptive phrases that sum up a time and place as elegantly as “The Silk Road.” It is an idea specific to geography and historical era. Others terms–World War I, Manifest Destiny, the Roman Empire, or the Enlightenment–belong to a specific country or encompass a comparatively brief span of years. Even the Renaissance, as I found out in last year’s A to Z challenge, made a heavy impression mostly on a handful of places and was fairly localized to Italy and the coastal cities of Western Europe. Or take a place like the Fertile Crescent, which may have lasted centuries in the development of human processes, but it was really a spot, that convergence of the Tigris and the Euphrates.
In comparison, the Silk Road spread across a continent, and the biggest one at that. It began a few hundred years before the Common Era (BCE is the new way of saying minus zero year) and lasted into the era of colonization. To cover 26 posts on anything requires a vast stretch of subject.Continue reading “A is for Asia”