32 terms

Topic 4

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Wudi (Wu Ti)
r. 140-87 BCE; Han emperoro who sought contact with the Yezhi, the 'barbarians beyond the (Xiongnu) barbarians' having head that the yuezhi had been defeated by the Xiongnu; hence: "the enemy of my enemy is my friend"
Yuezhi (Yüeh-chi)
nomadic peoples in the far west central Asia (particularly Sogdia, north of the Amu Darya river); perhaps the same as the Kushans
Kushans
nomadic central Asia people; 'horse culture'; invaded India in 1st c. CE; although their inscriptions are in a version of ancient Iranian language (and written in modified Greek scripts), it is not clear if they were Indo-European in origin, very eclectic culture
Zhangqian (Chang Ch'ien)
diplomat/ explorer sent tom ake contact with the Yuezhi 130-126 BCE; reached Dayuan and Daxia; heard reports on Persia and India
Dayuan
Ferghana, modern day Kyrgyzstan; valley of the headwaters of the Syr Darya river (flowing westwards into the Aral sea); reported to be a settled agricultural land; noted especially for its horses
Daxia
Bactria; modern day northern Afghanistan south of the Amu Darya river; in ancient times noted as a rich area both in terms of its agricultural potential, its mineral and gem resources, and its trade in cities (particularly the great international trade entrepôt of Bactra; until ca. 150 BCE had been under Greek hellenistic rule, the furthest colonial outpost of the hellenistic world;
Anxi (An-hsi)
Persia of the Parthian empire
Parthians
Native persian dynasty, ruled from mid 2nd c. BCE to 3rd c. CE; longstanding enemy of Rome in west Asia; intermediary in Silk Road
Shendu (Shentu)
India, about which Zhangqian heard reports, perhaps when he was in Daxia; reports trade with China via difficult south-west China to north-east India; suggested as a more direct route for contact (highly improbable in fact)
Silk Road
a conventional, romanticized way of describing the trade in silk between China and Rome via central Asia; considering the complex and interrelated trade routes of Asia ca. 100 CE, the term might be broadened to include the cotton trade from India, and the southern sea routes connecting west Asia with India, Southeast Asia and beyond to China
Faxian (fa-hsien)
Chinese Buddhist pilgrim to India travelling 399-414 CE; went to India to seek books on the monastic rules of Buddhism (the Vinaya); did the entire circular route of reaching India on foot through central Asia and over the high mountains, but returning by sea via Java; both routes caused the pilgrim some difficulties
Pamirs
one part of the great semi-circle of mountain ranges separating south Asia from central Asia; today in northern Pakistan; Faxian crossed the Pamirs over passes upwards of 4500
Choson
i.e.; Korea; siznicized state founded 194 BCE
commanderies
four military colonies founded by emperor Widi, 109-08 BCE; part of Han expansion
Lelang
on east coast of Korea; surviving commandery after 75 BCE; survived to ca. 313 CE
Three Kingdoms of Korea
Koguryo; paekche; Silla; each has a traditional founding date in the first century BCE
Wa
Chinese name for Japan as found in the reports of foreign countries from post-Han dynasties; described largely as a primitive tribal society
Pimiko or Himiko
female ruler in Japan, apparently 2nd c. CE; unusual feature of Wa noted with astonishment in Chinese records
Mahavamsa
Pali history of Buddhism to the 5th c. CE, produced in Sri Lanka with special emphasis on history of Buddhism there; records dispatch of Buddhist missionaries to many different countries during the time of Ashoka including, apparently, his son Mahinda to Sri Lanka; indicative of early tendency of Buddhism to reach out beyond India
Xuanzang
greatest of the Chinese Buddhist pilgrims to India; travelled 629-645; his records of his travels one of the main sources of ancient Indian history; noted the declining state of Buddhism in India; much acclaimed upon his return to China; source for the 'money stories', the popular Ming fantasy novels (16th c.) by which his fame is still remembered throughout East Asia
Dunhuang
a series of caves at the Chinese central Asian end of the silk road in which had been stored thousands of pre 11th c. original manuscripts in Sanskrit and other languages; an extraordinary source indicative of the cultural vitality caused by the silk road's linking of Asian cultures; many of the manuscripts were taken to (stoeln?) London and Paris in the early 20th c.
Dao An
noted 4th c. translator of Buddhist books; initiated process of serial translation by committee using Indian monks in China
Kumarajiva
334-414 CE; perhaps the best translator of Buddhist books from Sanskrit into Chinese; had mixed central Asian and Indian heritage; noted translator of the Lotus Sutra
Periplus Mari Erythraei
Greek sailing guide to the Erythraen sea (Indian ocean) ce. 100 CE; practical information about trade, especially for western India (especially the cotton trade); gives some general information on political affairs; very hazy knowledge of Southeast Asia; confused reference to China
Pliny the Elder
d. 79 CE; author of Natural History; confused references to cotton and silk; seems to think silk grows like cotton; vague knowledge of China
Yavana
Sanskrit for 'Greek' and eventually European
Pahlava
Sanskrit for 'Persian'
Shaka
Sanskrit for central Asian
Mleccha
'Impure'; derogatory Sanskrit word for any foreigner
Hou Hanshu
dynastic annals of the Later Han dynasty; composed in 5th c. CE; contains informative accounts of 'foreign countries'
Panchao (Pan Ch'ao)
general in western regions who sent ambassador who tried to reach the nearly mythical empire of Daqin; Parthians discouraged further travel westwards (in order to preserve their middlemen role in the silk trade)
Daqin (Ta-ch'in)
The Roman Empire, probably referring only to earn the eastern empire. i.e. Syria; Chinese accounts of this place combine wild errors with trivial points that might be true, and some indication of some points of substantial intelligence on their far off silk customers