Daqin

From Academic Kids

Daqin (Ch:大秦) is the ancient Chinese name for the Roman Empire. It literally means "Great Qin", Qin being the name of the founding dynasty of the Chinese Empire.

Following the opening of the Silk Road in the 2nd century BCE, the Chinese liked to think of the Roman Empire as a civilized pendant to the Chinese Empire. The Romans occupied one extreme position on the trade route, with the Chinese located on the other, hence the "mirror" name.

It seems China never managed to directly reach the Roman Empire in antiquity, although general Ban Chao, led an expedition of 70,000 in 97 CE that went as far as the Caspian Sea. Ban Chao's ambassador, Gan Ying, went even closer, to the shore of the Black Sea. Gan Ying left a detailed account of the Roman Empire, but it is generally considered to have been based on second hand information.

The name "Daqin" for Rome was used on Chinese maps as late as the 16th century.

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