Sino-Roman relations started first on an indirect basis during the 2nd century BCE. The 2nd century BC started the first day of 200 BC and ended the last day of 101 BC. China and Rome progressively inched closer with the embassies of Zhang Qian in 130 BCE and the military expeditions of China to Central Asia, until general Ban Chao attempted to send an envoy to Rome around 100 CE. China ( Wade-Giles ( Mandarin) Chung¹kuo² is a cultural region, an ancient Civilization, and depending on perspective a National The Roman Empire was the post-Republican phase of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial A diplomatic mission is a group of people from one State or an international Inter-governmental organization (such as the United Nations) present in Zhang Qian ( 張[[wikt 騫|騫]] Wade-Giles Chang Ch'ien was an imperial envoy to the outside world in the 2nd century BC during the time of the Han Dynasty Central Asia is a region of Asia from the Caspian Sea in the west to central China in the east and from southern Russia in the north to northern Pakistan in the south Control of the Tarim Basin Ban Chao like his predecessors Huo Qubing and Wei Qing from the earlier-half of the Han Dynasty before him is said to Several alleged Roman embassies to China were recorded by a number of ancient Chinese historians. China ( Wade-Giles ( Mandarin) Chung¹kuo² is a cultural region, an ancient Civilization, and depending on perspective a National See also History An historian is an individual who studies and writes about History, and is regarded as an Authority on it The first one on record, supposedly from either the Roman emperor Antoninus Pius or the later emperor Marcus Aurelius, arrived in 166 CE. The Roman Emperor was the ruler of the Roman State during the imperial period (starting at about 27 BC Titus Aurelius Fulvus Boionius Arrius Antoninus ( September 19, 86 &ndash March 7 161) generally known in English as Antoninus Pius Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus (often referred to as "the wise" ( April 26, 121 – March 17, 180) was Roman Emperor
In 130 BCE, with the embassies of the Han Dynasty to Central Asia, following the reports of the ambassador Zhang Qian (who was originally sent to obtain an alliance with the Yuezhi against the Xiongnu, but in vain), the Chinese emperor Wudi became interested in developing relationships with the sophisticated urban civilizations of Ferghana, Bactria and Parthia:
The Chinese subsequently sent numerous embassies, around ten every year, to these countries and as far as Seleucid Syria. The Seleucid Empire /sə'lusɪd/ ( 312 - 63 BC) was a Hellenistic empire i Syria ( سوريّة or) officially the Syrian Arab Republic (Arabic ar الجمهورية العربية السورية “Thus more embassies were dispatched to Anxi (Parthia), Yancai (who later joined the Alans), Lijian (Syria under the Seleucids), Tiaozhi (Chaldea) and Tianzhu (northwestern India)… As a rule, rather more than ten such missions went forward in the course of a year, and at the least five or six. Parthia ( Middle Persian: اشکانیان Ashkâniân) was an Iranian civilization situated in the northeastern part of modern Iran The Alans or Alani (occasionally but more rarely termed Alauni or Halani) were an Iranian nomadic group among the Sarmatian people Syria ( سوريّة or) officially the Syrian Arab Republic (Arabic ar الجمهورية العربية السورية The Seleucid Empire /sə'lusɪd/ ( 312 - 63 BC) was a Hellenistic empire i Chaldea (from Greek grc Χαλδαία Chaldaia; Akkadian akk māt Kaldu Hebrew כשדים Kaśdim, "the Chaldees" of the Tiānzhú (in Chinese) Tenjiku (in Japanese) Cheonchuk (in Korean) Thiên Trúc (in Vietnamese) are ” Hou Hanshu (Later Han History).
Trade with the Roman Empire followed soon, confirmed by the Roman craze for Chinese silk (supplied through the Parthians) from the 1st century BCE. Roman Trade was the engine that drove the economy of the late Roman Republic and the early Roman Empire. Ancient Rome was a Civilization that grew out of a small agricultural community founded on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 10th century BC Silk is a natural Protein Fiber, some forms of which can be woven into Textiles The best-known type of silk is obtained from cocoons Parthia ( Middle Persian: اشکانیان Ashkâniân) was an Iranian civilization situated in the northeastern part of modern Iran The 1st century BC started the first day of 100 BC and ended the last day of 1 BC. Although the Romans knew of wild silk harvested on Cos, they did not at first make the connection with Chinese silk. Kos or Cos ( Greek: Κως Turkish: İstanköy; Italian: Coo formerly Stanchio in English is a Greek Hence, Pliny the Elder, in his Natural History, wrote:
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 ). Seres (Gr Σῆρες, Lat Sērēs) was the ancient Greek and Roman name for the inhabitants of the northwestern part of modern China Gaius or Caius Plinius Secundus, ( AD 23 – August 25, AD 79 better known as Pliny the Elder, was an ancient Author
Yet later in the same work, he writes:
The larva [of the 'bombyx'] then becomes a caterpillar, after which it assumes the state in which it is known as 'bombylis', then that called 'necydalus', and after that, in six months, it becomes a silk-worm. These insects weave webs similar to those of the spider, the material of which is used for making the more costly and luxurious garments of females, known as 'bombycina'. Pamphile, a woman of Cos, the daughter of Platea, was the first person who discovered the art of unravelling these webs and spinning a tissue therefrom; indeed, she ought not to be deprived of the glory of having discovered the art of making vestments which, while they cover a woman, at the same moment reveal her naked charms. (Pliny the Elder, The Natural History XI, 26). Gaius or Caius Plinius Secundus, ( AD 23 – August 25, AD 79 better known as Pliny the Elder, was an ancient Author
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:
A maritime route opened up with the Chinese-controlled Jiaozhi (centred in modern Vietnam) and the Khmer kingdom of Funan probably by the first century CE. See also History of Vietnam Annam ( 安[[wiktionary 南|南]] pinyin Ānnán or Jiaozhi ( 交趾; pinyin Jiāozhǐ Vietnamese Giao Funan (Old Khmer Bnam, Modern Khmer Phnom, Khmer script នគរភ្នំ (i At the formerly coastal site of Óc Eo in the Mekong Delta, Roman coins were among the vestiges of long-distance trade discovered by the French archaeologist Louis Malleret in the 1940s. Óc Eo is an archaeological site proposed to be named by the French archaeologist site Louis Mallaret in southern An Giang Province, Vietnam, in Mekong  Óc Eo may have been the port known to the geographer Ptolemy and the Romans as Kattigara. Óc Eo is an archaeological site proposed to be named by the French archaeologist site Louis Mallaret in southern An Giang Province, Vietnam, in Mekong The trade connection 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. Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka ( Sinhalese:, இலங்கை known as Ceylon before 1972 is an Island This article is about the country of Egypt For a topic outline on this subject see List of basic Egypt topics. The Nabataeans ( Arabic: الأنباط, Al-Anbāṭ) were an ancient Semitic people Arabs of southern Jordan, Canaan The Red Sea is a Salt water Inlet of the Indian Ocean between Africa and Asia. 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 what was actually an unofficial party of Roman merchants. The Book of the Later Han ( is one of the official Chinese Historical works which was compiled by Fan Ye in the 5th century, using
Pomponius Mela (Book III,Chapter 5), copied by Pliny the Elder, wrote that Quintus Caecilius Metellus Celer, proconsul in Gaul, 59 BC, got 'several Indians' (Indi) as a present from a Germanic king. Pomponius Mela, who wrote around AD 43, was the earliest Roman Geographer. Gaius or Caius Plinius Secundus, ( AD 23 – August 25, AD 79 better known as Pliny the Elder, was an ancient Author The Caecilii Metelli were one of the most important and wealthiest families in the Roman Republic. Ancient Rome In the Roman Republic, a proconsul was a Promagistrate (like a Propraetor) who after serving as Consul, spent a year Gaul (Gallia was the Roman name for the region of Western Europe comprising present day northern Italy, France, Belgium, western Germanic monarchy, also called barbarian monarchy, was a monarchical systemof government which was predominant among the Germanic tribes of Late Antiquity The Indians were driven by a storm to the coasts of Germania (in tempestatem ex Indicis aequoribus):
It is unclear whether these castaways were people from India or Eastern Asia, since "Indians" designated all Asians, Indian and beyond, during Roman times. India, officially the Republic of India (भारत गणराज्य inc-Latn Bhārat Gaṇarājya; see also other Indian languages) is a country Pomponius is using these Indi as evidence for the Northeast Passage and the northward strait out of the Caspian Sea (which in Antiquity was usually thought to be open to Oceanus in the north). The Northern Sea Route (Се́верный морско́й путь Severniy morskoy put’) is a Shipping lane from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged Sea. Ocean (Ὠκεανός was believed to be the world-ocean in Classical antiquity, which the ancient Romans and Greeks considered to be Edward Herbert Bunbury suggests that they were of Finnish origin. Sir Edward Herbert Bunbury 9th Baronet ( 8 July 1811 - 5 March 1895) known as Edward Bunbury until 1886 was a British Liberal The terms Finns and Finnish people ( Finnish: suomalaiset, Swedish: finländare) are used in English to There are also some speculations that they may have been American Indians castaway across the Atlantic. Pre-Columbian trans-oceanic contact describes alleged interactions between the Indigenous peoples of the Americas and peoples of other continents – Africa,
Some confusion may be suspected in this passage since Metellus Celer died before taking up his proconsulship, thus leaving it free for Julius Caesar.
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):
About 18 years later the nomadic Xiongnu chief Zhizhi established a state in the nearby Talas valley, near modern day Taraz. The Xiongnu ( Turkish: Doğu Hun were a confederation of nomadic tribes from Central Asia with a ruling class of unknown origin and other subjugated tribes The Talas River crosses the territory of Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. Taraz ( Тараз) formerly Talas, Zhambyl (Kazakh Жамбы́л and Aulie-Ata (Kazakh Әулие́-Ата Chagatai: اولياه 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. Ban Gu ( 32–92 Courtesy name Mengjian (孟堅 was a 1st century Chinese historian best known for his part in compiling the Book of Han The Han Dynasty ( 206 BC–220 AD followed the Qin Dynasty and preceded the Three Kingdoms in China. The Battle of Zhizhi (郅支之戰 was a Battle between the Han Dynasty and the Zhizhi Guduhou Chanyu (sometimes known as Western Xiongnu Year 36 BC was a Common year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar of the Julian calendar. 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. In Ancient Roman Warfare the testudo or tortoise formation was a formation used commonly by the Roman Legions during battles particularly sieges Liqian ( Chinese: 骊靬 Pinyin: líqián is a defunct county in today's northern province of Gansu in China. Yongchang County (永昌县 is a county located in the province of Gansu in China  There is, however, no evidence that these men were Romans, and recent DNA testing of the male inhabitants of Liqian does not support the hypothesis. A genealogical DNA test examines the Nucleotides at specific locations on a person's DNA for Genetic genealogy purposes 
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:
In 97, Ban Chao crossed the Tian Shan and Pamir mountains with an army of 70,000 men in a campaign against the Xiongnu/Huns, who were harassing the trade routes now known as the Silk Road. The Ming Dynasty ( or Empire of the Great Ming ( was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644 following the collapse of the Mongol -led The Sancai Tuhui (三才圖會 compiled by Shanghai natives Wang Qi (王圻 and Wang Siyi (王思義 is a Chinese encyclopedia (known at that time Year 97 was a Common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar of the Julian calendar. Control of the Tarim Basin Ban Chao like his predecessors Huo Qubing and Wei Qing from the earlier-half of the Han Dynasty before him is said to The Tian Shan (天山 Pinyin: Tiān Shān "celestial mountains" also commonly spelled Tien Shan, is a Mountain range located in Central The Pamir Mountains are located in Central Asia and are formed by the junction or Knot of the Tian Shan, Karakoram, Kunlun, and The Xiongnu ( Turkish: Doğu Hun were a confederation of nomadic tribes from Central Asia with a ruling class of unknown origin and other subjugated tribes The Huns were an early confederation of Central Asian equestrian nomads or semi-nomads with a Turkic core of aristocracy The Silk Road, or Silk Routes, are an extensive interconnected network of Trade routes across the Asian continent connecting East South and Western Asia with the The Han general made an alliance with the Parthian king Mithradates II and established his base on shores of the Caspian Sea and at Antiochia Margiana (Merv) at the eastern outpost of the Parthian Kingdom (NOTE: The correct information here should state that Han general Ban Chao established an alliance with the Parthian king Pacorus II of Parthia, as Mithradates II was already dead by the time Ban Chao arrived in Parthia). Mithridates II (the Great was king of Parthia from 123 to 88 BC The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged Sea. Merv ( Russian: Мерв from Persian: مرو Marv, sometimes transliterated Marw or Mary; cf Merv ( Russian: Мерв from Persian: مرو Marv, sometimes transliterated Marw or Mary; cf Parthia ( Middle Persian: اشکانیان Ashkâniân) was an Iranian civilization situated in the northeastern part of modern Iran Pacorus II of Parthia ruled the Parthian Empire from about 78 to 105 It was from here that the Han general dispatched envoy Gan Ying to Daqin (Rome). Daqin ( is the ancient Chinese name for the Roman Empire and the Near East. Gan Ying left a detailed account of western countries, although he apparently only reached as far as Mesopotamia. While he intended to sail to Rome through the Black Sea, some Parthian merchants, interested in maintaining their profitable role as the middleman in the trade between China and Rome, falsely told him the dangerous trip would take two years at the least (when it was actually closer to two months). Deterred, he returned home.
Gan Ying left an account on Rome (Daqin in Chinese) which may have relied on second-hand sources. Rome ( Roma ˈroma Roma is the capital city of Italy and Lazio, and is Italy's largest and most populous city with more than 2 Daqin ( is the ancient Chinese name for the Roman Empire and the Near East. He locates it to the west of the sea:
He also describes the adoptive monarchy of the Emperor Nerva, and Roman physical appearance and products:
Finally Gan Ying determines Rome correctly as the main economic power at the western end of Eurasia:
Maës Titianus was the ancient traveller of Hellenistic culture who penetrated farthest east along the Silk Road from the Mediterranean world. Maës Titianus was an ancient traveller of Hellenistic culture who is recorded as having travelled farthest along the Silk Road from the Mediterranean world This article focuses on the cultural aspects of the Hellenistic age for the historical aspects see Hellenistic period. The Silk Road, or Silk Routes, are an extensive interconnected network of Trade routes across the Asian continent connecting East South and Western Asia with the In the early second century CE or at the end of the first century BCE, during a lull in the intermittent Roman struggles with Parthia, his party reached the famous Stone Tower, Tashkurgan, in the Pamirs. Parthia ( Middle Persian: اشکانیان Ashkâniân) was an Iranian civilization situated in the northeastern part of modern Iran The Pamir Mountains are located in Central Asia and are formed by the junction or Knot of the Tian Shan, Karakoram, Kunlun, and
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. The Roman Empire was the post-Republican phase of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial The 2nd century is the period from 101 to 200 in accordance with the Julian calendar in the Christian / Common Era. The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's Oceanic divisions covering about 20% of the water on the Earth 's surface 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. Control of the Tarim Basin Ban Chao like his predecessors Huo Qubing and Wei Qing from the earlier-half of the Han Dynasty before him is said to The embassy came to Emperor Huan of Han China "from Antun (Emperor Antoninus Pius), king of Daqin (Rome)". Family background and ascension Liu Zhi was born in 132 to Liu Yi (劉翼 the Marquess of Liwu and his Concubine Yan Ming (匽明 The Han Dynasty ( 206 BC–220 AD followed the Qin Dynasty and preceded the Three Kingdoms in China. Titus Aurelius Fulvus Boionius Arrius Antoninus ( September 19, 86 &ndash March 7 161) generally known in English as Antoninus Pius Daqin ( is the ancient Chinese name for the Roman Empire and the Near East. (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'. Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus (often referred to as "the wise" ( April 26, 121 – March 17, 180) was Roman Emperor ) The Roman mission came from the south (therefore probably by sea), entering China by the frontier of Jinan or Tonkin. This article is about the body of water For other uses see SEA and Seas. Jinan ( in some literatures the pinyin without tones is given as Ji'nan, to disambiguate from a possible misreading as Jin'an is a Sub-provincial city Tonkin (Đông Kinh in Vietnamese) also spelled Tongkin, Tonquin or Tongking, is the northernmost part of Vietnam, south of It brought presents of rhinoceros horns, ivory, and tortoise shell, probably been acquired in Southern Asia. Rhinoceros (raɪˈnɒsərəs often colloquially abbreviated rhino, is a name used to group five extant species of Odd-toed ungulates in the family A horn is a pointed projection of the Skin on the head of various Mammals consisting of a covering of horn ( Keratin and other Proteins Ivory is formed from Dentine and constitutes the bulk of the Teeth and Tusks of animals such as the Elephant, Hippopotamus, Tortoises or land Turtles are land-dwelling Reptiles of the family of Testudinidae', order Testudines. About the same time, and possibly through this embassy, the Chinese acquired a treatise of astronomy from the Romans. A treatise is a formal lengthy systematic Discourse on some subject Astronomy (from the Greek words astron (ἄστρον "star" and nomos (νόμος "law" is the scientific study
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. Claudius Ptolemaeus ( Greek: Klaúdios Ptolemaîos; after 83 &ndash ca 150. On the map, China is located beyond the Aurea Chersonesus ("Golden Peninsula"), which refers to the Southeast Asian peninsula. A peninsula is a piece of land that is nearly surrounded by Water but connected to Mainland via an Isthmus. 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. The China Seas consists of the seas of the Western Pacific Ocean Yellow Sea East China Sea South China Sea 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. The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's Oceanic divisions covering about 20% of the water on the Earth 's surface The 2nd century is the period from 101 to 200 in accordance with the Julian calendar in the Christian / Common Era. India, officially the Republic of India (भारत गणराज्य inc-Latn Bhārat Gaṇarājya; see also other Indian languages) is a country Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka ( Sinhalese:, இலங்கை known as Ceylon before 1972 is an Island
Other embassies may have been sent after this first encounter, but were not recorded, until an account appears about presents sent in the early 3rd century by the Roman Emperor to Cao Rui of the Kingdom of Wei (reigned 227–239) in Northern China. The 3rd century is the period from 201 to 300 in accordance with the Julian calendar in the Christian / Common Era. Cao Rui ( 205 - 22 January 239) was the son of Cao Pi and the second emperor of the Cao Wei. Cao Wei ( was one of the empires that competed for control of China during the Three Kingdoms period Events By Place Europe Ireland — The rule of High King Cormac mac Airt begins (approximate Events By Place Asia In the Chinese Kingdom of Wei, Wei Qi Wang succeeds Wei Ming Di. The presents consisted of articles of glass in a variety of colours. While several Roman Emperors ruled during this time, the embassy, if genuine, may have been sent by Alexander Severus; since his successors reigned briefly and were busy with civil wars. The Roman Emperor was the ruler of the Roman State during the imperial period (starting at about 27 BC Marcus Aurelius Severus Alexander, commonly called Alexander Severus, (October 1 208 &ndash March 18, 235) was the last Roman emperor
Another embassy from Daqin is recorded in the year 284, as bringing presents to the Chinese empire. Events By Place Roman Empire November 20 — Diocletian becomes Emperor. This embassy presumably was sent by the Emperor Carus (282–283), whose short reign was occupied with war with Persia. Marcus Aurelius Carus (c 230 - late July/early August 283 was a Roman Emperor (282-283 Events By Place Roman Empire Emperor Probus is slain in a battle against the usurper Carus, an Illyrian and Praetorian Events By place Roman Empire Carus conquers Ctesiphon, capital of the Persian kingdom. The Sassanid Empire or Sassanian Dynasty or Sassanian Dynasty (ساسانیان) is the name used for the third Iranian dynasty and the second Persian empire