The importance of the Silk Road for the Middle East
The so-called ”discoveries” made at the beginning of the early modern period in Europe were of course not discoveries for the non-European, Asian world, and particularly for the Middle East. In fact they were the beginning of a great disaster, whose consequences are still with us today. From antiquity, the caravan routes and maritime trade routes that linked the Far East with India, and India with the Middle East, had always been known. It was only that the Europeans did not know them, right down to the beginning of the early modern period. When one of them, the Venetian Marco Polo, travelled along the whole of that route, the ignorance of Europeans in the Mediterranean was so profound that they called Marco Polo’s description of his journey ”Il Milione”. It seemed to them that he was drivelling on about unsubstantiated things and numbers, and constantly talking about millions.