Silk Road


The Silk Road was a network of ancient trade routes, formally established during the Han Dynasty of China in 130 BCE, which linked the regions of the ancient world in commerce between 130 BCE-1453 CE. The Silk Road was not a single route from east to west and so historians favor the name 'Silk Routes', though 'Silk Road' is commonly used.

More about: Silk Road


  • 500 BCE - 330 BCE
    The Achaemenid Empire rules in Mesopotamia, Persian Royal Road in use.
  • 334 BCE - 323 BCE
    Period of the conquests of Alexander the Great.
  • c. Jul 329 BCE
    Alexander the Great founds Alexandria-Eschate on the Iaxartes and destroys Cyropolis.
  • 260 BCE - 195 BCE
    King Euthydemus I of the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom rules in Central Asia.
  • 202 BCE - 220 CE
    The Han Dynasty rules in China.
  • c. 200 BCE
    First contact between China and the Greco-Bactrian descendents of Alexander the Great's army.
  • 171 BCE - 138 BCE
    Reign of Mithridates I of Parthia.
  • 138 BCE
    Han Emperor Wu the Great sends his emissary Zhang Qian to the west, initiating commerce.
  • 130 BCE
    The Silk Road is officially opened.
  • 129 BCE
    Parthians conquer Mesopotamia. The Silk Road to China is now controlled by the Parthians.
  • 27 BCE - 14 CE
    Reign of Augustus Caesar in Rome, Chinese silk is very popular.
  • 161 CE - 180 CE
    Reign of Emperor Marcus Aurelius in Rome, Chinese silk popularity endures.
  • 476 CE
    The fall of the western Roman Empire.
  • 527 CE - 565 CE
    Reign of Emperor Julian of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire. Beginning of Byzantine silk industry.
  • 542 CE
    The bubonic plague, thought to have been brought through the Silk Road, decimates Constantinople.