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The Silks Roads Summary and Guide - Chapter 2 - The Road of Faiths - Pages 27-36

Key listening:


The flow of ideas 🌐

Trade flourished along the Silk Roads and ideas were then also freely propagated along the roads. Buddhism from India spread East and West as caravans passed through its lands 🛤️. How to raise really fat cows was naturally passed along 🐄. Contemporary literature/sources show Buddhist conversions far and wide as people felt attracted to the ideas of humility and compassion - something not very trendy in history! It’s not so different to kids liking one trend - like SLIME - and then replacing it with another 4 weeks later 🔄. The concept of enlightenment, mostly said to have happened in the 17th century, was already spreading 🌟. A revolution took place, however, as rulers hijacked religions to strengthen their claim to be the divine leader - Vote for me…I have a huge temple and lots of snacks 🍪🕌. Tangible acts of worship could bring about certain rewards in exchange. Kabul in Afghanistan was surrounded by temples full of gold and opulence. While the world starved, temples were full of incredible wealth 💰.


China copies 🇨🇳

In around 406 C.E, the northern Wei of China thought this was a splendid idea, too. Imagine telling everyone that your rule was part of a divine cycle and anyone who supported you would benefit from this divinity, too? Well, you should because that’s what they said and did. Brilliant! So, why aren’t we all Buddhist? A maelstrom of conflicts broke out as religions fought for the dominant position with the most followers and faithful ✨. Christianity spilled out of Palestine and became a behemoth rapidly 🌍. This is a natural event in many ways. During the Covid crisis of 2019 to 20_ _ sob companies realised people wanted masks! Masks with almost no protection, but a fancy logo on them 😷. Religions and leaders realised that people needed faith because life was so grim - “Believe in us! We’re the best!”, they cried 📣.


What to do with Christians? ✝️

Christianity wasn’t really a Western idea at all. It started with Judaism (as we now call it) and migrated as the Hebrews moved from place to place. As the Romans controlled Hebrew lands and Jerusalem, they weren’t really sure what to do with these odd Christians. Pliny the Younger wrote to the Roman Emperor Trajan asking for help about how to judge Christians in his court: “I have never taken part in trials of Christians. I therefore do not know what type of punishment is appropriate, nor how far to look into their activities. He executed quite a lot...for I had no doubt that whatever it is that they believe, their stubbornness and inflexible obstinacy should certainly be punished.” How lovely to punish devout believers 🤷‍♂️.


“Just stop it…or else!”, said the Persians 🛑

As often happens when a new idea starts to gestate and grow, old ideas often flourish again to beat them down. The Persians, yes them again, experienced a resurgence of old, ancient beliefs and the new rulers sought to connect themselves. It’s always amazing fun to pretend you’re ancient because people always respect ancient ideas more than new ones even if they are nuts! As the Silk Roads crossed through Persia, they had been flooded with early Christian, Buddhist, and Hindu ideas. So, what did they do? They persecuted them, of course, as all famous and infamous ancient civilisations liked to do. They tried to strengthen and protect their own ideas named Zoroastrianism - Word of the year 20 ___ 📚🔥. Key vocabulary:

Arteries 

Noun

Main routes and roads (also blood vessels biologically)

Cult

Noun

A group with shared religious belief, but not a major one 

Purportedly

Adverb

Apparently 

Legitimacy 

Noun

Your qualifications for a role or position

Maelstrom

Noun 

A jumble or swirl

Propagate

Verb

To spread and grow

Contemporary

Adjective

From the time that something happened

Humility

Noun

Modesty

Hijack

Verb

To aggressively take over another's' idea or thing

Gestate

Verb

To grow



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