Lecture Outline
Geography and Ecology of the Silk Road

I. Transcending the modern perspective.

A. Political boundaries, yesterday and today.
B. Misconceptions (?) about the difficulties of travel.

II. Physical Geography; Patterns of Settlement.

A. Mountains.
B. Water.
C. Desert and life at its edge.
D. Climate;vegetation zones: e.g. Mongolia.
E. Ecology and change: The lesson of Lop Nor and Lou-lan.

III. Travel in Eurasia.

A.. Passes and the prevention of passage.
1. Getting through the mountains--easier than one might think?
2. Walls and fortresses.
B. Means of overland travel.
1. The horse.
2. The problem of wheeled vehicles.
3. Donkeys and yaks.
4. The Camel.
C. Significance of the southern sea routes.