Vikings season 6: Was the Silk Road actually real? ‘There was NO such thing’

<p>Excitement levels for Vikings season six couldn&rsquo;t be higher ahead of its premiere on History US and Amazon Prime next month. Ahead of episode one&rsquo;s release, the opening few minutes dropped online and showed a bearded Ivar the Boneless (played by Alex H&oslash;gh Andersen) on the Silk Road. Express.co.uk exclusively spoke to professor of Global History at Oxford Peter Frankopan to find out more.</p><h2>Were the Silk Roads in Vikings real?</h2><p>History, the network responsible for bringing Vikings to life, give a brief definition of Silk Roads on its official site.</p><p>The definition reads: &ldquo;a network of trade routes connecting China and the Far East with the Middle East and Europe.</p><p>&ldquo;(They were) established when the Han Dynasty in China officially opened trade with the West in 130 BC, the Silk Road routes remained in use until 1453 AD, when the Ottoman Empire boycotted trade with China and closed them.&rdquo;</p><p>While they may have been real routes during the period Vikings is set, Frankopan explains the term &lsquo;Silk Road&rsquo; didn't exist and is a relatively new creation.</p><p><img class="aligncenter" src="https://cdn.images.express.co.uk/img/dynamic/20/590x/Vikings-season-6-Are-the-Silk-Roads-actually-real-1210760.jpg?r=1574980799663"></p><p><img class="aligncenter" src="https://cdn.images.express.co.uk/img/dynamic/20/590x/secondary/Vikings-season-6-Ivar-in-the-season-6-premiere-2190412.jpg?r=1574980799723"></p><h3>READ MORE</h3><ul><li> <img class="aligncenter" src="https://cdn.images.express.co.uk/img/dynamic/20/285×190/1210612_1.jpg"> <span>Vikings season 6, episode 1 streaming: How to watch online</span> </li></ul><p>Frankopan said: &ldquo;Despite what people often think, there were no such thing as the &lsquo;Silk Roads&rsquo;.</p><p>&ldquo;The term was invented around 150 years ago by a German geographer to describe exchanges between China and the Mediterranean 2000 years ago.</p><p>&ldquo;It caught the imagination as a label, and has stuck ever since.&rdquo;</p><p>The Oxford professor also went onto explain what Ivar may have stumbled upon during his travels at this time.</p><p><img class="aligncenter" src="https://cdn.images.express.co.uk/img/dynamic/20/590x/secondary/Vikings-season-6-The-Silk-Road-in-Vikings-2190415.jpg?r=1574980799792"></p><p>In the opening moments of the season six premiere, maps are used to give an idea of just how far Ivar had travelled.</p><p>These included place names in Mesopotamia and Western Asia as well as Tous in Iran.</p><p>Frankopan added to the long list of locations: &ldquo;As he travels from Scandinavia, he&rsquo;d pass through hundreds of miles of forests.</p><p>&ldquo;As he got nearer the Black and Caspian Seas, he&rsquo;d started to come into contact with nomad tribes looking after flocks and herds of animals.&rdquo;</p><p><img class="aligncenter" src="https://cdn.images.express.co.uk/img/dynamic/20/590x/secondary/Vikings-season-6-Ivar-will-face-all-sorts-of-conditions-2190413.jpg?r=1574980799869"></p><p>He added: &ldquo;Eventually, he&rsquo;d reach the great cities of the Middle Ages, like Baghdad, Samarra and Samarkand.&rdquo;</p><p>Ivar&rsquo;s travel would&rsquo;ve been no small feat, either, as the Oxford professor explains.</p><p>When asked how long it would take to reach the likes of Mesopotamia, Frankopan said: &ldquo;It would have depended on the time of year,</p><p>&ldquo;Travelling through the Scandinavia, Russia and Ukraine in winter is not just cold but difficult.</p><p>&ldquo;It would take months to get from Denmark &ndash; it&rsquo;s a distance of almost 2,000 miles just to the Black Sea."</p><p><strong>DON'T MISS:</strong><br><strong>Vikings: Who plays Bjorn Ironside in Vikings? Meet the Canadian actor</strong><br><strong>Vikings season 6: What is Valhalla? Who will go to Valhalla?</strong><br><strong>Vikings season 6: Should Ragnar Lothbrok return? Have your say</strong></p><h3>READ MORE</h3><ul><li> <img class="aligncenter" src="https://cdn.images.express.co.uk/img/dynamic/20/285×190/906986_1.jpg"> <span>Vikings season 6 release date, cast, plot, trailer</span> </li></ul><p>Whether Ivar will return to Kattegat or Scandinavia after his Silk Road travels will be revealed in season six.</p><p>With a release date penned for Wednesday, December 4 on History, fans won&rsquo;t have too long to find out.</p><p>Amazon Prime in the UK will release every episode the following day online.</p><p>For more information about the Silk Road and their origins, Frankopan&rsquo;s book The Silk Roads: A New History of the World is available on Amazon here.</p><p><em><strong>Vikings season 6 premieres on History on Wednesday, December 4.</strong></em></p>
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