Experiment 8:

Experiment 8: Connecting the Han to the Roman Empire

Learning goals and grading criteria

  1. Student will be able to identify the Silk Road.
  2. Student will be able to evaluate GIS projects that include the Silk Road.
  3. Student will compare and contrast GIS projects for their usefulness and credibility in fewer than 750 words.
  4. Student will identify their own learning goals for learning about the Silk Road.

Both the Han (221 BCE – 206 CE) and the Roman Empire (c. 27 BCE – c. 476 CE) lasted around 400 years and are seen as important models. We would put these two in any list of "top 10 empires of all times," along with the Incan empire of the 15th century, and the British, Spanish, and Ottoman empires of the post 1500 era.

Did you know?

Both the Roman and the Han empire have been used by modern day bigots to justify oppression of others. For example, white supremacists love to invoke the Roman empire as a period in which "white people" (a problematic term) ruled, despite clear evidence of the Roman empire\’s ethnic and racial diversity (look up St. Maurice, patron saint of the Roman empire). Additionally, the modern Chinese communist government has looked to the Han empire as a model of intolerance when it comes to minorities, such as the Uighurs.

For our assignment this week, I ask you to compare two maps that address the Silk Road, a patchwork network of roads that connected China with areas to the east, including the Roman empire.

On Foot in the Path of the Silk Road

The Silk Road


You assignment will take four parts, which you can format as you chose, so long as you write in complete sentences.

  1. Evaluate the credibility of the two websites. What signs are there, using the SIFT process, of credibility of non-credibility?
  2. Compare and contrast the two websites.
  3. Tell me four features of a historical GIS map that you would design to help explain the history of the Silk Road during the Han empire. Why would you chose these four features?
  4. Tell me one thing you want to get out of this assignment. It can be big (I want to dive deep into Chinese history), small (I want to get a little better at making historical comparisons), or personal (I just want to finish this assignment so I can care for my mom). You define the learning goal.

Submit your work the Experiment 8 discussion board.