Eternal ‘Silk Road’? The Rise of Sogdiana during the 3rd–4th Centuries A.D.

Wall painting of Sogdian Banqueters, Panjikent, Tajikistan (ancient Sogdiana), site xvi:10, first half of 8th century CE. The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, SA-16215-16217.

Date: Nov 15, 2021 Time: 12:00 PM–1:30 PM Location: Zoom

Sören Stark, Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, NYU, explores the rise of Sogdiana as one of Eurasia’s economic power houses during Late Antiquity.

Sören Stark | Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, New York University

The last three decades 'Silk Road' studies have seen an unprecedented boom. As one of the consequences of this boom, Sogdiana and its traders were brought into the view of the broader academic and non-academic audience. Unfortunately (as is often the case with popular labels attached to research) the 'Silk Road' label has a tendency to take a somewhat timeless quality, thus turning Sogdiana into an eternal hub of transcontinental trade routes, supposedly flourishing since the dawn of history. But is this really the case? And if not, how can we explain the rise of Sogdiana as one of Eurasia's economic power houses during Late Antiquity? In my lecture, I will attempt to approach this question with the help of both written sources as well as archaeological data. With regard to the latter, I will in particular draw from the results of archaeological fieldwork conducted since 2011 by the Uzbek-American Expedition in Bukhara in present-day Uzbekistan.

This lecture will take place live on Zoom, followed by a question and answer period. Please register to receive the Zoom link. An email with the relevant Zoom information will be sent 1–2 hours ahead of the lecture. Registration closes on November 15, 2021, at 9:00 AM (ET).

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An East of Byzantium lecture. EAST OF BYZANTIUM is a partnership between the Arthur H. Dadian and Ara Oztemel Chair of Armenian Art at Tufts University and the Mary Jaharis Center that explores the cultures of the eastern frontier of the Byzantine empire in the late antique and medieval periods.

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