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This book is the product of 30 years of research on a key Chinese document based on a report to the Chinese Emperor in 125 CE, with a few later additions. It contains the earliest geographical, historical, political and cultural information in Chinese on the Roman Empire, India, Parthia, and many other kingdoms; their products, and the routes to them.
A draft version of the book was posted on the University of Washington's 'Silk Road Seattle' website in 2000 with a plea for readers to send any criticisms or comments. The author has since been contacted by hundreds of scholars worldwide and their generous contributions have helped make this book an authoritative and useful historical source.
This translation, the first in English, of the 'Chapter on the Western Regions' from the Hou Hanshu, is faced with the original Chinese, and is amply annotated for those wanting further information. There are also 20 appendices and two convenient maps at the end showing the main centres and routes.