Submitted by Taps Coogan on the 12th of July 2018 to The Sounding Line.
For your viewing pleasure, the following map from Martin Mansson shows the main trade routes across Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia in the 11th and 12th centuries. As the creator notes:
“This map depicts the main trading arteries of the high middle ages, just after the decline of the Vikings and before the rise of the Mongols, the Hansa and well before the Portuguese rounded the Cape of Good Hope. The map also depicts the general topography, rivers, mountain passes and named routes. All of which contributed to why cities came to be, and still are, up until modern times. The high middle ages were a time when the stars aligned in terms of commerce for many areas of the world. In central Europe many German and French cities initiated annual trade fairs, some of which are still active today – most notably in Frankfurt…”
For more detail on the context read the creators description here.
(The map is best viewed in full-screen, zoomed in)
While today’s popular perception of the ancient silk road is one of a fairly linear connection between China and Europe, the truth is that the silk road was a diverse trade route that was just one piece in a complex multi-continental trade network that emerged during the High Middle Ages.
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