Thursday, September 5, 2013

Here's what third-century China thought about the Roman Empire

 

Third-century China got around the ancient world. They even made it to the Roman Empire, and wrote down their thoughts on these strange foreigners in the Weilüe, a third-century C.E. account of the interactions between the two nations. Here's what China had to say about their imperial neighbors!

This country (the Roman Empire) has more than four hundred smaller cities and towns. It extends several thousand li in all directions. The king has his capital (that is, the city of Rome) close to the mouth of a river (the Tiber). The outer walls of the city are made of stone.
This region has pine trees, cypress, sophora, catalpa, bamboo, reeds, poplars, willows, parasol trees, and all sorts of plants. The people cultivate the five grains [traditionally: rice, glutinous and non-glutinous millet, wheat and beans], and they raise horses, mules, donkeys, camels and silkworms. (They have) a tradition of amazing conjuring.
They can produce fire from their mouths, bind and then free themselves, and juggle twelve balls with extraordinary skill
The ruler of this country is not permanent. When disasters result from unusual phenomena, they unceremoniously replace him, installing a virtuous man as king, and release the old king, who does not dare show resentment.
The common people are tall and virtuous like the Chinese, but wear hu (‘Western’) clothes. They say they originally came from China, but left it.
They have always wanted to communicate with China but, Anxi (Parthia), jealous of their profits, would not allow them to pass (through to China).
For the rest of the story: http://io9.com/heres-what-third-century-china-thought-about-the-roman-1253007513

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...