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Princeton University Press
Empires of the Silk Road: A History of Central Eurasia from the Bronze Age to the Present

Empires of the Silk Road: A History of Central Eurasia from the Bronze Age to the Present

by Christopher I. Beckwith


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780691150345
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 05/08/2011
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 512
Sales rank: 192,849
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Christopher I. Beckwith is professor of Central Eurasian studies at Indiana University. His other books include "The Tibetan Empire in Central Asia" (Princeton).

Table of Contents





PROLOGUE: The Hero and His Friends 1

CHAPTER 1: The Chariot Warriors 29

CHAPTER 2: The Royal Scythians 58

CHAPTER 3: Between Roman and Chinese Legions 78

CHAPTER 4: The Age of Attila the Hun 93

CHAPTER 5: The Turk Empire 112

CHAPTER 6: The Silk Road, Revolution, and Collapse 140

CHAPTER 7: The Vikings and Cathay 163

CHAPTER 8: Chinggis Khan and the Mongol Conquests 183

CHAPTER 9: Central Eurasians Ride to a European Sea 204

CHAPTER 10: Th e Road Is Closed 232

CHAPTER 11: Eurasia without a Center 263

CHAPTER 12: Central Eurasia Reborn 302

EPILOGUE: The Barbarians 320

APPENDIX A: The Proto- Indo- Europeans and Their Diaspora 363

APPENDIX B: Ancient Central Eurasian Ethnonyms 375




What People are Saying About This


Empires of the Silk Road is a major scholarly achievement. This is the first book to provide a comprehensive account of the history of Central Eurasia from the Bronze Age to the present. But it is much more than a simple narrative of events in what is arguably the most important region for the development of civilization during the past four or five millennia. It is an intellectually ambitious undertaking that attempts to account for essential transformations in the cultural, economic, and political life of societies situated both within the Central Eurasian heartland and on its periphery. Beckwith achieves the radical feat of demonstrating how Central Eurasia is actually key for understanding the dynamics of human history and progress throughout antiquity, the medieval period, and the recent past. Above all, and for the first time, he convincingly shows that Central Eurasia was not a sump of poverty-stricken, unremittingly vicious subhumans, but a wellspring of vibrant, energetic, resourceful, enterprising peoples who facilitated communication and change in all directions. In other words, Beckwith turns conventional wisdom on its head and makes Central Eurasia the core of human history, rather than the embarrassing backwater which it is usually portrayed as. Perhaps his greatest contribution is in the powerful, sustained epilogue, where he shatters a whole galaxy of misconceptions about the dreaded 'barbarians.'
Victor H. Mair, University of Pennsylvania


Ambitious, provocative, and bristling with new ideas, Empires of the Silk Road will set off sparks. The book's clearly articulated themes are lively and stimulating, and Beckwith's integration of European, Central Asian, and East Asian materials makes this a major work in Eurasian and world history. In range and depth, this readable book is quite unlike any other.
Peter B. Golden, Rutgers University

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Empires of the Silk Road: A History of Central Eurasia from the Bronze Age to the Present 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Panoply More than 1 year ago
This book was almost exactly what I was looking for. If you are interested in this subject, this is a great place to start. HOWEVER, the reason I did not give it 5 stars is it's relative lack of maps. Be sure to get one before reading. Also, when writing such a short book on such a huge subject, the names come fast and furious. be prepared for that. Other than that, absolutely excellent.
jbandichCA More than 1 year ago
I have only begun reading, but it seems very well documented and historically accurate.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago