Shoua asked in Arts & HumanitiesHistory · 3 weeks ago

Did ancient China know about Alexander the Great?

9 Answers

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  • 3 weeks ago

    The more I read the more I discover how connected the ancient world was. Trade was an important driver of those connection. China was certainly trading beyond its western borders and there were trade routes connecting China and India. There is every chance that knowledge of Alexander came to China. That said, there is no certain information that China was aware of Alexander.

    • iansand
      Lv 7
      3 weeks agoReport

      Quite right. What <i>did</i> he have for breakfast last Tuesday?

  • Anonymous
    3 weeks ago

    Maybe not right away, but considering that Persia and parts of India knew a lot about Alexander, and that there has been lots of cultural exchange between China and those countries for a very long time, I'd suppose some news of Alexander filtered through before the age of "modern" communication.

  • 3 weeks ago

    There is a famous quote by Plutarch that says " “When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer",

    But when you sit and think about it , that can't be true as the Macedonian empire  even at it's greatest extent about the time of Alexander's death in 323 BC was less than 8 percent of Afro-Eurasia.. He fought as far as Ancient India and up into Central Asia but he and his troops were weary with their battles and didn't expand/ fight any further. 

    And could he have ever defeated the Chinese ? No, no way.

    edit.

    Apparently this is a misquote, it has often been attributed to Plutarch, but he had another quote about Alexander.

    "   Alexander cried when he heard Anaxarchus talk about the infinite number of worlds in the universe. One of Alexander's friends asked him what was the matter, and he replied: "There are so many worlds, and I have not yet conquered even one." This anecdote comes from Plutarch's essay in the Moralia entitled " On Contentment of the Mind.""

    https://www.reddit.com/r/AskHistorians/comments/33...

    • Phil3 weeks agoReport

      Yes, the opposite.
      I found this other quote I like " Alexander captured a pirate and asked  "What makes you think you can just go around stealing ships?", to which the pirate replied, "What makes you think you can just go about stealing the whole world?"

  • Anonymous
    3 weeks ago

    I don't know.........

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  • 3 weeks ago

    At the time he was alive it would have been nothing more than remote rumor and hearsay if anything at all. The "Silk Road" trade routes hadn't been established yet. In fact it was Alexander's conquests that helped form commercial connections between Central Asia and the West. Before c.200BC the western extent of the Qin dynasty had essentially no contact with China's western frontier beyond the Gansu corridor and Taklamakan. It was the Han who expanded westward as far as the Ferghana valley where they encountered the Xiongnu equestrian nomads. And because these expanding Chinese were so far from their central power back in Xian they had to pay the Xiongnu tribute to keep them from raiding the Chinese's garrisons. They gave these nomads silk, but because the horseman had little use for such fine material they traded it on further west with the Sogdians and Bactrians, thus the "Silk Road". This was all about a century after Alexander's time but Central Asia was still under some measure of Hellenistic hegemony and it was around this time(c.200BC) that China and the West became aware of each other in any real sense. 

    As for contact between China and India Old Man Dirt's answer is correct. But Alexander never made it much beyond the Indus river in India and the Chinese-Indian contact would have been much further east on the other side of the subcontinent. So again Alexander was only rumor and hearsay even for the east Indians, let alone those Chinese that they had connections with further northeast.

  • John
    Lv 7
    3 weeks ago

    There were many trade routes between China and Europe.

    • Phil3 weeks agoReport

      Not as early as circa 323 BC when Alexander died.
      Did ancient China know about him ? I am sure, but long after he died after the silk routes were first establiished in Central Asia and the Middle East circa 700 AD before they expanded to Europe.

  • 3 weeks ago

    Alexander the Great fought battles all the way to India. While the trade route from India to China  is difficult, it was in use at that time. While documentation to prove the silk trade made it to Greece that early (for sure by 200 BC) it would have at least been in use as far as India.

    So the Chinese might have known of Alexander the Great. But they had no actual contact.

  • 3 weeks ago

    In time, as traders from the Sun Empire would have learned about the Malli ambush of Alexandros Philipidēs, the Macedoni-based great king of Hellas, at Multan, Punjab, when he slew the Malli's reigning king - Philipidēs had defeated the Puru not a year earlier along the river Jhelum, inland of Multan.

  • 3 weeks ago

    Probably. There were long-established trade routes running from China to the Mediterranean many centuries before the time of Alexander, and continuing long after his death.

    As well as goods, gossip will have travelled along these roads - so word of Alexander almost certainly reached China. Not necessarily while he was still alive, but eventually. Of course, like all tales, they will have been distorted after multiple re-tellings. 

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