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A Chronology of the Silk Road
Estimated 500 BC - 14Th Century Emergence Maritime Trading Routes
This page was last updated on: February 17, 2019
This page was last updated on: February 17, 2019
From the Warring States Period through the Ch'In Dynasty (1000 BC - 206 BC) :
10Th Century BC: King Mu (Reign 976 BC to c.922 BC) of the early Zhou Dynasty (1122 BC to 256 BC) is the Chinese person known to have traveled on Silk Road. King Mu of Zhou is counted among the most succesful of Zhou Rulers and during his Reign period the surface area of the Zhou State reached its largest size, expanding the territories from the Lower reaches of the Yellow River (Huang He) far into the West and South. According to record, during his reign period the King traveled some 90.000 kilometers, reaching the Kunlun Mountains (Kunlun Shan) in far Western China.
613 B.C.: First (preserved) record of the sighting of a comet by humanity is made in China, as recorded in the "Spring and Autumn Annals" of the State of Lu which was written in Warring States Period (475 BC - 221 AD) of the Zhou Dynasty .
563 B.C. : The Regions of North India or the City of Lumbini in Nepal (depending on versions) see the Birth of Siddhārtha Gautama Buddha (Sanskrit: सिद्धार्थ गौतम बुद्ध; Pali: Siddhattha Gotama), also simply known as the Buddha. He was raised as a Prince in Kapilavastu Kingdom but would go on to be the founder a major line of phylosophy which would come to pervade large parts of Asia in the centuries and millenia to come.
September 28, 551 BC: But a decade after the birth of the Great Sage and person today identified as the Guatama Buddha, the Chinese Province of Shandong sees the birth of the baby K'Ung-Fu-Tzu, who in later life become the Great Sage identified in the west as Confucius, the philosopher and teacher who's idea's and ideals would become the cornerstones of Chinese traditional thought and social arrangements.
The Western and Eastern Han Dynasties (206 BC - 220 AD) :
206 BC - 220 AD: After abrief but significant existence, the unified "Chinese Nation" established by the 1st Qin Emperor splits apart in its many territories which however are again united under the Han Dynasty. Subsequently, the Han Chinese make contact with Central Asia and through it with the Middle East and the Mediterranean. Chinese open the Silk Road and soon they hear of the city of Alexandria, the Roman Empire and many other wonders of the world.
READ ON IN: Chronology Silk Road History (3) "Silk Road during the Han Dynasty (221 AD - 220 AD)". >>>>>
325 BC: Probable year of the founding of the ancient city of Uch (Today: Uch Sharif (Urdu: اوچ شریف ; "Noble Uch"), Punjab Province, Pakistan ) by Alexander the Great. Alexander founded the city as yet another city named Alexandria and it was on the Indus River (Greek: Ἀλεξάνδρεια ἡ ἐν Ἰνδῷ). The city was located at the confluence of the Punjab's rivers (Chenab and Sutlej) with the Indus and represents the farthest point of the great continental conquest of Alexander and his Armies. Some historians believe that Uch predates the advent of Bikramjit, when Jains and Buddhists ruled over the area, and that Mithankot or Chacharan Sharif was the true settlement of Alexandria.
325 BC: Palmyra and Parthia reconquer Persia.
280 BC: The Powerful and well organized State of Qin starts its expansion beyond its base regions along the Hexi Corridor, in current day Gansu Province and Ningxia . In 280 BC it defeats the once powerfulState of Wei in central China gaining considerable territory including the city of Luoyang (in current day Henan Province ).
260 BC: Qin forces scored a major Victory over Zhao at Gao Ping in current day Shanxi Province .
259 BC: Birth of Chao Cheng (Life: 259 BC - 210 BC), better known as Qin Shi Huangdi, the first man to unite all of the (Han) Chinese cultural realm into one giant country and Empire.
246 BC: The Young Chao Cheng is crowned King of the State of Qin, although at a young age he did not reign with full powers until disposing of his regent Lu Pu-Wei in the year 238 BC.
239 BC: A bright celestial object appears in the heavens above earth. As it brightens into a broom star (comet), details of its passing are recorded by Chinese astromers and in Mesopotamia (Iraq) as well. In primitive civilizations across the globe the appearance of this unusual passing star was seen and interpreted with considerable fright. In China, some took it as a sign of a great new era to come.
Some two millennia later on, humanity will find that it was the earliest recorded passing of the Comet of Halley, so named in the year 1705 AD, when it was recognized that the comet was in fact a regularly returning visitor to the inner solar system.
238 BC: King Chao Cheng gains full powers and control over the State of Qin. In the years that follow Qin military campaigns subdue all of the other Warring States, which are Chu, Zhao and Qi.
221 BC: Chao Cheng, the King of Qin completes his conquest uniting all of the Chinese cultural realm under his rule in his domain. He takes the Title: Qin Shi Huangdi, which translates as First Emperor of Qin.
At the same time, the name of the State of Qin so is lent to the Qin Empire, which later (over time) becomes China.
During his subsequent reign period, the now legendary Emperor of Qing makes his best efforts to create a unified State and Nation out of the shards he has picked together. For this purpose, weights and measures,
legal arrangements and so on are made uniform throughout the Qin Empire.
and progressive fall of the Cities and Provinces of the Achaemenid Persian Empire. The Persian Empire King Darius dies but the conquest continues eastward as far Bactria and Sogdiana territories due west of the Pamir Mountains. Around 330 BC Alexander (Dhu'L Qarneyn) allegedly builds the "Copper Gate" (according to the Quran) in order to protect his subjects from maurauding nomadic tribes Gog and Magog 'from the north'.
In 329 B.C. the Greek Armies cross the Oxus River into what is then identified as Sogdiana. The city of Alexandria Oxiana (Alexandria on the Oxus) is founded. Subsequently Greeks take the ancient cities of Samarkand (At the time known as Maracanda) and Bukhara beyond (in current day Uzbekistan ). As written archeological evidence has revealed, the city received one Orepius as ruler, as the sources say "not from ancestors, but as a gift of Alexander". Subsequently the city of Samarkand flourished under the Hellenistic influence. Although the Greek Rule would slip after the death of Alexander, the Hellenistic influence in various art forms would spread along the Silk Road among things ending up as far East as the border of terrories then bordering on the Han Chinese Realm.
Crossing over the Jaxartes River Alexander's armies subsequently reach the northern regions of current day Tajikistan where they found a now lost city near Khujand (Also: Khojend or Khudzhand) today still the 2nd largest city within Tajikistan.
Bactria and Sogdiana become part of the Macedonian Empire of Alexander the Great by 326 BC, establishing a first European Presence on the Central Asian paths of the Silk Road.
The Armies of Alexander move over the Hindu Kush into ( Pakistan and) India afterwards. The Empire disintegrates after the Death of Alexander in 323 BC.
Although Hellenistic culture was only created and enjoyed by the upper-class societies of the Hellenistic cities. Those local people who lived in the remote and extensive countryside and mountains likely still kept their indigenous cultural tradition to a large extent.
-----> History of the Silk Road :
500 BC : Ancient Greek Society becomes familiar with the knowledge of Silk and Silk Cloth. The Silk must have been traded from China along various long land-bound and overseas trade routes.
Not much later the Roman Empire starts its ascent. In Rome Silk Robes worn become a sign of the Aristrocracy. At Times, the prices of a Silk soar, making Silk more valuable than Gold in the Roman realms (300 BC to 300 AD).
Between the years 500 B.C. and 476 B.C. the Xiong Nu (in the west identified as ancestors of The Huns) arise on the steppes of North Eastern Asia . Gaining territory on neighboring tribes, they move from East to West across the continent pushing other population groups before their violent advance. In the process Scythian Tribes (in China identified as Yue Zhi) are driven along the age old EurAsian migration routes eventually finding their way into today's Russia, and north and eastern Europe.
The Cimmerians, who are in their turn displaced by the flood of Scythians marching West are likewise pushed into European Territories.
500 B.C. and 476 B.C.: Around the year 500 Persian naval forces defeat Ionian Greek "rebels" in a major naval confrontation off the island of Lade (Port of Miletus in Ionia). As a result, the city of Miletus, considered the wealthiest and greatest city of Greek Civilization was forced to give up its strive for what amounted to Independence. After the city of Miletus has surrendered, it is sacked and raised to the ground. Its citizenry is mass deported into the Persian Empire along pathways that are part of what is yet to become the Silk Road. Some Ionian Greeks travel the EurAsian overland trade routes Eastward as far as Bactria (Balkh) in Afghanistan , where their presence is recorded in the year 494 B.C.
Around 450 B.C. the Persian Harp, originally a Middle Eastern instrument and invention was in use in what today is China. Several other imported instruments such as drums and symbals were also introduced into the Chinese and East Asian Cultural Realm in this period.
483 B.C. : Commonly held as The Year of Death of "The Buddha", i.e. Siddhārtha Gautama Buddha.
In the year 444 B.C. Chinese astronomers succesfully calculated the length of the Solar year, which was identified as 365. 25 days.
400 B.C. the invention efficient bellows propels Chinese metal working into a new phase. The Chinese move directly from bronze casting to Iron Casting skipping a period of forging iron by hand. The resulting hard iron yields the Chinese civilization an important military advantage, among things over ever present northern enemies. After the year 400 B.C. cast iron tools as well as military weapons are widely made and used. Soon standardization of forged metal parts allows for the invention of the crossbow, mass production of iron arrow heads and bolts, swords, axes, speerss and the like. Other uses are found in equipment for horse riding and the construction of carts and battle wagons which previously had copper and bronze (axle) parts.
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.
Overview of the Empire founded by Alexander the Great of Macedon (336 BC - 323 BC).
333 BC: Alexander the Great of Macedon (Macedonia) (Life 356 BC – 323 BC) crosses into Asia Minor with an army of 40.000 Men and allied Tribes starting a conquest that leads to the rapid
Around 400 B.C. : Event of the First ever Buddhist Grand Council, organized (according to most scholars) in or around the year 400 B.C. by king Ajatasatru with the monk Mahakasyapa presiding over procedures. The main goal of the event was to preserve the teachings and the remaining relics of the Buddha, as well as organize basic points of the Philosophy.
Between 400 B.C. and 376 B.C. - As the Xiong-Nu (ancestors of the Huns) began to gain strength on the northern plains of today's Mongolia, Tuva and Siberia and move westward into Central Asia they begin to make raids southward plundering the settlements of the Chinese Civilization. As a response, several of the Chinese States (emerged from the fallen Zhou Dynasty (1121 B.C. - (nominally:) 255 B.C.) in current day north China begin to start the building of Walls situated in strategic places.
It is in effect the beginning of the first ever Great Wall of China. Although none of these Walls were yet connected, or in any way resembled the Great Wall of China of the Ming Dynasty as tourists know it today, these first walls layed the foundation for a cultural tradition followed long there after. In addition, roughly, it can be said that the early defensive walls that emerged during the Warring States Period of China were taken as the foundation for the later legendary Great Wall of China built in the Era of the Qin Emperor, starting in the years 221 and 220 B.C..
All early walls were constructed out of mud and earth, and other readily available local materials.
At the same time as propping up defenses and building walls, diplomatic charm offenses were launched across the northern borders attempting to establish peace and stave off nomadic attacks in return for gifted Chinese Goods and the inter-marriage of Chinese women with barbarian men.
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China and the Silk Road (2) From Warring States to Qin Dynasty (1000 BC - 206 BC)
509 B.C: End of the Roman Kingdom, beginning of the Roman Republic (Latin: Rēs pūblica Rōmāna). During the period of the Republic of Rome, the rule over the populace (Imperium) would not be in the hands of one man (the King) but instead the title of "Consul" was created. In the beginning of the Republic, at each time, there were two consuls assigned the duty of the ruling of the Nation, each consul holding the full powers of "Imperium" (the powers bestowed by the Gods to rule as absolute monarch over the citizenry of Rome). The consuls were elected to office for a term of one year. Each consul had the capacity to act as a check on his colleague, if necessary through the same power of veto that the kings had held. An edict issued by one consul, could be counter acted by an edict of the other (Intercessio). Furthermore, if a consul abused his powers in office, he could be prosecuted when his term expired. Officially, the period of the Roman Republic is held to have started in 509 BC and ended in 27 BC with the establishment of the Roman Empire, however after his fall in the year 509 BC, the last Roman King Tarquinius Superbus made several attempts to regain his throne. Likewise, already some time before the end of the Republic Roman politics and affairs came to be dominated by powerful Generals, who used the loyalty of their troops and political allegiances among the Patricians to gain near absolute power and dominate the city of Rome. The greatest and most well known example of these Generals is Julius Caesar, who was granted the powers to become "Dictator for Life" before he was ultimately assassinated by political opponents in the year 44 BC. The period of the Roman Republic saw the growth of the city into a regional power and then the most powerful Nation in the western hemisphere.
Schematic Map of the Main Ducal States during the Warring States Period. As depicted several States have built defensive walls along borders, the later foundations of the Qin Dynasty Great Wall of China (Wanli Chang Cheng)..
Between 400 B.C. and 100 B.C. several documents "Psalms", "Proverbs" and "Joel" that are part of the "Old Testament" were written in territories near the Mediteranean Sea, laying the earliest foundations for Judaism and the later religion of Christianity. The documents known as Proverbs and Joel are taken to have been written between 400 and 300 .C. whereas the document identified as Psalms can only be dated between the year 400 and 100 Before Christ.
Winter 373 BC / 372 BC: The great Greek Philosopher Aristotle (as recorded in his book "Meteorologica") witnesses the passing of a comet in the heavens above the earth. In Europe, this becomes the first known and recorded sighting of a comet in world history. Aristotle wrote that the comets tail was visible arcing a full one third of sky. If so, this would suggest that this was a comet which came close very close to the sun and was a massive object thus allowing it spew out an abundant "coma" (cloud) of gas and debris. Notably, in his book Aristotle also linked the comet appearance with a subsequent earthquake which apparently caused a devastating tidal wave afterwards.
Later European sources such as Diodurus of Sicily (writing 2 centuries later) hold that the light of the celestial object was as bright as to cast shadows alike the moon, and that at a certain point the comet had broken into "planets" (pieces) suggesting that the comet had exploded nearing the sun creating two (main) chuncks of still a considerable size.
(In modern times it is believed that possibly, this comet later gave rise to the spectacular year 1680 and year 1844 Great Comets.)
As the world will find out millennia later, through the 1973 archeological discovery of books places inside a tomb in an Imperial Mausoleum near Changsha , today Capital of Hunan Province , in China observers had been recording the appearance of comets (broom stars) since some years prior to the 372 Comet. (Mawangdui Silk Texts of the western Han Dynasty, produced aprox. 173 B.C., one text listing 29 comets which appeared over a period of 300 years prior to 173 BC)(in fact Chinese records have been shown to go back as far as the year 613 B.C. and possibly even as far as 1460 B.C.).
mid 2nd c. BC: Tokhari people (Tocharians) migrated from Bulunghir-gol to Khotan where they establish a thriving civilization which knows weaving techniques, medicinal use of marihuana, trading and has a ritual burial culture.
206 BC: Seleucid Forces of King Antiochus (III) the Great attacked and defeated the forces of Euthydemus of Bactria, however not taking formal possesion of that country and Nation. Euthydemus remains in position as King of Bactria.
A stunning archeological recovery found in a tomb uncovered along the pathways of the Silk Road in the regions of current day Inner Mongolia and Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region of the Peoples Republic. This mystifying object clearly carries all signs of the Hellenistic Culture associated with the brief but enormous Empire of Alexander the Great of Macedon (336 BC - 323 BC) which spanned the southern Silk Road regions.
Nevertheless, Hellenistic culture, in philosophy and art was shared with other societies set along the Central Asian trading routes.
Most of all historic documentary information on the Hellenistic Civilization within China comes via the Missions of Zhang Qiang during the Han Dynasty (漢代 - 206 B.C. - 221 A.D.) . The earliest Chinese records reveal several traits of Hellenistic Culture as found in the far west and records them the chapters about the Western Regions in the “Early Four Historical Books” (“前四史”) written in the Han Era.
A notable object in the case of the spread of Hellenistic Culture along the Silk Road during and after the Reign of Alexander the Great is a mysterious silver-gilt ewer excavated in the year 1983 from the tomb of one Li Xian, senior general and senior governor of the Northern Zhou Dynasty (557 A.D. - 581 A.D - I.e. intermission of Tang Dynasty). It is the most precious object recovered from the tomb situated in the Guyuan Prefecture of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region as it has obvious connections with both Greco-Roman and Iranian metalwork. Although supposedly finding its way into the Chinese Cultural realm and territories only later, the object has features that may date as far back as the period 138 AD - 161 AD during the Han Dynasty. Its ultimate origins are as yet unknown.
In 210 BC: Qin Dynasty army engineers build the first version of the Great Wall of China, a continuous mud wall, allegedly spanning the northern borders with Xiong-Nu territory between Gansu Province in the west and the Korean Peninsula in the east. Although none of the mud wall built around the year 210 BC is in existence today and all of it was supposedly already severly eroded by the time of the fall of the Qin Dynasty in 206 BC, over recent decades Chinese archeologists have been able to identify various locations where remains of this first Great Wall of China can be identified. Among the very few identifyable remains today the most famous section is the Taipingzhai Section in the north of Ji County of Tianjin City Prefecture, whereas much further to the west near Hohhot and Baotou within Inner Mongolia some other stone sections can be identified. Yet, other remains of the Great Wall of Qin have been identified in the vicinity of Guyuan and near Yanchi County Town of Wuzhong Prefecture, both in Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. In the latter location, an additional older wall has been proven to have run outside of the more well known Great Wall of China of the Ming Dynasty which ran through the same regions but stood more to the south. Infra-red imagery and archeological excavations have revealed that the Qin Great Wall ran from east to west through the desert near Beidachi (in the Ordos Prefecture of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region).
Map with Schematic Outlines of the various versions of the Great Wall of China built during successive Chinese Dynastic periods. The supposed trajectory of the Great Wall completed in the year 210 BC in the Qin Era is most clearly outlined in blue. As one can make out, this Mud Wall is gathered to have run between Anxi in the Hexi Corridor of Gansu Province in China's far west and to have terminated east of Pyongyang, the current day Capital of North Korea (D.P.R.K.).
New discoveries are infrequently made but scientists and historians are attempting to find and catalog additional Qin Era wall sections.
The 5Th Century B.C.: The first surviving European accounts of the Seres are written down by Ctesias the Cnidian or Ctesias of Cnidus, or simply Ctesias (Ancient Greek: Κτησίας) in his 23 volume book "Indica", where he calls them "a people of portentous stature and longevity". The authenticity of the account is, however, disputed.
Around 551 B.C.: Death of Zoroaster, Persian religious prophet, founder of the Zoroastrian faith.
330 BC: Construction of the Citadel of Herat (Persian: ارگ هرات, Pashto سکندرۍ کلا), also known as the Citadel of Alexander, and locally known as Qala Iktyaruddin (Persian: قلعه اختیارالدین)(Today Herat is a city in north western Afghanistan). The citadel was first constructed on orders of Alexander the Great, in order to protect a city known as Aria, the seat of an important agricultural district known among things for its wines. There after great silk road city served as a base for many local Empires and rulers for over 2000 years. In the 1950's it was saved from demolition and between 1976 and 1979 it was restored by UNESCO and there after declared a world cultural heritage site.
332 BC: Siege of Tyre (Phoenicia), which lasted from January to July 332 BC. After blockading the city for seven months, the Greeks build a causeway to the island city and breach its 45.8 m (150 ft) walls. In the final outcome Alexander The Great is victorious, and afterwards controlled the Levant (current day Lebanon, Israel and parts of Syria).
332 BC: Battle of Gaugemela (Greek: Γαυγάμηλα), also called the Battle of Arbela (Greek: Ἄρβηλα)(Gaugamela was situated close to the modern city of Dohuk (Iraqi Kurdistan)). The Battle at Gaugemela was the decisive battle of Alexander the Great's invasion of the Persian Achaemenid Empire. In the Battle Alexander's army of the Hellenic League met the Persian army of Darius III. Though heavily outnumbered, Alexander emerged victorious due to his army's superior tactics and his deft employment of light infantry. It was a decisive victory for the Hellenic League and led to the fall of the Achaemenid Empire.
YouTube Video: Documentary on the ancient and modern history of the Citadel of Herat, for well over 2000 years the center of a silk road trading city in modern day Afghanistan.
Around 497 B.C. : The Temple of Saturn (Latin: Templum Saturni or Aedes Saturni; Italian: Tempio di Saturno) was erected at the foot of Capitoline Hill in Rome. Positioned at the western at of what throughout later history has been known as the "Forum Romanum", the temple of saturn, dedicated to the god saturn, is one of the first structures to be built there. Construction of the Temple of Saturn is thought to have been started during the reign period of Lucius Tarquinius Superbus, who was the legendary seventh and final king of Rome (Reign: 535 BC - 509 BC) who died in 495 B.C. and who's reign period gave way to the First Republic of Rome (Traditionally regarded the period: 509 BC to 27 BC). The inauguration of the Temple of Saturn therefor, must have taken place during the very first years of the Roman Republic (Latin: Res publica Romana).
In Roman mythology, Saturn ruled during the Golden Age, and he continued to be associated with wealth. His temple housed the treasury (aerarium), where the Roman Republic's reserves of gold and silver were stored. The state archives and the insignia and official scale for the weighing of metals were also housed there. Later, the aerarium was moved to another building, and the archives transferred to the nearby Tabularium. The temple's podium, in concrete covered with travertine, was used for posting bills.
According to ancient sources, the statue of the god in the interior was veiled and equipped with a scythe (an agricultural hand tool for mowing grass or reaping crops). The image was made of wood and filled with oil. The legs were covered with bands of wool which were removed only on December 17, the day of the Saturnalia.
Around 600 B.C.: Under the orders of the king of Rome, Tarquinius Priscus (Reign: 616 BC - 579 BC), the city of Rome starts the construction of the Cloaca Maxima (Italian: Cloaca Massima ; Greatest Sewer) based upon an earlier open air system of drainage built by the Etruscans. It becomes one of the worlds most ancient sewer systems. The system serves to drain local marshes and remove the waste of one of the world's most populous cities, it carried effluent to the River Tiber, which ran beside the city. The construction allows for a harder underground and the construction of the large monumental buildings which will come to form the Forum Romanum. Although construction starts around the year 600 BC, further development lasts into the reign period of Tarquinius Superbus (Reign: 535 BC - 509 BC), Rome's seventh and last king. There after the system will remain well maintained and even today parts of it are functional draining water from underneath the now ruined Forum Romanum.
715 BC - 673 BC: During the reign period of the legendary second King of Rome, Numa Pompilius (Life: 753 BC - 673 BC; Reign 715 BC - 673 BC), the Temple of Vesta (Latin Aedes Vestae; Italian: Tempio di Vesta) was built in Rome. As one of the oldest Temple structures in Rome, it later became part of the Forum Romanum, which formed the political heart of the city. The temple used Greek architecture with Corinthian columns, marble, and a central cella. The ruins remnants existing today indicates that there were twenty Corinthian columns built on a podium fifteen meters in diameter. The roof probably had a vent at the apex to allow smoke release. The original Temple of Vesta served as the storehouse for the legal wills and documents of Roman Senators and cult objects such as the Palladium and was built along with the original Regia (a section of ancient Rome adjacent the Forum Romanum which among things held the Palace of the first Kings of Rome) and House of the Vestal Virgins. Around the Temple stood The Sacred Grove, in which also there was a graveyard for the priests and virgins.
390 B.C.: The Temple of Vesta ( Latin Aedes Vestae; Italian: Tempio di Vesta) , one of the oldest monumental buildings (constructed between 715 BC and 673 BC) in the ancient heart of the city of Rome is destroyed when the Gauls invaded and sacked the city. The important Temple was however rebuilt shortly there after, as it would be many times over.
241 BC: The Temple of Vesta (Latin Aedes Vestae; Italian: Tempio di Vesta), one of the oldest monumental structures in the city of Rome, rebuilt after 390 BC, is hit by fire and destroyed. Once more the Temple is rebuilt shortly there after.
April 21, 753 BC: The founding of the city of Rome. According to legend, the founders of the city of Rome were the twins Romulus and Remus, who led a group of exiles from the small city of Alba Longa (Today: Castelgandolfo) to found the city on the hills along the Tiber river, a city which would be a haven for refugees, exiles and the downtrodden. After the city limits (imperium) had been determined, the question arose as to who would become the ruler of the city and territory and have absolute powers to rule the city state and all its citizens. Although the matter was to be settled fairly through what is know as an "auspicium" (Bird watch), the settlement of the dispute went dramatically wrong, ultimately leaving one of the twins, Remus, dead. As a result, Romulus went on to become the first King of the city state of Rome, giving him the powers of "Imperium", which meant that Romulus was given the powers to make laws, keep laws and further be the judge of all affairs of importance within the state and among the citizenry. According to the understanding of the times, the right to hold the Imperium was a god given right, granted by the powers of the gods. Although the powers of the ruler through the Imperium were absolute, enabling the King ruler to create laws, which were known as edicts, it must be noted that already at the very beginning of the city state a second law giving body was created. This body was the council of citizens, the Comitia, which was headed and overseen by the King Ruler. The laws passed by the Comitia were however not identified as edicts but as lex. A third method of organisation in the city state of Rome was provided by the division of the citizenry into families. At the head of each family a man was appointed to be Family Father (Pater Familias). The function of Pater Familias was created as a hereditary function, which meant that the function would pass to the sons of these figures after their death (this created the "class" of the Patricians). The King of the State created a third body by selecting altogether 100 Family Fathers, making up a council of elders. The members of the council of elders would henceforth be known as "Senes", or senators. The decisions made by the senators of the council of elders did not have the power of law, they were neither edicts nor lex, however they served to give advise to the ruling King (and later the consuls and Emperors). Thus was created the city state of Rome, which in due time would go on to establish an Empire in Europe, parts of Asia and Africa and serve as the western end of the cross continental trading route(s) of the silk road.
532 B.C.: Centuries before the official opening of the Silk Road during the Han Dynasty Era, Chinese astronomers identify a new star, which has appeared in the Constellation Aquirius.
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Around the year 280 BC: The walled and fortified city of Alexandria Oxiana (Likely Alexandria on the Oxus (Greek: Αλεξάνδρεια η επί του Ώξου) ; today known as Ai-Khanoum (Aï Khānum, also Ay Khanum, lit. “Lady Moon” in Uzbek)), according to legend founded by Alexander the Great during his great conquests in Asia around the year 329 BC near the location where his armies crossed northward over the Oxus River, is developed by the Seleucid Emperor, Antiochus I Soter (Greek: Ἀντίοχος Α΄ ὁ Σωτήρ; epithet means "the Saviour")(Life: c. 324/3 - June 2, 261 BC). Having succeeded his father following his assassination in 281 BC, Antiochus I Soter faced the task of ruling a vast Empire which lay between Thrace and Macedonia of Greece and Bactria and Sogdiana, with roughly the current day northern and eastern borders of Afghanistan as the eastern ends of his domain. During his rule he built strong relations with his Indian neighbours of the Mauryan Empire (322 BCE- 185 BC) to the south while guarding his Empire against nomadic invasions from the north. This may have been part of the reasons for the founding of the new city in the strategic location of what is today the confluence of the Kokcha River and the Amu Darya (Oxus River), on the border of Tajikistan and Afghanistan just within the borders of Takhar Province of Afghanistan. The city was founded in a fertile region which allowed for an stabile agricultural base to feed the city. Meanwhile, the same location was well within reach of various regions (of current day Afghanistan) where mineral resources, especially the famous so-called "rubies" (actually, spinel) from Badakshan, lapis lazuli, emeralds and gold where available in relative abundance. Its location at the junction between Bactrian territory and nomad territories to the north, made it a convenient conduit for such goods to move along the already available trans-continental highways for trade (pre-Silk Road) with the products being sold as far away as the Mediterranean Regions, Asia Minor (current day Turkey) and parts of current day Greece and Macedonia. Furthermore, as directly relevant to the rule of Antiochus I Soter, Alexandria on the Oxus (Ai-Khanoum) was located at the very doorstep of Ancient India, allowing it interact directly with the Indian subcontinent through trade. The direct link with the Indian sub-continent is reflected in the long history of the city after its founding. The city was founded during the Seleucid Empire (312 BC to 63 BC) but fel to the conquests of the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom (256 BC - 125 BC) which then held the city until around the year 145 BC, when apparently it was completely destroyed by Indo-Scythian nomadic invaders never to be rebuilt again. Today it survives as a famous ruined site and one of the tourist and historic highlights of north-eastern Afghanistan and the silk roads. During it's heydays under the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom Alexandria Oxiana was a wealthy and important urban and cultural center for the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom, representing the best of the most distant, isolated, and northeastern extent of the Hellenistic realm (although current day Khujand (Tajik: Хуҷанд, translit. Xujand; Uzbek: Xo‘jand/Хўжанд; Persian: خجند, translit. Xojand) in northern Tajikistan was the farthest city reached by Alexander the Great who according to legend founded there the fortified city of Alexandria Ultima or Alexandria Eschate (Greek: Ἀλεξάνδρεια Ἐσχάτη)). Alexandria on the Oxus boasted a high degree of Hellenistic architecture and culture, just as any city-state in the Mediterranean would have enjoyed. Living up to its identity as a true meeting point for cultural exchange, just as Alexander would have liked to see, already during the Seleucid rule over the city, Buddhist emissaries from India found their way from India to Alexandria on the Oxus and disseminated the Buddhist faith into the city as well as the greater surrounding region of the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom. Although this is as yet uncertain, Antiochus likely is the Greek king mentioned in the Edicts of Ashoka (made by Emperor Ashoka of the Mauryan Empire during his reign, from 268 BC to 232 BC ; Today preserved at various locations in India and Afghanistan), as one of the recipients of the Indian Emperor Ashoka's Buddhist proselytism (Buddhist proselytism at the time of king Ashoka (260 - 218 BC)). According to the Edicts of Ashoka."And even this conquest (I.e. preaching Buddhism) has been won by the Beloved of the Gods here and in all the borderlands, as far as six hundred yojanas (5,400–9,600 km) away, where Antiochus, king of the Yavanas (Greeks) rules, and beyond this Antiochus four kings named Ptolemy, Antigonos, Magas and Alexander rule." It is at Alexandria on the Oxus that some of the oldest known depictions of Buddha have been found, and strikingly influenced by Greek statue crafting techniques. Subsequently, as the silk road proper opened up trade with the Han Dynasty Empire (206 BC - 220 AD) of China, it was from the regions of the city that Buddhism and the traditional Greek styled representations of Buddhist art found their way across the mountains and passes of current day Afghanistan (Wakhjir Pass), Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan into the Tarim (River) Basin and the Oasis of the Taklamakan Desert in current day Xinjiang-Uyghur Autonomous Region of China (P.R.C.).