Now Reading
Smuggling of silkworm eggs into the Byzantine Empire

Smuggling of silkworm eggs into the Byzantine Empire

2023-04-20 09:21:13

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sixth-century occasion by which two monks smuggled silkworm eggs into the Byzantine Empire from China

Stealing and smuggle of silkworm eggs into the Byzantine Empire
Silk route.jpg

The Silk Street

Date Mid-Sixth century (552/563 CE)
Location Central Asia
Contributors Two monks
End result Institution of Byzantine silk trade

Within the mid-Sixth century CE, two monks, with the help of the Byzantine emperor Justinian I, acquired and smuggled dwelling silkworms into the Byzantine Empire, which led to the institution of an indigenous Byzantine silk industry that lengthy held a silk monopoly in Europe.


Silk, which was first produced someday throughout the third millennium BCE by the Chinese language and/or Indus Valley Civilisation,[1] was a priceless commerce commodity alongside the Silk Road.[2] By the primary century CE, there was a gradual stream of silk into the Roman Empire.[2] With the rise of the Sassanid Empire and the next Roman–Persian Wars, importing silk to Europe grew to become more and more troublesome and costly. The Persians strictly managed commerce of their territory and would droop commerce in occasions of struggle.[3] Consequently, the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I tried creating various commerce routes to Sogdiana, which on the time had develop into a significant silk-producing centre:[4] one to the north by way of Crimea, and one to the south by way of Ethiopia.[5] The failure of those efforts led Justinian I to look elsewhere.


Two unidentified monks (most certainly members of the Nestorian Church[2][5]) who had been preaching Christianity in India (Church of the East in India), made their way to China by 551 CE.[6] Whereas they had been in China, they noticed the intricate strategies for elevating silkworms and producing silk.[6] This was a key improvement, because the Byzantines had beforehand thought silk was made in India.[clarification needed][7] In 552 CE, the 2 monks sought out Justinian I.[5] In return for his beneficiant however unknown guarantees, the monks agreed to amass silkworms from China.[clarification needed][4] They most certainly traveled a northern route alongside the Black Sea, taking them by means of the Transcaucasus and the Caspian Sea.[8]

See Also

Since grownup silkworms are moderately fragile and should be always stored at a really perfect temperature, lest they perish,[9][clarification needed] they used their contacts in Sogdiana to smuggle out silkworm eggs or very younger larvae as a substitute, which they hid inside their bamboo canes.[clarification needed][8][5] Mulberry bushes, that are required for silkworms, had been both given to the monks or already imported into the Byzantine Empire.[8] All in all, it’s estimated that your entire expedition lasted two years.[10]

Shortly after the expedition there have been silk factories in Constantinople, Beirut, Antioch, Tyre, and Thebes.[5] The acquired silkworms allowed the Byzantine Empire to have a silk monopoly in Europe. The acquisition additionally broke the Chinese language and Persian silk monopolies.[8] The ensuing monopoly was a basis for the Byzantine economy for the following 650 years till its demise in 1204.[11] Silk garments, particularly these dyed in imperial purple, had been virtually at all times reserved for the elite in Byzantium, and their sporting was codified in sumptuary laws.[2] Silk manufacturing within the area round Constantinople, notably in Thrace in northern Greece, has continued to the current (see: Silk museums of Soufli).

In well-liked tradition[edit]

In Season 1, Episode 4 of the Netflix collection Marco Polo,[12] launched in 2014, two males are caught smuggling silkworms of their strolling sticks. Kublai Khan should determine whether or not or to not kill them for his or her crime, which is punishable by demise, however he in the end exhibits mercy and permits Marco Polo to determine their destiny.


  1. ^ Good, I. L.; Kenoyer, J. M.; Meadow, R. H. (June 2009). “NEW EVIDENCE FOR EARLY SILK IN THE INDUS CIVILIZATION”. Archaeometry. 51 (3): 457–466. doi:10.1111/j.1475-4754.2008.00454.x.
  2. ^ a b c d “Silk”. College of Washington. Retrieved 20 April 2013.
  3. ^ Norwich, John (1988), Byzantium: The Early Centuries pg. 265
  4. ^ a b Clare, Israel (1906), Library of Common Historical past: Mediaeval Historical past pg. 1590
  5. ^ a b c d e Norwich, pg. 266
  6. ^ a b Clare, pg. 1589
  7. ^ Clare, pg. 1587
  8. ^ a b c d Patrick Hunt. “Late Roman Silk: Smuggling and Espionage in the 6th Century CE”. Stanford College. Archived from the original on 26 June 2013. Retrieved 20 April 2013.
  9. ^ “The Smithsonian on Silk Production”. Archived from the original on September 27, 2009.
  10. ^ “History of Silk – The Silk Museum”. Archived from the original on 21 Might 2021.
  11. ^ Muthesius, Anna (2003), Silk within the Medieval World pg. 326
  12. ^ “Marco Polo” The Fourth Step (TV Episode 2014) – IMDb” – by way of

Source Link

What's Your Reaction?
In Love
Not Sure
View Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

2022 Blinking Robots.
WordPress by Doejo

Scroll To Top