Before we embark on the journey of exploration into the current realms of Business Networks let us take a journey into the past. A logical question always is whether all this is new or has this been done before. After all, as the quotation above says, the more things change the more they remain the same. This is true of the Business Networks too. In a way, the networks we are talking are not new at all. Some features, such as speed, trust-building mechanisms, outcomes and science of network creation and harnessing are new - however, similar networks have existed in formal or informal forms through the ages. And each time they have been very effective in creating value for the participants, business community, and society in general. Let us briefly visit some of these networks through the centuries and see what we can learn from them. History is our best teacher. At this point it is appropriate to note that we will keep these discussions of historical Business Networks brief, neutral and non-controversial. The reason, besides efficiency, is that our objective is not a detailed study of characteristics, pros and cons, or even moral rectitude of the participants. Rather, it is the more mundane exercise in finding parallels with the current Business Networks and their key characteristics.Without going too far back into antiquity, let us start our journey at the Silk Route of the Middle Ages. At its peak, the Silk Route extended nearly 4000 miles from the coast of China through the territories of China, Central Asia, India, Persia and Assyria to the Mediterranean coast of Levant and onwards by sea to the fabled city of Venice and beyond. The term Silk Road creates an image of a road, perhaps even a boulevard traversed by a camel train laden with expensive cargoes, well protected by security. The truth is, however, far more complex. In reality, it was a complex network of caravans, camel trains, serais, traders, money lenders and ships extending across the known world of the time to carry merchandise as diverse as silk, spices, wool, fabrics, tea, porcelain, carpets, ivory and other items of high value. Each of the main cities in this network - Kashgar, Samarkand, Turfan, Baghdad, Tyre, Aleppo and Alexandria was a veritable hub of activities related to trade facilitation. The participants in this network - whether a Sugd merchant, a Chinese caravan owner, or a Florentine ship captain - were handsomely rewarded for their enterprise and ability to work their part in harnessing the power of the network. Let us look at how the network was organized in practice. In the agrarian society of the Middle Ages, the most precious commodity traded by the Business Network was spice. Before the advent of refrigeration, spices were necessary to preserve food as well as mask the flavor of spoilt or rancid food. Many of these spices such as pepper, cloves, mace and cumin, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon and saffron traded for margins up to 3000 per cent and some of these were regularly sold for prices more than their weight in gold. With such high margins, obviously demand was never a constraint, but supply route security and extent was. It was usual for the goods to change ownership more than 25 times between the producers in the East and the eventual consumer in the West. Each middleman added his own margin as well as embellishment to the story. For example, Arab merchants told their European buyers that the cloves were netted out of the river Nile and cinnamon came from the birds. Without any central command, the entire network was organized towards one end - production, collection and transportation of the spices and similar produce to destinations in Europe. Numerous middlemen - camel caravan owners, merchants, ship owners, and financiers participated in this chain - each within their own territory and with their own margin. It is estimated that the middlemen's share of the profit in this enterprise was more than 90 per cent. Why not get your organisation listed in a business directory to help to boost your profile online?