Tag Archives: Silk Road

Hybrid military systems

In my previous post, I analysed medieval societies as being marked by the bundling together of military service and income extraction in some sort of fief-warrior system, though the forms of fiefs varied considerably across different medieval societies. There were also various hybrid systems developed from the C6th to the C11th.  Late Sassanid and Thematic […]

Of copper, tin and iron

The Silk Age of Eurasian trade  may have begun around 220 BC, with the unification of China under imperial rule and the shift to cavalry driving up demand for horses, but trade over long distances began millennia before that. Copper arrives While there is evidence of long-distance trade even among foraging societies–ochre, for example, travelled thousands […]

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold … A post somewhat about China

Historically, taxing land (rents) and trade have been the dominant income sources of rulerships not reliant on labour service (not to be confused with taxes on labour income, which have a different dynamic).* Trade was a particularly attractive source of income because it often involved taxing outsiders. But trade was also mobile–too much tax for […]

Imperialism, it is what rulerships do

I came across (via) this very silly statement: The very idea of empire was created in ancient Rome … That would be news to the Persians, the Chaldeans, the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Hittites, the Egyptians, the House of Ur, the Gutians, the Akkadians, the … And that is just the Middle East. When revenue was […]