Friday, December 29, 2023

The Magi travel the Long Silk Road to see the Newborn King

Journey of the Magi by Hieronymus Bosch 1500-1510

The Silk Road was a network of trade routes connecting China & the Far East with the Middle East & Europe. Established when the Han Dynasty in China officially opened trade with the West in 130 B.C., the Silk Road routes remained in use until 1453 A.D., when the Ottoman Empire boycotted trade with China & closed them.

Stefano Di Giovanni Sassetta (Italian artist, 1394-1450) Journey of the Magi along The Silk Road 1435

The Middle Ages refers to the period of European history from the fall of the Roman Empire in the West (5C) to the fall of Constantinople (1453).  In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages (or medieval period) lasted from the 5C to the 15C.  The Middle Ages is the middle period of the 3 traditional divisions of Western history: classical antiquity, the medieval period, & the modern period.

The Meeting of the Magi on The Silk Road by Maestro de Saint Bartholomew 1480

The medieval period is subdivided into the Early, High, & Late Middle Ages. During the High Middle Ages, which began after 1000, the population of Europe increased greatly as technological & agricultural innovations allowed trade to flourish.  The Crusades, first preached in 1095, were military attempts by Western European Christians to regain control of the Holy Land from Muslims. For Europe as a whole, 1500 is often considered to be the end of the Middle Ages, but there is no firmly agreed upon end date. Events such as the conquest of Constantinople by the Turks in 1453, Christopher Columbus's first voyage to the Americas in 1492, or the Protestant Reformation in 1517 are sometimes used.