Introducing his readers to an overview of the history of “the network of roads” (p. 1) that has been called the Silk Road (p. 1), the author Richard Foltz sketches the geographical and ecological conditions for human culture, travelling and trade in the area from today’s Hungary in the west to China in the east. The Silk Road refers to a route, important for trading such goods as silk, satin, spices, medicines, jewels and slaves, which went from Europe through Egypt, Somalia, the Arabian Peninsula, Iran, India, and finally to China. It was given the name “Silk Road” by Ferdinand von Richthofen in the 19th century. This book focuses on the Silk Road from around 1,000 years BCE until the 16th century.
“Under Crescent and Cross: The Jews in the Middle Ages” by Mark Cohen is a useful work for those interested in the question of the status of Jews under Christian rule and Muslim rule in the Middle Ages. This book boldly attempts to analyze the history of Jewish-Christian and Jewish-Muslim relations and compare their similarities and differences over a period of nearly one thousand years.