10. Eurasian tribal peoples
The various Eurasian civilizations had relations with each other even in ancient times. Shang chariots imply some kind of contact with the Near East; the alphabet spread outward from the Near East to the shores of the Atlantic and the Pacific; a Roman medallion of the second century A.D. found its way to what is now Vietnam; paper made its way from China through the Islamic world to Europe.
Examples of this kind can easily be multiplied, and they became more frequent as time passed. But this was cross- cultural seepage; it was not a flood capable of sweeping away the profound differences that separated the civilizations of Eurasia and gave them their distinct identities.
An altogether more drastic way of changing cultural landscapes is conquest. What, then, were the prospects for the cultural unification of Eurasia by the sword? The obvious thing to look for here would be a single Eurasian civilization with the will and the way to conquer the others. But the military history of the classic Eurasian civilizations did not point in this direction. There was no lack of states of imperial dimensions built up through conquest, but for the most part they retained a firmly regional character. The major exception was the career of Alexander the Great in the fourth century B.C., which led to the imposition of a Greek elite culture on much of the Near East. But his conquests did not go much farther. His invasion of India did not amount to more than an incursion, though Greeks later ruled some territory in the northwest. China was beyond his horizon and neither he nor his successors ever conquered the western Mediterranean.