The other night, a student relieved me from the usual task of shelving by asking where he could find any books about the contacts between ancient Rome and China. Not being entirely sure, I showed him where ancient/mediaeval Chinese history was in DS, then Roman history in DG, then the Cambridge Ancient History in D. Hopefully these could help him.
I don’t think they will, though. I’m fairly certain that any cultural/mercantile contact the Mediterranean — especially the western Mediterranean — had with China came through Near Eastern and Indian middlemen. So the questions would be, instead, what can we learn about Rome and the Near East, Rome and India, and Rome and the Arabians.
And then I got to thinking about ancient history beyond the Mediterranean basin. You see, the ’14’ (aka 19) volumes of the Cambridge Ancient History deal primarily with the Near East and Mediterranean. What about the rest of the world? Well, have no fear, Cambridge can help you there, as well:
The Cambridge History of Early Inner Asia takes you up to the 13th-c Mongols
The Cambridge History of the Byzantine Empire because why not?
The Cambridge History of Ancient China
The Cambridge History of Japan, Vol 1: Ancient Japan
The Cambridge History of Iran, Vols 1-3
The Cambridge History of Southeast Asia, Vol 1, chh. 2-5
The Cambridge History of Africa, Vols 1-2
The Cambridge History of Scandinavia, Vol 1
and the pertinent parts of The Cambridge World History, Vols 2-4
If you have time for any of those, I’ll be impressed! But maybe, if you’re curious about a wider ancient world than people like me tend to be, the pertinent chapters of these books could help.