‘The Present has washed away the Past’

Peter Frankopan, Senior Research Fellow at Worcester College, Oxford and Director of the Centre for Byzantine Research at Oxford University.

Youtube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rgQHJay7Kpo

The lecture ‘Islam and the Silk Roads’ was organised by the Shia Ithna’ashari Community of Middlesex (SICM) and its centre in North Harrow, Mahfil Ali.

In the preface of  his recently published book The Silk Roads, A New History of the World, Peter Frankopan writes

Today, Jalalabad and Herat in Afghanistan, Fallujah and Mosul in Iraq or Homs and Allepo seem synonymous with religious fundamentalism and sectarian violence.  The present has washed away the past: gone are the days when the name of Kabul conjured up images of the gardens planted and tended by the great Babur, founder of the Mughal Empire in India. The Bagh-i-Wafa (‘Garden of Fidelity’) included a pool surrounded by orange and pomegranate trees and a clover meadow … Places whose names are all but forgotten once dominated, such as Merv, described by one tenth-century geographer as a ‘delightful, fine, elegant, brilliant, extensive and pleasant city’, and ‘the mother of the world’; or Rayy, not far from modern Teheran, which to another writer around the same time was so glorious as to be considered ‘the bridegroom of the earth’ and the world’s most beatiful creation’. Dotted across the spine of Asia, these cities were strung like pearls, linking the Pacific to the Mediterranean’.