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What is the lesson being taught in “The
Fable of the Rat”?
- Do not judge anything according to
- what you’re used to. In the context of the fable, don’t judge other cultures
- according to what you know about your own.
Why did Vasco da Gama believe that people
living on the coast of India were Christian?
He mistook the images of the Hindu goddess Durga for the Virgin Mary.
Why did Ma Huan think they were Buddhist?
He mistook an image of Vishnu for Buddha.
What are some of the difficulties dealing
with reports that are 400-500 years old?
First, much of the information is hearsay. The world was a different place: people lived differently, and their minds were different. The farther back in time you go, the less information and knowledge you have available.
What was the main reason for explorers/people to travel to these far-flung places? And what did they leave
behind as they moved on?
The main reason was trade, development, education, etc. They left behind history and myths, art
Who was the person that the DNA test revealed in China?
China’s first foreign worker, a European laborer. They determined that he was a man who died in his 20s.
Where was China's first foreign worker found?
The remains were found along with 121 other skeletons near the museum that houses the terracotta warriors.
What does the discovery of China's first foreign worker suggest about the past period and the area?
Well it shows that people probably traveled around more than we thought they did. Tan (professor of modern anthropology research center) said he may have been captured by a nomadic group and sent to work at the burial ground
Where had the Silk Road reopened?
Along a Himalayan border: Nathu La Pass- “The pass of the listening ear”
Why was the Silk Road closed and when?
It closed in 1962, due to a border war and had stayed closed because of mutual suspicion.
What does the reopening of the Silk Road suggest for the future?
The relationship between India and China will become stronger. Trade will be boosted, and it will negatively affect smuggling.
How does the reopening of the silk road repeat the past?
There used to be a lot of trade between India and China via the silk road, and now they are going to be able to pick that back up.
Define “monsoon”. Why is/was it so important for the
A monsoon is a seasonal, strong wind. The monsoons in this area were important to East-West trade because they occurred with clock-like consistency so that trade could be timed rather efficiently with the weather. For example, the mude (Venetian convoys) would sail in August through the Adriatic and the Aegean to Cyprus and Alexandria, meeting the “monsoon borne-goods from the East” right as they were available and then sail back to Venice.
What did the Fatimid dynasty in Egypt have to do with trade and the monsoons?
The Fatimid dynasty had control of Alexandria, which was one of the major port cities. The shifted the economic center of the Islamic world from Baghdad to Cairo. They provided a connection for European economies to goods from Indian Ocean trade, which they had access to because of the monsoons.
What is the relationship between the Roman/Byzantine and Islamic worlds in terms of coinage?
The Islamic world had been issuing coinage (the dinar) since 691, and both the coin and its name were derived from the Byzantine denarion. The Islamic silver coin, the dirham, was also based on the Byzantine drachme.
What do these two phrases mean: “India was the graveyard of gold. China was the graveyard of silver.” How does this effect European trade desires?
In other parts of the world, gold and silver were being used to trade, so that the two were flowing in and out of countries as a part of the world’s economic system. India hoarded gold. When they were paid in gold for something, they didn’t turn around and spend the gold on more foreign goods; they spent other resources on foreign goods and kept their gold. China did the same thing with silver.
Who is Herodotus and what does India have to do with ants and gold?
Herodotus was an author, and he wrote an account on where money came from that was paid from 19 tributary nations in tribute to Darius. He says that India paid the largest amount and tells the story of how India gets their gold. There were many similar legends that there were giant ants in India that would dig into the sand and spray up the sand in heaps. This sand was said to be rich with gold.
What role did the sailors/mariners of South Arabia play in the East-West trade?
South Arabia had access to some key goods. They were producers of valuable gums and aromatics (frankincense and myrrh), which were used in many religious practices around the world. They also were very successful agriculturally because of their location at the edge of the monsoon, which gave the area more rain, and they were very involved in the transmission of food plants between India and Africa. They dominated the carrying trade in the western Indian Ocean for the first millennium BC.
author and geographer that wrote about India. He was skeptical of many earlier accounts of India because he thought they were exaggerated.
He constructed a canal linking the Nile to the Red Sea to facilitate trade with the incense lands of southern Arabia and the Horn of Africa. Also, he hired Phoenicians, the foremost mariners of the ancient world, to circumnavigate Africa.
Persian emperor between 521 and 486 BC, and explored the Indian Ocean between the Indus River and the Red Sea.
poet...wrote about a voyage around 550 BC down the West African coast by a sea captain from Marseille.
a Greek doctor who wrote the first known book devoted entirely to India in the late fifth century BC. Served the Persian king Artaxerxes. The book is full of heresay and mentions mythical creatures like giant dogs and tigers with human faces.
another name for the island of Sri Lanka (name mentioned by Strabo)
another name for Sri Lanka...from which Horace Walpole coined the word “serendipity” in the 18th c.
wrote an account on India. Description partially preserved by Strabo. He describes the caste system, customs such as suttee, the form of government and the flourishing state of trade, the wealthy markets and skilled artisans.
What does “happiness” have to do with Arabia and the East?
The rest of the world viewed these lands to be prosperous, full of resources and wealth. That translated into the assumption that Arabia and the East were places of happiness.
How was trade with the East a threat to the Roman Empire?
As trade developed with Arabia, India, and China, Rome’s gold was slowly being drained. They were paying those three Eastern areas for luxury goods.
What is the controversy about cinnamon in the ancient sources and what does modern scholarship say?
Cinnamon and Cassia come from the same family, and what we use today is actually cassia. Modern botanists are unanimous in agreeing that cinnamon and cassia have never grown anywhere in Africa. The classical sources are just as unanimous that they did.
What is silk?
Essentially, it is the unraveled fibers of a silkworm’s cocoon.
Where does silk come from and what are the legends surround the discovery and production of silk?
Silk production began in China, and it was an extremely guarded secret for more than two thousand years. Goddess of Silk to Lady Hsi-Ling-Shih, wife of the mythical Yellow Emperor, is credited with the discovery of the silk process as legend tells it. Another legend says that a prince of Khotan ( today's Hetian)--a kingdom on the rim of Taklamakan desert -- courted and won a Chinese princess. The princess smuggled out silkworm eggs by hiding them in her voluminous hairpiece. Another legend is that around AD 550, two Nestorian monks appeared at the Byzantine Emperor Justinian's court with silkworm eggs hid in their hollow bamboo staves.
Name three sources for the inspiration of the arch motif as mentioned by Movassat.
- 1. The triumphal arches of the classical world
- 2. golden canopy of achaemenids
- 3. Buddhist caves.
Who were the Sasanians? When did they rule? At their height how far did their empire extend?
The Sasanian Empire (224–637 AD) was founded by Ardarshir I, who claimed descent from the old Achaemenid rulers of Persia. With popular support, he spearheaded a movement to restore Iranian rule after several centuries of first Seleucid Greek and then Parthian rule. Under Ardarshir and his successor, Sharpur I, the Sasanian empire re-expanded to include most of Central Asia and areas of North India, countries such as Sogdia and Bactria once again becoming satrapies, semi-independent regions that retained local traditions, trade, and often dynasties under the rule of a centrally-appointed satrap
When and where did silk weaving become established in Sasanian Iran? What was the most common weave? Give some examples of the motifs.
In 224 AD the Persian Empire came under the control of the Sasanian dynasty, who rapidly established dominance of the silk trade, and went into the business of establishing their own government-controlled silk weaving industry, developing distinctive and sophisticated designs. Most common weave: a compound weft silk twill with elaborate repeating motifs. Motifs: winged lions, hunting scenes, tree of life patterns, and opposing birds, each motif enclosed within a pearl-like roundel, and each group of roundels separated by scrolling, geometric plant forms.
How do we know that the Sasanians traded with or were in contact with Japan? How do we know that the Sogdians imitated Sasanian
silks? Give examples for each question from textiles and metalwork.
Sasanian goods found to have been dispered in Japan, and their woven styles and motifs show similarities. Example: The Sasanian lion hunt is particularly popular, as on the eighth-century Japanese-woven example from the Shoso-in, part of the decorative arts collection given to the Nara Buddhist temple by the Emperor Shomu in 754, while one ambassador from Samarkand wears a robe woven with Persian senmurvs.
Wealthy Sogdians wore kaftans woven with rondel designs featuring Persian senmurvs, boars’ heads and occasionally camels
What does the Wilton Diptych have to do with the Sasanian?
It shows the coronation of Richard II, has the king kneeling accompanied by saints, one of whom wears a silk robe with confronted Chinese phoenix. The king himself wears a robe with roundels containing kneeling deer, his own heraldic motif, but one also originating in the Near East and spread through Persian textiles and silverware.
Give three examples of where and when the lion motif appears in artistic media
1. It is now believed that the majority of Persian-style textiles excavated in the Tarim Basin are of Sogdian rather than Persian origin, though the spread of actual Persian textile is attested to by a spectacular Syrian cushion cover featuring lions on leashes on either side of a date palm from the Shoso-in depository in Nara, (figure 10) given to the monastery by the Emperor Shomu in 754.
2. The Sasanian lion hunt is particularly popular, as on the eighth-century Japanese-woven example from the Shoso-in, part of the decorative arts collection given to the Nara Buddhist temple by the Emperor Shomu in 754, while one ambassador from Samarkand wears a robe woven with Persian senmurvs.
3.Sogdian merchant resident in Xi’an in China, An Qie, in 579 had himself pictured on his funerary couch hunting wild boar and lions, as did the Turkic former ambassador to Persia and leading merchant Yu Hong (riding a camel) in 593.