TALK: Cultural Diffusion Across Eurasia, 500 BC – AD 200
Anthony Barbieri-Low (History, UCSB)
Wednesday, February 24 / 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB
The transmissions of a vast number of artmotifs, technologies, and cultural traits from West to East in prehistoric period was due to the speed of communications and trading networks across the Eurasian Steppes beginning in the second millennium B.C.. The formation of larger territorial states, nomadic confederations and empires beginning in the first millennium BCE such as the Xiongnu, also facilitated the direction of these transmissions which before the Common Era was fairly lopsided in the period due to sporadic, cultural diffusion between the Western borders and China’s Inner Asian frontier. In this talk I want to look at four case studies of cultural transmission, which date from between 500 BCE to around 200 CE: glass eye-beads, Chinese patterned silks, Roman silver plate, and the Ionic capital. I would like to investigate, not necessarily how these features were diffused or by what route, but how the indignous societies chose to adapt (or not to adapt) new ideas and technologies according to their pre-existing cultural preferences and repertoires.
Sponsored by the IHC’s East Asian Cultures RFG, the IHC’s Archaeology RFG speaker series, and the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies.