6 BC-AD 5: Han Dynasty loses control of Tarim
6 BC-AD 5: Han Dynasty loses control of Tarim
River Basin to Huns. The Silk Road is blocked.
- Asia Report !!
A Chronology of the Silk Road
Estimated 500 BC - 14Th Century Emergence Maritime Trading Routes
This page was last updated on: December 24, 2019
This page was last updated on: December 24, 2019
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 Dynasty:
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
-----> History of the Silk Road :
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.
Leadership of Kadphises in Bactria. Subsequently their united forces attack the Kabul Valley (in current day Afghanistan) and go 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: In 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 army 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.
25 AD to 49 AD: The various factions of the Yuezhi in Central Asia along the silk road are united under
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.
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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 I 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.
202 BC: Establishment of the Han Dynasty (202 BC (Often named as: 206 BC for convenience) - 221 AD) in China, with the Capital at Chang 'An ( Xi'An ). The fallen Qin Empire is resurrected in what will prove to be a much more succesful version of a unified Chinese State.
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 (Zhang Qian) 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. In addition, Zhang Qian learns of the political, economic and environmental conditions in the "western regions" and indirectly learns of the existence of "Anti" (Persia and modern day Iran), Tiaozhi (Arabia) and an Empire identified as Li Xuan (the Roman Empire).
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 Mediteranean Sea and Europe beyond these included the Hanging Gardens of Babylon (near Baghdad, 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 (洛阳市) 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 being a 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 I - 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 (Tigranes the Great (Reign: 95 - 55 B.C.)) 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.
Gansu Map 1 - Geographical Overview Map of Gansu Province and Neighboring Regions. Includes Main Cities, 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 under command of Titus lay siege to Jerusalem after which they take the city. In a brutal bout of revenge, in 70 AD the entire city of Jersulam is razed to the ground, its inhabitants massacred and the sacred Temple of the Jews is destroyed. The siege and victory make the leader of the Roman Troops, Titus, infamous in his own time enduring through history to this day.
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 "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.
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 as 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 (Western 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 Emperor and the times of the (Western) Han Dynasty itself. The work of Sima Qian remains a founding stone
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.
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 orientation 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