Well before modern times, Asian, African, and European peoples were regularly interacting and intermingling with each other. Their encounters rank among the most effective agents of change in all of world history, fostering the spread of technologies, ideas, beliefs, values and religions. This innovative study examines processes of cross-cultural encounter before 1492. It concentrates on several eras, from the age of the ancient silk roads that linked China with the Roman Empire, through the Mongol Empire, up until the early transoceanic ventures of Europeans during the fifteenth century. Taking a global rather than a Eurocentric or some other partial approach, the author examines in contact with each other, and he identifies distinctive patterns of conversion, conflict, and compromise that emerged from cross-cultural encounters. In doing so, he elucidates the larger historical context of encounters between Europeans and other peoples in modern times.