A Third Century A.D. Chinese Description of the Roman Empire

At its height, the commercial reach of the Roman Empire extended deep into central Asia. There was even direct contact between Rome and China.

John E. Hill of the University of Washington offers further evidence of the connection between these two ancient empires. He translated a Chinese text called Weilue into English. It includes a description of the Roman Empire:

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).

You can read more from this translation at the link.

Link -via Smart News

(Unrelated photo by Jan Smith.)


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