Last May, when our known world was one way, we began planning these stories. By last month, when we were finishing work on this issue, the world was another way.
LIKE OUR JOURNEY from the womb, or through millennia of evolutionary changes, the Silk Road is a trip that feels elemental to the human condition. We cannot remember, often, how we learned of it, only that knowledge of it seems to be a birthright: It may not be the first story of human movement, recorded or otherwise, but it is the most abiding.
At its most prosaic, the Silk Road was a series of trade routes that began thousands of years before the Common Era and lasted until (depending on who you ask) the 15th or 16th century (though many scholars argue that it continued for much longer). Over the decades, as kingdoms rose and faltered and conquerors redrew broad swaths of what is now Central Asia, the Middle East and Southern Europe, the route swerved and shimmied, calving tributaries that crossed mountains and deserts and eventually even the sea. A map, for much of civilization, was a mere suggestion, a diary of conquest written in pencil, and one of the victor's privileges was the right to remake the world to his liking. Heading west from the ancient city of Chang'an (now Xi'an) in China trundled caravans of silk, tea, paper and spices, inching toward their terminus in Rome or Constantinople; heading east came glass, gold, silver and horses. The route was some 4,000 miles, and dangerous; the people who plied it did so knowing that they could be felled by perils both human and climatic, that at any moment, the lands they traversed could become hostile territory.
And so why did they persist, these early travelers? For one thing, there was their curiosity, their craving for the new, as fundamental to our condition as hunger or thirst. It wasn't just new objects or technologies that they encountered on the route, either: It was new ideas, new religions, new philosophies. Buddhism and Islam were both conveyed eastward on the Silk Road. To travel was to risk not only physical danger, but a different, headier kind of risk as well — the chance that you might discard what you'd always believed for some other ideology altogether. This was a tribal age, and the road could change you so profoundly that you might never again be welcomed back home.
For another, there was the allure of adventure. Yes, the path was dangerous. Yes, you might never see your family again. But movement is also intrinsic to the human experience. It is why the romance of the Silk Road endures all these years later: Although you can interpret it as the first, most durable experiment in capitalism, you can also see it as a testament to not just our desire, but our need to explore. Every traveler who leaves home therefore follows in the spirit of our Silk Road forebears, stepping out of our known world in the hopes that we might be dazzled.
I HAD ALWAYS wanted to create an issue that follows the old road. And so last May, when our known world was one way, we began planning these stories. By last month, when we were finishing work on this issue, the world was another way .
Yet as I read these pieces, I realized that the Silk Road has more lessons to offer us in this moment than I'd previously thought. Because while it is a reminder of our desire for interconnectedness, it is also a reminder that although open borders and movement bring wonder and awe to our lives, they can also bring war and disease. Over the course of the Silk Road's operation, humanity had to face some of the worst illnesses in recorded history , from the Justinian plague of the sixth century to the Black Death of the 1340s to a global syphilis outbreak in 1495 to a tuberculosis epidemic in the 1500s to the second cholera pandemic of 1826. The Justinian plague killed up to half of the global population at the time. Eight hundred years later, the Black Death killed as many as 100 million — nearly a quarter of the global population.
But through all of these horrors, through all of these sorrows, the road continued. Trade continued. The need to discover new things and new people, to look down the road ahead, continued. What else could they do, those long-dead travelers? They could no more ignore what they desired than they could unlearn what centuries of exploration and interaction had taught them. The only way through was forward.
It is the same for us now, too. The only way through is forward. Let us find some comfort, though, in the knowledge that we are preceded by centuries of human endurance, those travelers who remind us that every journey, no matter how difficult, ends with our finding our way back.
- Foreign Minister: China to Expand ‘Health Silk Road’ in Wake of Coronavirus Pandemic
- China Unlikely Seeking More Influence Over North Korea - Chinese Scholars
- Coronavirus threatens China’s Belt and Road. What happens when it wants half a trillion dollars back?
- How Songwriter Gary P. Nunn Influenced Outlaw Country and the Austin Music Scene
- From Khunjerab to Gwadar: 69 years of concord, cooperation and connectivity
- Books to broaden your horizons, by Hilary Mantel, Simon Schama, Lisa Taddeo and more
- Op-ed: The legality of virtual currency
- China to drive global GDP growth this year and next
- U2's 40 greatest songs – ranked!
- US and India must develop plan to counter China's efforts to strengthen its position in Indian Ocean
- U.S. and India must develop plan to counter China’s efforts to strengthen its position in Indian Ocean
- The 100 greatest UK No 1s: 100-8
- A legacy project? Buhari needs a grand vision of Nigearia’s future
- Prince: Remembering the Rock Star, Funk Lord, Provocateur, Genius
- Facebook And YouTube Have Allowed Conspiracy Theorists To Turn Bill Gates Into The Pandemic's Villain
- New this week: Gaga, 1975 music, a last 'Trip,' 'Stargirl'
- Guillermo del Toro
- Publicity campaign, trail cameras bring lost beagle home
- 21 of the Most Charming Secrets About
- Versatility and ‘impatience’ helped make Parnelli Jones a racing legend
|Nickelodeon Dora the Explorer Kid's DTE1080B Watch and Backpack Set (check at Amazon)||3.8|
|The Silk Road on the Sea (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Through the Fire (Director's Cut - Extended and Uncensored) (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Buddha on the Silk Road (check at Amazon)||4.5|
|The Loom Owner's Companion: Know and Love Your Loom! (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Globe Trekker - Around The World: The Silk Road (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|The Silk Road: The Journey from China to Turkey $9.94 (check at Amazon)||3.7|
|The Kid / Tillie's Punctured Romance - Charlie Chaplin (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Just the Facts: U.S. History : History and Functions of the United Nations $14.99 (check at Amazon)||2.3|
|Journey Along the Silk Road $13.78 (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Secrets of the Silk Road (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|The Silk Road DVD Collection: Limited Edition (Region-3 / 15 DVD Set) (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Just the Facts: U.S. History : History and Functions of The Supreme Court $11.76 (check at Amazon)||2.0|
|Buddha on the Silk Road [Blu-ray] $16.5 (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|The Silk Road DVD Collection (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|The Silk Road: Beijing to The Black Sea (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Tarzan - Tarzan the Fearless/Tarzan's Revenge/Tarzan and the Trappers (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|The Silk Road II (6pc) (Coll Box) [VHS] (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|The Silk Road: Music, Art, and Poetry from Istanbul to Samarqand $47.95 (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|On the Silk Road Outfit Pack for Zylie the Bear (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Disney Princess Gift Set: The Little Mermaid's Ariel Stapler and Beauty and the Beast's Belle Notepad Holder Gift Set (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|The Silk Road Gift Box 2 [VHS] (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Nomads of the Silk Road Live [VHS] (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Journeys on the Silk Road: A Desert Explorer, Buddha's Secret Library, And The Unearthing Of The World's Oldest Printed Book (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Silk Road Vegetarian: Vegan, Vegetarian and Gluten Free Recipes for the Mindful Cook [Vegetarian Cookbook, 101 Recipes] (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Sex and the Soul: Juggling Sexuality, Spirituality, Romance, and Religion on America's College Campuses (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Rumi's Tales from the Silk Road: A Pilgrimage to Paradise $23.69 (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Shadow of the Silk Road (P.S.) (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|The Silk Road: Then and Now (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|The Devil's Theater: Romance and Ruin (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Mapping the Silk Road and Beyond (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Cave Temples of Mogao: Art and History on the Silk Road (Conservation and Cultural Heritage Series) (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|The Silk Road Gourmet: Volume One: Western and Southern Asia (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|The Silk Road: Overland Trade and Cultural Interactions in Eurasia (Essays on Global and Comparative History) (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Frankie's Journey: The Silk Road to Napa (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Gifts from the Silk Road: A Father's Adoption Memoir (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|The Horse That Leaps Through Clouds: A Tale of Espionage, the Silk Road, and the Rise of Modern China (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|The silk road: A journey from the High Pamirs and Ili through Sinkiang and Kansu (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Extremes Along the Silk Road: Adventures Off the World's Oldest Superhighway $8.25 (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Chengli and the Silk Road Caravan (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Singapore and the Silk Road of the Sea, 1300-1800 (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|The Silk Road Rediscovered: How Indian and Chinese Companies Are Becoming Globally Stronger by Winning in Each OtherÂs Markets $27.35 (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Tearing up the Silk Road: A Modern Journey from China to Istanbul, through Central Asia, Iran and the Caucasus $5.35 (check at Amazon)||3.7|
|Buddhism and Islam on the Silk Road (Encounters with Asia) (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Religions of the Silk Road: Overland Trade and Cultural Exchange from Antiquity to the Fifteenth Century (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|The Silk Road: Explore the World's Most Famous Trade Route with 20 Projects (Build It Yourself) (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Singapore and the Silk Road of the Sea, 13001800 (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|The Silk Roads: Highways of Culture and Commerce (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Passion And Peril On The Silk Road: A Thriller In Pakistan And China $9.95 (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|The Silk Road: Art and History (check at Amazon)||0.0|
The Silk Road’s Enduring Romance, and Eternal Influence have 1708 words, post on www.nytimes.com at May 11, 2020. This is cached page on USA Breaking News. If you want remove this page, please contact us.