The desert city of Palmyra, ravaged recently by ISIS, held a key position on the Silk Route, connecting the Chinese, Persian and Roman Empires. Raoul McLaughlin describes how a remote caravan settlement assumed a leading role in international affairs, generating enormous wealth.
At the height of the Roman Empire, hundreds of merchant ships left Egypt every year to voyage through the Red Sea into the Indian Ocean, exchanging the produce of the Mediterranean for exotic eastern commodities. Raoul McLaughlin traces their pioneering journeys.
China and Rome were the two great economic superpowers of the Ancient World. Yet their empires were separated by thousands of miles of inhospitable terrain, dramatically reducing the opportunities for direct communication. Raoul McLaughlin investigates.