|← The Age of Enlightenment||Life and Death in the Third Reich →|
During ancient times, trade between communities was a common phenomena although there was no acceptable medium of exchange and thus for exchange of goods to be made possible it needed mutual consent between those people trading. People used to exchange goods for goods in a type of trade referred to us as barter trade. The route the followed during ancients times to carry out trade were also not suitable; the terrain was rugged and there were no good means of transport as we have today in our societies thanks to the inventions and the superior technological advancements that we enjoy today. Despites the many hurdles that the merchants went through in their work, they were committed to see that they succeed thus they devised various ways and means in order to succeed. Chinese society was one such community that was engaged in trade with other communities in the ancient times. For the Chinese traders to improve their trade, they constructed the Silk Road tom ease the movement of people and goods during those ancient times.
Silk Road refers to the route that was used by the ancient Chinese during the civilization period to engage in trade with other communities such those in Western Europe as that were separated with them by water bodies such as seas and oceans. It should be noted that the area that separate Western Europe from Asia is one of the difficult place to pass through in the world. Most of the region comprises of Taklimakan desert which is one of the pace not hospitable in Earth. The place has all the characteristics of a desert; little or no rainfall, lack of vegetation, presence of sandstorms. Due to this difficult conditions many people had lost they lives while crossing the place and thus the place was dubbed "Land of Death." People who went through this Taklimakan desert had unpleasant experiences of the place and thus they had nothing good to talk about of that place.
The Silk Route started in Chagan spread through Gansu region and it ended in Dunhuang region which is on the furthest point of the Taklimakan. The Silk Road was not solely meant for the trading in silk but many other commodities exchanged hands along this road. Other commodities that were traded in along the road included plants, gold, exotic animals and the ivory. The route was dubbed the "Silk road" because silk was the most preferred good for the people of the Western Europe that was traded along the route. Silk is believed to have been discovered by the Romans while there were at wars with the Parthian in around 53 B.C. and later discovered that this commodity, silk could not have being produced by Parthians but it had come from one of the mysterious tribe that was found in the East. The tribe in the East that was known to produce silk was later referred to as "Seres" which means "Silk people."
The Silk material became popular in Roman due to the attractiveness of the material and its soft textures. On the other hand the Parthians learnt that they could make money as a result of them trading in the silk due to the increased demand of the commodity from the west and thus they sent people to carry out the research about the route they would follow to acquire the silk from the East. Likewise the Romans also sent people on trade missions to explore the possible route that they would follow acquire silk that is cheaper than that offered by the Parthians. For the above reasons, the Romans saw the route to Asia as basically for trading with the Silk rather than other goods such as gold and ivory that was also traded on the same route. However, the name "Silk Road" given to the route to East was given by Von Ritchthofen, a German scholar, in the nineteenth century and not the Romans as it was believed by many people.