Direct and inferred influences of the Silk Roads on the " golden age " of the Abbasid Caliphate
This article sheds light on the east-west international relations of the first century of the Abbasid Caliphate. It describes discernable Chinese influences on the onset and maintenance of a golden age of Islamic government in this century, distinguished for the flourishing of translation, research contributions in natural sciences and philosophy, sophistication in the fine arts, and economic productivity and prosperity. These influences were in the fields of trade, governance, artisan production, and scientific epistemological knowledge. The article argues that two interlocking factors helped create the conditions of possibility for the golden age of the Abbasid Caliphate: first, a positive disposition defined by pragmatism and accommodation by the Tang Dynasty found a counterpart in Abbasid policy; second, for the Abbasids, relations along the Silk Roads that had been developing for centuries valorized the potential of exchanges with the east, including China. The article explains the varied intensity of influences from the Silk Roads, as well as the Tang Dynasty, on the Abbasid golden age. It concludes by briefly explaining how people-to-people exchanges maintained ties, especially after the political power of both governments weakened and eventually ended.
- International Affairs [62 items ]