Review: Friedrich Hirth’s China and the Roman Orient: Researches into their Ancient and Medieval Relations as represented in Old Chinese Records (Shanghai and Hong Kong 1885)

This monument of Sino-Roman studies will be this year nearly a century and a quarter old, the first year of publication having been 1885; yet it would still profit the modern student to closely examine its arguments and analyses. It is so far only one of the few works in English[1] to set about the demystification of Da Qin – and its later form Fulin – as recounted in Chinese and texts, from the Han to Ming eras. It has been succeeded in the last century by newer works, most recently by Leslie and Gardiner[2], although such a systematic, holistic synthesis as Hirth’s, providing text and commentary, is still without comparison. Indeed Edwin Pulleybank could aver that The Roman Empire in Chinese Sources would do little more than Hirth, but providing an alternate interpretation, with its corresponding set of assumptions and linguistic analyses[3]. Overall, Sino-Roman studies, especially as concerns the Chinese evidence, of necessity demands linguistic analysis in identifying place-names. If the Chinese knew of Rome or of its empire, identifying geographical and topographical features in the literature, above all, concerned Hirth and his successors. But is simple identification, matching of the details with known western regions, the only correct approach? Perhaps not – such a work devoted, above all, to texts, enters the complex debate on literature and its formation; how knowledge of Da Qin came to be, how these Chinese authors approached the construction of their texts, and fundamentally what the Chinese thought of ethnographic ‘truth’, are all pressing and fascinating question raised by this admirable work.

Essentially China and the Roman Orient[4] comprises two parts, one of the Chinese texts (pp 31-134) and their translations, and the other of interpretive essays (pp 135-313). In the main the purpose of the work was to systematically present the known literary attestations of the ‘west’, as understood by the Chinese, from the former Han to the Song. Admittedly the selection, at first sight, is somewhat artificial, but necessarily so – it is China and the RomanOrient, when of course never had any idea of the ‘Romans’, or a corresponding occidental notion of the ‘orient’. While this would seem to discredit almost at once the basis of Hirth’s exploration, it becomes clear that he seeks to answer a question that is ultimately academic in importance – ‘the mystery connected with the country in the Far West, described by Chinese authors under the name of Ta-tsin’ (Preface v). It is the crucial and fascinating question, we discover, of whether ancient China had knowledge of its contemporary, the Roman empire.

Who are these Chinese authors? Hirth’s selection draws from all sources pertaining to Da Qin and Fulin, with text and translation. Namely, in alphabetical order, the Shiji (text A), Hanshu (B),Houhanshu (C, D, E), Jinshu (F), Songshu (G), Liangshu (H), Weishu(I), Jiu Tangshu (K), Xin Tangshu (L), Nestorian Monument of 781 AD (M), Songshi (N), Mingshi (O), Weilüe (P), Ma Duanlin’s Wenxian Tongkao (Q), Chu fanzhi (R). Pp 1-30 are concerned with a brief explanation of the texts themselves, of the nature and genre of the works the passages he drew upon came from, and provides a concise summary of some of the historiographical issues that arise from their usage. He notes, moreover, that such a work as China would provide translations, for the first time (p 27), of many of these Chinese texts – something not true today, albeit certainly holding so for the 1880s. His rationale, moreover, for the inclusion of the original Chinese text, is to invite scholarly criticism and revision of his own findings (p 30). No doubt this would hold to its worth for many years to come.

As to the quality of his translations, Hirth claims to correct the work of previous scholars (p 27-9), although the present author is not sufficiently learned in Chinese to critically assess his own renditions. Nonetheless, the paragraphing system he employs is simple and very helpful in referencing otherwise complex and foreign – to readers of a non-sinological background – texts. The format of the Chinese text, however, while faithful to the nature of the Chinese manuscript tradition, may be confusing, in being read form right to left in columns, but organised in left to right page order ie. Text D, of theHouhanshu, for instance, begins in the left half of page 98, but is continued on the right half of page 99. Moreover, China demands a familiarity in the Wade-Giles anglicisation; future editions of Hirth, should they appear, might do well to convert the transcriptions into Hanyu Pinyin.

The second half of China comprises nearly two hundred pages of interpretive commentary, entitled ‘Identifications’. Essentially, he has sought all the commonalities of detail, overlapping factual information, as gleaned from the texts translated in Part 1, and attempted to provide logical identifications from the known contemporaneous western, (for him, eastern Mediterranean) world. The running commentary is fluent and progressive in its thought, moving logically through the problems he has found, and seeks to solve. He begins his analysis with a detailed attempt at identifying place-names on the land routes between China and Da Qin (pp 137-73), drawing greatly from the accounts of the Houhanshu and theWeilüe. Immediately the judiciousness of his clear alphabetical organisation of the texts and simple passage numbering, is clear in aiding the reader’s ease of reference. Slowly the discussion moves to discussion of the embassy of 166 AD, and of the place-names in the Weilüe (pp 183-97). The next twenty pages (pp 200-219) are concerned with the state of Da Qin – its size, location, and capital (identified by Hirth with Antioch) – and its various curiosities as described in the Chinese texts (the Amazons and Pygmies in Ma Duanlin, for instance). A great amount of space is devoted to identifying the trade products of Da Qin (pp 225-282), from glass-making, textiles, precious stones, to the enigmatic ‘water-sheep’ (pp 260-3). Finally, Hirth moves to the, perhaps secondary issue of Fulin (pp 283-304), and the problems of its interpretation. He concludes ‘Identifications’ with a few thoughts on possible Chinese efforts to make contact with Da Qin, other than the celebrated tale of Gan Ying in the Houhanshu (pp 304-8). As a sort of epilogue he provides a short list (pp 308-13) of the results of his linguistic, phonetic analysis of the Chinese place-names copiously scrutinised in China, providing much space for future scholarly study.

The central thesis, as Hirth outlines in his preface (p v-vi), of China is that the Da Qin of Chinese records refers not to the Roman Empireper se, but rather the eastern regions of the Roman world, Roman Syria and its environs – the ‘Roman Orient’, in his words. For a work of his time such a thesis must have been remarkably mature – Hirth deliberately shears his analysis of the idealism of scholars previous to him (pp v-vii) which, recently revived[5], saw Da Qin as the whole Roman Empire, and not its eastern provinces. Hirth’s arguments and identifications in arriving at such a conclusion are many and complex, guided by the principle that ‘the Chinese account contains no statement which may contradict the assumption thus arrived at.” (p 152). The commentary he presents is much based on the two primary accounts of Da Qin – chapter 88 of the Houhanshu, the Xiyu zhuan (Treatise on the Western Regions), and the Weilüe, which is preserved in the Sanguozhi. He seems to maintain two presupposition of the evidence: a) the texts on Da Qin essentially depict the same country, regardless of their own respective contexts, and b) that the places and details mentioned within them are reducible and identifiable with contemporaneous reality. As to a) imperial dynastic compilation was ‘bureaucratic’, relying on records and archives, and thus, for later dynasties, the descriptions of Da Qin from earlier writings[6]. Da Qin, itself, perhaps became more of an idea, a notional, unchanging entity, more geographical than political. Thus, the accounts of the JinshuSongshuLiangshu, andWeishu, for instance, seem to have recopied the description of Da Qin in the Houhanshu’s Xiyu zhuan (account of the western regions). Moreover, the Mingshi ((Hirth’s text O 12) even refer the reader to ‘former annals’, qian shi, for information on Da Qin.

As to b), one needs to address the question of Quellenforschungen– what were the sources of the most detailed extant accounts of the Houhanshu and Weilüe, for instance? Hirth addresses this issue early on, pointing to the archival material of the daily chronicles (ri li) as the likely source of material in the imperial digressions (p 1-2). The ‘embassy’ of 166, and encounter with the court of Huandi may be such evidence of the ri li. Such anecdotal incidents as the story of the merchant Xinlun at Jiaozhi[7], however, would represent less ‘official’ sources of information[8]. Homer Dubs has more recently sought to qualify the ‘reliability’ of such archival material[9], although a host of technical historiographical questions on the nature of knowledge-sharing, between two countries and cultures unknown to each other, remain to be answered. What it would have meant to the Chinese emperor, for instance, to have been greeted by foreign traders from a far-off western land, too, may have affected the veracity and presentation of the details on Da Qin. Thus, it is reasonable to ask if perhaps the mention of the ‘tribute’ of the embassy of 166 is rather a Chinese reflection on the universal nature of Chinese rulership. Similarly would one treat the allegation that Da Qin ‘had always wanted to make contact with China’. Historiography, however much bound by sources and material, had subtle, ideological aspects (it still does), which the modern scholar would much further Hirth’s rudiments in exploring.

In this respect, certain passages on Da Qin, for instance, may stem from ideological self-projections of Chinese conceptions of the west[10]. The description of the capital of Da Qin, Andu[11], may be an interesting example of the projection of Chinese notions of city-construction and cosmic balance onto a ‘mimic’ China. The division of Andu into five quarters, which Hirth sees as evidence towards it identification with Antioch, may be but the imposition of Chinese ideas of capital-construction on a similar power to the west[12]. The deposition of Da Qin’s king at the change of weather[13], too, may be a reflection of the current notion in Han times of yin and yang, and the change of ruler being in harmony with the change in cosmic order. Perhaps, moreover, such descriptions of kingship may find antecedents in anthropological models of the king as scapegoat[14]. The Houhanshu, indeed, says that the people of Da Qin are ‘tall and well-proportioned, somewhat like the Chinese, whence the name “Da Qin”’ (Hirth text E 21). This is likely as close an admission to the ideas expounded above[15]. No doubt studies of the ethnography and conception of self-identity implicit in the Houhanshu and the other texts pertaining to the Da Qin would open many new perspectives in Sino-Roman studies[16]. The mysterious ‘water-sheep’, thus, described as one of Da Qin’s products, which Hirth has sought in the western byssus, a fabric woven from sea-shell threads (p 260 ff), may be but another instance of Chinese projections of the ‘other’, not dissimilar perhaps from descriptions of gold digging ants in India by Herodotus in 5th century Greece[17].

Notwithstanding, certain details, especially of a geographical, topographical nature must have been reliable. There is evidence from the Han tombs of Mawangdui of cartography, even of local regions[18], and there is reason to trust the details of distance and travel-time given in the Chinese texts on the western regions[19]. Indeed the central purpose of China is the reconstruction of the trade-routes known, and which would have been used, by the Chinese. Hirth discerns several stages in the development of Chineseknowledge – not to say use – of these routes (p 188): 1) the land route to the Persian Gulf, and the subsequent sea-route round the Arabian peninsula and up the Red Sea, which was known by Gan Ying in 97 AD; 2) the straight overland route from Babylonia to Syria via Palmyra, which must have been known to the compilers ofHouhanshu 88, Hirth surmises (p 184); and 3) the overseas route, from the Persian Gulf or the Red Sea across the Indian Ocean to India, pass South-east Asia, and into the South China Sea and China proper, evinced by the ‘embassy’ of 166 AD. Evidently, as discussed already, Hirth is bound by the scope of the texts themselves – the knowledge of the west demonstrated by them is the knowledge of the imperial court – albeit ‘official’ knowledge – and the compilers of the Houhanshu and Weilüe; there may be many narratives of adventurous Chinese voyagers which have not survived. The explanations for the growth in Chinese knowledge, especially of the overseas route, are interesting, and perhaps original – the ‘embassy’ of Da Qin, for instance, is the response of Alexandrian guilds to the disturbance of the land-route by the Roman-Parthian wars of the 160s (p 178). How true the Han claim that 166 was the beginning of ‘direct intercourse’ with Da Qin is can only be guessed at; but Hirth’s reasoning would explain to some reason the dating of the ‘embassy’, and moreover the apparent ignorance of Gan Ying in 97 AD of the overseas route. Overarching all this, however, is the necessary realisation that all trade between Rome and China must have been conducted by intermediaries – in Syrians, Parthians, or Indians, for instance[20]. Hirth, in search of direct Chinese knowledge of Da Qin, meticulously analyses the evidence from the ‘products of Da Qin’, as outlined in the Houhanshuand Weilüe[21], drawing Greek and Latin texts in parallel to confirm Chinese knowledge of Mediterranean glass-making, precious stones, or silk textiles. In general Hirth’s reconstructions of trade-routes and products cannot be read without exploring the newer and more recent studies on Roman trade with India and China[22]; many of his linguistic reconstructions of transliterated[23] place-names, moreover, – which the writer does not feel qualified to judge – as that of heatedly debated ones as Liqian, Tiaozhi, or Zesan, would do well with further modern comparative linguistic studies[24].

In some respects, however, Hirth reveals his lack of depth. His identifications of place-names, so important as Liqian or Tiaozhi, for instance, would do well with the support of an expert in Mesopotamian geography. It is the exciting, but at the same time challenging aspect of Sino-Roman studies, that it should inevitably invite cross-disciplinary efforts. Indeed, a genius, master in the field of classics, and Chinese history and language, which so far the world has scarcely produced. One of the issues he neglects is the political system of Da Qin, which forms a core part of its ‘canonical’ descriptions[25]. The ‘king’ of Da Qin is depicted in the Houhanshu, and appears consistently in the texts deriving from it, but Hirth does not devote any space to even surmising what it might signify. Can the judicial procedure described, or the thirty-six generals, be reconciled with what is known of the province of Syria? Perhaps here is an instance of the Chinese projection of its own conception of rulership and administration onto a foreign people, as discussed above. In some other issues, however, his conclusions could certainly be supplemented with newer studies. Speaking on the ‘four hundred walled cities’[26] consistently attributed to Da Qin, he cites Gibbon as an authority on the number of five hundred cities in the province of Asia; surely, Syria must have had a similar number (pp 218-9). While this is logical reasoning, it is not entirely sound – is this but a hyperbolic conception of the magnificence of a foreign power? What would one define as a ‘city’? What was the Chinese conception of the city? Western parallels, such as Justin’s thousand cities of Bactria[27], may perhaps elucidate the impression intended by such hyperbolic phrases. Moreover, innumerable modern works on city archaeology would provide clearer pictures of the ubiquity, or lack thereof, of the city in the Roman east[28]. Finally, Hirth’s closing thoughts, on Chinese embassies to Rome and the west (pp 304-6) raises the possibility of future, more concrete and detailed interpretation, no doubt with closer inspection of all classical references[29].

Hirth’s treatment of Fulin (pp 283 ff.) could have been left for a second monograph. Fulin was essentially the medieval form of Da Qin, often recognised as the same country[30]. Thus, its study – the study of its attestations – comprises the same historiographical and technical questions as that surrounding the sources on Da Qin. Spanning more centuries, however, from the 6th – 14th, the Sui-Tang to Ming eras[31], the evidence would require broad knowledge of the contemporaneous western realms – from middle Byzantium, the Islamic Caliphate, and Turkic Seljuk empires. His identification of the so-called embassies, for instance, of the kings of Fulin, Poduoli in 643[32], and Mieliilingkaisa in 1081[33], as the Nestorian patriarch of eastern Christianity (pp 293-5), and the Seljuk sultan of Rum (pp 297-300)[34] respectively requires specialist knowledge in those western entities – linguistic identification, however convincing, cannot be entirely explicable without understanding the social and political forces behind contacts made with China – intentional or not. A second problem is the vastness of the time encompassed by the conception of Fulin as the western state, and the ineluctable problem of whether one is confronted with a Chinese transliteration of a western name, or a Chinese name given to the old country of Da Qin, altogether. Hirth’s treatment of this (pp 283-301) is extensive and interesting; his cautious conclusions allot Fulin differing designations through the centuries – thus while early on it may have been a region within the Da Qin, possibly a transliteration of Butlam, and thus of Bethlehem, it came to be perceived as a country (Syria, thus understandable as the same as Da Qin[35]) and region (Seljuk province) under the Tang and Song dynasties. One would probably only dispute the regions designated, and not Hirth’s admirable premise of a change in the Chinese conception of the west.

The treatment of Fulin provides a sound base for further exploration – as Hirth himself would do, publishing two connected monographs some years later, entitled under ‘The Mystery of Fu-in’[36]. It would do well for a future Hirth to publish an independent work on Fulin, and medieval Chinese conceptions of the west, to judge from certain texts not included in China[37]. In general many of Hirth’s conclusions in 1885 are best followed up by his later monographs, which deal in greater depth with the complex problems of identification, as well as offer some revised conclusions[38]. Hirth, might, however, have dedicated some space to examining the trade-routes between China and the west in the medieval period, as he did for Da Qin in the first half of his section ‘Identifications’. While there is less detail in the evidence[39], the changing face of Fulin, over seven centuries at least, would demand a clear, broad understanding of the mechanisms of exchange and movement between east and west, as may be afforded by modern studies[40]. As with the section on Da Qin, Hirth’s work may be much supplemented by modern research – perhaps in store for Fulin are new specialised monographs on its respective characterisations under different dynasties, which would clarify Hirth’s suspicions on the evolving Chinese conceptions of the west. Work, also, may be done on the relationship between Da Qin and Fulin, as highlighted in a recent article[41].

In summary Hirth’s China was and is still a landmark work. It deals with the obscure, albeit important topic, of the ancient relations between China and the western world – much relevant to the 21st century. China is for its content eminently readable and accessible; the combined presentation of Chinese text and translation, along with commentary, is a format which would lend greatly to it utility for all future Sino-Roman scholars. In general his conclusions are sound and credible, while his methodology would invite the future cross-disciplinary contributions. There is work yet to be done on the historiography and ethnography of the Chinese evidence, as well as on the linguistic analyses of Chinese transliterations Hirth has made. In many aspects China, over a century old, may be supplemented with the new knowledge gained from the researches of many more recent scholars. But yet it would profit anyone interested in the field to explore and thoroughly pore through this fundamental, and at the end, fascinating, work.




  1. Fortunately, too, for the English scholarly community, as Hirth nearly conceived the work in his native German (pps iv-v).
  2. Leslie, D.D., and Gardiner, K.H.J., The Roman Empire in the Chinese Sources Studia Orientalia Vol 15 (Rome 1996).
  3. Pulleybank, E., ‘The Roman Empire as known to Han China’ (review of Leslie and Gardiner op.cit) Journal of the American Oriental Society Vol. 119, No. 1 (Jan. – Mar., 1999), p. 72.
  4. Henceforth refered to as China.
  5. Leslie and Gardiner, infra.
  6. Dubs, H., ‘The Reliability of Chinese Histories’ The Far Eastern Quarterly Vol. 6, No. 1 (Nov., 1946), pp. 23-43.
  7. From the Liangshu, Hirth text H 8-10.
  8. One wonders if Xinlun had anything to do with the abundantly detailed and rich account of Da Qin in the Weilue.
  9. Dubs op.cit. pp 23-43, esp. 27-43.
  10. Barrett, T.H., ‘The Roman Empire as known to Han China’ (review of Leslie and Gardiner op.cit) in Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London Vol 61, No. 1 (1998) p 185.
  11. Hirth text E 13-15 (HHS).
  12. For which, see the concise, but enlightening book by Cotterell, A. The Imperial Capitals of China (New York 2008) esp. Chps 1-2.
  13. Hirth text E 20.
  14. See Girard, R., Scapegoat (Johns Hopkins University Press 1986).
  15. See also Barrett, T.H., ‘Buddhism, Taoism, and Chinese Christianity’ Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies Vol. 65 No. 3 2002 pp. 558-60 on the Daoist idea of Da Qin as an utopian western state.
  16. Such an approach seems to be espoused by Kim, H.J., Ethnicity and Foreigners in Ancient Greece and China (London 2009), which the present writer has only encountered through summaries, but has not been able to fully peruse yet.
  17. Herodotus 3.102-5.
  18. Hsu, M-L., ‘The Han Maps and Early Chinese Cartography’ Annals of the Association of American Geographers Vol. 68, No. 1 (Mar., 1978), pp. 45-60.
  19. Hirth text P 50-77.
  20. Thorley, J., ‘The Silk Trade between China and the Roman Empire at its Height circa. AD 90-130’ Greece and Rome Second Series, Vol. 18, No. 1 (Apr., 1971), pp. 71-80.
  21. Hirth texts E 22-30 (HHS) and P 49 (Weilue).
  22. On the Roman trade with India, for instance, see Warmington, E.H., The Commerce between the Roman Empire and India (Cambridge 1928) Roman trade with India; and notably Raschke, M.G., ‘New studies in Roman commerce with the East’ Aufstieg und Niedergang der Romischen Welt II Principat.) bd. 92 (Berlin/NY 1976) ed. Temporini pp. 604-1233.
  23. An asterisk should always be placed next to any allegation of Chinese transliteration of western words, as clearly, or at least it seems quite likely, some place-names were not transliterations but names given to them by the Chinese – thus Da Qin (roughly ‘Great Qin’) was probably a Chinese understanding of the greatness of Roman rule in the east, while An-xi (which is generally understood as Parthia cf. bibliography in Leslie and Gardiner 1982 p 288 note 86) might have been a transliteration of the Parthian royal house of the Arsacids, with the Ar- rendered by An- in old Chinese.
  24. Pulleybank op.cit. pp 73-7.
  25. Hirth texts E 17-0 (HHS), F 10-12 (Jinshu), I 10-15 (Weishu).
  26. Hirth text E 3.
  27. Justin 41.1.8., 4.4., and Plutarch.
  28. See for instance Jones, A.H.M., Cities of the Eastern Roman Provinces (New York 1937).
  29. This would occupy no doubt the realm of Romano-Indian trade and contact, in which supposed Indian embassies to Rome feature often; cf. Warmington op.cit. and the somewhat dated if terrific articles by Priaulx, B., ‘On the Indian Embassies to Rome from the Reign of Claudius to the death of Justinian’ The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, Vol. 19, (1862), pp. 274-298, Vol. 20, (1863), pp. 269-312; a comparable monograph on Rome and the mysterious ‘Seres’, often understood as the Chinese, would be forthcoming.
  30. One is greeted with the perhaps disconcerting opening statement of many of the Jiutangshu, Xintangshu, and Mingshi (Hirth texts K, L, O) that ‘Fulin is the ancient Da Qin’. There came to be some sort of distinction between the two, however, as evinced in the Nestorian Monument of 781 AD cf. Lieu, S.N.C., ‘Epigraphica Nestoriana Serica’ in Exegisti monumenta: Festschrift in Honour of Nicholas Sims-Williams (Wiesbaden 2009) pp. 236-41 on the archaism of Da Qin on the Nestorian Monument of 781.
  31. Hirth texts K-O, the Jiu Tangshu, Xin Tangshu, Songshu ,Mingshu, and the Nestorian Monument of 781 AD.
  32. Hirth text K 34, L 41.
  33. Hirth text N 3.
  34. Hirth ‘The Mystery of Fulin’, to which the reader is referred for a closer and deeper inspection than in China
  35. The Xin Tangshu (Hirth text L), for instance, depicts Fulin simply as Da Qin, retelling details on the country which one would find in earlier descriptions of Da Qin.
  36. Journal of the American Oriental Society Vol. 33 (1913), pp. 193-208 (part I), and Vol. 30 (No. 1 (Dec. 1909), pp 1-31 (part II).
  37. Hirth’s detailed reproduction of a text from Dunhuang, the Huizhao wangwutien chuguochuan, the account of Hui Zhao’s journey in the west, is one exciting example of the changing landscape of Fulin studies, even within Hirth’s own lifetime. This surely was one of the gems of Paul Pelliot’s expedition to Turkestan, which should inspire future inspection of the Dunhuang corpus.
  38. For instance, that the historical personage represented by Mie-li-i-ling-kai-sa is a Byzantine pretender, Nicephorus Melissenus cf. Hirth 1909 pp. 25-31.
  39. There is no medieval equivalent for Fulin to the extensive account of the Weilue on Da Qin, for instance.
  40. See for instance Lieu, S.N.C., ‘Byzantium, Persia and China – interstate relations on the eve of the Islamic conquest’ in D. Christian and C. Benjamin (eds.) Realms of the Silk Road Silk Road Studies IV (Turnhout 2000) pp. 47-66 on relations in the 6th-7th centuries for a broader picture of inter-empire events, with sources for further reading.
  41. See above note 30.


  • Barrett, T.H., ‘Buddhism, Taoism, and Chinese Christianity’ Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies Vol. 65 No. 3 2002
  • Barrett, T.H., Review of Leslie and Gardiner op.cit. in Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London Vol 61, No. 1 (1998) pp. 182-185
  • Cotterell, A., The Imperial Capitals of China New York 2008
  • Dubs, H., ‘The Reliability of Chinese Histories’ The Far Eastern Quarterly Vol. 6, No. 1 (Nov., 1946), pp. 23-43
  • Hirth, F., ‘The Mystery of Fulin’ Journal of the American Oriental Society Vol. 33 (1913), pp. 193-208 (part I), and Vol. 30 (No. 1 (Dec. 1909), pp 1-31 (part II)
  • Hsu, M-L., ‘The Han Maps and Early Chinese Cartography’ Annals of the Association of American Geographers Vol. 68, No. 1 (Mar., 1978), pp. 45-60
  • Leslie, D.D., and Gardiner, K.H.J., The Roman Empire in the Chinese Sources Studia Orientalia Vol 15 Rome 1996
  • Leslie, D.D., and Gardiner, K.H.J., ‘Chinese Knowledge of Western Asian during the Han’ T’oung Pao Second Series Vol 68 Livr. 4/5 (1982) pp 254-308
  • Lieu, S.N.C., ‘Epigraphica Nestoriana Serica’ in Exegisti monumenta: Festschrift in Honour of Nicholas Sims-Williams Wiesbaden 2009 pp. 227-46
  • Pulleybank, E., ‘The Roman Empire as known to Han China’ Review of Leslie and Gardiner op.cit Journal of the American Oriental Society Vol. 119, No. 1 (Jan. – Mar., 1999), p. 72-9
  • Thorley, J., ‘The Silk Trade between China and the Roman Empire at its Height circa. AD 90-130’ Greece and Rome Second Series, Vol. 18, No. 1 (Apr., 1971), pp. 71-80
  • Warmington, E.H., The Commerce between the Roman Empire and India Cambridge 1928



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