Silk Road links

Silk route not single route but several routes heading west and crossing Takla Makan.

Urumqi mummies evidence of Tokharian population there who possibly had caucasian dna markers.

Population not assimilated by Turkish nomad population until c700-800 AD

Population known to Greeks and referred to in Chinese writings

Roman Soldiers in China

story based around Crassus lost legion

always claimed population in Lanzhou area had caucasian characteristics. DNA studies confirm western markers present. However village on silk route so other opportunities for irregular unions present due to passing traders. Possible to hypothesise that Crassus legion myth had some basis in fact although now so dilute as to be undetectable but that story was perpetuated to explain occasional western looking babies born in villages

Lanzhou traditionally endpoint of route through Xianjang to Urumqi

Relevant pdfs are available on skydrive. Not inconceivable to hypothesise that there was a settlement of soldiers trained in either Roman or Macedonian style infantry warfare. Blog post re Roman inscriptions, while more circumstantial is also perhaps eveidence for Roman military or mercenary contacts.

The Roman wars in Iberia/Armenia could have provided an mechanism for Roman trained soldiers to end up on the shore of the Caspian Sea

Silk Trade

  • Byzantine silk trade weavers highly esteemed. Principal centres in Syria and Egypt, resulting fabric re-exported to Parthia
    • NB Egypt also centre of spice trade

Red Sea trade

  • previously argued that direct trade during 3rd century crisis and that thereafter mostly carried out by Axumite or Somali intermediaries
    • increasing lack of knowledge of India in Late Antique times seen as an indicator of this
  • India used in late antique documents to refer not only to India as we know it but also to include Ethiopia and South Arabia
    • cf early modern usage of the Indies to refer to India and also the islands of what is now Indonesia
  • Sea route seen in late antique times as an alternative to overland route via Parthia which was subject to interruption due to conflict etc.
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