[Daily article] April 18: Sino-Roman relations

The Roman and Han empires saw an exchange of trade goods, information,
and occasional travelers, as did the later Eastern Roman Empire and
various Chinese dynasties. These empires inched progressively closer in
the course of the Roman expansion into the ancient Near East and
simultaneous Han Chinese military incursions into Central Asia. Mutual
awareness remained low and firm knowledge about each other was limited.
Only a few attempts at direct contact are known from records. Several
alleged Roman emissaries to China were recorded by ancient Chinese
historians. The indirect exchange of goods along the Silk Road and sea
routes included Chinese silk, Roman glassware (example pictured) and
high-quality cloth. Roman coins minted since the 1st century AD have
been found in China. A coin of Maximian and medallions from the reigns
of Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius were found in Vietnam. Roman
glasswares and silverwares have been discovered at Chinese
archaeological sites dated to the Han period. Roman coins and glass
beads have also been found in Japan.

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Today’s selected anniversaries:


Bolesław I the Brave became the first King of Poland.


Provincial militia and citizens gathered in Boston, and
arrested officials of the Dominion of New England.


Controversial American poet Ezra Pound was released from St.
Elizabeths Hospital in Washington, D.C., where he had been incarcerated
for twelve years.


Israeli forces shelled Qana, Lebanon, during Operation Grapes
of Wrath, killing more than 100 civilians and injuring more than 110
others at a UN compound.

Wiktionary’s word of the day:

paint oneself into a corner:
(idiomatic) To create a predicament or problem for oneself; to do
something that leaves one with no good alternatives or solutions.

Wikiquote quote of the day:

  The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or
values or religion (to which few members of other civilizations were
converted) but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence.
Westerners often forget this fact; non-Westerners never do.  
–Samuel P. Huntington

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