Visual Timeline: Silk Road
To navigate the timeline, click and drag it with your mouse, or click on the timeline overview on the bottom.
500 BCE - 330 BCE: The Achaemenid Empire rules in Mesopotamia, Persian Royal Road in use.
334 BCE - 323 BCE: Period of the conquests of Alexander the Great.
329 BCE: Alexander the Great founds the city of Alexandria Escate in Neb (Tajikstan).
260 BCE - 195 BCE: King Euthydemus I of the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom rules in Central Asia.
202 BCE - 220 CE: The Han Dynasty rules in China.
200 BCE: First contact between China and the Greco-Bactrian descendents of Alexander the Great's army.
171 BCE - 138 BCE: Reign of Mithridates I of Parthia.
138 BCE: Han Emperor Wu the Great sends his emissary Zhang Qian to the west, initiating commerce.
130 BCE: The Silk Road is officially opened.
129 BCE: Parthians conquer Mesopotamia. The Silk Road to China is now controlled by the Parthians.
27 BCE - 14 CE: Reign of Augustus Caesar in Rome, Chinese silk is very popular.
161 CE - 180 CE: Reign of Emperor Marcus Aurelius in Rome, Chinese silk popularity endures.
476 CE: The fall of the western Roman Empire.
527 CE - 565 CE: Reign of Emperor Julian of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire. Beginning of Byzantine silk industry.
542 CE: The bubonic plague, thought to have been brought through the Silk Road, decimates Constantinople.