Estimated 500 BC - 14Th Century Emergence Maritime Trading Routes
This page was last updated on: October 11, 2017
This page was last updated on: October 11, 2017
Overview of the Length and Path of the Great Wall of China of the Ming Dynasty. Includes links to Cities and Great Wall of China Passes. - Click Map for Full Version !
During the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC - 9 AD) and Eastern Han Dynasty (9 AD - 220 AD) :
The 3 Kingdoms and succeeding Sui and T’ang Dynasties:
221 AD -265 AD : In the year 221 AD the Han Dynasty finds it end in violence. The Chinese Nation is shattered and split by conflict by feudal aristocratic families preceeding the Period of the “Three Kingdoms;” China gets divided into rival dynasties. After many centuries a new Central Authority arises in the Sui Dynasty, on who's success the Tang Dynasty rises to conquer and venture far beyond traditional borders once more.
115 BC: Han Dynasty Emperor Wu Di forces the Xiong-Nu (Pre-Huns) to retreat to the north of the Taklamakan Desert. Afterwards, the Han construct a first version of the Great Wall of China extension to the West, in protection of the emerging Silk Road. The Han Dynasty Great Wall reaches at least as far West as JiaYu Pass (JiaYuGuan City) in the Hexi Corridor of Western Gansu province. Later, the Ming Dynasty Great Wall of China, which also served in protection of the Silk Road trading routes in Central Asia would end at JiaYu Pass, where a Great Fortress of JiaYuGuan was constructed in 1372 AD.
In 115 BC Zhang Qian is sent on a second diplomatic mission to the West, this time destined for Daxia and Parthia (North Persia) on the Far Western Silk Road. As a result Diplomatic Missions from The far West are sent in Honor to the Han Dynasty Court at Chang'An (Xi'An), the beginning of enduring diplomatic relations with these far western Nations, India and Persia.
Upon his tour of the western regions Zhang Qian is able to leave permanent Chinese Embassies (Ambassadors) in place in various Kingdoms visited. On his return to Chang'An Zhang Qian was able
Image: Rough Schematic Map of China, the Path of the Great Wall and its relation to Cities, Nations, Rivers and the Pathway of the Ancient Silk Road in China.
on to occupy much of northern India. They establish the Kushan Dynasty and Kushan Empire (30 AD – 375 AD).
1st c. AD: Kushan people (descendents of the Yüeh-chih) move to the Tarim River Basin previously held under control by the Western Han Dynasty, introducing Gandharan culture to region.
25 AD: Among the factions involved in the civil war ensuing after the declared fall of the Chinese Xin Dynasty, Liu Xiu arises victorious. Ressurecting the Han Dynasty, he subsequently rises to the Throne in a new Capital, namely the age old cultural, learning and trading center of Luoyang situated along a tributary to the Yellow River in current day north-western Henan Province.
The restoration of the Han Dynasty restores some sense of order within the Chinese Empire, also briefly allowing its military to regain strength.
25 AD: With the restoration of the Han Dynasty silk becomes a popular medium for writing. It will remain widely used throughout the duration of the Dynastic Period up to 220 AD.
28 AD - 33 AD: At some time in this period, Jesus of Nazareth (having claimed to be the Christ (Liberator) and also Son of God (Yaweh)) was crucified on a hill outside the city of Jerusalem, in Roman controlled Judea.
32 AD: The Temple of Bel (also Ba'Al; --) is dedicated at at Palmyra in current day Syria. The Temple is built on grounds previously occupied by an old Hellenistic (Greek styled) Temple. It has a large central structure, set upon a platform and surrounded by a paved courtyard which sits inside a very tall wall measuring some 205-meters (673 ft).
Inside the Temple of Bel, the Mesopotamyan God of Bel was worshipped as part of a traid of Gods, along with the Lunar God (Aglibol) and the Sun God (Yarhibol). Constructed among them, by Greeks, the Temple represents a highly creative synthesis of ancient Near Eastern and Greco-Roman architecture. Surrounding structures such as the the temenos and propylaea were probably added to the site at a slightly later date (ca. 50 AD).
Since its the construction of the complex, its central structure withstood the weathering's of time and many passing human conflicts for nearly 2000 years. Unfortunately, at the end of August of the year 2015, the Temple of Bel was attacked by Barbarians of the so called ISIL, who, in a criminal act against world society, purposefully destroyed it.
32 AD: Paul, the later Saint Paul, was converted to Christianity. Having been one of the original disciples (followers) of Jesus of Nazareth, he becomes the most important early missionary for the the movement that is developing as the Christian Faith. As a missionary he travels widely Asia minor, western Asia as well as Eastern Europe spreading the philosophy and his belief that Jesus of Nazareth was actually the Christ Liberator, who had long been prophesied to emerge among the Judean people.
During his lifetime Paul wrote several parts of the Book (or Documents) today known as the New Testament, or the second part of the Christian Bible (although at a later point in time his works were thoroughly edited).
40 AD: Birth Dioscorides (Life: +/- 40 AD - 90 AD), Greek physician and pharmacologists in Cilicia in southern Anatolia Region of current day Turkey.
40 AD - 43 AD: A Han Military offensive starts, reconquering various southern provinces of the previously fallen Han Dynasty Empire. Subsequently, the victorious armies move on the crush rebellious groups in the regions of Tonkin.
In 41 AD The two Vietnamese Trung Sisters, Trung Trac and Trung Nhu, lead a massive insurrection against invading and occupying Han Chinese Forces briefly ejecting them and winning National Independence for the Viet people (Vietnam). However a reinvasion ends their movement, the sisters commit suicide rather than subject. Han Armies then also subject Annam (today Southern Vietnam) to the (Eastern) Han Dynasty throne of Liu Xiu in 43 AD. With this all of current day Vietnam is made a Chinese controlled territory.
40 AD - 70 AD. Appearance of the Book Periplus of the Erythraen (=Red) Sea. A merchant handbook, written apparently by an Egyptian Greek, about trade routes through the Red Sea and involving both East Africa and India. It is one of the most important sources for Roman Eastern trade, compiled after the discovery of how to use the monsoon winds to make the round trip to India. The text Includes extensive information on ports and products.
45 AD: The Book of James ie. the Epistle of James (Ancient Greek: Ἰάκωβος Iakōbos), a part of the New Testament of the Bible is written. The author of the scriptures is as yet uncertain.
48 BC: Paul, the later Saint and earlier disciple of Jesus of Nazareth writes the New testament Book known as Galatians. It consists of his letter(s) to the people of Galatia, a sub-region of Anatolia in current day Turkey. As a missionary Paul would go on to write several other letters which ended up as part of the New Testament of the Bible. These are; Thessalonians I and II, Corinthians 1 and 2, Ephesians, Philppians, Collosians, 1 and 2 of Tomothy and Titus, as well as Philemon and possibly Hebrews. With it, Paul layed foundation for a newly emerging religion which began to spread across nations and continents.
51 AD: Vologases I of Parthia attacks and conquers Armenia which at the time is a Roman Protectorate. While Vologases places his brother on the Throne in Armenia Roman forces mobilize for war against Parthia.
June-July 54 AD: the the midst of summer a bright blazing object appears in the skies to be visible over Rome for a full month. The appearance of a comet is taken as an Omen of the impending Roman Emperor Claudius, who indeed later that year succumbs after having been poisened by later Emperor Nero's mother Agrippina.
57 AD: Death of Liu Xiu, the first Eastern Han Emperor in China. He is succeeded by Ming Di who will continue to strengthen the Han Dynasty and reestablish control of territories lost to the Han during the decline of the western Han and the turmoil of the shortlived Xin Dynasty.
57 AD: Parthian Forces in Armenia are attacked by Roman Armies under Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo. Early Roman victories include the winning of major battle at Artaxa in 58 AD.
Between 58 AD and 66 AD Romans and Parthia are in a state of war.
59 BC: Romans gain control of most of Mesopotomia.
In 63 AD Tiridates is throned as King of Armenia.
65 AD: Ultimate Roman Victory over Parthian and Armenian Armies leads to the treaty of Rhandela which provided that Armenia would once more be a Roman Protectorate, albeit with some autonomy and its own King.
Meanhile, that year a gargantuan comet appears to light up the sky above the silk road between Rome and Chang'An (Xi'An) in China. In Rome the comet reportedly is seen streaking across with a huge tale being visible for a full 6 months (some 180 days). In the far east in China, the comet is recorded and tracked with surprising accuracy for 135 days.
In western history the comet will become notorious as Neros Comet, as due to the fright instilled in the Emperor and Upper Castes of the Empire, the Emperor subsequently unleashed a purging of everyone and anyone who might oppose him or plot against his rule. Thousands of upper class citizens were cruely executed over the months where as others were naished and sent into exile.
65 AD: Traveling along the pathways of the Silk Road from India, Buddhism has arrived in China. Proof of the existence of a group of Buddhists situated at town known as Pengcheng (later Xuzhou) situated at the large Poyang Hu (China's largest inland fresh water lake) in current day Jiangxi Province of China is but one of the events that relate the arrival of this Philosophy and faith in the Han Chinese Realm.
At the time Pengcheng was the major city of Xu Province, later it became known as Xuzhou, a city which today is a twin of the more renowned scenic destination of Suzhou in the lower Yangtze Regions. Finding a Buddhist Community situated at quite some distance from the Capital of Luoyang and the end point of the Silk Road suggests that Buddhism may have arrived many years earlier already.
66 AD: Jewish popular uprising in the subject state of Judea on the Mediterranean Sea forces the Roman Army out of the city of Jerusalem. Subsequently, Roman forces led by Vespasian countered and began surpression of the uprising. Jewish forces united under Joseph Ben Matthias Josephus, a historian of trade, are crushingly defeated at Jotapata in 67 AD, with Josephus then joining the Roman side.
67 AD: An appearance of the object today known as Halley's Comet is linked by the Romans to this uprising and the subsequent fall of the city of Jerusalem.
9 AD: the Chinese Han Dynasty enters an Interbellum Period in which the Dynasty actually seizes to exist. Between 9 AD and the year 23 AD, the Chinese people are ruled by the Xin Dynasty (9–23 AD) established by the former regent of the last Han Emperor, one Wang Mang (王莽).
Weakened by internal strife and subsequent take-over by the Xin Dynasty (9 AD - 23 AD), Chinese dominance in Central Asia and along the Silk Road wanes. Chinese armie suffers various defeats.
In that same period various natural disasters strike the Chinese homeland, most notably, the important Yellow River (Huang He) has major changes of its trajectory three times within a decade, causing major disruptions of food supply, death, disease and population movements.
Subsequently, several major peasant revolutions break out in various provinces of the Chinese homeland.
9 - 23 AD: Watermills begin to appear in China.
23 AD: Fall of the Xin Dynasty and restoration of the Han Dynasty as Eastern Han Dynasty, which will have a Capital at Luoyang in current day Henan Province.
25 AD to 49 AD: The various factions of the Yuezhi in Central Asia along the silk road are united under leadership of Kadphises in Bactria. Subsequently their united forces attack the Kabul Valley (in current day Afghanistan) and go
100 AD: Oe Tadafusa issued his "Book of Puppeteers", the earliest known text dealing with Band of Puppeteers traveling between locations along the Silk Road in Central Asia.
100 AD The Book of John, latest and last part of the New Testament of the Christian Bible is written. Date and Authorship remain unclear to this day.
100 AD: Rabbi Judah, Patriarch codified the Misnah, a compilation of Jewish Law.
100 AD: Rock-cut temples of Ed Deir (also Ad Deir)("The Monastery"; Arabic: الدير ), at Petra in current day Jordan, a site identified by Pliny the Elder (AD 23 – August 25, AD 79) and other writers as the capital of the Nabataeans and the center of their caravan trade in the Middle Eastern sections of the Silk Road is completed. At the time the hidden desert Oasis of Petra controlled the main commercial routes which passed through it to Gaza in the west, to Bosra and Damascus (Syria) in the north, to Aqaba and Leuce Come on the Red Sea, and across the desert to the Persian Gulf. The Ed Deir Temple is a mere part of the larger complex of Nabatean and Greco-Roman Tombs, rock art, sculptures and other structures known to have been established since (possibly as early as) 312 BC and inhabitation of the site in this era.
Measuring 50 meters wide by approximately 45 meters high, architecturally the Monastery is an example of the Nabatean Classical style. Today is the second most visited building at the UNESCO world cultural heritage site in Petra after Al Khazneh ("The Treasury"; Arabic: الخزنة) .
Map of the Modern Silk Road, connecting Istanbul in Turkey via highways, roads and railways to Beijing in the Far East. Travel beyond that point is possible to Vladivostok, Dalian and Dandong in Liaoning Province, or Pyongyang in North Korea, DPRK.
On the Western side, Istanbul connects via former Yugoslavia to the European Railway network.
China and the Silk Road (3) During the Han Dynasty (221 BC - 220 AD)
China Report - Map o/t Taklamakan Desert & Tarim River Basin
A Satellite Image Map of the entire Taklamakan Desert and the Tarim River Basin in Xinjiang-Autonomous Region of Western China.
Map gives explanation and backgrounds to Local Geography, the Flow of the Tarim River from the Pamir Mountains in the West to Lop Nur (Dry) in the East, ancient Oasis Cities of the Tarim Basin and Taklamakan Desert, the North and South Routes of the Silk Road in this Area, Past and Current Climate and Historic Backgrounds.
206 BC: Seleucid Forces of King Antiochus (III) the Great attacked and defeated the forces of Euthydemus of Bactria, however not taking formal possesion of that country and Nation. Euthydemus remains in position as King of Bactria.
206 BC: Seleucid Forces of King Antiochus (III) the Great move into the Hindu Kush mountains soon capturing large parts of current day northern India and Pakistan. In the footsteps of Alexander the Great Seleucid Greek forces venture into the Punjab.
201 BC: Euthydemus, King of Bactria, sends an expedition eastward from Bactria to the Chinese Territories, so hoping to establish direct trade with the Chinese people who he identified as the "Seres". However, this expedition and Embassy was intercepted and repelled by the Xiong-Nu people who had control of regions due west of Chinese Territories.
138 BC : Some three years into his Reign Period later considered a Golden Period for Chinese Civilization, Emperor Han Wu Di (漢武帝) sends out his emmissary Zhang Qian (Also: Zhang Quian or (Chang Ch'Ien) from Chang'An to the Western Regions. First and Foremost Goal of the Mission is to make contact with and forge alliance with Yue Zhi, the ancient enemies of the Xiong Nu people who are also the enemy of Han Chinese Civilization. It is a long journey from the Han Capital at Chang'An to the far flung western regions part of modern day Uzbekistan where the Yuezhi had been driven to by that time.
Departing the Han Capital of Chang 'An, Chang Ch'Ien sets out on what is in effect an Embassy Mission with a 99 additional Men and a guide and translator named Ganfu (甘父), a Xiongnu who had been captured in war. The Embassy, passing through Xiong-Nu controlled territories, is soon captured by the Xiong Nu enemy who subsequently enslaved Zhang Qian.
Only after a lenghty period of some 10 years of imprisonment and other events Zhang Qian manages to escape and his failed person and Mission returns to Court in 125 AD without having fullfilled the mandate and sealing alliance with Yue Zhi. Zhang Qian however brings valuable information on the regions crossed and a specimen of the Yuezhi's "Heavenly Horses". Among things, the Yue Zhi posses tall powerful horses whereas Chinese horses are but small sturdy animals. If acquired the superior horse could enable succesful Han Cavalry units to defend against the mobile warfare of the Xiong-Nu enemy. This would strengthen the Han military substantially.
135 B.C.: Birth of King Mithridatus VI of Pontus in the Hellenistic Colony of Pontus in Asia Minor (what today is (northern) Anatolia Province of Turkey on the Black Sea). As recored, for a full 70 days a bright comet appeared in the heavens, according to eye witness accounts streching across like a second milky way with a bristled shape as horses manes. Later in life Mithridates would have coins minted with the motif of a comet star. The comet would also be known as the Horses Star.
133 BC: Han Wei Qing began a series of succesful major advances northward against the Xiong-Nu, who were at the time holding territories in (wat today is) North China. The Campaigns lasted until the year 119 BC.
130 BC: Death of King Menander, Indo-Greek King of Bactria (Reign: +/- 150 BC - 130 BC) ruler of most of Northern India.
130 BC: Seleucid forces led by their King Antiochus 8 defeated the Parthians and retook control of Baylonia.
Meanwhile in eastern Parthia, the Tochari and other Scythian peoples succesfully attacked and invaded taking major territorial gains while killing King Phraates II in battle. Phraates was succeeded by Artabanus II (132 BC).
129 BC: After retaking Babylonia, Seleucid Forces led by Antiochus the 8Th (VIII) were defeated and Antiochus the 8th himself was killed at Ecbatana thereby ending the Parthian-Seleucid War. Victorious, the Parthians annexed all Seleucid territories east of the Euphrates River.
129 BC: In the aftermath of the Parthian-Seleucid War, Parthians build the city of Ctesipon near Baghdad, founded in 129 BC, the city develops into a major trading center along the (Middle Section of the) Silk Road.
200 BC: The Xiongnu, a nomadic steppe confederation defeated the Han and forced the Han to submit as a de facto inferior partner, but continued their raids on the Han borders.
At around the year 200 BC: the Mahayana School of Buddhism started spreading through India. Mahayana describes the life of the Gautama Buddha as but 1 life in a cycle of many others, ultimately moving the Buddha to Enlightenment and ending his cycle of death and rebirth by having him enter the Nirvana (a higher state of spirit). As such the presence of the Buddha extends to the Past but also the Present and even the Future.
Mahayana Buddhism, still one of the dominant views on Buddhism today also urged away from their traditional reclusiveness, instead urging them to be socially responsible, work for the benefit of their peers and seek the common ground among Buddhists as well as general society.
Mahayana Buddhism also distinguishes itself from the Hinyana form of Buddhism through its emphasis on so called Boddhisatvas, spirits who postpone their ultimate enlightenment in order to serve humanity in this life.
Mahayana Buddhism subsequently spread along the Silk Road to Central and East Asia where it remains the dominant form of Buddhism even today.
180 BC - 165 BC: Bactrian King Demetrius II, son of Euthydemus, took control of much of the Indus Valley and the Punjab (India), establishing Indo-Greek Rule over most of north-western India.
201 BC: At Ajanta in Maharshatra in western India, an massive series of Buddhist cave Temples, rock art, paintings and sculptures are started. It is the beginning of a tradition of such Buddhist Cave and Art complexes which is to spread along the Silk Road via Afghanistan into Central Asia, East Asia and China in the suceeding ages.
Work on the cave and art complex in Maharshatra would continue for over a 1000 years beyond 201 BC providing modern day generations with an overview of the development of Indian Buddhist Art and regular everyday life (220 BC to about 900 AD).
201 BC: Antipater of Sidon (in Lebanon/Syria) published an early list of the "7 Wonders of the World". In Asia, along the trading pathways to the Sediteranean Sea and Europe beyond these included the Hanging Gardens of Babylon (current day Iraq), The Temple of Artemis at Ephesos in Greece, the bronze Collosus Statue guarding the harbor of Rhodes (another Greek city), the Mausoleum of Helicarnassus. In subsequent decades and centuries more such lists were written and circulated leading to the tradition of the "7 Wonders of the World" which is still popular today, at least in Western Culture(s).
YouTube Video: Tour of the astounding world cultural heritage Rock-cut Caves of Ellora and Ajanta, Maharashtra, India. In HD.
176 BC: Pushed westward by Chinese forces, the western Xiong-Nu moved into the Hexi Corridor of current day Gansu
166 BC: Continuing to gain in strength and holding much of China's northern and western border regions the Xiong-Nu attack deep into Chinese Territory (via Gansu and Shaanxi Province). The Han Dynasty military is unable to repel the invaders and the Xiong-Nu subsequently take the fertile and well populated Wei River valley. The Xiong-Nu then move to threaten China's second most important city, Luoyang in current day Henan Province. Luoyang is however never taken and the city and thriving cultural center is spared from destruction.
141 BC: Liu Che (劉徹) takes to the Throne in Chang'An, the Capital of the Han Dynasty, becoming the now legendary Emperor Han Wu Di (漢武帝 - Reign: 141 BC - 87 BC ) of the Han Dynasty (206/202 BC - 221 AD). Soon after taking power Han Wu Di would engage in an offensive against the Xiong-Nu driving them back and greatly extending the borders of Han Territories.
Han Wu Di also elevated Confucianism to the status of official State Doctrine (not Religion!) Under a new system stressing personal talents, loyalty and ability rather than family backgrounds and power associations, the new Emperor moved to improve the efficiency and reliability of the State System to great success.
Map of the Gobi Desert & Yellow River Flow
Satellite Image Map of the Gobi Desert Region. Map overviews North-West Xinjiang Autonomous Region, Mongolia, Inner Mongolia and North and North-Eastern China giving a Full Overview of the Gobi Deserts and Yellow River Basin. Map includes location of Lanzhou in Gansu and other Cities (clearly visible).
Province of China (P.R.C.) and western Mongolia (Inner- and Outer Mongolia) defeating and driving before them the Yuezhi People. The Indo-European speaking Yuezhi were red-haired and blue yed people (alike the Tocharians) with distinctively other cultural traits than the nomadic Xiong-Nu. In turn, the Yuezhi displace groups of Scythians also known as Sakas.
About one hundred years after their displacement from the central Mongolian Steppes the Yuezhi have regrouped and renamed themselves as the Kushans. They subsequently move to attack into northern India where they gain a large foothold subsequently beinga great factor in early Indian and Afghan history.
to present numerous gifts, and vast treasure of knowledge. In the aftermath of the establishment of official relations, China received seeds and specimens of an abundance of new species of plants and herbs among them; cucumbers, grapevines, alfalfa, figs, pomegranates and walnuts.
Among the many new spices were sesame,chives, coriander and safflower.
In return China send westward such fruits as oranges, peaches and pears, as well as flowers such as roses, azaleas, camelias, chrysanthemum and peonies.
114 BC: Zhang Qian the Chinese explorer who first connected the East via Central Asia to the Mediterranean West dies.
After the death of the great soldier and explorer, the Han Dynasty Emmissaries attempted to reach India but failed. However, in subsequent years further west along the newly established routes they reach Parthia, subsequently naming it An-Hsi. Contacts with Parthia for the first time established direct contacts and relations with Persian Peoples and their territory.
111 BC: In 1111 BC, the 6th year of the Yuan Ding Reign period of Emperor Han Wu Di, in the recently pacified and opened "Hexi Corridor" (of Gansu Province) now firmly under control of Han Dynasty Armies, the Prefecture of Dunhuang (meaning "Grand") is created, becoming at that time the westernmost part of the civilian controlled Han territories. Under its territories fell six county towns of among them Dunhuang and Longle. With its establishment Dunhuang became the fourth Prefecture set in line within the Hexi Corridor, thus providing a first opening to the pathways of the (later) Silk Road.
Once the localities had been firmly placed under the care of the administrative apparatus of the highly centralized Han Government, tax sources could be identifed and taxes levied upon the locality and more importantly on the emerging cross border trade routes. Although the exact dates are uncertain, it is probably at this time that the now famous Jade Gate (Yu Men) and also likely its twin counterpart the
Satellite Image Overview of Mongolia, Tuva Republic (o/t Russian Federation), Inner Mongolia and parts of Manchuria and Siberia.
Satellite Image overview (Map) of Mongolia and various adjoining territories and regions. Clearly visible in west Mongolia are the Uvs Lake and Khovsgol Lake. The Sangiin Dalay Lake is barely visible in the south-west corner of Khovsgol Province. Most Lakes seen on this image have since reduced further in size, among things due to climatic changes.
125 BC - 121 BC: Han Chinese Armies attacked and eventually defeated the Xiong-Nu in what today is Gansu Province of the Peoples Republic of China. Chinese forces under General He Chun Bang achieved a major victory over the Xiong-Nu at He Si, thereafter forcing the Xiong-Nu back northward into current day Mongolia and Central Asia. The succesful campaigns had the result of opening a way for Chinese expeditions westward from Gansu and the northern rim of the Tibetan Plateaux into Central Asia into territories previously unknown to the Han Chinese.
124 BC: Artabanus II the King of Parthia is slain in battle by Scythian Invaders. During the subsequent reign period of his son and successor Mithridates II (Reign: 123 BC - 88 BC) Parthia would fight back the Scythians as well as Armenians, ultimately defeating them while also taking all of Mesopotamia (mostly current day Iraq).
119 BC: Chinese Forces led by General Wei Jing and He Chun Bang completed their long military campaigns with a complete defeat of the Xiong-Nu. Originally attacking westward and northward (into current day Inner Mongolia AR), Han Chinese forces secured a wide northern border and pursued the scattering nomadic Xiong-Nu across the Gobi Desert and beyond. A final victory at a location identified as Mo Bei ended the Han Campaign turned conquest, enabling the subsequent development and opening of trading routes from Han Chinese territories into
Central Asia and vice versa.
After the defeat of the Xiong-Nu in the "northern territories" the Han Emperor Wu Di then initially turned the attention of his military forces southward, to focus on solidifying territories south of the Yangtze River.
106 BC - 105 BC: Attempts by Chinese Diplomatic Emmissaries to travel via the Mediterranean Sea to reach Rome also failed.
While Han Chinese Emmissaries traveled the new routes, the military further extended its reach westward moving into the Tarim River basin which today makes up roughly the southern half of the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region of the Peoples Republic of China. Along the way fortified towns were established to serve as military strongpoints, so creating a string of fortified oasis-towns in a line across the basin extending roughly from the end of the Han Great Wall of China north-west of Dunhuang to near Lop Nor.
Having established a first foothold in the west, soon a large Han army moved across the Pamir Mountains to invade the Ferghana Valley. Reaching Kokand (today a city in western Uzbekistan), however they found themselves unable to buy or take the renowned "flying" or "heavenly horses" derived from Parthia and the Ferghana Valley.
104 BC: Not long after a second Han Army returns of a Punitive mission to Ferghana aiming to retrieve the strong Parthian horses. According to historical sources, the army, some 60 thousand strong and led by General Li Guangli arrive from China across the mountains to attack and claim
Minimap of the eventual Silk Road as it developed across the EurAsian Continent. In the East, the starting point is taken as Chang An, the city that was Capital of China during the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC - 09 AD) and also later again during the Tang Dynasty (618 AD - 907 AD). At other times the Chinese Capital resided in Luoyang, Datong or Beijing.
In the West the starting point is taken as Rome and Alexandria.
control of the city of Kokand. With the fall of Kokand, the Han laid claim to continuous supply of "heavenly horses" at the time a powerful military tool.
From Kokand the Han conquest then led further westward into Central Asia eventually reaching to the southern shores of the Caspian Sea.
105 BC - 102 BC: Han Dynasty establishes continuous control of the regions east of the Pamirs and Tianshan Mountains for the first time establishing full control what today are the southern and northern parts of the Xinjiang-Uighur Autonomous Region of the Peoples Republic of China.
100 BC: the Chinese Central Civil Examination system was first established, a tradition carried forth by subsequent Dynasties to last, in various shapes and forms, for nearly 2000 years until abolished in the early years of the 20th century. The uniformity of administrative powers and with them the Governmental system allowed the Han Chinese Empire great advantages when dealing with trans-national trade greatly helping the succesful development of the Chinese sections of the Silk Road in centuries onward.
100 BC: Parthian Forces led by Mithridates II defeated Artavasde of Armenia, turning Armenia into a Parthian Vassal State (100 BC), though Tigranes - the next King of Armenia would nullify all gains of the victory in but a few short years and much bloodshed.
100 BC: in Palestine on the Mediterranean Sea east coast, Jonathan Ben Uzziel translated the Books of the Book of the Prophets, a part of the "Old Testament" into Aramaic language.
100 BC: In Anatolia in current day north-east Turkey water-powered mills were being used for the purpose of grinding grain.
100 BC: In China metallurgists develop double-action piston billows, making it possible to achieve higher temperatures in furnaces thus greatly enhacing the quality of Iron produced.
100 BC: Chinese Copper mirrors started to be traded widely in East and Central Asia.
95 BC: Tigranes II (also known as "The Great") succeeded to the Throne of Armenia in 95 BC. Soon afterwards his troops would vanquish the second Armenian State of Sophene thus uniting the Armenians.
During his subsequent rule (95 BC - 55 BC Georgia, Anatolia, Syria were conquered and large parts of Persia and Mesopotamia (Iraq) were added as subjects to the Armenian Throne.
In 93-92 BC Tigranes II of Armenia joins forces with Mithridates IV of Pontus to attack Roman Forces in Capadoccia in Central Anatolia (Turkey) but were defeated by the Romans in 92 BC.
89 BC: Mithridates IV of Pontus takes the Roman Province of Asia and a year later kills some 80 thousand Romans who still remain there. The shocking massacre is known in Roman and World history as the "Ephesian Vespers".
87 BC: In China great Emperor Han Wu Di dies, succeeded by a child Emperor who officially ruled for 13 years, the death of Wu Di marks the beginning of a decline of the western Han Dynasty.
87 BC: As the great Han Emperor Wu Di passed away and was laid to rest in his grand Tomb in Maoling (Chinese: 茂陵) in Xinping in the Xianyang City Prefecture just west of Chang'An (Xi'An) in central Shaanxi Province, Chinese Scientist and
Gansu Map 1 - Geographical Overview Map of Gansu Province and Neighboring Regions. Includes Main Cties, Villages of Interest, Main Monuments and Sites and Main Mountains with Heights in Meters.
54 BC: A Roman Army led by Marcus Licinius Crassus attacked Parthia. Through a superior military strategy and capabilities, the Roman armies are crushingly defeated at Carrhae in 53 BC. Of the 39.000 men strong army only some 5000 return from the battle. Other including their General are slain in battle, whereas reportedly up to 10.000 Roman Soldiers are captured and sent eastward into the interior. Up to this day rumors exist of Roman soldiers who ended up near Chinese Borders. or even in China (Gansu Province).
54 BC: Xiong-Nu Forces once more do battle with Han Chinese Armies and the Wu Sun Allies in Turkestan/ Xinjiang. Once more they are defeated and driven back.
53 BC: Parthian Forces start military campaigns against Romans in Syria. Ultimately unsuccessful in dislodging the Romans from Syria, the campaigns continue up to 38 BC.
50 BC: The Satavana Dynasty began to rise in the Deccan, which is the high plateaux of central India. Based initially on the small Hindu Andhra Kingdom, it would two centuries later occupy substantial territory in west and central India.
44 B.C.: A bright comet appears in the skies above the earth. This comet; first and foremost known as Caesar's Comet (numerical designation C/-43 K1) – also known as Comet Caesar or "Julian Star" and the Great Comet of 44 BC – was perhaps the most famous comet of antiquity. Its seven-day visitation, the period when it was visible to the naked eye on the daytime sky, was interpreted by the inhabitants of Rome on the very western end of the Silk Road of that era as a sign of the deification of recently assassinated dictator, Julius Caesar (100–44 BC).
Caesar's Comet is one of only five comets known to have had a negative absolute magnitude (Apparent magnitude: −4.0) and may have been the brightest daylight comet in recorded history. As has been determined by modern scientists since, it was not a so called periodic comet (i.e. regularly reappearing and in a reasonably determined orbit around the sun) and may have disintegrated during its approach closer to the sun.
Current day calculations based on the parabolic orbital solution say that the comet would by now have traveled outwards from the sun to more than 800 astronomical units (AU) i.e. 800 times the (rough) distance between the earth and sun.
As out in space, on earth the comet left a tale as later it became a powerful symbol in the political propaganda that launched the career of Caesar's great-nephew (and adoptive son) Augustus (after who is named the month of August). In Rome at the (now ruined yet infinetely famous) Forum Romanum the so called The Temple of Divus Iulius (Temple of the Deified Julius) arose but two years after the magnificent celestial appearance (42 BC). Some decades later in 20 BC it was dedicated by Augustus for purposes of fostering a "cult of the comet". (It was also known as the "Temple of the Comet Star".) At the back of the temple a huge image of Caesar was erected and, according to Ovid, a flaming comet was affixed to its forehead: To make that soul a star that burns forever, above the Forum and the gates of Rome. Likewise, the image of the comet (a star) also appeared in coins coined in the Augustus period, therafter scattering across Europe and being carried along the silk road eastward.
Only 2 millennia later, in the year 1997, western scholars comparing historical records of the west and the east find that the famous comet appearance has also been recorded at the very other end of the silk road in Chang'An, the that time Capital of the Han Dynasty. After lenghty consideration scholars of the University of (the State of) Illinois at Chicago conclude that Ceasar's comet had apparently been visible with a tail from the Chinese capital Chang'An (Xi'An) in late May of the year 44 B.C. while it had been visible as a star-like object from Rome (in late July). The first date of discovery in China had been on May 18, 44 BC (China) whereas Romans had only noticed it in July when it came in close proximity to the sun.
68 AD: Han Emperor Ming Ti sends Cai Yin as Emissary and Ambassador along the Silk Road to the west; Cai Yin returns with 2 Buddhist monks. Notably, it is one of the first mentions of Buddhism being introduced at the Han Court (in Luoyang). Although the Bai ma (White Horse) Temple in Luoyang lays claim to having been the first Buddhist Temple in China with an establishment in the year 1 AD, this together with the proof of the existence of a Buddhist Community in Jiangxi Province remains the first clearly established record of Buddhism arriving in China proper.
69 AD: Roman forces lay siege to Jerusalem after which they take the city. In revenge, in 70 AD the entire city is razed to the ground and the sacred Temple of the Jews is destroyed.
72 AD - 73 AD: Roman armies take the Mountain Fortress of Masada ending the popular uprising in Judea in bloodshed. The 900 last defenders; men, women and children reportedly commit suicide rather than surrendering to Roman Authority and due punishment.
72 AD: Rome starts the construction of the "Flavian Amphitheatre" today popularly known as the
Scene of the entrance Gates of the White Horse Temple (Bai Ma Si) in Luoyang, Henan Province, a temple which claims to be the first Buddhist Temple to be founded in China. Thus nationally and internationally famous today, the Temple is national monument and a popular tourist destination for the wider region. Building on a renewed National interest in Buddhism, the Temple has expanded substantially in the last decade.
73 AD: Chinese general Pan Ch’ao (under Ming Ti) reconquers the Tarim Basin in the southern half of the current day Xinjiang-Uyghur Autonomous Region of the Peoples Republic of China.
76 AD: Ming Di, the second Emperor of the Eastern Han Dynasty dies. Ming Di is succeeded by his son Zhang Di (Reign Period: 77 AD - 88 AD).
78 AD - 101 AD: King Kanishka rises to the Kushan Throne of northern India. Later remembered ass the strongest Kushan KIng in succession, he subsequently builds and maintains an expanding Empire which over time comes to include Bactria and its Silk Road pathways as well as Ghandara and Kashmir and part of the Ganges River valley. Subsequently, as the Kushan Empire expands and parts of Afghanistan (Swat Valley, Kabul) become part of the Kushan Empire, a direct road from Gandhara to China remained under Kushan control for more than a century, encouraging travel across the Khunjerab Pass and facilitating the spread of Mahayana Buddhism to China.
79 AD: A Comet appearance in the skies above earth is duly noted an recorded. According sources, the celestial sign is taken as a bad Omen causing grief for Roman Emperor Vespasian (Reign: 1 July 69 – 23 June 79 AD) who dies in June of that year at age 69.
82 AD: Ban Zhao and her brother Bang Gu publish the work known as "Han Shu" i.e. the Book of Han, which becomes a classic of Chinese History. The book relates the history of the (Wesstern Han Dynasty) between the years 220 C and 8 AD.
89 AD: Han Chinese Armies begin military campaigns in the western teritories of "Xinjiang" forcing Xiong-Nu out of the Tarim River Basin and the Dzungar Basin to the west to the steppes of current day Kyrgyzstan (Ferghana Valley, etc). The vacuum filled by the fleeing Xiong-Nu Tribes is partially taken up by a new nomadic tribe known as the Xian Bi.
92 AD : Final Defeat of the Xiong-Nu Tribes by Han Dynasty Armies under leadership of Ban Chao and General Dou Xian.The Han Armies led by Ban Chao subsequently defeat Kushan Forces in the west of the Tarim River Basin allowing for the re-opening of trade routes into Central Asia. The Western Regions are made into a protectorate of the Han Dynasty with Ban Chao as Governor General (91 AD - 102 AD). Further an military expeditions west of Kashgar (Kashi) and into Parthia (Khorasan) start the re-opening of the Silk Trading Routes through the West under the Han Dynasty.
with them independently by Babylonian Astronomers sighted the appearance of a large star on the firmament. For the Chinese it was not the first ever recorded appearance, but yet another recurring sighting of the cosmic object known as Haley's Comet which had according to the Book "Annals of the Spring and Autumn Period" been tracked by Chinese Astronomers since the "Spring and Autumn Period" (771 to 476 BC) of the Zhou Dynasty. As mentioned in the Annals the first ever recorded Chinese sighting of the object occurred the year 613 BC, when it was recorded that a bright object was shining in the sky near the big dipper and that it was clearly visible even in daytime in the month of July.
During the 87 BC passing of Halley's Comet, the Babylonians made the first ever measurement of the length of the comet tail as visible in the sky.
86 BC: Death of Sima Qian, the grand historian of the court of Han Emperor Wu Di also Chief Astronomer and accordingly Calendrist, his book named Shih-Chi (the Historical Records) established a first historical chronicle of Chinese History spanning the period between the appearance of the (legendary) Yellow
Very martial and lively depiction of a Han Dynasty General. Statuette, part of the exhibition of the Wen Hua Dian - Palace of Literay Glory in the outer court of th Palace Museum (Forbidden City) in Beijing. The thriling combination of money making, adventure and military glory which fueled the establisment of the Silk Road and with it further expansions of the Silk Road finds itself relfelected in the arts produced in the Han Era, apart from the development of new techniques for making ceramic glaze the Han Empire and the whole Eurasian world were swept up in lively interchange and discourse making new discoveries.
Emperor and the times of the (Western) Han Dynasty itself. The work of Sima Qian remains a founding stone for students of early Chinese History to this very day.
86 BC: Roman General Sulla decisively defeated Pontic forces at Ochomenus (Boeotia) in Greece winning back to Roman Province of "Asia".
86 BC: Tigranes of Armenia, who had earlier taken control of much of northern Mesopotamia (Iraq) and the Caucasus Region, invades Syria. Briefly later, in 83 BC, he is offered the Syrian Throne which of course he accepts.
86 BC: Scythians (Sakas) invade and take large parts of Parthia, subsequently attacking southward into northern India.
In 80 BC they reach the Indus River Valley.
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Asia Report - Map Image West Xinjiang AR & Central Asian neighbors
This Satellite Image provides a clear overview of West Xinjiang, Taklamakan Desert, North Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and a large section of the (southern parts) Russian Federation.
Marked on the map for orientatation are the names of major National and Provincial Capitals, cities, several towns and villages, oceans, sea's, lakes and rivers, as well as mountains, national borders, and locations of interest.
Browse the map and follow the links to more information, maps and photos of each location.
94 AD - 97 AD : With the Route to the West now re-opened, Chinese Ambassador Gan Ying (or Kang Ying) is sent from the Chinese Capital at Luoyang westward along the Silk Road on a Mission to the Emperor in Rome (Ta-Ts'in or a Qin) and re-establish the lucrative Silk Trade.
Traveling through the western regions protectorate and onward into Parthia Gan Ying's official mission reaches the head of the Persian Gulf. Reportedly, Gan Ying is deliberately misinformed on the difficulties of further travel onwards via Egypt, Alexandria and across the Mediterranean Sea to Rome thus opting to turn back. Parthians, who feared losing their middlemen function through developing contacts between China and Rome had interfered.
100 AD: As the Chinese Society further developed so does its sign script. Among things using silk as a writing medium, the number of script signs multiply reaching a total number of some 9000 at the end of the 1st Century AD.
100 AD: A first known Chinese adaptation of an originally Indian work is published in Han China. The document is a Buddhist Sutra written in 42 articles.
100 AD: Xu Shen creates the first known Chinese Dictionary.
Schematic Map of the many sub-pathways of the Silk Road in China clearly showing the one-unavoidable pathway of the Hexi Corridor.
Qilian Mt Range
100 AD: Rise of Buddhist Art in Gandhara State and parts of Afghanistan (Swat Valley and Kabul) showing strong Greek and near Asian influences. Influences originally derived from the Conquests of Alexander the Great (326 BC) which are retained in Indo-Greek States echo resoundingly in the Art of the Kushan State. These Indo-Greek influences are then transmitted along the Silk Road to travel to various parts of China and even Japan.
100 AD or later: The so called "Flying Horse of Gansu" (also Bronze Running Horse (铜奔马) or Galloping Horse Treading on a Flying Swallow (马踏飞燕) a bronze statuette that today ranks as among the most highly prized National Historical Relics, was created. Later in 1969 excavated in Wuwei Prefecture of Gansu
Province as part of the tomb of a General of the Eastern Han Dynasty hidden underneath a local Monastery it is a unique example of the quality of the work of Chinese artisans, Bronze workers, at this particular moment in history. The bronze statuette clearly depicts a horse that is not of Chinese origins. Instead, reflecting one of the main Han Chinese themes for conquests in Central Asia leading to the opening of the Silk Road(s), it is a type of horse breed originating from the Ferghana Valley in current day Uzbekistan. As described in this chronology of Silk Road History, this type of Horse was eventually imported to Han China as the result of a (punitive) military expedition sent by Emperor Han Wudi in the year 104 BC. These "celestial horses", much taller than the sturdy but small Chinese horses of the time, were of essential military use and also had become highly prized as marks of status among the Han Elite.
Found together with the horse in the tomb was the, to date, oldest surviving example of a scroll painting in Chinese history. The scroll is titled "Admonitions of the Imperial Preceptress".
Ca. 100 AD: Active life of Soranus, a Greek Physician born in Anatolia (modern day north-east Turkey) who specialized in childbirth and women's diseases. According to many, he was the worlds first Gynecologist although midwives had existed for centuries if not millennia.
In his classic work entitled "On Midwifery and and the Diseases of Women" establishes among things a clear safest method of child delivery by having the baby arrive feet first and important early progression in practical medicine. Unfortunately, this knowledge as
Asia Report - Map of Karakoram Highway / China-Pakistan Mountain Highway
144 AD -173 AD: Kanishka, a powerful patron of Mahâyâna Buddhism, is King of the Kushana Dynasty in India (their capital at Taxila, north of Islamabad, Pakistan).
150 AD: Mrcchakatika (The little clay cart), in Indian play written in Sanskrit is created. Possibly, the author is Saduka.
161 AD - 165 AD: Parthian armies led by their King Vologases III once more invade the Roman Protectorate of Armenia conquering it with relative ease. Subsequently they turn on the Syria Region seemingly continuing their conquest of Roman controlled territories. However, massively reinforced Roman Armies led by Genereal Lucius Verus defeat the Parthian Armies subsequently falling victim to Roman vengeance.
Roman forces take backSyria and the Armenia Protectorate Not satisfied, the military campaign is then directed against the Parthian (winter) Capital of Ctesiphon which is subsequently taken, looted and raised to the ground.
166 AD: Han Emperor Huan formally introduces Buddhism to China in palace ceremonies. With this, he formaly accepts the foreign faith in the Chinese realm and signals the rise of Buddhism as an important State supported philosophy and faith.
166 AD: Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius sends out the first Roman envoy to the Imperial Chinese Court. The Mission departs by Sea from the Persian Gulf and successfully arrives in the South of China. From there they travel overland to Chang'An (Xi'An).
That is, Han Dynasty Annals record that in the year 166 AD, envoys (which can be translated as Ambassadors) from "Da Qin", which by then was the generally accepted Han Chinese term for the Roman Empire appeared at Court.
Other versions of this event discredit the Romans as actual envoys sent by the Emperor in person and generally accepted versions of history hold it that the Romans which arrived at Court were probably freelance traders in Roman service.
175 AD: Establishment of the "Yellow Turban" secret society, which later on in ca. 184 AD - led by Chang Chueh, began a major uprising against the Han Dynasty and the Han Empire. Although the Dynasty would eventually quench the life out of the uprising, the rising of the Turbans announced a rapid decline of the Eastern Han Dynasty. Eventually, with woes excacerbated by the weakness of the State apparatus civil war ensued leading to the demise of the Han Dynasty and a shattering of the Empire into its smaller pieces.
186 AD: King Siyoung brought the Chinese scrypt from (Han) China to Annam (a part of current day Vietnam).
Not long after, given opportunity by the raging Civil War in Han Dynasty China, the State of Champa a part of modern day Vietnam, breaks away from the Han Empire to declare independence. With its Capital established near the city of Hue, this Kingdom retains its independence through the next 15 centuries, although often with limited political manouvering space as its remains dominated by larger neighbors.
195 AD: Parthian forces under Vologases IV attack Roman Forces in Mesopotamia (Iraq) but are humiliated by the Roman armies led by the Emperor Septimius Severus. The Romans retake all of Mesopotamia and once again sack the (winter) Capital city of Ctesiphon in 197 AD.
200 AD: After existing in oral form for centuries, in India, (the) Bhagavadgita (भगवद्गीता ; Song of the Lord) a 700 verse poem is first written down (in Sanskrit). Later on the Bhagavadgita Poem becomes the 6th part of the larger book known today as Mahabharata (Great India) or also known as Bhishma Parva 23-40 which is together with the Ramayana is a central book in (classical) Hinduism.
200 AD: the wheelbarrow, a personal leveraging and transporation device, is invented in China.
200 AD: Adapting a method previously pioneered in Babylonia and Mesopotamia (Iraq), Hindu Mathematicians in India begin using the sexagesimal system, based on the number 60, as base for their calculations in geometry and astronomy.
206 AD - 208 AD: In one of the final events of the Eastern Han Dynasty, the Han General Cao Cao who had managed to take control of much of the Han Territories in the north of the realm is confronted by his main opponents for the reunification of the provinces and territories of the realm, the southern warlords Liu Bei and Sun Chuan.
208 AD: In the pivotal Battle of Red Cliff (also Battle of Chibi) taking place near the Yangtze River the southward advance of Cao Cao is finally defeated securing the continuous existence of a northern and southern part of (Han) "China". The victors are however unable to take the northern territories held by Cao Cao or defeat eachother allowing for the eventual rise of two states in the south, the states of Shu Han and Eastern Wu.
216 AD: Birth of Mani (also Manes, or Manicheus; life 216 AD - +/- 274 AD) to Christian-Jewish parents in Persian Babylonia. During his life Mani founded a mysterious faith, which today - among things due to lack of deeper knowledge - has been taken as a semi-Christian Faith, a mix of Judaism, Christianity and fundementals of the Zoroastrian Faith. Through the success of his ideas, Mani would become an important Persian religious leader, gain the ear of the Royal House and become the founder of the Manichaean Religion. Later however, under a new ruler, Zoroastrian contemporaries had him branded a heretic,and he was imprisoned to die later (Other sources say Mani was crucified).
After his death, his followers, some of whom had spread through the Middle East and as far as the European Balkans Region, were severely persecuted by Zoroastrians and Christians alike. True followers of the faith fled in all directions, some reportedly making it as far east as Samarkand (Today: in the extreme east of Uzbekistan) in Sogdiania. The Manichaen Faith is heavily censored throughout the following ages and centuries with as result that no subsequent written documents of this religion survive. No images of Mani are known to mankind until the beginning of the 20th century (Late 1904), when an German archeological expedition digging at Karakhoja (near Turpan) along the ancient Silk Road in the Chinese Turkestan region uncovered a huge mural painting depicting this fallen and forgotten messenger from God.
218 AD: An apparent return of the object known today as Halley's Comet is witnessed across the world. Visible for some 40 days for those in the Roman world its appearance caused great apprehension among all, and by contemporary writers was taken as the Omen of the death of the Roman Emperor Opelius Macrinus who altogether reigned for about 1 year (Reign: April 217 AD - June 218 AD). In May of 218 a plot resulted in a subsequent rebellion of the third Gallic Legion, which after having defeated further Imperial Forces, marched upon the that day City of Antioch (Antioch on the Orontes ; Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐπὶ Ὀρόντου ; near current day Antakya in Turkey) to capture it and proclaim a new Emperor. Realizing him and his 10 year old son and co-Emperor Diademianus not safe anywhere within the Roman Empire, Macrinus had sent his Son and also heir to the Throne off into the protection of arch enemy Artbanus V of Parthia, however, at the border and garrison city of Zeugma on the Euphrates River (today in Gaziantep Province in eastern Turkey) he was stopped and shortly after executed. The fallen Emperor Macrinus fled in another direction for Rome and made it quite some ways before being recognized and arrested. He was subsequenty executed at Capadocia by means of beheading.
After AD 220: Chinese control over Tarim Basin (Today forming the southern parts of the very large Xinjiang-Uighur Autonomous Region of the Peoples Republic of China) weakens as Hun invasions and local revolts widen; silk trade increasingly uses sea route but, 2 sites (Lou-lan and another near Niya River) provide evidence that the towns along the land route continued to trade and be influenced by East and West.
established by Soranus would be lost in the western world with the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 6th century AD only to be reinvented a 1000 years later.
100 AD: Chinese used powdered Chrysanthemum flowers in order to kill insects, possibly the first ever proven use of insecticides.
100 AD: High quality Lead-glazes, already a developed art in Han China, start appearing in the work of Syrian and Egyptian Potters.
105 AD: paper and the process of paper making were reportedly invented, although more primitive forms of paper may have been invented some decades or even centuries earlier (as early as the 2nd century BC). Official accounts hold that Cai Lun (蔡伦 ; also named Jingzhong (Courtesy name) ; Life 50 AD - 121 AD), a eunuch in service as the Court of the Han Dynasty Emperor in the city of Luoyang. As his invention quickly proved a cheaper and more easily produced alternative to the silk or even bamboo sticks regularly in use as writing media, Cai Lun found himself already credited for his invention during his lifetime. Posthumously Cai Lun is world-renowned, revered in Chinese mythology as a Sage.
Soon afterwards, the Eastern Han Dynasty world would switch to writing on paper, abandoning silk as medium except for artistic renderings. Oddly, the technique only spread to Vietnam, Korea and Japan as late as the 7th century AD, when the Chinese Tang Dynasty (618 AD - 907 AD) started its first blossoming period.
106 AD: While Cornelius Palma was the Roman governor of Syria, the part of Arabia under the rule of the (Nabataean) City of Petra was absorbed into the Roman Empire as part of the Province of Arabia Petraea (Stony Arabia) and Petra became the capital of this Territory. As a result, the native Nabataean Dynasty came to an end however the city of Petra continued to flourish for some time under Roman rule. It was around this time that the so called "Roman Road" was built at Petra. As the city of Palmyra in current day Syria rose in importance pulling western Silk Road trading way from Petra in the desert, the latter city saw its final decline however still lingering on for centuries as a religious center.
106 AD: The Book "Periplus of the Erythraean Sea" was written. An early navigational guide for sea-faring traders and travelers it describes many Indian, East African and Arabian Port Cities,while also detailing the coastline bound marine trade on the maritime trading routes between the Red Sea and the Indian Coasts. This is the first proof of a slowly establishing Maritime Silk Road, a route which would eventually (nearly) replace the land bound Silk Routes as trade transporting routes between the East and the West.
109 AD: With the Han Chinese conquest and subsequent subjugation of most of the Korean peninsula, Chinese style script (writing) becomes the standard in Korea.
113 AD: Parthian forces invade and take control of the Roman Protectorate of Armenia, reigniting the ongoing Roman-Parthian conflict over control in parts of Central Asia.
114 AD: Roman Armies led by the Roman Emperor Trajan crush Parthian forces in Armenia, thereby retaking control over the Armenia Protectorate.Having defeated the Parthians decisively, they then march into Mesopotamia (Iraq), taking among things the Parthian Capital of Ctesiphon (Ktēsiphôn (Κτησιφῶν) which is situated on the eastern bank of the Tigris River (Today, not too far from Baghdad).
117 AD: Hadrian, successor to the Emperor Trajan makes peace with the Parthians, agreeing to give up conquests east of the Euphrates River in Mesopotamia. As victor Rome retains control of Armenia.
120 AD: As increasing numbers of travelers and diplomatic Embassies reach Han China via the Silk Road(s), Han court scribes record that a troupe of Syrian Jugglers and Acrobats enter China's southern provinces via Burma (current day Myanmar) and are subsequently taken northward to appear at the Imperial Han Court in the Capital Luoyang.
125 AD: A Document today identified as the Chu Elegies, a Chinese poetry anthology is compiled by Wang Mi. All of the poems contained within originated in the state of Chu, an ancient Chinese province situated along the Yangtze River. Approximately 50% of the poems, including its most famous piece, the poem "Li Shao" (离骚 ; Li Sao ; Encountering Problems or Sorrows), are credited to the poet Shu Yuan (Life: 313 BC - 290 BC) who by this fact is the earliest known poet in (recorded) Chinese history.
129 AD: Birth of Galen, in life (129 AD - 199AD) a Greek Physician is born in the Anatolia Region of Asia Minor (Turkey) .He will become one of the earliest anatomists in recorded history his work spreading via Byzantine and Arabic Libraries to -eventually- Europe where among things the model of the cardiovascular system as devised by Galen would remain part of actual medical knowledge well into the 16th century, until it was gradually replaced by knowledge sparking from the Renaissance.
132 AD: Another uprising occurs in the Roman held subject state of Judea. Jewish Rebels led by Bar Kochba force Roman forces to withdraw from the Capital and the (small) territory. Jewish Forces occupy the city of Jerusalem.
However, subsequently, Roman Armies led by the Roman Emperor Hadrian himself return, ultimately to crush the Jewish Rebel movement. The defeat in 135 AD is the beginning of what Jewish people refer to as "The Diaspora". Many Jews are killed with many others subsequently deported and sold off as slaves, with the depopulation and shattering of the Jewish Nation used as an ultimate method for the Romans to prevent a renewed organized uprising. In subsequent centuries Jewish communities establish themselves throughout the region, in Europe, Rome and eventually across the EurAsian continent and the larger world.
The 141 AD apparition of Halley's Comet was recorded in Chinese chronicles. It was also recorded in the Tamil work Purananuru, in connection with the death of the south Indian Chera king Yanaikatchai Mantaran Cheral Irumporai
Roman Empire, the Nabataean State is able to flourish, among things on the East to West Trade emerging from the ever extending pathways of the Silk Road. As Capital of the Nabataeans, the hidden desert Oasis City of Petra emerges as necessary stop-over point in the middle Eastern sections of the Silk Road. It is during this time that the structure today known as Al Khazneh ("The Treasury"; Arabic: الخزنة) is constructed at Petra.
Today considered one of the older buildings at the Petra UNESCO world cultural heritage site (in current day Jordan) it is a structure carved out of sandstone cliffs which was originally intended as a tomb or crypt. The architecture of this tomb then features classical "Greek-influenced architecture, as evidenced among things by statues of the twins Castor and Pollux, figures from Greek mythology who lived partly on the holy mount Olympus and partly in the underworld, flanking the main entrance.
YouTube Video: PBS Documentary "Petra Lost City of Stone"
Ca. 8 - 4 BC: Jesus of Nazareth (later also known as (the) Christ) was born.
7 BC: In Han China, the Office of Music is closed. Through a tradition established as early as the Shang Dynasty (1766 BC - 1121 BC) the office is Music is closely related to the traditions of (court) Diplomacy and Politics in China and beyond. Previous to its closure the Music Office had been collecting popular music, instruments and songs from China and those which were received through the Silk Road as music played to the court. To this day the work of the Office is Music is regarded as highly influential to the development of Chinese Music, in the Han Era and there after.
1 AD: Chinese engineers are the first to develop mechanical ways of succesfully digging deep well for the exploitation of natural gas.
1 AD: The first known census of the population the Chinese State (Han China) records the population to be above 57 million souls.
Satellite Image overview of the Central Asian and Middle Eastern sections of the Silk Road(s). In the west the Mediterranean Sea and Asia Minor (Turkey) are visible. On the opposite side in the east, the snowy Tianshan and mainly Pamir mountains form the main obstacle between the Chinese heartlands and the rest of the EurAsian continent. As Rome fought to extend its influence eastward, the Han fought to extend their infleunce and contacts westward
74 BC: War between the Roman Empire and Pontus starts again. Although Pontus eventually claims resounding military successes, the tide of war is changed Mithridates IV of Pontus is defeated by a Roman army led by General Lucius Licinius in 73 BC. Pontus was subsequently overrun by the Romans ending its history as a State. Battered and beaten, Mithridates retreates to Armenia, which at the time is ruled by his Son-in-Law. From Armenia, Mithridates vows his return.
73 BC: Han Chinese and allied Wu Sun, a Indo-European peoples from Central Asia armies defeated invading Xiong-Nu forces in the territories east of the Pamirs and Tianshan Mountains, retaining their hold on the regions today identified as the Xinjiang-Uighur Autonomous Region of the Peoples Republic of China (also (East) Turkestan).
66 BC: Tigranes of Armenia and his ally Mithridates IV are decisively defeated by Roman armies led by Pompey. Tigranes is captured in 66 BC, while Mithridates escapes to the Crimea where two years later in 64 BC he ends his own life.
64 BC: Roman legions led by Pompey march into Syria and Lebanon, annexing these lands. Subsequently, in 63 BC the Romans put an end to the Seleucid Dynasty further annexing Seleucid Territories and vasal states.
63 BC: the formerly independent Judea state is subjected to the Roman will.
57 BC: In a Palace revolt, the Parthian King Praathes III is killed by his own two Sons, Mithridates and Orodes. In the following power struggle Orodes prevails, mounting the Throne of Armenia as Orodes I. His brother Mithridates flees Armenia ultimately ending up seeking protection from the Roman Empire.
57 BC: Tigranes II of Armenia dies.
57 BC: Roman forces led by Mithridates, the refuguee Prince of Parthia attacked Parthians in Mesopotamia, but were decisively defeated at Seleucia in 55 BC. In the aftermath, the Parthians lay siege to Babylon, eventually taking the City and killing Mithridates in 54 BC.
"Colloseum of Rome" or the "Roman Colloseum". Making use of the Roman Invention of concrete as well as considerable accumulated knowledge of mathemathics and geometry, the Romans create an huge oval structure made of concrete and stone. It is the largest, by far the most spectacular, the most complex and also the most modern building in the known world. The project is completed in the year 80 AD during the rule of Emperor Titus. Designed to be a theatre able to hold between 50 thousand and 80 thousand spectators, the building subsequently becomes the center of Roman social life. Financed in large part with the plunder taken from the looting of Judea, the city of Jerusalem and the Holy Jewish Temple, the Colloseum stands to this day as an Icon of the glories and brutalities of the ancient Roman Empire.
Depiction of a simple household servant as employed by nobles of the early Han Dynasty Era. A statuette in the collection of the Shaanxi Provincial Museum in XiAn.
The ruined remains of the small blockhouse structure popularly identified as the Jade Gate Toll House in november of 2007. Having stood for over 2000 years, the blockhouse forms the only remaining evidence of an officially designated market place situated just within the protection of the Great Wall intended to allow for the exchange of goods arriving from the various stages and pathways of the silk road to the west or east. The blockhouse was not only the seat of the Government official levying taxes but also served as minor military stronghold at which soldiers must also have been stationed.
Sun Gate (Yangguan) found near the Han Dynasty Great Wall of China in locations west of the town of Dunhuang were made operational. With both gates in fact military gates marking the western end of the protective Han Era Great Wall, the Jade Gate especially became the proven location of a silk road market, an exchange station where those arriving from various directions could sell their wares to be taken along to other destinations by other traders. As the name of the gate suggests, among one of the first commodities to be traded back into China in exchange for its silk or other valuables, was Jade from the Pamir and Karakoram Mountains, which was highly priced for the creation of jewelry and other show items for the emerging trader middle class and the self enriching nobility of the Han Dynasty Era.
As related by the tales of famous silk road travelers passing by in later Era's, specifically the Monks Fa Xian and Xuanzang, as well as Marco Polo and a missionary named Bentos De Gois (1562 - 1607 AD), the two gates established by the Han Dynasty would remain in function throughout the subsequent Dynastic highpoints and rises and falls of
108 BC - 106 BC: Han Dynasty military conquests turn northward to face the Zhao Xian. In the defeat large parts of current day Manchuria and almost half of the Korean Peninsula are absorbed into what has become the Han Dynasty Empire. The north of Korea falls in the year 108 BC. In Manchuria and Korea Chinese military districts are set up and Han Chinese colonies are dispersed across the land among the vanquished peoples, most notably in the low lying central region of Lo-Lang, which has its Capital at Pyongyang (today the Capital of North Korea).
activity on the Silk Road to still be noted as historic landmarks and border markers in the early 20th century.
164 BC: In Babylon (in current day Iraq), Capital of the Babylonian Empire and observation of Halley's Comet, recorded in cuneiform on a clay tablet between 22 and 28 September 164 BC. Today this historic item is part of the collection of the British Museum in London (Item BM 41462).
36 BC: Some 30 thousand Roman Troops under Leadership of General Mark Anthony attack eastward from what today is Turkish Anatolia eatward into Parthia. Their attack is however decisively defeated by the Forces under Phraates IV of Parthia. Half of the Roman Army is destroyed and instead of gaining territory the Romans loose control of Armenia.
28 BC: Chinese Astronomers began to regularly record sunspots and build a catalog of their observations throughout time.
26 BC: Although Han Chinese envoys have so far failed to travel the length of the Silk Road to the west, in 26 BC Indian envoys, likely from the Hindu State of Andhra arrived in Rome. The envoys were received at the court of the Ceasar (Emperor) Augustus.
20 BC: Herod's Government of Judea, the Kingdom subjugated by the Romans, starts the rebuilding of the (great) Temple at Jerusalem.
12 B.C: A re-appearance of Halleys Comet. In China the object is tracked for a full 56 days causing great disruptions at court and great grief to the Han Emperor. Suspecting impending doom through an outside invasion with overwhelming force the Emperor places all his military on high altert.
In the far west of the Silk Road, likely under influence of the cult established by later Emperor August joining the death of Julius Ceasar with a comet appearance, among the Romans the appearance of the comet is linked to the death of the Great Roman Commander Marcus Vispsanius Agrippa (63 BC - 12 BC).
40 BC: Herod was appointed as King of Judea, by the Romans.
40 BC: Scythian Forces took Gandhara, the last remaining of the Indo-Greek Kingdoms in Asia.
40 BC - 31 BC: Romans move the collection of the library at Pergamum into the Library of Alexandria, thereby substantially enlarging and expanding what at the time was the largest library in the world.
38 BC: Parthian Forces again attack Roman Forces in Syria, being defeated in battle at Gandarus, today a location in northern Syria. The defeat finally ends the returning Parthian offensives against Romans in Syria.
36 BC: In the year 36 BC the Xiong-Nu are split in two factions under two rivalling Chieftains. One of the rival Chieftains named Zhi-Zhi (in Chinese historical records) sets himself and following up along the Talas River which lies near the main pathway of the Han Dynasty Era Silk Road, thus threatening its existence. In response, the Han send a 40 thousand strong army to deal with the threat.
Eventually, Chinese troops lay siege to the Capital of the Zhi-Zhi faction of the Xiong-Nu at a site near the Talas River in Sogdiana (currently in Kazakhstan).
According to the records written by Ban Gu, Han Chinese besiege a city protected by two rows of wooden pallisades surrounded by a moat. Subsequently when the city and army are defeated, an event in which the Chinese kill Zhi-Zhi along with some 1500 followers. 145 prisoners are reportedly taken.
According to the Han Shu chronicles, 145 persons among whom perhaps Romans were taken prisoner by the Han Chinese and were subsequently taken to the Hexi Corridor of Gansu Province where they then founded a town named Li-Kan (by the Chinese) in location said to be situated somewhere near the little known town of Yonchang (Jinchang Prefecture) between the cities of Zhangye and Wuwei, the latter both more well known historical and cultural centers strung out as jewels along the Chinese parts of the Silk Road.
Although today historians still debate whether or not the solders in case were actully Romans, no one is debating the Chinese registration of events in the Han Shu Annals as written by Ban Gu as factual. The matters of debate spring from varied translations and interpretations of the story.
So far, this interesting story has been best related by John Man in his chapter "Losing the Lost Legion" which deals with the peculiar fact or myth of early Roman visitors to the far western gates of the Chinese Empire in which he explains how according to the 1959 theory of a Professor of Chinese at Oxford University the name Li-Kan could be interpreted as to be Li Qian or Lijian, both of which, according to him, are terms the Han people of the 1st century BC used to designate the far off Empire they have heard of but not seen, that is Rome. Assuming Li-Kan actually means (Alexandria, thus) Rome or Roman, then this would mean that the Fortress defeated by the Chinese had been established by or with help of Roman people.
9 BC - 40 AD: Aretas IV Philopatris is King of the Nabataeans, the most powerful among the states neighboring the subject Roman State of Judea, the state of the Jews. In competion with but also at the same time incidentally alligned with the
China Report - Schematic Map of the earliest or Ancient Silk Road during the Han Dynasty & Roman Age 2
A Schematic Map depicting the Full Length and main pathways of the Ancient Silk Road during the Han Dynasty Period (206 BC - 221 AD) and Roman Age (30 BC - 630 AD).
In 30 BC the Roman Empire started trading with India, which was already well known from the Conquest of Alexander the Great (+/- 330 BC). In the following 6 centuries the West would Trade with India and indirectly also with China through the Silk Road. The Silk Road only lost its Value after the European Age of Discovery and the Establishment of Maritime Trade Routes with India (16Th Century) and later China. The Yellow River is crossed at Lanzhou, after which Dunhuang is the Last Station in China.
10 BC: The city of Caesarea was built by Judea's King Herod in a location on the Mediterranean Sea near current day Haifa (Israel). Notably, the port facilities of the town included a number of massive concrete blocks which had been poured with use of moulds made out of wooden planks.