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China and the Two Romes. The 1081 and 1091 “Fulin” Embassies to the Song Empire

In: Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient
Author: Romain Thurin1
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  • 1 Ph.D. Student, The Medieval Institute, University of Notre DameNotre Dame, INUSA
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Abstract

In the late 11th century, two mysterious “Roman” embassies visited China and offered tribute to the Song Dynasty. This paper seeks to reopen the argument surrounding the identity of the Roman embassies. The question enjoyed intense discussions in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, before interest waned thereafter. Relying on a broad range of underused sources, this paper re-assesses the two most widely acknowledged theories that associate the embassies with the aims of the Byzantine pretender Nikephoros Melissenos and of the Seljuk prince in exile Sulaymān ibn Qutlumush.

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