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C O U R S E 
The European Discovery of China
Dolors Folch, Pompeu Fabra University Barcelona
C O U R S E   L E C T U R E 
European Names for China
Notes taken on February 18, 2017 by Edward Tanguay
China didn't enter the intellectual landscape in Europe until the end of the 16th century
Chinese themselves didn't refer to the territory as such
260 BCE Warring States of China
the center states called themselves Zhongguo
the cultural and political nucleus of the civilized Chinese world
1136 AD first European map of Chinese territory
but did not provide a general name for China
for the Chinese, China was a cultural entity that was above the political state
the most common name was "tian xia" meaning "everything under heaven"
appears mainly in the classical texts
historical records named China after the reigning dynasty
Han (206 BCE - 220 CE)
Tang (618-907)
Yuan (1271–1368)
Ming (1368-1644)
by the 15th century, the Chinese referred to themselves as Da Ming (the Great Ming)
"Da Ming" and "Da Ming Hai" was the name given for China and the China sea on Matteo Ricci's map
name for China in the Islamic world
travelers who referred to China
Ibn Battuta
a medieval Moroccan traveler and scholar, who is widely recognized as one of the greatest travelers of all time
known for his extensive travels, accounts of which were published in his Travels
visited most of the known Islamic world as well as many non-Muslim lands
journeys included trips to North Africa, the Horn of Africa, West Africa, Middle East, India, Central Asia, Southeast Asia and China
Suleiman I (1494-1566)
was the tenth and longest-reigning sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1520 to his death in 1566
in his administration, the Ottoman state ruled over 15 to 25 million people
Benjamin of Tudela (1130-1173)
a medieval Jewish traveler who visited Europe, Asia, and Africa in the 12th century
vivid descriptions of western Asia preceded those of Marco Polo by a hundred years
talked of vessels coming from Zin (China)
Marco Polo(1254-1324)
a Venetian merchant traveller and citizen of the Venice Republic whose travels are recorded in Livres des merveilles du monde
from an outsider's point of view, there was no one name for China
China was first known by the West for its products
silk was seen by the Western world as coming from a place which the Romans named after its product
silk came from Serica, one of the easternmost countries of Asia known to the Ancient Greek and Roman geographers
silk retains in most European languages the initial "s" sound
Serica is to be found in Ptolemy's map of the oikoumene