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This article is about the technology in Age of Empires II HD: The Forgotten. For the map in Age of Mythology: Tale of the Dragon and Age of Empires III: The Asian Dynasties, see Silk Road (map).

Silk Road is a technology in Age of Empires II: The Forgotten that is unique to the Italians and can be researched at the Castle once the Imperial Age is reached. Once researched, it halves the cost of Trade Carts and Trade Cogs.

Strategy[]

While not being of much use outside of team games, Silk Road can save a lot of resources down the line in games where trade is important. If a trade route gets destroyed and needs to be re-established, then Silk Road softens the blow significantly. Also, with Shipwright and Silk Road, Trade Cogs only cost 40 wood and 25 gold, and they move extremely fast. This makes them excellent naval scouts.

History[]

The Silk Road was a trading route, beginning in China and created during the Han Dynasty, which acted as the main artery of trade throughout Eurasia. Running through its veins were not only Asian luxuries and European staples, but ideas, religions, and even disease. From 200 BC to 1450 AD, the Silk Road's patterns of interactions changed with the Black Plague and the spread of Islam and Buddhism. For almost 1700 years the Silk Road was the biggest world trade network. It was not actually one single road but a wide network, that is why historians prefer to use the term “Silk Routes”.

The economic exchange of trading goods produced a network of trade centers and cities. Traders passed through the great mountain ranges of the Tien Shan, Karakorams, and Hindu Kush and skirted inhospitable deserts, such as the Taklamakan and Gobi. Caravanserais, rest stops along the Silk Roads, allowed travelers to exchange ideas and innovations and created awareness of different cultures and religions.

By the time of the Roman Emperor Augustus (r. 27 BCE – 14 CE) trade between China and the west was firmly established and silk was the most sought-after commodity in Egypt, Greece, and, especially, in Rome. Other valuable commodities were paper, gunpowder, spices, tea, ivory, cotton, wool, precious metals, ideas, and information. Durant writes, "Italy enjoyed an 'unfavorable' balance of trade – cheerfully [buying] more than she sold” but still exported rich goods to China such as “carpets, jewels, amber, metals, dyes, drugs, and glass”. In the 13th and 14th centuries, the Venetian traveler Marco Polo traveled to China using the route. The Byzantine emperor Justinian (r. 527- 565 CE), tired of paying the exorbitant prices the Chinese demanded for silk, sent two emissaries, disguised as monks, to China to steal silkworms and smuggle them back to the west. The plan was successful and initiated the Byzantine silk industry. When the Byzantine Empire fell to the Turks in 1453 CE, the Ottoman Empire closed the ancient routes of the Silk Road and cut all ties with the west, which initiated the maritime Age of Discovery and the start of colonialism.

The Silk Road 11th & 12th Centuries.png
The Silk Routes in the 11th and 12th Centuries

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Unique technologies in Age of Empires II
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Unique-tech-imperial.jpgWarwolf | Couriers | Shatagni | Silk Road | Recurve Bow | Druzhina
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