Interesting possibilities

“Here the Quara-Khitai or Western Liao kingdom presents possibilities. It will be remembered (cf. Vol. 3 pp.118, 457) that persistent tradition in
China has ascribed to this country the transmission of scientific and technological knowledge to the West.”*

Did the compass from the chinese east meet here the zero from the indian south?

* Needham, Joseph: Science and Civilisation in China . Physics and Physical Technology I: Physics.Vol. 4. Cambridge 1962, p. 332. The quote continues: The `Black Chhi-tan`was a succession-state of the Liao dynasty established in 1124 by exils who followed Yehl├╝ Ta-Shih as Gurkhan to Western Sinkiang after the liquidation of that empire by the Jurchen (Chin) Tartars. It lasted under a succession of rulers until the gathering might of the Mongols swept away in +1211. Centred on Kashgar, it included Samarquand in the west and Turfan in the east; Chinese was its official language, and Chinese literature had prestige value as the `Latin`of the East in its culture. In religious matters the Qara-Hitai were very tolerant, and Christianity flourished side by side with Shamanism, Buddhism and Islam … indeed we have already noted (Vol I, p. 133) that hte Western legend of Prester John originated precisley from the existence of this State. Assuredley it hat mercantile and cultural contacts with the Russian princedoms of Novgorod, Vladimir and Kiev. In fact, its dates, spanning as they do the +12th century, are exactly right for the spread of knowledge of the magnetical compass to the West. Yet we shall find, disturbingly, in Sect. 29, that another maritime invention, that of the stern-post rudder, also reached Europe from China towards the close of the +12th century – and the transmission of something like this by a non-maritime route would be still harder to believe”.

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