Contacts in the Medieval World: A Digital Historical Analysis

The purpose of this project will be to argue for a level of connectivity in the medieval world, which is often overlooked, or, at the very least, looked at in fractured segments within analyses of individual empires, kingdoms, and religious movements. During the medieval period, approximately 700 CE through 1400 CE, people of varied societies travelled, traded, and linked with others. Using primary sources in the form of material goods and travel accounts, and fed through the framework of Palladio’s mapping software, I will attempt to show the cyclical and directional nature of trade and idea exchange. Viking raiders and traders from the north, brought their wares south to markets in Constantinople, where they traded for goods brought from the east along the networks of the Silk Roads. This flow of goods is just one of the many examples of the web of commerce that linked north, south, east, and west. It is this “web” that I will attempt to illustrate and provide with movement, in an attempt to connect individual studies of the “Silk Roads”, “Viking Trade Culture”, and “Byzantine Culture”, to name just a few, to form a comprehensive narrative of connectivity and syncretism, that an individual analysis of a specific geographic location or society would not accomplish. Clearly, the most difficult aspect of this project will be the size of the region to be analyzed. Second only to the size of the area, will be the age of the cultures at work during this time, many of which have long since disappeared.

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