Josseran’s Journey: Silk Road

In the steps of Marco Polo The Silk Road, as it is called, was an intricate network of trade routes linking Asia and the western world. It came into being with the expansion of the Han Empire into Central Asia around 100 BC, with the Parthian Empire forming a land bridge to the Roman Empire […]

Marco Polo: Epic adventurer or armchair traveller?

And the man who did it first Marco Polo. His name has become a byword for epic adventure. The man who, in the 13th century, explored the Silk Road all the way to China. Or did he? There are historians who claim he simply wrote down gossip he heard from other merchants. Others have accused […]

Genghis Khan, but you can’t

The Mongol Horde and the Silk Road His name is synonymous with brutality and ruthlessness. He was responsible for more deaths than Stalin and Hitler combined. His military campaigns sometimes involved eliminating an entire civilian population. 40 million people died because of him. Over two decades, that’s one person killed every twenty seconds. He hardly […]

Xanadu. Fact or Fable?

Golden Horde

Last stop on the Silk Road ‘In Xanadu did Kubla Khan A stately pleasure-dome decree…’ The opening lines from Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s famous poem Kubla Khan have led some to believe that Xanadu was an imaginary place, like Hogwarts or Gotham City. Coleridge himself said that the poem was composed one night after he experienced […]