Dear friends and colleagues:


am very pleased to announce that the much revised and expanded version of my annotated translation of the "Western Regions from the Hou Han shu" is now freely available to all on the "Silk Road Seattle" website, managed by the University of Washington in Seattle.

It is a translation of Chinese accounts of the development of the Silk Routes between China, Rome, India, Persia, and Central Asia during the first two centuries AD.

To access it please go to and then click on "Hou Han shu". If you wish to download it or print it out, please remember that it is composed of a number of files. The main file contains the introduction, index, and translated text. There is a separate file for References or Bibliography and another forms an Index to the main Chinese characters. Finally, there are 29 separate files of Notes (one for each of the Sections of the Text). To access each of these just click on any of the coloured superscript numbers in each of the sections of the text - this will take you to the appropriate file which can then be downloaded or printed.

I posted a "draft" version in May and sought comments from readers. The amount and quality of the responses was far beyond expectations - thank you all so very much for all your encouragement and help. Some have contributed a great deal of thought and time to this process and I am deeply indebted to you. I have credited all those whose suggestions or comments I have used in this revision (I hope I haven't missed anyone). If you downloaded the previous version please wipe it and replace it with this new one.

Finally, I should mention that I have also done considerably more research myself and am proposing a significant number of new identifications and historical details which will be of particular interest to specialists in this new revised edition.

I would especially like to point out the following new information:

I do hope this revised edition will provide a reliable and useful tool for everyone interested in this period of history. One of the great joys, though, of publishing on the Web is that it is relatively easy to correct mistakes or add new information. This is an on-going project so, if you have anything you would like to add or see changed in future revisions please do contact me personally by email at (please don't write to the very busy staff at the website).

I hope to be able to publish within the next couple of months, and on the same site, a draft annotated edition of the 3rd century Chinese text, the Wei lue, which adds considerably more information to that contained in the Hou Han shu - especially more details on some of the easternmost Roman dependencies. Following this I hope to be able to add the biographies of several of the Chinese generals who were responsible for China's contacts with the West during the first few centuries AD. I will be again looking for readers' help to correct and refine these drafts. When completed they should form a widely-available, useful and sound basis for further studies in the field.

I trust you will enjoy this new edition and I look forward to hearing from you if you have any comments or queries.

John E. Hill

Cooktown, Australia

Dear friends and colleagues:

Although you have seen information on this project a few months ago, I thought an update would be in order:

Silk Road Seattle (, a project of the Walter Chapin Simpson Center for the Humanities at the University of Washington (Seattle), is continuing to add internet-based resources relating to the history and cultures of Eurasia. Support for this project has been also been provided by the Silkroad Foundation. The site features:

Questions or offers of contributions may be sent to the project director, Prof. Daniel C. Waugh ( We hope to enlist collaborators from many institutions to build this already valuable resource. Please be aware that our means for processing new material are somewhat limited--there probably will be something of a hiatus in additions to the site over the next two to three months at least-but we will try to post new material expeditiously. We can very easily add annotated links to material posted to other sites, and would like suggestions about those.

Prof. Daniel C. Waugh

University of Washington
Seattle, WA, USA

Welcome to the First Issue! | A Yemeni Trading Link Three Thousand Years Old | The Origin of Chess and the Silk Road | The Mongols and the Silk Road | Age of Mongolian Empire: A Bibliographical Essay | Lecture Summary:"Genesis of the Indo-Iranians: Archaeological and Linguistic Aspects" | Letters