Not to be confused with Serres
, the city in Macedonia
. Sérres or Sérrhae ( Greek: Σέρρες older form Σέρραι is a city in Macedonia, Greece. Macedonia ( Μακεδονία, Makedonía,) is a geographical and historical region of Greece in southeastern Europe Greece (Ελλάδα transliterated: Elláda, historically, Ellás,) officially the Hellenic Republic (Ελληνική Δημοκρατία
See also Serres (disambiguation)
Seres (Gr. Σῆρες, Lat. Sērēs) was the ancient Greek and Roman name for the inhabitants of the northwestern part of modern China. Greek (el ελληνική γλώσσα or simply el ελληνικά — "Hellenic" is an Indo-European language, spoken today by 15-22 million people mainly Latin ( lingua Latīna, laˈtiːna is an Italic language, historically spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. China ( Wade-Giles ( Mandarin) Chung¹kuo² is a cultural region, an ancient Civilization, and depending on perspective a National  It meant "of silk," or people of the "land where silk comes from. " The country of the Seres was Serica. Serica, the land of the Seres, was the name by which the Ancient Greco-Romans referred to a country in Eastern Asia
The name is thought to derive from the Chinese word for silk, "si" (Traditional Chinese: 絲; Simplified Chinese: 丝; pinyin: sī). Pinyin, more formally Hanyu pinyin, is the most common Standard Mandarin Romanization system in use It is itself at the origin of the Latin for "silk", sērĭcă. Latin ( lingua Latīna, laˈtiːna is an Italic language, historically spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome.
A summary of Classical sources on the Seres (essentially Pliny and Ptolemy) gives the following account:
- " The region of the Seres is a vast and populous country, touching on the east the Ocean and the limits of the habitable world, and extending west nearly to Imaus and the confines of Bactria. Gaius or Caius Plinius Secundus, ( AD 23 – August 25, AD 79 better known as Pliny the Elder, was an ancient Author Claudius Ptolemaeus ( Greek: Klaúdios Ptolemaîos; after 83 &ndash ca The Pamir Mountains are located in Central Asia and are formed by the junction or Knot of the Tian Shan, Karakoram, Kunlun, and "Bactrian" redirects here For the camel see Bactrian camel. The people are civilised men, of mild, just, and frugal temper, eschewing collisions with their neighbours, and even shy of close intercourse, but not averse to dispose of their own products, of which raw silk is the staple, but which include also silk stuffs, furs, and iron of remarkable quality. " (Henry Yule, "Cathey and the way thither")
Detail of Asia in the Ptolemy world map
. Sir Henry Yule ( May 1, 1820 - December 30, 1889) was a Scottish Orientalist. PtomelyAsiaDetailjpg|thumb|350px|Detail of East and Southeast Asia in Ptolemy 's world map
Gulf of the Ganges
left, Southeast Asian peninsula in the center, China Sea right, with "Sinae" and "Serica" to the North. The Ganges (ˈgænʤiːz also Ganga, Devanāgarī: hi गंगा in most Indian languages) is the major river in the Indian subcontinent
The first accounts of the Seres, of disputed authenticity, seem to be those by the Greek historian Ctesias in the 5th century BCE, in which he refers to them as "people of portentous stature and longevity. Ctesias of Cnidus ( Greek) was a Greek Physician and Historian from Cnidus in Caria. The 5th century BC started the first day of 500 BC and ended the last day of 401 BC. "
Strabo (circa 20 CE)
The Greek geographer Strabo mentioned the Seres in his "Geographia", written early in the 1st century, in two passages. Strabo ( Greek: Στράβων 63/64 BC – ca AD 24 was a Greek historian, geographer and philosopher. The 1st century was the Century that lasted from 1 to 100 according the Julian calendar. He also alludes to the longevity of the Seres, said to exceed two hundred years, and quotes from "some writers":
- "Onesicritus . Onesicritus (Ὀνησίκριτος a Greek historical writer (lived c . . expatiates also in praise of the country of Musicanus, and relates of the inhabitants what is common to other Indian tribes, that they are long-lived, and that life is protracted even to the age of 130 years, (the Seres, however, are said by some writers to be still longer lived), that they are temperate in their habits and healthy; although the country produces everything in abundance. " (Strabo, Geographia, Book XV, Chap I).
In one passage on the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom, he mentions that they extended far into eastern Asia, possibly leading to the first known contacts between China and the West around 220 BCE:
- "they extended their empire even as far as the Seres and the Phryni" (Strabo, quoting Apollodorus of Artemita, Geographia, XI.XI.I). The Gr(aeco-Bactrian Kingdom was the easternmost part of the Hellenistic world covering Bactria and Sogdiana in Central Asia from 250 Events By place Greece Together with fellow Illyrian Scerdilaidas, Demetrius of Pharos attacks Illyrian cities under Strabo ( Greek: Στράβων 63/64 BC – ca AD 24 was a Greek historian, geographer and philosopher.
Pomponius Mela (50 CE)
Pomponius Mela gives the following details on the Seres:
- " In the furthest east of Asia are the Indians, Seres, and Scythians. Pomponius Mela, who wrote around AD 43, was the earliest Roman Geographer. India, officially the Republic of India (भारत गणराज्य inc-Latn Bhārat Gaṇarājya; see also other Indian languages) is a country The Scythians or Scyths (Σκύθες Σκύθοι were an Iranian speaking people of horse-riding Nomadic pastoralists who dominated the Pontic The Indians and Scythians occupy the two extremities, the Seres are in the middle" (Pomponius Mela, De Situ Orbis, I, 2).
Also, after speaking about the Caspian sea and the Scythian shores:
- "From these the course (of the shore) makes a bend and trends to the coast line which faces the east. The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged Sea. That part which adjoins the Scythian promontory is first all impassable from snow ; then an uncultivated tract occupied by savages. These tribes are the Cannibal Scythians and the Sakas, severed from one another by a region where none can dwell because of the number of wild animals. The Sakas ( English form of Old Iranian Sakā, Nominative plural masculine case; Ancient Greek Σάκαι, Another vast wilderness follows, occupied also by wild beasts, reaching to a mountain called Thabis which overhangs the sea. A long way from that the ridge of Taurus rises. The Seres come between the two; a race eminent for integrity, and well known for the trade which they allow to be transacted behind their backs, leaving their wares in a desert spot" (Pomponius Mela, De Situ Orbis, III, 7).
Pliny the Elder
Pliny the Elder a few decades later in his "Naturalis Historia" described the location of the Seres, going east from the Caspian Sea:
- " Then, we again find tribes of Scythians, and again desert tracts occupied only by wild animals, till we come to that mountain chain overhanging the sea, which is called Tabis. Gaius or Caius Plinius Secundus, ( AD 23 – August 25, AD 79 better known as Pliny the Elder, was an ancient Author Naturalis Historia ( Latin for "Natural History" is an Encyclopedia written Circa AD 77 by Pliny the Elder. The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged Sea. Not till nearly half the length of the coast which looks north-east has been past, do you find inhabited country. The first race then encountered are the Seres, so famous for the fleecy product of their forests. " (Pliny the Elder, The Natural History, Chap XX "The Seres"). Gaius or Caius Plinius Secundus, ( AD 23 – August 25, AD 79 better known as Pliny the Elder, was an ancient Author
He also describes the silk manufacture of the Seres:
- "The Seres are famous for the woolen substance obtained from their forests; after a soaking in water they comb off the white down of the leaves. Silk is a natural Protein Fiber, some forms of which can be woven into Textiles The best-known type of silk is obtained from cocoons . . So manifold is the labour employed, and so distant is the region of the globe drawn upon, to enable the Roman maiden to flaunt transparent clothing in public" (Pliny the Elder, The Natural History, Chap XX "The Seres"). Gaius or Caius Plinius Secundus, ( AD 23 – August 25, AD 79 better known as Pliny the Elder, was an ancient Author
Pliny also reports a curious description of the Seres made by an embassy from Taprobane to Emperor Claudius, suggesting they may be referring to the ancient Caucasian populations of the Tarim Basin, such as the Tocharians:
- "They also informed us that the side of their island (Taprobane) which lies opposite to India is ten thousand stadia in length, and runs in a south-easterly direction--that beyond the Emodian Mountains (Himalayas) they look towards the Serve (Seres), whose acquaintance they had also made in the pursuits of commerce; that the father of Rachias (the ambassador) had frequently visited their country, and that the Seræ always came to meet them on their arrival. Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka ( Sinhalese:, இலங்கை known as Ceylon before 1972 is an Island Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus or Claudius I ( August 1, 10 BC &ndash October 13, AD 54 ( Tiberius Claudius Drusus from birth to White People is the second album by Handsome Boy Modeling School. The Tarim Basin ( is a large Endorheic basin occupying an area of more than 400000 km² The Tocharians were the Tocharian -speaking inhabitants of the Tarim basin, making them the easternmost speakers of an Indo-European language in antiquity Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka ( Sinhalese:, இலங்கை known as Ceylon before 1972 is an Island These people, they said, exceeded the ordinary human height, had flaxen hair, and blue eyes, and made an uncouth sort of noise by way of talking, having no language of their own for the purpose of communicating their thoughts. The rest of their information (on the Serae) was of a similar nature to that communicated by our merchants. It was to the effect that the merchandize on sale was left by them upon the opposite bank of a river on their coast, and it was then removed by the natives, if they thought proper to deal on terms of exchange. On no grounds ought luxury with greater reason to be detested by us, than if we only transport our thoughts to these scenes, and then reflect, what are its demands, to what distant spots it sends in order to satisfy them, and for how mean and how unworthy an end!" (Pliny the Elder, The Natural History, Chap XXIV "Taprobane")
Ptolemy (ca 150 CE)
The country of "Serica" is positioned in the 150CE Ptolemy world map in the area beyond the "Imaus" (Pamir Mountains):
- "The inhabited part of our earth is bounded on the east by the Unknown Land which lies along the region occupied by the eastermost nations of Asia Major, the Sinae and the nations of Serice" (Ptolemy Geographia, ca 150 CE). PtomelyAsiaDetailjpg|thumb|350px|Detail of East and Southeast Asia in Ptolemy 's world map The Pamir Mountains are located in Central Asia and are formed by the junction or Knot of the Tian Shan, Karakoram, Kunlun, and
Ptolemy also positions China (Sinae) quite precisely:
- "The eastern extremity of the known earth is limited by the meridian drawn through the metropolis of the Sinae, at a distance from Alexandria of 119. Claudius Ptolemaeus ( Greek: Klaúdios Ptolemaîos; after 83 &ndash ca Alexandria ( Egyptian Arabic: اسكندريه Eskendereyya; Standard Arabic: ar الإسكندرية Al-Iskandariyya; Ἀλεξάνδρεια 5 degrees, reckoned upon the equator, or about eight equinoctial hours. . . . "(Book vii, ch. 5. )
Ptolemy also speaks of "Sera, the Capital of the Seres".
- Serica (The country of the Seres)
- Daqin (the Chinese name for the Roman Empire)
- Sino-Roman relations
- Zhang Qian (Traditional Chinese: 張騫; Simplified Chinese: 张骞; Hanyu Pinyin: Zhāng Qiān; Wade-Giles: Chang Ch'ien; d. Serica, the land of the Seres, was the name by which the Ancient Greco-Romans referred to a country in Eastern Asia Daqin ( is the ancient Chinese name for the Roman Empire and the Near East. Sino-Roman relations started first on an indirect basis during the 2nd century BC. Zhang Qian ( 張[[wikt 騫|騫]] Wade-Giles Chang Ch'ien was an imperial envoy to the outside world in the 2nd century BC during the time of the Han Dynasty 113 BCE, explorer/founder of the Silk Road)
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- Plural form of sere.
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