Alexandria's founded by Alexander

Alexandria's founded by Alexander the Great (by year BC): 334 Alexandria in Troia (Turkey) - 333 Alexandria at Issus/Alexandrette (Iskenderun, Turkey) - 332 Alexandria of Caria/by the Latmos (Alinda, Turkey) - 331 Alexandria Mygdoniae - 331 Alexandria (Egypt) - 330 Alexandria Ariana (Herat, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria of the Prophthasia/in Dragiana/Phrada (Farah, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in Arachosia (Kandahar, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in the Caucasus (Begram, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria of the Paropanisades (Ghazni, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria Eschate or Ultima (Khodjend, Tajikistan) - 329 Alexandria on the Oxus (Termez, Afghanistan) - 328 Alexandria in Margiana (Merv, Turkmenistan) - 326 Alexandria Nicaea (on the Hydaspes, India) - 326 Alexandria Bucephala (on the Hydaspes, India) - 325 Alexandria Sogdia - 325 Alexandria Oreitide - 325 Alexandria in Opiene / Alexandria on the Indus (confluence of Indus & Acesines, India) - 325 Alexandria Rambacia (Bela, Pakistan) - 325 Alexandria Xylinepolis (Patala, India) - 325 Alexandria in Carminia (Gulashkird, Iran) - 324 Alexandria-on-the-Tigris/Antiochia-in-Susiana/Charax (Spasinou Charax on the Tigris, Iraq) - ?Alexandria of Carmahle? (Kahnu)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

La Route de la Soie, d’Alexandre le Grand à Marco Polo by J Dauxois.

Although the title “La Route de la Soie, d’Alexandre le Grand à Marco Polo” (ISBN 9782268064994) by Jacqueline Dauxois sounds very promising, the book is simply disappointing.

I expected to walk in the steps of Alexander to the east, who for a greater part follows what is later called the Silk Road, to be taken over by Marco Polo who extended his voyage further east to China proper. Not so.

With all my respect for the author/teacher, all I discover is a very sketchy history that starts with Alexander the Great and ends with the Polo family returning to Venice, Italy, with just an occasional word about silk. From Alexander’s times, she jumps to China, to Rome, to Constantinople, the Mongols, the Vikings and the origins of Russia, quoting events randomly and lingering extensively on the wars, atrocities, destruction, murders and killings by the thousands and hundreds of thousands.

Obviously, the part about Alexander interests me most but I am not rewarded. Jacqueline Dauxois lets her imagination run freely, giving details meant only to spice up the story and describing situations in a non-historic light.

The main subject, the Silk Road itself, is hardly mentioned, its route(s) is not mentioned (not even on a simple map), its importance is not explained and its legacy shrouded in mystery!

Maybe I should have considered this book more as a novel, in which case liberties are allowed, but the references the author gives with names and dates lead me to believe otherwise. Maybe this is typically French with their tendency to embellish their story (avec mes sincères excuses envers mes amis français). It’s up to the reader to decide.


  1. I differ with these remarks. I found this book very well written. One has to consider that Marco Poloa (and family) opened the "Silk Road" for westerners on account that the Arabs had conquered what we called Turkey & Constantinople and blocked the exisitng route. a new route had to be found. The author described the various countries on the way to China and recalled Alexander the great's conquests. Silk as a special garment is mentioned often as a rare commodity desired by kings, nobles and emperors.She also write about Marco Polo's role during his 20 years spent at the court of Kublai Khan, Emperor of China and grand son of Genghis Khan.

    1. You are totally entitled to have a different view on the subject and I certainly appreciate your comment.
      The matter of the Silk Road is a very complex and complicated one since there are numerous Silk Roads that were created and abandoned according to the political and economic situations in the countries concerned. Yet it is not only about silk for many other commodities, including ideas and religion that travelled between the east and the west.
      Another highly interesting book on the subject is The Silk Road Journey with Xyuanzang by Sally Hovey Wriggins – maybe you know it?