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According to him, one could continue along the coast (of southern Vietnam) from Zabia until reaching the trade port of Cattigara after an unspecified number of days (with "some" being interpreted as "many" by Marinus).Cosmas Indicopleustes, a 6th-century AD Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Greek monk from Alexandria and former merchant with experience in the Indian Ocean trade, was the first Roman to write clearly about China in his Christian Topography (c. Theophylact Simocatta, a historian during the reign of Heraclius (r.
Roman glassware and silverware have been discovered at Chinese archaeological sites dated to the Han period.
These include sites in Arabia, Pakistan, and India, including travel times from rivers and towns, where to drop anchor, the locations of royal courts, lifestyles of the locals and goods found in their markets, and favourable times of year to sail from Egypt to these places to catch the monsoon winds.
Alexander (Greek: Alexandros) mentions that the main terminus for Roman traders was a Burmese city called Tamala on the north-west Malay Peninsula, where Indian merchants travelled overland across the Kra Isthmus to reach the Perimulic Gulf (the Gulf of Thailand).
Several alleged Roman emissaries to China were recorded by ancient Chinese historians.
The first one on record, supposedly from either the Roman emperor Antoninus Pius or his adopted son Marcus Aurelius, arrived in 166 AD.
Ptolemy's Cattigara was most likely Óc Eo, Vietnam, where Antonine-era Roman items have been found.
Ancient Chinese geographers demonstrated a general knowledge of West Asia and Rome's eastern provinces.Roman coins and glass beads have also been found in Japan.In classical sources, the problem of identifying references to ancient China is exacerbated by the interpretation of the Latin term Seres, whose meaning fluctuated and could refer to several Asian peoples in a wide arc from India over Central Asia to China.Chinese sources describe several embassies of Fulin arriving in China during the Tang dynasty and also mention the siege of Constantinople by the forces of Muawiyah I in 674–678 AD.Geographers in the Roman Empire such as Ptolemy provided a rough sketch of the eastern Indian Ocean, including the Malay Peninsula and beyond this the Gulf of Thailand and South China Sea.The 2nd-century AD Roman historian Florus seems to have confused the Seres with peoples of India, or at least noted that their skin complexions proved that they both lived "beneath another sky" than the Romans.