World History 1 162 - 10.4 The Margins of Empire

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Discuss the economic and cultural exchange between the Kushan Empire and other societies
  • Explain Palmyra’s relationship with the Roman Empire and how it was able to become an independent state
  • Analyze the way Arab tribes interacted with the Roman Empire and Sasanian Persia

On the Silk Roads linking Europe and Asia in Late Antiquity, several small kingdoms functioned as important intermediaries for goods and people entering the Mediterranean world, as well as being trade partners, military adversaries, and allies of the great Byzantine and Sasanian Empires. The Kushan Empire served as an important cog in the trade route linking the Mediterranean and East Asia, but the ethnic and religious diversity of its population is also important in understanding this empire’s role in Late Antiquity. Palmyra was a major trading partner in the Mediterranean world, but the rule of Queen Zenobia shows how quickly a city-state could take advantage of its geographic position and a tumultuous political situation to expand its borders. Finally, the diversity of groups in the Arabian Peninsula provided the context for the rise of Islam in the following period. The peoples discussed in this section demonstrate the complexity of the wider world of Late Antiquity. They made connections far beyond their borders, and their multiregional societies often had culturally diverse populations.

This lesson has no exercises.

The content of this course has been taken from the free World History, Volume 1: to 1500 textbook by Openstax