Silk Road Trade & Travel Encyclopedia

Interesting Facts & Trivia

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45 - QUESTION:  To where does "Eastern Rome" and "new Rome" refer?

Answer:  Constantinople, Byzantine Empire.

Rome had been an important destination for Chinese silk until about c. 200 CE, but for a much longer time, beginning in the fourth century, the “Rome” to which all roads led in the Mediterranean world was “Eastern Rome” or Constantinople. Even in its long centuries of decline down to its conquest by the Ottoman Turks in 1453, the wealth of the city was legendary, and its location ensured it a role in the trade with the East. The turning point in the city’s history occurred in 330 CE when Emperor Constantine I moved his capital east 850 miles. The city was called Byzantium, but Constantine changed the name to "New Rome," and later the name changed again to Constantinople (now Istanbul).

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