the roman journeys

The Time Traveler

I met her in the early morning by chance

When the sun was still not awake.

She looked over the ruins of ancient stones

Breathing as if it was the last breath she’d take

I timidly sat beside her to see what she saw

Carefully and softly with the moves I’d make

Trying not to disturb her silent meditation

I put my hand on hers with no hesitation.

With one touch of our hands

I felt the entire world slip away

I closed my eyes and suddenly I could see

She saw the world of tomorrow and yesterday

But she did not pause for what would come and had come to pass

Everything not in this moment began to fade

My hand on hers; her hand in mine

She was breathing for this one moment in time.

When my hand finally lifted from hers and I opened my eyes

I was not where I once had been.

I was no longer among the ruins of stones

But I was glancing at the greatness of man.

I watched as the ruins came to life

As they died and came to life again.

Time did not stop as history pressed on

Before my next breath the moment was gone.

I reached for her hand to bring me back

But I was alone on this journey through time.

I doubted she was ever with me at all

Was she the dream in my own mind?

Now alone, I’m lost in the infinity of time

Is the present so hard to find?

I take another breath and I close my eyes once again

To imagine the ruins where this all began.

I did not meet her in the early morning by chance

Before the sun was awake.

I was alone in the ruins this time

Perhaps for her I will wait.

© 2007


Gan Ying, a Chinese explorer in Ancient Rome

As some of this blog’s most loyal followers may know, one topic which Peashooter is especially obsessed with is Ancient Roman contacts with Han dynasty China, or Chinese contacts with Ancient Rome.  One piece of history that piques his interest Is the story of Gan Ying, an ancient Chinese explorer that almost made it to the Roman Empire. In the year 97 AD Gan Ying was sent west by the Chinese General Ban Chao to explore rumors of a mysterious empire to the west whose power was said to rival that of China.  At the time, both China and Rome had vague notions of each other’s existence, as both powers shared trade goods across the Silk Road.  In years previous, there were rumors of Sino-Roman contact, including tales of Chinese ambassadors visiting the court of Emperor Augustus.  However, the journey of Gan Ying is the first well documented and proven attempt at Chinese-Roman contact.

Gan Ying journeyed the well traveled merchant routes of the Silk Road.  According to records of his journey, he made it as far as the “Western Sea”.  Most historians believe the Western Sea to be the Persian Gulf.  However, other historians cite that the Western Sea was described as a vast ocean that took weeks, perhaps months to cross.  Given that the Persian Gulf is no vast sea, some historians speculate that Gan Ying was referring to the Mediterranean.  Peashooter is one of the few who agrees.  Deterred by tales of a vast ocean, Gan Ying decided to return home rather than continue on to Rome itself.  However, before leaving for his return journey, Gan Ying interviewed various peoples to learn more about Rome.  He describes the Roman Empire as thus,

“Roman territory extends for several thousands of li (Chinese miles). It has more than four hundred walled cities. There are several tens of smaller dependent kingdoms. The walls of the towns are made of stone. They have established postal relays at intervals, which are all plastered and whitewashed. There are pines andcypresses, as well as trees and plants of all kinds”

Gan Ying further describes the Roman government and economy,

Their kings are not permanent. They select and appoint the most worthy man. If there are unexpected calamities in the kingdom, such as frequent extraordinary winds or rains, he is unceremoniously rejected and replaced. The one who has been dismissed quietly accepts his demotion, and is not angry. The people of this country are all tall and honest. They resemble the people of the Middle Kingdom and that is why this kingdom is called Da Qin [or ‘Great China’]. This country produces plenty of gold [and] silver, [and of] rare and precious [things] they have luminous jade, 'bright moon pearls,’ Haiji rhinoceroses, coral, yellow amber, opaque glass, whitish chalcedony, red cinnabar, green gemstones, goldthread embroideries, rugs woven with gold thread, delicate polychrome silks painted with gold, and asbestos cloth. They also have a fine cloth which some people say is made from the down of 'water sheep,’ but which is made, in fact, from the cocoons of wild silkworms. They blend all sorts of fragrances, and by boiling the juice, make a compound perfume. [They have] all the precious and rare things that come from the various foreign kingdoms. They make gold and silver coins. Ten silver coins are worth one gold coin. They trade with Anxi [Parthia] and Tianzhu [Northwest India] by sea. The profit margin is ten to one. … The king of this country always wanted to send envoys to Han, but Anxi [Parthia], wishing to control the trade in multi-coloured Chinese silks, blocked the route to prevent [the Romans] getting through [to China].“

All of the above is accurate, with the various goods described being produced somewhere in the Roman Empire or imported from foreign lands.  Gan Ying’s description of Roman government at the time, however, is a bit off as Roman Emperors tended to either live a very long prosperous reign, or a short reign ending in extreme violence.  Most historians believe that Gan Ying was ascribing Roman Government with traditional Chinese government, which relied upon elected ministers who shared power with the Han Emperor.  Peashooter speculates that Gan Ying may have confused the government of the Roman Empire with that of the fallen Roman Republic, whose consuls were limited to serving only 1 year terms.

After Gan Ying’s journeys to Rome, the Chinese would continue to refer to the Romans as the “Da Qin”.  While Gan Ying may or may not have reached the Roman Empire it was the first fully record attempt to do so. The first official contact between Rome and China occurred in 166 AD when Chinese records show that envoys from the DaQin sent by King Andun (Emperor Marcus Aurelius) visited the court of the Han Emperor.  Since then several other envoys were sent by the Roman Empire, and later the Eastern (Byzantine) Roman Empire.  Further proof of the Roman-Chinese contact can be found with the many Roman trade goods discovered in China such as coins, asbestos fireproof textiles, and glassware, as well as the many surviving Chinese trade goods found in Europe, such as silk and jewelry.

vinstef-blog  asked:

I was heartbroken because of d way things ended for Roman in season 2. I really wanted him to side with Jane. I wanted him to stay with Jane n the team but instead he left. Now what do you guys think will be Roman's role in season 3. Things are not looking bright for him in my opinion and as per Gero Roman will be the big bad at least in first part of season 3. I think probably Roman will die this season. Any hopes for dis poor cinnamon role. Also is Luke still a series regular. pl reply

L: *Spoiler alert!* Yes, Luke is still a series regular and is currently filming. So yay for more Roman! 

Y: I admit that the fight scene between Jane and Roman in the finale was the most painful thing in the episode, and yes, I have trouble watching it every time I rewatch the episode - which is a lot. A lot.

But as heartbreaking as it was, I think it had to happen and it was a good thing to happen in the sense that Roman’s true story and his real journey is just about to start. What we saw in season 2 of Roman was just the tip of the iceberg in terms of his story. Season 2 was only an introduction to Roman, setting the stage for him so that we can really dive into his story and his redemption arc (whichever way it will go) in season 3.

MG did hint at the Roman might be the villain in the opening of season 3 - or at least that is what we will be led to believe - but I think the more interesting aspect and the more exciting element here is investigating Roman’s redemption arc - as opposed to just making him the inevitable and predictable bad guy - as it goes in parallel to Jane’s.

Roman is finally on his own, finally responsible for him actions, and finally free of the restraints that he always had on - whether as an orphan in SA, or under Shepherd (and Remi’s) control, or as a prisoner at the FBI - he can finally make his own choices, carve his own path, decide his own fate. We haven’t met the real Roman yet and I think season 3 will be about that. Who will Roman decide to be? What choices will he make? How is his journey different than Jane’s? Etc…

Will Roman die this year? Honestly, anything is possible. He might be given the martyr’s role or he might be left to be a villain who has to eventually die. But I think Luke is such a huge asset and I really hope he stays. I know a lot of Luke fans have this fear because apparently he gets killed on all his shows? I don’t know but let’s hope he stays for a very very very long time!

L: I agree. I love Roman, too, and I am eager to see where this season takes him.

I felt that Roman going with Shepherd at the end of Season 2 was more the result of his anger at Jane rather than his explicitly choosing Shepherd. If his memories were coming back, Shepherd would have seemed familiar and reliable in the face of Jane’s betrayal.

I’m actually kind of glad for the 2-year time jump, because it gives Roman time and distance to look at the situation a little more objectively. Yes, Jane lied to him. But she and Weller were also trying to fight the same corruption that Shepherd was. That’s why they sent Remi to Weller in the first place, right? So… is the enemy of his enemy his enemy or his friend?

I’m also glad for the time jump because I don’t get the sense that he has ever been on his own, living either under his sister’s or Shepherd’s guidance/control. So, like Yas, I want to see what he chooses to do when he is permitted to make his own decisions. We know he is smart and has talents like Jane’s. We also know that he doesn’t have her iron control, nor does he have the support network that Jane found at the FBI. So where has he been for the past two years? What path is he choosing to follow?

I think the only things we know for sure are: 1) We haven’t seen the last of Roman, and 2) His journey, whatever it is, isn’t going to be an easy one.