Silk – Part 2/2

The Roman Empire first sailed ships to India and bought silk, which became very popular in Rome. Silk colored purple was worth its weight in gold.

Eventually the Roman merchants set up trading posts all the way to China and reached Canton then Chang-Cheou near today’s Shanghai.

Until 73 AD, the sea route was the only one open since the caravan routes along the Silk Road were closed at that time.

Roman Emperor Augustus Caesar (31 BC to 14 AD) earned credit for establishing trade between Rome and China.

In 166 AD, Roman travelers arrived at the Court of the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 219 AD). These Romans met powerful representative of the Han Dynasty.

About the same time, Buddhist missionaries arrived in China by ship from India and introduced Buddhism to China.

  • The next paragraph may sound as if history were repeating itself between the U.S. and China.

Romans spent recklessly. Gold left Rome and flowed to the East at such a rate that the government had to restrict imports. After a long period of prosperity in Rome, the empire entered a serious economic crisis. 

Rome was bankrupt from this overspending and couldn’t maintain the hundreds of thousands of troops needed to protect the empire. 

In 312 AD, Constantine moved the Roman capital to Constantinople.  In 395, the Roman Empire was divided between the Western and Eastern Empires. Then the Western Roman Empire collapsed.

See The Han Dynasty


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. 

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3 Responses to Silk – Part 2/2

  1. […] an important seaport for trade at one end of the Maritime Silk Road, Quanzhou had close ties with Korea and Japan in the east and as far as  northeast Africa in the […]

  2. Jim says:

    Two comments
    1 Do not forget the Opium Wars where the British were buying Chinese tea with silver so there was a great outflow of silver to China. And China did not see the need to purchase anything from Britain as it considered it had everything its people needed. In fact the only product the Chinese people wanted in quantity was opium, which the British started supplying from India – for silver.
    2 Some decades ago when I lived in Korea the wife of a work colleague was a museum curator who had worked in the UK. Occasionally she would be asked by the local museum authorities to comment on western items that turned up in some of their digs. I can remember her saying that from one grave site they got Roman glassware and a Roman sword.

    • Thank you. I’ve mentioned the Opium Wars a number of times and my first two novels take place in China during the Opium Wars. I’ve rearched both Opium Wars extensively.

      In fact, the main charcter of the Concubine Saga, who really lived, arrived in China in 1854 and didn’t move back to the UK until 1908.

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