Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Paris Codex

Paris Codex

The Paris Codex is called Codex Pérez. In addition, people know this book as the Codex Peresianus. It is one of the three pre-Columbian Maya books that are still surviving, dating to 900–1521 AD, which is the postclassic period of the chronology called "Mesoamerican." It was a part of the larger codex. However, only the current fragments of it remain which makes it the shortest of the four codices. The preservation of the document wasn't done properly, because of which the corners of all pages got damaged. As a result, some of the text was lost. This codex is related to a cycle of thirteen 20-year kʼatuns and covers information related to Maya astronomical signs.

People believe that the Paris Codex is painted in western Yucatán, at Mayapan. AD 1200–1525 is considered the late postclassic period. Around 1450, it has been dated. However, recently, an earlier date of 1185 was suggested by placing the document in early postclassic. AD 900–1200 is considered the period of early postclassic. The information about astronomy and the calendar in this codex remained consistent during the period from AD 731 to 987. This period was considered a Classic period cycle. It means that the codex is a copy of a much earlier document. The Bibliothèque Royale of Paris got it in 1832. Now, it is held at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France in Paris and it is in the Département des Manuscrits.

What Is The Paris Codex?

Paris Codex is a Maya manuscript made in the mid-fifteenth century. It is a screen-fold manuscript book made of amate paper. This codex originated from the Mayapán region of Yucatán, located in Mexico. Possibly, it is a copy of a book that dates from the classic period of Mesoamerican civilization.

It is assumed that this codex was in use during the Spanish arrival in the Yucatán in the early stage of the 16th century. This book describes almanacs and ritual calendars. Moreover, it contains astronomical data and some tools for prognostication.

More Information About Paris Codex:

The devotion of the codex is to the Mayan ritual. Also, it is devoted to the ceremony, which is held with the purpose of celebrating the end of a 20-year period. The Paris codex is fragmentary. Paper from tree bark is used to compose it. This codex looks like a long strip.  There are a total of eleven individual leaves containing 22 pages of columns where you can see images and glyphs of gods. Additionally, you will get to see the set of year-bearers in this codex that can give a hint to the date when it was created: a period between the Mayan history's Classic and Conquest periods.

The manuscript consists of eleven panels, most of which are painted on both sides. Once the book is unfolded, it will extend to 138 cm. However, two panels i.e. four pages are lost. This book is popular for its illustrated constellation pages.

Discovery Of Paris Codex:

In 1859, people started knowing about this codex when Léon de Rosny found it in a basket containing old papers. He saw this basket in the chimney's corner in the Bibliothèque Impériale in Paris. Scholars tested the codex around 25 years ago and cataloged this. When this document was found, it had a piece of paper that attributed it to the colonial Maya documents collection that Juan Pío Pérez gathered.

Time Reconning And Prognostication:

This one is a holy book of divination, just like the other surviving Maya books, including the Codex Dresden and the Codex Madrid. This screenfold shows some katuns, which refer to the recording history measurement unit of Maya. You can see the image of Lord of the Katun on all the pages of the document. It also contains glyphs to represent auguries and time periods. The reverse has information related to maize crop yields and the prognostication of rainfall. Additionally, it includes information about spirit forces. To conclude the manuscript, two pages are used, which showcase 13 constellations of the Maya sky.

Style Reflecting Yucatán Visual Tradition:

In this book, you can see images following the style of the East coast of Tulum, Tancah, Cobá, and Mayapán. Textual content as well as formal arrangement aspects help to recall those of the Mayapán stela that contains katuns. You can see aesthetic similarities in the wall paintings' rendering at Tancah, Cobá, and Tulum.

From Yucatán To Europe:

The accurate path that the codex travelled between Mexico and Europe is still not known to people. It is assumed that Paris Codex was available in a private collection before its arrival in Paris. This book got its nickname “Codex Peresianus” in the middle of the 19th century from a now lost paper wrapper around, on which "Pérez" was written.

Content Of Paris Codex:

The nature of this codex's content is ritual. In its one part, patron deities and some related rituals for a cycle of thirteen kʼatuns are described. Another fragment elaborated animals that represent the signs of astronomy and ecliptic, like a scorpion and a peccary. Moreover, you can see an image of the fragments of Maya "zodiac" on the two pages of this book. Annotations that are made with Latin characters are used to mark some of its pages.

On one side of this book, every page's normal format follows the same arrangement. You can see a standing depiction at the left hand side on every page. Along with this, you get to see a seated drawing on each page's right side. Every page contains the Ajaw Day glyph and is combined with a numerical coefficient to represent a date that marks a calendrical cycle's last day. The preservation of the document was not done properly, resulting in some text being lost. Fortunately, some texts survived that helped to demonstrate this document's major dates series correspond to the ending of kʼatun that helped in the construction of a few lost date glyphs again in the text. You can see seated figures here that are linked to a sidereal glyph. It means that these figures represent every kʼatun's ruling deity.

You can see two pages in the codex mentioning the days of the tzolkʼin 260-day cycle, which corresponds to the start of every solar year over fifty-two years. In the last two pages, you can see the drawing of a series of thirteen animals that represent the "zodiac". As per the conclusion of the document's modern studies, the end of the zodiac cycle represents a predilection to Mayan fatalism psychologically. According to this, the end of the Mayan Classic Period could be the outcome of a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Origin Of Paris Codex:

This codex is expected to be made in Yucatán like the other two generally accepted codices. J. Eric S. Thompson, who is an English Mayanist, thought that the codex was painted in western Yucatán and dated between AD 1250 and 1450. Bruce Love saw similarities between a scene on the codex's 11th page and Stela 1 at Mayapan. Depending on this, he said that this codex was produced In Mayapan, around 1450.

The Bottom Line:

In this article, we have discussed Paris Codex in detail, which is one of the three surviving pre-columbian Maya books. For further queries, feel free to ask us via comments. We are always here to guide you and answer your queries.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Where is the Paris Codex?

The Bibliothèque Royale of Paris acquired this codex in 1832. At present, it is held at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, in the Département des Manuscrits.

  1. How many codices survive today?

Only three or four Maya codices have survived. 

  1. What does codex mean?

Codex refers to an ancient book with some stacked pages, which are hand-written.

Thursday, February 1, 2024

Selkie

Selkie

Selkie is a type of mythological creature that removes or wears its seal skin to shapeshift between seal & human forms. The source of this specific term  “selkie” is the Scots word for "seal." People pronounce the term as silkies, silkies, or selchies. These mythological creatures are even called selkie folk, which means 'seal folk.' They are especially associated with the Northern Isles of Scotland where Selkies are used to live as seals in the sea. But they shed their skins to turn themselves into a human on land. Let's dig into the article to learn more about selkie.

What is a Selkie?

Selkie is basically the Scots name for a seal. This mythical creature can become a human by removing its skin. According to some stories, when the Selkies transformed themselves into humans, they used to have webbed hands and feet. Most people believe that they have beautiful brown eyes and hair. People can find stories about selkie throughout Northwest Europe. But selkies are associated especially with Scotland.

Dual Nature Of Selkies:

They have a dual nature. For instance, while they can help humans and are friendly to them, they can be dangerous. When they form the shape of a human, they look seductive and attractive. In many stories, you can see that they have romantic or sexual relationships with people that sometimes results in children.

If someone hides or steals their seal skin, they plan to take revenge on them. In order to do so, they can even do different tricks, like marrying humans.  In such cases, marriages are not happy. The reason is that they always long for the sea. Once they find their skins, they will escape.

These mythological creatures have counterparts in several other cultures like Faroese, Icelandic, Irish, & Manx. People can sometimes confuse them with finfolk, mermaid, or seal-like creatures. However, Selkies have inspired a lot of works of art, literature, music, & film.

Shapeshifting Of Selkies:

Shapeshifting indicates their transformation into humans when they shed their seal coats. But Shapeshifting is draining for many non-magical Selkie. Several selkies are able to transform themselves and get the human form once every seven years. Some of them know how to transform the body more often through magic.

Sometimes, Selkies remain in human form for more than a day. If it happens, then they might suffer, grow ill, and even die. So, it is essential for them to have their seal coat to turn back into a seal. In case the coat is stolen or lost, they get trapped in human form. As a result, they can't return to the sea.

Appearance Of Selkies:

They can't be visually distinguished from the normal seals when they are in their natural form. Similarly, when they transform their body into humans, no one can identify them as a selkie.

Food Habits Of Selkies:

They like to eat fish, squid, shrimp, mollusks, crustaceans, & other seafood. When they are in human form, they can eat “human” foods. But seafood is always their favorite.

In Magical Society:

They have the capability of interacting with magical society rather frequently. Usually, they do it out of curiosity and also when they wish to have company. They know very well that there are risks if they come out from their aquatic home. Selkies could be trapped if their seal skins are stolen.  After living life and enjoying days on land, they start to feel uncomfortable. They want to return to the sea as they have been away from the sea for a long time. Sometimes, when their seal skins are stolen, they need to live a long time on land. As a result, they could even have children. But once they find their seal coats, they will return to the sea. It's not out of any apathy for their family that they made. Instead, due to the deep calling to return to their aquatic home and to turn themselves into their natural form, they are unable to ignore it, once they find their seal skins.

Usually, they are playful and very kind. Also, they are not harmful to humankind. But in order to take revenge on those who kill other Selkies, they sometimes can pose a threat. Generally, seal hunters can kill selkies. 

Usually, their kids are Selkies themselves or humans. They are seen with a few features that seals have. For instance, they have webbed skin between their fingers & toes. Children who get the form of Selkies often join with their selkie parents to their aquatic home when the selkie returns, generally after seven years because of how long the selkie parent needs to recharge the shapeshifting ability. The selkie parents often leave coins behind to those who raise their children (stuck in human form) on land.

Scottish Legend:

You should know that a lot of folk stories on Selkie are collected  from the Northern Isles (Orkney and Shetland).

In Orkney lore, selkie refers to a variety of seals who have greater size compared to the grey seal and can only transform their body into humans, and they are known as "selkie folk". This kind of large seals are seen on the islands, including:

  • the Greenland seal called the Harp Seal, and
  • the crested seal called the hooded seal.

In Shetland tradition, you can find some similar things are stated that say Mermaids and mermen like it to assume the shape of larger seals, and it is called Haaf-fish.

  • Selkie Wife And Human Lover:

There is a folk tale of a man who has stolen the skin of a female selkie. Then, he found her naked on the seashore. Later, to become his wife, he compels her. But the wife waits for many days in captivity and is longing for the sea, her actual home. She often gazes longingly at the ocean. Although she has several kids with the man she married, after getting her skin back, she will return to the ocean and abandon her children.

Her one kid even discovers or knows the whereabouts of the skin. She also had a husband of her kind, which is revealed sometimes. However, in some children's story versions, it is said that the selkie goes to her family on land once every year. Again, in a version, it is stated that no one in the family saw the selkie wife again in human form. However, the children would witness a large seal coming near them to greet them plaintively.

 Male Selkies are described as handsome when they transform themselves into human form. They also come with great seductive power over human women who have a lot of dissatisfaction in their lives, like married women who often wait for their fishermen husbands. There was a rumour in a popular tattletale version about a certain "Ursilla" of Orkney, where it was mentioned that she used to shed seven tears into the ocean in order to contact her male selkie.

  • Binding Rules And Sinful Origin:

According to the legends, selkies were able to turn into humans very often whenever the conditions of the tides were suitable. However, oral storytellers did not agree as to the time interval.

 According to Ursilla's rumour, the male selkie whom she contacted came to see her at the "seventh stream" or spring tide. Whereas in the ballad The Great Silkie of Sule Skerry, it is mentioned that the seal-husband promises to come back in seven years.

As per a version, selkie was able to assume human form once in seven years. The reason is that their bodies house condemned souls. A notion says that they are those humans who have committed sinful wrongdoing or fallen angels.

Superstitions:

People from the Scottish Isles would kill seals to use their blubber and skin. During that time, people used to believe that a seal’s death because of killing might result in misfortune for the perpetrator.

There was a story of crofters who came with their sheep to graze upon holms within the Orkney Islands. In the month of summer, a person placed his seven sheep on the largest holm. But when he was returning home from grazing sheep, he killed a seal. At night, all of his sheep disappeared. However, the sheep of other crofters didn't disappear as they had not killed a seal. 

How Did Folklore Help Archeologists?

 Icelandic folk-tales:

Jón Árnason published a folk-tale called "Selshamurinn" that can provide an Icelandic analogue of the selkie folk story. In this story, you get to know how a man from Mýrdalur forced a woman who has transformed from seal to marry him after he took possession of her seal coat. This woman finds the key to the chest in her husband's regular clothes while he is getting ready for a Christmas outing. Later, the seal woman joined her male seal.

Jón Guðmundsson recorded another story called The Learned in 1641. As per her reports, these seal folk were denoted as sea-dwelling elves. The tale is about a man who comes towards a cave by the ocean where elves are dancing. All of the elves kept their seal skins in a line near the cave. Once they see the man, they rush to get their skins and then return to the sea. But he stole the smallest of the skins. As a result, the skin's owner attempts to retrieve her skin from him. But he took the hold of the young elf and took her to his home to make her wife. For two years, they were together and had two kids— a boy and a girl. The elf didn't have any affection or love for her land husband. During that time, the seal husband of that woman swims by the couple's home along the shore. After finding her skin, she escaped and was never seen again.

Irish folklore:

Hence, the mermaid, which is known as merrow in Hiberno-English, is called a seal-woman. In a story in Tralee, it was said that the Lee family was descended from a man who married a mermaid. However, she later runs away to join her seal husband, which suggests that she is like a seal-folk kind.

Selkies In Scottish Folklore:

In Celtic and Norse mythology, the most famous folktales involve selkies. Mythology says that they shed their skills to transform themselves into humans from seals. When you hear the selkie stories, you get to know about the passionate relationships between humans &  these creatures. But usually, such tales have unhappy endings and serve as cautionary tales.

Although there are many variations of selkie tales that we find throughout Scotland, the common element is that they need to cast off their seal coats for shapeshifting. These magical skins provide them the power to go back to their seal form and return to their aquatic home. In case their seal skins were stolen, the species continued to hold their human form until seal skin was discovered.

Selkie Children:

According to several versions of the selkie myth, the selkie kids are born with specific physical characteristics. Because of these, the Selkie children become different from normal kids.

In The Folklore of Orkney and Shetland, as per the story from Ernest Marwick, a woman has given birth to a son who has a seal's face after she married and loved a selkie man. Marwick mentioned that there was a group of selkie descendants who had greenish, white colored skin and they had cracks ( which exuded a fishy odor) in a few places on their bodies.

Modern Treatments:

George Mackay Brown, a Scottish poet, wrote the story's modern prose version. It is known as "Sealskin".

Conclusion:

In this article, we have discussed almost every detail about selkie. Along with elaborating on their characteristics, appearance, food preferences, we have discussed their nature, behavior and so on. For further queries, do ask us via comments.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the myth of the Selkie?

They are mainly associated with the Northern Isles of Scotland. Selkies lived as seals in the ocean, but to turn themselves into humans, they shed their skin.

  • Are selkies only female?

Selkie species also have male members in mythology. Usually, we know them as mermaids with seal attributes instead of fish. Besides, they can shed their skin to behave as humans on land. They have both males & females of their kind.

  •   What does the Selkie symbolize?

Selkies are the symbol of their calm & bountiful temperament, who save the lives of fishermen or kids who have fallen into the ocean.

Monday, December 11, 2023

Dependable Personal Injury Lawyers and their Qualities

You have to get a qualified lawyer to represent you in court if you are injured in an accident. It may surprise you to learn that hiring a skilled lawyer in this area of the law can help you obtain justice.It's true that nobody ever intends to get hurt,it just occurs. However, if ignorance contributed to the accident for any reason, then that person should be held accountable. Particularly in cases where the injured person cannot afford the money needed for treatment or anything else.With these kinds of issues, lawyers from NK Law Group (for assistance visit https://nklawinc.com/practice-areas/personal-injury/) can assist you. And we'll examine the qualities that a top-notch personal injury lawyer should possess.

Caring and Compassionate

You will see that some court cases are sentimental and some are not if you examine the various types of cases. Cases involving personal injuries are the very last in an emotional process. Because of this, if relating to the circumstance is not possible, your attorney needs to be able to at least understand it.You should locate another lawyer immediately if their manner strikes you as being aloof and unresponsive.

Always Available

A personal injury lawyer must be accessible 24/7, or at least when necessary. This is due to the fact that these instances are extremely complex and require ongoing advice. The injured party may be receiving treatment, thus it is imperative that the lawyer is actively involved, either in person or over the phone. The argument is stronger if they are fully aware of everything.

Professionalism

Not only they should be available most of the time, but they should also maintain their professionalism. They should always wear acceptable attire, speak in appropriate terms, and so on when they attend a meeting. A lawyer is not the right choice if you believe they are being disrespectful, rude, or making light of your circumstances.

Sincerity

An excellent personal injury lawyer has to be able to give you the straight story. If the evidence is insufficient, they ought to state so. If that's the case, they ought to be able to provide you advice on what you should do or obtain in order to strengthen the case.You would be better off without them if they don't tell you the truth. And for that reason, it is imperative that you discuss your case with two or more lawyers to get their opinions.

Record of Success

You need to investigate their track record of success. The better the lawyer, the more experience they have. In fact, it would be ideal if you perform some prior research on lawyers. Alternatively, you may inquire about their experience.A sign that they could know a lot about something is if they have years of experience in the field. Furthermore, they must have worked with a superb personal injury lawyer, even if they are relatively new to the legal system.

Organized

An individual with well-organized affairs is more likely to perform well, which is why a superb injury lawyer has to be similarly structured. If you decide to employ them, observe how they handle routine tasks like organizing paperwork, getting dressed, and taking care of themselves.If you hire someone who appears disoriented, has documents all over the place, and is poorly groomed, then woe is to you. It will cost you if they eventually appear in court without the required paperwork.

Mindful of Time

It is not a good indication that your lawyer is not time sensitive if he consistently arrives late for appointments or takes his time to return emails. You may learn how they work by seeing them perform simple tasks like setting up meetings and placing calls and emails. They are the right attorney for you if they complete their work on schedule or earlier.

Effective Communicator

In any relationship, effective communication is essential. Due to the strict adherence to the law, lawyer-client relationships require a great deal of communication. As a result, your lawyer must advise you by making wise decisions and speak with you on any issue that may impact you.Additionally, you ought to feel free to discuss everything pertaining to your case with them.

Licensed

Not to mention, a lawyer handling your case ought to be properly certified. You must first and foremost recognize that there are various categories of lawyers. To name a few, there are lawyers for bankruptcy, immigration, divorce, criminal cases, and estate planning.

Therefore, you ought to choose the candidate that best represents you and has the necessary qualifications. You might look up their name online, visit the website of the state bar, and request the documents. It's great if they are accommodating to your request; however, if not, there's a serious problem.

Conclusion

A lawyer who possesses these attributes is the most suitable candidate. As a result, you need to choose the most qualified individual to represent you after doing your homework in advance. You should continue looking if you come across anything troubling or ambiguous.Rather than settling for the first accident lawyer that comes your way and possibly wasting your money, you would prefer to take your time finding a top-notch lawyer.

Sunday, December 3, 2023

Noor Inayat Khan

Noor Inayat Khan

Noor-un-Nisa Inayat Khan was called Nora Baker and Nora Inayat-Khan. She (1 January 1914 – 13 September 1944) was one of the British resistance agents serving in the SOE or Special Operations Executive in France in World War II. SOE's purpose was to conduct espionage, sabotage, and reconnaissance in several nations that the Axis powers had occupied, mainly those that Nazi Germany had occupied.

She was an SOE agent who was working under the codename Madeleine. Noor was the first lady wireless operator who was sent from the UK to aid the French Resistance during World War II. But she got betrayed and captured. Later, she was executed at the Dachau concentration camp. Noor received the George Cross award for her service, the highest civilian decoration for gallantry in the UK.

Who Was Noor Khan?

Noor Khan, called Noor-Un-Nissa Inayat Khan, Nora Baker, Noor Inayat Khan, was a spy in Britain.

Go through this article to learn about the important information regarding Noor.

Noor Inayat Khan Early Life:

This British spy was sent to occupied France during World War 2 as a secret agent. After going there, her life was cut short brutally at the Gestapo's hands. Now, let's learn about her early life in detail.

Noor was born on 1st January 1914 in Moscow. Her father was Indian Muslim, whereas her mother was American. Noor's father was a musician and a Sufi teacher. Besides, her father was a descendant of Tipu Sultan, the Tiger of Mysore who ruled the Kingdom of Mysore in south India.

Mother Ora Ray Baker

Her mother, called Ora Ray Baker, was a poet. Once her mother married her father, she took the Pirani Ameena Begum name. She met her father while travelling throughout the United States. Among the four kids of the couple, Noor was the eldest.

When she was a baby, there was an international conflict on the horizon. It was shortly before the First World War. After that, her family left Moscow in order to move to London and settle in the Bloomsbury area.

The early years of Noor were spent in London before her family went to France (2 years after the end of the war). When her family lived on the continent, they moved into a house near Paris, and here she spent much of her life.

When she was 13, she had to deal with a personal tragedy. During this time, her father died. But her mother and younger siblings were enveloped by grief.  Although she was a youngster then, Noor felt responsible for her family. The sense of her duty became a cornerstone of her personality.

World War II

Before the outbreak of World War I in 1914, her family left Russia and started living in Bloomsbury.

She also attended a nursery in Notting Hill. They moved in 1920 to France and settled in Suresnes near Paris. The house where they settled was gifted by a benefactor of the Sufi movement. When she was young, she was shy, quiet, sensitive, and also dreamy. But after her father's death, she took the responsibility of her family — her grief-stricken mother of her younger siblings. She went to Sorbonne in order to study child psychology. Besides, she studied music at the Paris Conservatory under Nadia Boulanger, composing for piano & harp.

When she was young, she wanted to be a writer. According to the plan, she started her career by publishing her poetry. She published children's stories in English & French. Later, she became a daily contributor to magazines of children & French radio. She also wrote a book named Twenty Jataka Tales, inspired by the Jataka tales of Buddhist tradition in 1939. George G. Harrap and Co published the book in London. Unfortunately, the War changed everything including her and her family’s lives. She, with her family, moved to England in June 1940 from Paris. The reason is that German troops had invaded France.

When they moved to England, they stayed in the home of Basil Mitchell in the initial times. Mitchell is a philosopher influenced greatly by the teachings of her father. Noor and her brother were willing to contribute to the war effort, though she had a Sufi background that preaches non-violence. Noor joined the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force in November of the same year, and she was trained as a wireless operator.

Life in Bordeaux

When German Troops invaded France, her family went to Bordeaux, after the Second World War's outbreak. Then, they went to England by sea and landed at Falmouth in Cornwall on 22 June 1940. Southampton, the parental home of the philosopher Basil Mitchell, is where they stayed initially.

Noor was assigned to the bomber training school in the following year before she became part of the France Section of the SOE in 1943. But during this time, she needed to have specialist training as a wireless operator in occupied France. Previously, all women worked as couriers only. Therefore, she became the first lady who fulfilled the position properly.

When she was taking an intensive training course, she had gone through a mock Gestapo interrogation. Besides, she faced multiple challenges that were conducted to test her competencies. There were a few superior officers who had different opinions over her proper qualities to complete such a mission. But she is not so athletic. However, the commitment of Noor was unwavering. Noor was deemed suitable for sending to France.

Women's Auxiliary Air Force:

It was true that pacifist ideals influenced her deeply. But she, with Vilayat, her brother, decided to assist in defeating Nazi tyranny.

In the November month of 1940, she joined the Women's Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) and, then as an Aircraftwoman 2nd Class, she was sent to be trained as a wireless operator.

Capture And Imprisonment:

She remained in radio contact with London. Buckmaster asked her that she might be flown home. But she told him that she might like to remain because she thought of being the only radio operator in Paris. However, Buckmaster agreed to it. Noor was told to receive signals instead of transmitting.

Betrayal

She was betrayed to the Germans, possibly by Renée Garry, the sister of Émile Henri Garry, the head agent of the 'Cinema' as well as the 'Phono' circuits, and the organiser of Inayat Khan in the Cinema network that was later renamed Phono. However, later, Émile Henri Garry was arrested as well as executed in September 1944 at Buchenwald.

Renée Garry was paid allegedly 100,000 francs. The actions of Noor have been attributed at least to Garry's suspicion that she lost the affection of SOE agent France Antelme to Noor. However, once the war ended, she tried but escaped conviction by one vote.

Arrest of Noor Inayat Khan

She was arrested on or around 13 October 1943. Later, she was interrogated at the SD Headquarters at 84 Avenue Foch in Paris. Then, she attempted to run away twice. The former name of the head of the SD in Paris was Hans Kieffer, who testified after the war that she had not given Gestapo any details, but lied consistently.

But according to other sources, she chatted with an Alsatian interrogator. These sources said that Noor gave personal details, which allowed the SD to answer random checks about her childhood & family. She never released the secret of her activities when she was interrogated. However, the SD found Noor's notebooks. She copied all messages sent by her as an SOE operative, contrary to security regulations. Despite refusing to reveal any secret codes, sufficient information was gained by Germans from them to continuously send false messages imitating her.

According to some people, London did not succeed in investigating anomalies appropriately. It meant that the transmissions were sent under enemy control in the 'fist', the style of the Morse transmission of the operator. Being a WAAF signaller, she got the "Bang Away Lulu" nickname. The reason is that she had a distinctively heavy-handed style that is considered the result of chilblains.

M.R.D. Foot said that SD was adept at faking the fists of operators. The actual reason for the intelligence failures is SD's well-organised work of Hans Josef Kieffer. The air-landing officer of the F Section in France is Déricourt, who gave the secrets of SOE to the SD in Paris. He said later that he used to work for the SIS, the Secret Intelligence Service, that we know commonly as MI6, without having knowledge about SOE.

That's why three more agents who were sent to France were captured by the Germans. However, Madeleine Damerment was executed later. There was a locally recruited SOE agent, named Sonya Olschanezky, who learned of the arrest of Noor. Then, the agent sent a message to London through Jacques Weil, who is her fiancé. The agent told Baker Street of her capture as well as warned HQ to suspect transmissions from "Madeleine".

Execution:

She was later, on 12 September 1944, transferred to the Dachau concentration camp. And there were some agents with her— Yolande Beekman, Madeleine Damerment & Eliane Plewman. The four women were executed at dawn on the following morning.

 The in-charge of prisoner transports at Karlsruhe was Max Wassmer, who was a Gestapo man. He accompanied the women to Dachau. Christian Ott was another Gestapo man who gave a statement to US investigators after the war as to her fate & her three companions. After Ott was stationed at Karlsruhe, he volunteered in order to accompany the four women to Dachau. The reason is that he was willing to visit Stuttgart to meet his family while returning. Although he was not present at the execution, Ott told investigators everything that had been told by Wassmer.

It is an unreliable account. The reason is that Ott told the investigator about his asking Wassmer the following question after he got to know what had happened to the women. But an anonymous Dutch prisoner said that Noor was beaten by an SS officer cruelly in 1958 before getting shot from behind. The name of the officer was Wilhelm Ruppert before. "Liberté" was the last word she reported. However, her mother and three siblings survived her.

Special Operations Executive:

She was later recruited in order to join the Special Operations Executive's F (France) Section. Noor was posted to the Air Ministry, Directorate of Air Intelligence, seconded to First Aid Nursing Yeomanry (FANY) in early February 1943. Besides, Noor needed to go to Wanborough Manor, which is near Guildford in Surrey. Later, Noor was ordered to Aylesbury which is in Buckinghamshire, where she got special training in occupied territory as a wireless operator. She became the first woman who was sent over in such a capacity. As she had wireless telegraphy (W/T) training previously, she had an edge over the people who just started their radio training.

Her best training exercise was the mock Gestapo interrogation, which aims to let agents know what could be there for them when they were captured. The escaping officer of Noor found her interrogation unbearable. According to his report, Noor was terrific and overwhelmed so much that she nearly lost her voice. Later, Noor was quite blanched. Now, let's know the honours that she got.

Honours and awards:

She got the George Cross award in 1949. Also, she got a French Croix de Guerre award with a silver star (avec étoile de vermeil). In 1946, she was still considered missing. Therefore, she didn't get a membership of the Order of the British Empire. However, in June, her commission as Assistant Section Officer was gazetted. In October 1946, Noor was Mentioned in Despatches. She was the third one of three Second World War FANY members who got the George Cross award. It is the highest award in Britain for gallantry.

A campaign was raised at the start of 2011 to pay for the construction of a bronze bust of her in central London, near her former home. The Princess Royal unveiled the bronze bust, which took place on 8 November 2012 in Gordon Square Gardens, Bloomsbury, London. She was commemorated on a stamp that the Royal Mail issued on 25 March 2014, a set of stamps about "Remarkable Lives". A campaign was launched in 2018 to have Noor represented on the £50 note's next version.

George Cross citation:

This award was announced in the London Gazette on 5 April 1949.

Blue plaque:

On 25 February 2019, the announcement said that she would be honoured with a blue plaque at 4 Taviton Street at her wartime London home in Bloomsbury. It is the house where she left on the final mission. She etched an address onto her bowl in person so that she could be identified. She is the first woman of South Asian descent to have a blue plaque that honours her in London. This blue plaque was unveiled at a virtual ceremony broadcast on the Facebook page of the English Heritage at 7 pm on Friday, 28 August 2020.

Theatre:

A play named Agent Madeleine premiered at the Ottawa Fringe Festival in 2018 and represented Noor's life and death. Puja Uppal played the role of Noor. These are the deviations from the facts that have been noted:


  • Noor had a relationship with Leo Marks, instead of an unknown SOE officer.
  • A single character, "Marcel de Faye" represented all prisoners like John Starr, Leon Faye, etc, in 84 Avenue Foch.
  • At 84 Avenue Foch, she is imprisoned until she is moved to Dachau. From this place, she is executed alone.
  •  Several times, her escape attempts failed. She tried once to escape from the bathroom window, but it was foiled by an air raid siren. In addition, she attempted to escape with the screwdriver, but it didn't work as a guard discovered her with it.
  •  She is the basis for Anna Sidiqui in Catalyst Theatre's The Invisible: Agents of Ungentlemanly Warfare.
  •   Jonathan Christenson gave the music & lyrics.

 

Film:

  • Tabrez Noorani & Zafar Hai were the two producers who obtained the film rights to the biography Spy Princess: The Life of Noor Inayat Khan by Shrabani Basu in September 2012.
  •  The story of her life is seen in the film A Call to Spy. While the writer was Sarah Megan Thomas, the director of the film was Lydia Dean Pilcher. Radhika Apte played her character.
  •  In the 2021 live-action short film Liberté, she is the central character. It was shot at Beaulieu Palace House, the location she had trained for SOE.

 

Literature:

Stacy Ericson, an American poet, posted a poem on 6 September 2010 on the Internet and it is known as "Resistance". The poem is the first one that is dedicated to Noor.

An American poet named Irfanulla Shariff posted a poem on 3rd March 2013 on the internet, and its name is "A Tribute To The Illuminated Woman of World War II". This poem is dedicated to Noor, and illustrates her life story.

Television:

This section requires extra citations for verification.

  • Adrishya, which is the second episode of the Indian anthology series, aired on Epic TV in 2014. This one is based on her adult life in a wartime organization till she died in Nazi Germany.
  •  A Man Called Intrepid, a 6-hour TV miniseries, is broadcast on NBC in the US and on CTV in Canada. David Niven played the role of the protagonist Sir William Stephenson whereas Barbara Hershe played the role of Noor.

Enemy of the Reich: The Noor Inayat Khan Story, which is a one-hour biographical docudrama aired in 2014 by PBS. Alex Kronemer and Michael Wolfe of Unity Productions Foundation produced it, whereas the director was Robert H. Gardner.

Netflix released "Churchill's Secret Agents The New Recruits" in 2018. In this show, Season 1, episode 4 features a summary of Noor's final mission with the SOE. Aurora Marion played Noor in "Spyfall, Part 2" on 5 January 2020. This one is the second episode of Doctor Who, series 12.

Radio:

BBC Radio 4 in November 1980 broadcast a play where Patrice Chaplin wrote about Noor.

Another play, Knightsbridge Memorial about Noor, was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 as a Saturday Night Theatre production in November 1980.

The Bottom Line:

In this article, we have discussed all the details about Noor Inayat Khan, i.e. who she is, how her early life was, her contributions in different fields, the awards she got, her special works, and many more details. In the year 1958, an anonymous Dutch prisoner said that an SS officer named Wilhelm Ruppert cruelly beat Noor before she was shot from behind. The last word of Noor was reported as "Liberté". Noor's mother and three siblings survived her.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What was Noor Inayat Khan famous for?

Known as Noor-Un-Nissa Inayat Khan, this British spy served in the 2nd World War as the Secret Operations Executive. She was called Nora Baker, who has a codename Madeline. We should know that Noor was the first female wireless operator who was dropped into occupied France in order to assist the resistance as well as to send messages back to Britain.

Q. What did Noor Inayat Khan say before she died?

According to an anonymous Dutch prisoner in 1958, Wilhelm Ruppert, who was an SS officer, beat Noor cruelly, before Noor was shot from behind. The last word she used was "Liberté". However, her mother & three siblings survived her.

Q. How old was Noor Inayat when she died?

When she died, she was thirty years old. The lifespan of Noor Inayat was from 1914 to 1944.

Friday, December 1, 2023

The Silk Road

The Silk Road

The Silk Road served as a network of Eurasian trade routes, which was active between the second century BCE and the mid-15th century. It has expanded more than 4000 miles or 6400 kilometres. Silk Road helped to facilitate cultural, economic, political, & religious interactions between the East and West.

In the late nineteenth century, the name "Silk Road" was first coined. It has fallen into disuse among a few modern historians who are in favor of these routes, on the grounds that it more precisely describes the complex web of sea & land routes, which are connecting Central, East, South, Southeast, & West Asia, East Africa, and Southern Europe.

What Was The Silk Road?

The Silk Road in ancient times served as a trade route connecting the Western world and the Middle East & Asia. This one was the major conduit for trade between China and the Roman Empire. Later, it served as a major conduit between China and mediaeval European kingdoms.

Where Did The Silk Road Start And End?

It started in north-central China in Xi’an. Along the Great Wall of China, a caravan track stretched west through Afghanistan across the Pamirs into Anatolia & Levant. The Mediterranean Sea was used to ship goods to Europe.

The Silk Road was the route used between China and Rome to carry goods. While silver, wool, and gold went to the east side, silk used to go westward. Through this road, China received Nestorian Christianity & Buddhism. Some people travelled the whole route, and a middleman was there to handle goods in a staggered progression.

Gradually, the loss of Roman territory was seen in Asia, whereas, during that time, Arabian power began to rise in the Levant. As a result, this route became increasingly unsafe. The Silk Road was revived in the 13th & 14th centuries under the Mongols. During that time, it was used by Venetian Marco Polo for travelling to China ( formerly known as Cathay). But now people think that the Silk Road was a major way of spreading plague bacteria westward from Asia, causing the Black Death pandemic in Europe in the middle of the 14th century.

Part of this road still exists in the form of a paved highway, a connection route between Pakistan and the Uygur Autonomous Region of Xinjiang, China. The old road was an impetus behind the United Nations plan for a trans-Asian highway.

UNESCAP, or UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, has proposed a railway counterpart of the road. Cellist Yo-Yo Ma was inspired by the road in 1999 to set up the Silk Road Project. It explored cultural traditions along the route to connect arts across different cultures worldwide. 

History of Silk Road:

Central Eurasia is popular for its horse riding & horse breeding communities from old times. The overland Steppe route across the northern steppes of Central Eurasia was used before the silk road. Archeological sites like the Berel burial ground in Kazakhstan made sure that the nomadic Arimaspians were breeding horses for trade and producing the best craftsmen who could propagate exquisite art pieces along the route. In the region of Yarkand and Khotan to China, people used to trade nephrite jade from mines from the 2nd millennium BCE. You should know that these mines were not too far from the lapis lazuli & spinel mines in Badakhshan. Despite the Pamir mountains separating them, people used these routes from very early times.

Genetic Study

The Genetic study of the Tarim mummies is found in the Tarim Basin, in Loulan, located along this Silk Road 124 miles east of Yingpan, and dated to as early as 1600 BCE. This study suggested very ancient contacts between East & West. It is guessed that the mummified may be those people who used to speak Indo-European languages that are still used in the Tarim Basin in Xinjiang region until Turkic influences replaced them from the Xiongnu culture to the north. Moreover, Chinese influences replaced them from the Eastern Han dynasty speaking a Sino-Tibetan language.

Chinese Silk

Chinese silk, dated from 1070 BCE, has been found in Ancient Egypt. Hence, the Great Oasis cities of Central Asia played a very important role when it came to talking about trading in the silk route. Although the originating source looks trustworthy, silk has degraded rapidly. Therefore, it was not possible to verify whether it was cultivated silk or wild silk that could have come from the Middle East or the Mediterranean. In this case, it needs to be mentioned that gold was introduced from Central Asia, following contacts from Metropolitan China to nomadic western border territories in the 8th century BCE. Chinese jade carvers started to make the steppes' imitation designs by adopting the Scythian-style animal art of the steppes. This style is reflected in the rectangular belt plaques, which consist of gold & bronze. There are several versions in Jade & steatite. An elite burial near Stuttgart, Germany was dated to the sixth century BCE. It was excavated and it was found that it had Greek bronzes & Chinese silks. People also have found art pieces of animal shapes as well as wrestler motifs on belts in Scythian. It stretches from the Black Sea region to the archeological sites of the Warring States era in Inner Mongolia. In addition, it has stretched to Shaanxi (at Keshengzhuang [de]) in China.

Scythian Culture

Scythian culture was expanded to the Chinese Gansu Corridor from the Hungarian plain & the Carpathian Mountains. Thus, it helped to connect the Middle East with Northern India. Undoubtedly, Punjab plays a crucial role when it comes to the development of the Silk Road. The Assyrian Esarhaddon was accompanied by Scythians on the invasion of Egypt. People found the triangular arrowheads as far south as Aswan.

Nomadic people rely on the neighbouring settled populations for several important technologies. They were seen encouraging long-distance merchants as an income source along with raiding vulnerable settlements for such commodities. Regarding facilitating trade along the Silk Route between China and Central Asia, Sogdians played a very important role in the later phase of the tenth century.

From Where The Name "Silk Road" Derived :

The name came from the lucrative trade in silk, which was first developed in China. It served as the main reason behind the connection of the trade routes into an extensive transcontinental network. The German source term from which the word is derived is Seidenstraße. Ferdinand von Richthofen, who made the name popular in 1877, also made seven expeditions to China from 1868 to 1872. However, prior to this, the term had been used for decades. "Silk Route", which is an alternative translation, is occasionally used. Despite being coined in the nineteenth century, people didn't accept it widely in academia, or it was not popular among the public until the 20th century.

Sven Hedin

Sven Hedin, a Swedish geographer, was the writer of the first book, The Silk Road, in 1938. The term "Silk Road's use isn't without its detractors. According to Warwick Ball, compared to the silk trade with China, the maritime spice trade with India & Arabia was more consequential due to the Roman Empire's economy. The silk trade with China was conducted via India at sea, whereas, on land, several intermediaries like the Sogdians handled it. However, the whole thing is called a "myth" of modern academia.

Ball

According to Ball, while no coherent overland trade system existed, and any free movement of goods was seen during the Mongol Empire's period from East Asia to the West. Traditional authors like Edward Gibbon & Marco Polo, who discussed east–west trade, did not label any route a "silk" one specifically.

Previously, the stretched part of the southern side ( from Xinjiang to Eastern China) was not used for silk. Instead, it was used for jade as long as 5000 BCE. And still, people have been using this for such purposes. "Jade Road" might be more appropriate than "Silk Road" if it didn't have the wider nature of the silk trade geographically. 

Routes Of Silk Road:

The Silk Road has several routes. It stretched westwards from the ancient commercial centres of China. So, the overland is divided into southern & northern routes, which bypass the Taklamakan Desert & Lop Nur. Along these routes, merchants had a connection with relay trade, where goods went through many hands before reaching the final destination.

Northern Route:

It started at Chang'an, which people know as Xi'an, which was an ancient capital of China, and was further moved east to Luoyang during the Later Han. This route was defined around the 1st century BCE when by nomadic tribes, Han Wudi put an end to the harassment.

This route went northwest through Gansu from Shaanxi. After that, it split into three routes. Hence, two routes followed the mountain ranges to the Taklamakan Desert's north and south sides in order to rejoin at Kashgar. Another route went north of the Tian Shan mountains through Turpan, Talgar, & Almaty.

These routes split west of Kashgar again with a southern branch, which went to the Alai Valley towards Termez, and Balkh. Whereas the other one travelled via Kokand in the Fergana Valley, which is now called eastern Uzbekistan. After that, it went across the Karakum Desert. Before reaching Turkmenistan and ancient Merv, these routes joined the main southern route. There is a branch of this route, which turns northwest past the Aral Sea & north of the Caspian Sea, later on to the Black Sea.

This route for caravans helped to bring a lot of goods to China. Goods that came to China were:

 

  • Dates, saffron powder, and pistachio nuts from Persia;
  • frankincense, aloes, and myrrh from Somalia;
  • glass bottles from Egypt and
  • other costly items from different parts of the world.

 

The caravans sent bolts of silk brocade, lacquer-ware, & porcelain in exchange for these goods.

Southern Route:

This route was known as the Karakoram route, a single road from China through the Karakoram mountains. Nowadays, people call it the Karakoram Highway, connecting Pakistan and China. This route set off westwards but with southward spurs to allow travellers to complete their journey from different areas by sea. This road has crossed the high mountains and passed through northern Pakistan over the Hindu Kush mountains. Then, it joined again the northern route near Merv, Turkmenistan. From here, a straight way is followed west through northern Iran, Mesopotamia, & the northern tip of the Syrian Desert to the Levant.  It is the place where regular routes are piled by Mediterranean trading ships to Italy. Land routes went north via Anatolia or South to North Africa.

There also existed another branch road that travelled to Charax Spasinu via Susa from Herat at the head of the Persian Gulf, across to Petra, and to Alexandria & other Mediterranean ports (eastern side) from where ships used to carry cargo to Rome.

Southwestern Route:

It is believed that the southwestern route is the Ganges/Brahmaputra Delta, which has been the subject of great interest internationally for a long period for more than two millennia. The first-century Roman writer Strabo mentioned that merchants who are now sailing from Egypt, as far as the Ganges, are only private citizens. People took an interest in his comments because they found the existence of Roman beads and other materials at the Wari-Bateshwar ruins. This old city is gradually being excavated beside the Old Brahmaputra in Bangladesh.

Ptolemy made a map of the Ganges Delta, in which it was displayed that his informants knew about the Brahmaputra River's course, crossing through the Himalayas. Next, it bended westward to the source of it in Tibet. Undoubtedly, we can say that the Delta used to be a significant international trading centre. In the delta, Gemstones, Java & other merchandise from Thailand were traded.

Bin Yang:

According to Bin Yang, a Chinese archaeological writer, along with a few old writers & archaeologists like Janice Stargardt, this international trade route is the Sichuan–Yunnan–Burma–Bangladesh route. This Chinese archeological writer said that people used the route from the 12th century to ship bullion from Yunnan through northern Burma into the current Bangladesh and used the ancient route, which was called the 'Ledo' route. Silver & gold are such minerals in which Yunnan is rich. The international trade centres in this route were Wari-Bateshwar ruins, Mahasthangarh, Bhitagarh, Bikrampur, Egarasindhur, and Sonargaon.

Maritime Route:

It indicates the historic Silk Road's maritime section connecting China to Southeast Asia, the Indonesian archipelago, the Arabian peninsula, The Indian subcontinent, to Egypt & finally, Europe.

This trade route surrounded several water bodies like the South China Sea, Strait of Malacca, Indian Ocean, Gulf of Bengal, Arabian Sea, Persian Gulf, & the Red Sea. It also overlaps with several other routes, like Southeast Asian maritime trade, Spice trade, and Indian Ocean trade. After the eighth century, this route overlaps the Arabian naval trade network. In order to connect China with the Japanese archipelago & Korean Peninsula, this network extended eastward to the Yellow Sea & East China Sea.

Expansion Of The Arts:

There are multiple artistic influences transmitted via the Silk Road, mainly through Central Asia, where Indian, Hellenistic, and Chinese influences are mixed internally. Greco-Buddhist art is the most vivid instance of such interaction. Silk was also used as an art representative that serves as a religious symbol. It was used for trade as currency along the Silk Road. People can view such artistic influences in the development of Buddhism, where Buddha was depicted first as a human being in the Kushan period. In later Buddhist art, it is possible to find the existence of a mixture of Greek and Indian elements in China & throughout different nations on the Silk Road.

Art production was made up of several different items, and people used to trade them from east to west along this road. The lapis lazuli is one of the common items used as paint after this blue stone with golden specks was ground into powder.

Commemoration:

UNESCO, or United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, named this road a World Heritage Site on 22 June 2014 at the 2014 Conference on World Heritage. With the aim of developing sustainable international tourism, since 1993, the United Nations World Tourism Organization has been working along this Silk Road to foster peace and understanding.

The China National Silk Museum also announced a "Silk Road Week" for commemorating the Silk Road to take place between 19–25 June 2020. Almaty & Bishkek have a major east–west street, which is named after the Silk Road.(Kyrgyz: Жибек жолу, i.e., Jibek Jolu in Bishkek, & Kazakh: Жібек жолы, i.e., Jibek Joly in Almaty).

Expansion Of Religions:

The Nestorian Stele described Nestorian Christianity to China. How trading activities have taken place along the road over multiple centuries has been described by Richard Foltz, Xinru Liu, & many others. They describe how people can benefit from the transmission of goods, ideas and culture, especially in the religious area. Several religions like Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, Manichaeism, and Islam spread across Eurasia via the trade network, which is tied to particular religious communities & their institutions. A haven & new religion for foreigners were provided by the established Buddhist monasteries along this Silk Road.

Jerry H. Bentley said that syncretism took place because of the spread of religions and cultural traditions along this route. Encounter with Chinese and Xiongnu nomads was one of the examples. Because of such unlikely events of cross-cultural contact, these cultures were adapted to each other as alternatives. Xiongnu military techniques, music, dress styles, and dance were adapted by the Chinese. Like them, Xiongnu also adopted Chinese agricultural techniques, dress style, & lifestyle.

The cultural exchange that surprises most is that Chinese soldiers defected sometimes and later, converted to the Xiongnu way of life. In order to avoid the punishment, they stayed in the steppes. Nomadic mobility played an important role to facilitate inter-regional contacts & cultural exchanges along the ancient Silk Road.

Transmission Of Christianity:

Transmission of Christianity was called primarily Nestorianism on the Silk Road. An inscribed stele in 781 shows that Nestorian Christian missionaries are arriving on this road. Christianity had spread east & west to bring the Syriac language & evolve the forms of worship.

Transmission Of Buddhism:

You should know that it was the Kushan Era when Mahayana Buddhism entered the Han Dynasty or the Chinese Empire. The maritime "Silk Roads" and overland had internal connections in order to form the "great circle of Buddhism". As per a semi-legendary account of an ambassador that Chinese Emperor Ming sent to the West, Buddhism's transmission started in the first century CE to China through the Silk Road. This religion also started to spread throughout Southeast, East, and Central Asia during this time. The names of three primary forms of Buddhism are Mahayana, Theravada, and Tibetan Buddhism and these forms of Buddhism spread across Asia through the Silk Road.

In world history religion, it was the first big missionary movement. Chinese missionaries could assimilate Buddhism into native Chinese Daoists, resulting in these two beliefs being brought together. The Sangha, Buddha's community of followers, contains male & female monks and laity. They later moved through India with the aim of spreading Buddha's ideas. When in the Buddha's community, named Sangha, the number of members increased, it became impossible for some large cities to afford to have the Buddha and his disciples visit. This religion was spread to China & other Asian parts under the control of the Kushans between the middle of the first century and the middle of the third century. The costly contracts began in the second century because the Kushan empire expanded into the Chinese territory of the Tarim Basin. The missionary efforts of multiple Buddhist monks and Chinese lands are the reason behind it. Parthian, Kushan, Sogdian, or Kuchean could be the first missionaries & translators of Buddhist scriptures into Chinese.

 Conflicts

Displacement and conflict were some of the results that took place, as Buddhism spread along the road. In the initial phase of the second century BCE, due to a new Iranian dynasty named Parthians, Greek Seleucids were exiled to Iran & Central Asia. It made the Parthians the new middlemen for trade during the time, and Romans were the most important customers of silk. The involvement of the Parthian scholars was seen in the translations of Buddhist text into the Chinese language. The city of Merv was the major trade centre on this road. It became a significant Buddhist centre by the middle of the second century. When Ashoka was the king of the Maurya dynasty (268–239 BCE), and converted to Buddhism, people got to know about the Silk Road. He raised this religion in his northern Indian empire to official status.

Chinese pilgrims began travelling to India on this Silk road from the 4th century CE onward to access the original Buddhist scriptures, with Fa-hsien's pilgrimage to India (395–414), Xuanzang (629–644), and Hyecho. In the sixteenth century, the travels of Xuanzang were fictionalized in a fantasy adventure novel that we know as Journey to the West. 

Many different Buddhist schools travelled on this road. The names of two significant Nikaya schools were Dharmaguptakas and the Sarvastivadins. The Mahayana, which displaced them eventually, was called the "Great Vehicle". It was the Khotan region where the Buddhist movement first gained influence. You need to know that Mahayana was more of a "pan-Buddhist movement" than a Buddhist school. It seems to have begun in northwestern India or Central Asia.

Greater Vehicle

Mahayana was formed during the first century BCE. At first, it was small, and the source of "Greater Vehicle '' wasn't totally clear. Although there are a few Mahayana scripts that were found in northern Pakistan, it is still believed that the main texts were composed in Central Asia along the road. In simple words, it can be stated that the diverse & complex influences resulted in various schools and movements of Buddhism. As Mahayana Buddhism was raised, Buddhist development's initial direction changed also. According to  Xinru Liu, the Buddhist form, highlighted the elusiveness of physical reality along with material wealth. It stressed avoiding material desire to a certain point. Therefore, it becomes often challenging for the followers to understand.

Merchants played a very important role during the 5th and 6th centuries CE in the spreading of Buddhism. According to them, this religion's moral and ethical teachings are more appealing compared to the old religions. Therefore, Buddhist monasteries got support from merchants along the Silk Road. As an exchange, merchants were allowed by the Buddhists to stay somewhere because they travelled from city to city. Therefore, they spread Buddhism to foreign encounters as they travelled. In addition, with the help of merchants, it became possible to set up a diaspora within the communities they encountered. The more time passed, their cultures started to be based on Buddhism.

Therefore, the communities became centres of literacy as well as culture with well-organized marketplaces, lodging, and storage. The Chinese's voluntary conversion of ruling elites helped to spread Buddhism in East Asia, and as a result, Buddhism spread widely in Chinese society. Buddhism's Silk Road transmission ended around the 7h century when the Islam religion rose in Central Asia.

The Bottom Line:

We can still find the existence of numerous historic buildings & monuments, which marked the passage of the Silk Road via ports, caravanserais, and cities. The legacy of this famous network is reflected in multiple distinct. But you can find the interconnection of languages, cultures, customs, & religions developed over millennia along these routes. The passage of merchants & travellers of different nationalities helped in commercial exchange & cultural interaction. The Silk Roads were developed in order to become a driving force in the formation of diverse societies across Eurasia & far beyond.

Frequently Asked Questions

What major goods travelled along the Silk Road?

Silk was exported to Western buyers by Chinese merchants. Gold, wool & silver were sent eastward from Rome & later from Christian kingdoms.

What travelled along the Silk Road besides goods?

Religion was a major export of the West along the Silk Road, apart from material goods. Merchants who belonged to the Indian subcontinent exposed China to Buddhism. During that time, early Assyrian Christians took faith in China & Central Asia. However, diseases also travelled along this road. As per the belief of several scholars, the bubonic plague spread from Asia to Europe, the result of which the Black Death pandemic caused in the middle of the fourteenth century. 

Is the Silk Road still used today?

The Silk Road's parts that still exist in the form of a paved highway, connects Pakistan & Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China. A trans-Asian motor highway and railroad were planned to be sponsored in the 21st century by the United Nations. It is the Silk Road from which China's Belt and Road Initiative was inspired, which is a global infrastructure development strategy. President & General Secretary Xi Jinping authored this.