When Asia Was the World: Traveling Merchants, Scholars, Warriors, and Monks Who Created the ""Riches of the ""East""

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Hachette Books, 2007 M12 4 - 400 pages
While European civilization stagnated in the "Dark Ages," Asia flourished as the wellspring of science, philosophy, and religion. Linked together by a web of spiritual, commercial, and intellectual connections, the distant regions of Asia's vast civilization, from Arabia to China, hummed with trade, international diplomacy, and the exchange of ideas. Stewart Gordon has fashioned a compelling and unique look at Asia from AD 700 to 1500-a time when Asia was the world-by relating the personal journeys of Asia's many travelers.

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User Review  - bookwoman247 - LibraryThing

This is a concise little history of travel and exploration in Asia from 500 A.D. to 1500 A. D.. The focus is on the (usually) congruent spread of trade, knowledge, and religion. It seemed to hit on ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Ellesee - LibraryThing

Not only was the book fascinating, but Mr. Gordon was a terrific lecturer as well. During the "dark" and Middle Ages in Europe, the Middle East and Asia had a thriving trade economy--people from ... Read full review


Monasteries and Monarchs Xuanzang 618632 CE
Caliph and Caravan Ibn Fadlan 921922 CE
Philosopher and Physician Ibn Sina 10021021 CE
Ingots and Artifacts The Intan Shipwreck circa 1000 CE
Pepper and Partnerships Abraham bin Yiju 11201160 CE
Nobles and Notables Ibn Battuta 13251356 CE
Treasure and Treaty Ma Huan 14131431 CE
Blood and Salt Babur 14941526 CE
Medicines and Misunderstandings Tomé Pires 15111521 CE
The Asian World 5001500 CE
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Page 6 - The Master of the Law having visited the celebrated Masters all round, devoured their words and examined their principles ; and so he found that each followed implicitly the teaching of his own school ; but on verifying their doctrine he saw that the holy books differed much, so that he knew not which to follow.
Page 2 - ... finely lined eyebrows, and bright eyes. He wore his dress large, and his girdle was full, loving to be recognised as a scholar. Born in those times, and a man of a remote district, he was simple in his manners and contented — and sought neither honour nor preferment. Anticipating the decay and fall of the Sui dynasty, he buried himself in the study of his books. Many offers of provincial and district offices were pressed on him, which he persistently refused ; he declined all magisterial duties...
Page 9 - ... caused an additional supply of necessary provisions, and each day he pressed on him food provided from the king's own store. The Master of the Law, seeing that he would be detained by force in opposition to his original design, declared with an oath that he would eat nothing, in order to affect the king's heart. So he sat in a grave posture, and during three days he neither ate nor drank ; on the fourth day the king seeing that the Master was becoming fainter and fainter, overcome with shame...
Page 11 - ... blinded with the glare, so that it cannot long gaze at them. The icy peaks fall down sometimes and lie athwart the road, some of them a hundred feet high, and others several tens of feet wide. On this account the extreme difficulty of climbing over the first, and the danger of crossing the others. Moreover the wind, and the snow driven in confused masses, make it difficult to escape an icy coldness of body though wrapped in heavy folds of fur-bound garments. When desirous of food or sleep there...

About the author (2007)

Stewart Gordon is Senior Research Scholar at the Center for South Asian Studies at the University of Michigan and the author of three books on Asia. He lives in Ann Arbor.

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