This timeline offers an overview of dynasties, sultanates, caliphates and empires within the historical context of the Silk Roads. Given the chronological complexity, these epochs are divided into four main temporal waves: the Ancient World, the Pre-modern Period, the Mongol World and the Early Modern Period ending with the First World War. This nomenclature of eras and epochs was needed in order to provide a cross-cultural denominator and allow for overlapping periods as the tides of change overtook new territories.

Though intermittent rulership or power discontinuity are not reflected in the overall duration, the overview is meant to reflect the interrelationships of these rulers in time and place. The timeline represents their coexistence across the three main geographical realms of the Silk Roads: the Eastern Edges, Central Eurasia and the Western Edges. Similarly, while the geographic regions have been calibrated on Central Eurasia, and as the ruling powers advanced beyond these boundaries, we have simplified the timeline by grouping the evolving empires, dynasties and caliphates providing an inner consistency.

By clicking on the picture underneath you can download a pdf of a timeline.

This work is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. Please give credit when reusing this timeline in your own work.

“Timeline of Central Eurasian Empires and Dynasties,” created by Elena Paskaleva and Michael Turner. Design: Paul Oram. https://iranturan.leiden.edu/timeline/ CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 , 2024.

Originally created for the volume Architecture, Monuments and Urbanism, part of the UNESCO Thematic Collection of the Cultural Exchanges along the Silk Roads (forthcoming, 2024).