Readers will discover through this six-volume work cultures that flourished and vanished from the dawn of civilization to the present time and how the history of the ancient and medieval world was shaped by the movements of peoples in this heartland of Eurasia, stretching from the Caspian Sea to the borders of China.
In this third volume covering the flourishing period from the third to the eighth century A.D., scholars describe the powerful role played by the Sasanian state in Iran, the Gupta empire in India and the T'ang dynasty in China. Waves of nomadic migrations and the formation of steppe empires left their mark on political and social life. This multi-ethnic society had its roots in the great religious traditions of Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Manichaeism, Christianity and Shamanism. The islamization of a great part of the region brought fundamental changes to all aspects of life. Intensive trade along the Silk Route encouraged cultural and scientific exchanges, making this period one of impressive artistic and intellectual creativity.