posted on Sep, 14 2007 @ 05:12 PM
This is in response and support of sonicX007 thread of the same subject.
""""Trade with the Roman Empire followed soon, confirmed by the Roman craze for Chinese silk (supplied through the Parthians) from the 1st century
BCE. The Romans were not aware of silkworms and thought the fiber a vegetable product:
The Seres (Chinese), are famous for the woolen substance obtained from their forests; after a soaking in water they comb off the white down of the
leaves… So manifold is the labour employed, and so distant is the region of the globe drawn upon, to enable the Roman maiden to flaunt transparent
clothing in public — (Pliny the Elder, The Natural History VI, 54 ).
The Senate issued, in vain, several edicts to prohibit the wearing of silk, on economic and moral grounds: the importation of Chinese silk caused a
huge outflow of gold, and silk clothes were considered to be decadent and immoral:
I can see clothes of silk, if materials that do not hide the body, nor even one's decency, can be called clothes... Wretched flocks of maids labour
so that the adulteress may be visible through her thin dress, so that her husband has no more acquaintance than any outsider or foreigner with his
wife's body—(Seneca the Younger c. 3 BCE–65 CE, Declamations Vol. I).
The Roman historian Florus also describes the visit of numerous envoys, including Seres (perhaps the Chinese), to the first Roman Emperor Augustus,
who reigned between 27 BCE and 14 CE:
Now that all the races of the west and south were subjugated, and also the races of the north, (...) the Scythians and the Sarmatians sent
ambassadors seeking friendship; the Seres too and the Indians, who live immediately beneath the sun, though they brought elephants amongst their gifts
as well as precious stones and pearls, regarded their long journey, in the accomplishment of which they had spent four years, as the greatest tribute
which they rendered, and indeed their complexion proved that they came from beneath another sky.—(Florus Epitomae II, 34).
A maritime route opened up between Chinese-controlled Jiaozhi (centred in modern Vietnam, near Hanoi) probably by the 1st century CE (eventually
hundreds of Roman coins were discovered in North Vietnam in the 70s.It extended, via ports on the coasts of India and Sri Lanka, all the way to
Roman-controlled ports in Egypt and the Nabataean territories on the northeastern coast of the Red Sea. The Hou Hanshu records that a delegation of
Roman envoys arrived in China by this maritime route in 166 CE; this may well have been an exaggeration, by the envoys or the scribe, of a party of
""""There are several known instances of Roman soldiers being captured by the Parthians and transferred to the East for border duty. According to
Pliny, in 54 BCE, after losing at the battle of Carrhae, 10,000 Roman prisoners were displaced by the Parthians to Margiana to man the frontier (of
the 40,000 troops under Crassus, half had lost their lives, one quarter escaped, and one quarter were taken prisoner):
"It was to this place (Margiana) that Orodes conducted such of the Romans as had survived the defeat of Crassus" (Plin. Hist. Nat. 6. 18).
About 18 years later the nomadic Xiongnu chief Zhizhi established a state in the nearby Talas valley, near modern day Taraz. The Chinese have an
account by Ban Gu of about "a hundred men" under the command of Zhizhi who fought in a so-called "fish-scale formation" to defend Zhizhi's
wooden-palisade fortress against Han forces, in the Battle of Zhizhi in 36 BCE. The historian Homer Dubs claimed that this might have been the Roman
testudo formation and that these men, who were captured by the Chinese, were able to found the village of Liqian (Li-chien) in Yongchang County. There
is, however, no evidence that these men were Romans, although male inhabitants of Liqian are to undergo DNA testing to test the hypothesis.
A Roman inscription of the 2nd—3rd centuries CE has been found in eastern Uzbekistan in the Kara-Kamar cave complex, which has been analysed as
belonging to some Roman soldiers from the Pannonian Legio XV Apollinaris.""""
""""With the expansion of the Roman Empire in the Middle East during the 2nd century, the Romans gained the capability to develop shipping and
trade in the Indian Ocean. Several ports containing Roman ruins have been excavated on the coast of India.
Groups of Romans probably travelled farther eastwards, either on Roman, Indian, or Chinese ships. The first group of people claiming to be an
ambassadorial mission of Romans to China was recorded in 166, sixty years after the westbound expeditions of the Chinese general Ban Chao. The embassy
came to Emperor Huan of Han China "from Antun (Emperor Antoninus Pius), king of Daqin (Rome)". (As Antoninus Pius died in 161, leaving the empire to
his adoptive son Marcus Aurelius (Antoninus), and the convoy arrived in 166, confusion remains about who sent the mission given that both Emperors
were named 'Antoninus'.) The Roman mission came from the south (therefore probably by sea), entering China by the frontier of Jinan or Tonkin. It
brought presents of rhinoceros horns, ivory, and tortoise shell, probably been acquired in Southern Asia. About the same time, and possibly through
this embassy, the Chinese acquired a treatise of astronomy from the Romans.The existence of China was clearly known to Roman cartographers of the
time, since its name and position is depicted in Ptolemy's Geographia, which is dated to c. 150. On the map, China is located beyond the Aurea
Chersonesus ("Golden Peninsula"), which refers to the Southeast Asian peninsula. It is shown as being on the Magnus Sinus ("Great Gulf"), which
presumably corresponds to the known areas of the China Sea at the time; although Ptolemy represents it as tending to the southeast rather than to the
northeast. Trade throughout the Indian Ocean was extensive from the 2nd century, and many trading ports with links to Roman communities have been
identified in India and Sri Lanka along the route used by the Roman mission.""""