I. Rome and China: Was there direct contact?
A. Myths of embassies and lost legions.
B. Chinese sources on Roman Syria.
C. Western knowledge of the East.
D. Indirect exchanges of goods: the complaints of Roman moralists.
II. The Middle East prior to Islam.
A. Imperial Rome & Byzantium in the East.
D. Sassanians: Shapur defeats Roman Emperor Valerian in 260 CE.
III. Trade routes and cities.
A. The land routes.
B. Discovery of the monsoon winds: the Indian Ocean trade described in the Periplus of the Erythraean (Red) Sea.
C. Palmyra--an oasis metropolis on the border between the Roman Empire and its eastern neighbors (video)