All three forms of li show similar reconstructed pronunciations. Since the King of Parthia obviously esteemed highly the Emperor of China, he naturally sent the best jugglers he could secure.
Several scholars have suggested that it must have been originally derived from ‘Alexandria’ or ‘Alexander.’ See, for example: Dubs (1957), pp. When these persons were asked whence they came, they of course replied “from Alexandria,” which word the Chinese who disliked polysyllables and initial vowels and could not pronounce certain Greek sounds, shortened into “Li-jien.”.
Ta-ch’in represents the country beyond and comparable to Ch’in.
It has also been observed, first by Shiratori and later by others, that the accounts of Ta-ch’in bear a deep resemblance to the Taoist Utopia and are therefore not to be completely understood literally, i.e.
This is clearly shown in the fact that the Later Han Chinese gave the Roman Empire (or, rather, the Roman Orient) the name of Great Ch’in (Ta Ch’in). 68) that Dayuan [dat-iuan] may have likewise represented the Tochari.
According to the Hou-Han shu, the Roman Empire was so named precisely because its people and civilization were comparable to those of China.” Yü (1986), p. may originally have been formed as attempts to transcribe foreign names into Chinese. It is just possible that Da Qin represents some similar process though, if this is the case, it is difficult to imagine what name it was originally intended to represent.
For the most part, such mythological elements are so strikingly evident that they represent only a minimal problem.”“In the Roman world stories, some based on fact though often much distorted in transmission, others completely fanciful, began to circulate about the Seres, that is, the Silk People. At the same time the Chinese began to hear about a country in the far west which they called Dà Qín, Great Qín, apparently thinking of it as a kind of counter-China at the other end of the world.” Pulleyblank (1999), p.
A little later the name Sinae based, like Sanskrit Cīna and our present China, on Qín , the name of the short-lived dynasty that preceded Han and united China in 221 B. 71.“Moreover, as their geographical knowledge of the world grew with time, the Han Chinese even came to the realization that China was not necessarily the only civilized country in the world.
This folk etymology, charming as it is, does little to really explain the origin of the rather surprising name, Da Qin.
It is reminiscent of the rather similar names for Ferghana – Dayuan = ‘Great Yuan,’ and for Bactria – Daxia = ‘Great Xia’? 199-200 says:“For Hirth and the initial interpreters of the HHS and WL accounts, the country designated as Ta-ch’in (“Greater Ch’in”) was to be identified with the Roman East.
This is contradicted by Aristobulus, says Strabo, who tells that the merchants travelled by raft to Babylonia. C., quotes Artemidorus, of the previous century, as saying: “By the incense trade . C., with the intention of conquering Gerrha; but he was persuaded by large presents of silver and precious stones, to leave the city unharmed.
There was thus little doubt that in the first, second, and third centuries B. Gerrha was an exceedingly wealthy city, trading overland and by sea in aromatics, presumably the frankincense of the Hadramaut. The city is about 200 stadia” – about 60 miles [actually only about 37 km – as 1 Greek stadium = 185 metres] – “distant from the sea.” And you sail “onward,” he says, from Gerrha to Tylos and Arados, which are the Bahrain islands. Müller to deduce the Semitic origin of the Greek name ‘Gerrha’ has important implications for the solution to the problem of the site’s location.
Although the term Ch’in referred to the Chinese as early as the second century A.