Since upper class. The exchange of goods along the

Since the first major civilizations of
Mesopotamia in 3000 B.C.E, trade has been a main factor in the development and
success of societies. Ideas and innovations, such as the wheel cuneiform,
spread and enhanced via trade routes. As one civilization found a new way to do
something, the information was passed through trade routes to other groups, and
they would adopt and adapt the new technology to suit their cultures. Trade
came to alter religions greatly. Power structures also experienced considerable
change. Yet, the desire for luxury goods remained consistent. In short, the
exchange of goods along the Silk Road greatly altered religions and social
hierarchies, yet a materialistic yearning remained among the upper class.

The exchange
of goods along the Silk Road greatly altered religions. Two major religions on
this route were Christianity and Buddhism. Both religions became increasingly
materialistic, as Christianity began using silk covers and wall hangings. It
spread rapidly in the Mediterranean region via both land and sea. Christians
also began to incorporate Roman and Greek philosophy and thought into their
religion as ideas spread along the Silk Road. Buddhism began to be combined with
other religions, such as Hinduism, and began to appeal to a larger group of
people in India. Monasteries became more focused on wealth, leading to
wealthy Buddhist leaders as opposed to the more modest rulers of the past. Followers
of these religions began to own property, art, and other high value materials
because of the availability of these luxury items and spread of influences from
different regions. As these religions gathered a larger following along the
Silk Road, they began to adopt and adapt the new technology to suit their
cultures. Greed and materialism began to overtake the true meaning of
religions.

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The
exchange of goods along the Silk Road greatly altered social hierarchies. Religious
figures, such as the priest and clergy, were given an even higher position
through their accumulation of wealth. Merchants and women were originally
though in lower terms in social standing, but this was changed because of the
Silk Road. Women in China during this period were needed to produce silk
and other luxury items which allowed them to become a necessity in their
society. The Church originally viewed merchants as lower because of their greed
and dishonest income. But with booming trade on the Silk Road, merchants became
wealthy and the Church decided that being a merchant is fine if you are giving
to the Church. Thus, the status of merchants was raised. Women and
merchants were given higher social standing due to the need of their labor. Without
the silk produced by women, traders would lose much goods and income. Without
merchants, the Church could not thrive. Therefore, social hierarchy was greatly
altered.

The
exchange of goods along the Silk Road maintained a materialistic yearning among
the upper class. Upper class citizens have distinguished themselves based on
their possessions. Therefore, items from other countries, such as chocolate in
Europe and Islam in West Africa, are another exotic luxury that further
separates them from the lower classes. Essentially, the only items traded along
the Silk Route were luxury items aimed at the elite who could afford them.

These luxury goods had the same effect on
society, in that the higher class obtained these goods, while the lower class
worked to make them. This is because of the similar order of social classes
with a lower working class and a wealthy upper class.

 

 

 

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