Essay on Life Along the Silk Road

1306 WordsDec 11, 20086 Pages
Susan Whitfield writes Life along the Silk Road based on character stories occurring between the eight and tenth century, all living at different times. She writes this history for several reasons. First, she writes it to change the negative perception of the history of Central Asia that we know through the annals of its neighbors. By explaining the history of the region through the eyes of its own occupants, it rids the history of any distorted views from neighboring civilizations. She uses the comparison of trying to examine the life of the Atlantic Ocean by studying the ecology of Europe. Another perception Whitfield attempts to overcome is that of the present day Silk Road. Today, it is largely Islam, and it is occupied by Turkic…show more content…
All of these stories give accounts of what life was like on the Silk Road. The Soldier’s Tale is a very bloody account of what life was like. For twenty-five years, Seg Lhaton, a Tibetan soldier, had been at battle. The Silk Road was his home during this time. The Tibetan army controlled a large region of the Silk Road between Sogdiana and China. They blocked all trade and diplomatic missions through that region. They only way trade could persist was to go another route through Uighur territory. They, however, charged tolls for safe passage. China and Tibet were at war for years. Many battles were fought that resulted in much blood shed. The story of these battles gives a better insight as to what happened, rather than simply spitting out facts about who won. Whitefield also uses this story to describe some of the harsh conditions along the road. She mentioned that at some points water was extremely scarce. However, at other times there were major floods that acted as major barriers. Often dividing the Chinese from the Tibetans, and postponing a battle. There was also a story about a Chinese officer who lost his foot to frostbite while traveling through the mountains. In the end of the story, Seg Lhaton has to travel over 1,500 miles to get back to his home. The Princess’s Tale shows a lot of the harsh conditions that one would face when traveling on the Silk Road. Princess Taihe journey begins traveling

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