Products of Rome, 3d Century Chinese edition

Here's John E. Hill's translation of "The Peoples of the West," Yu Huan's third century account of ancient Rome. Of significant interest is the list of items the Roman Emperor has in plenty, which includes "divine tortoises" "poison-avoiding rats" and many other wonders.

Note: The translator has added the numbering in brackets for the convenience of the reader in checking the notes on the various items. For information on any of the items mentioned in the list, please click on the blue superscript No. 12 after “Product List” above, and then scroll down the page of notes until you come to the number you are looking for. For instance, if you want to check the notes on tin, scroll down until you reach note number 12.12 (6).

Da Qin (the Roman Empire) has plenty of:

(1) gold

(2) silver

(3) copper

(4) iron

(5) lead

(6) tin

(7) ‘divine tortoises’ – tortoises used for divination

(8) white horses with red manes

(9) fighting cocks

(10) rhinoceroses

(11) sea turtle shell

(12) black bears

(13) ‘red hornless (or immature) dragons’ (which produced the famous “dragons’ blood” resin)

(14) ‘poison-avoiding rats’ = mongooses

(15) large cowries

(16) mother-of-pearl

(17) carnelian

(18) ‘southern gold’

(19) kingfisher feathers

(20) ivory

(21) coloured veined jade

(22) ‘bright moon’ pearls

(23) luminescent ‘pearls’ or pearl-like jewels (probably large diamonds)

(24) genuine white pearls

(25) yellow amber

(26) (red) coral

(27) ten varieties of glass: red, white, black, green, yellow, blue-green, dark blue, light blue, fiery red, purple

(28) a magnificent jade

(29) white carnelian?

(30) rock crystal or transparent glass

(31) various semi-precious gems

(32) realgar

(33) orpiment

(34) nephrite

(35) multicoloured jade or gemstone

(36) ten sorts of wool rugs: yellow, white, black, green, purple, fiery red, deep red, dark blue, golden yellow, light blue and back to yellow

(37) finely patterned multicoloured wool carpets

(38) nine colours of multicoloured lower quality wool carpets (kilims rather than knotted carpets?)

(39) gold threaded embroidery

(40) polychrome (warp twill) fine silk or chiffon

(41) woven gold cloth

(42) purple chi cloth

(43) falu cloth

(44) purple chiqu cloth

(45) asbestos cloth

(46) fine silk gauze cloth

(47) shot silk, ‘clinging cloth’ or ‘cloth with swirling patterns’?

(48) dudai cloth

(49) cotton-wool cloth?

(50) multicoloured tao cloth

(51) crimson curtains woven with gold

(52) multicoloured ‘spiral curtains’?

(53) yiwei

(54) myrrh

(55) storax

(56) diti

(57) rosemary

(58) probably dhūṇa – an incense made from the resin of the Indian Sal tree.

(59) bai fuzi – lit. ‘white aconite’ – but it is not clear what plant this refers to here. See notes.

(60) frankincense

(61) turmeric, saffron or tulips

(62) rue oil

(63) Oriental lovage – Lysimachia foenum-graecum Hance

Altogether (they have) twelve types of aromatic plants.13

The Peoples of the West [John E. Hill] (via Beyond the Beyond)