Cultural Interaction.

I’ve been greatly encouraged by the comments of Guest Thaifanfan’s comment on my blog, “Thailand’s Cultural Excellence”. Prior to Columbus there have been many cultural encounters and exchanges. Julius Caeser conquered Britain in 55 BC and there was interaction with the Celts.

The long drawn Persian war brought about a confrontation of large proportions ending perhaps with the battle of Salamis. I agree with Thaifanfan’s statement.

My views of Columbus as a starting point is limited to the birth of the nascent discipline of the American School of Anthropology and the Britidh School of Social Anthropology,leading to extensive field work and ethnography.Bronislaw Malinowski became a cult figure in the study of culture through his field work in the Trobriand islands. All this has led to a genuine respect for other cultures.

Apart from war, trade and commerce; religion also has played a significant role in cultural assimilation. In case of Buddhism, there has been a seamless integration of south east Asia.

Fah Hien and Hiuen Tsang from China have visited India and recorded their observations on Indian culture, so has Megasthenes from Greece. In case of Thailand, it would be interesting to know early cultural interactions with China and other countries from fellow-bloggers.

7 responses to “Cultural Interaction.

  1. Umm. No. Julius Caesar did not invade Britain in 55BC. He landed, made some headway inland and quickly retreated again, telling Rome he had invaded Britain purely to further his political career.
    It was Claudius who invaded Britain in 43AD, but even this is now subject to debate, as their is new evidence that Romans, including some military, were resident in Britain prior to 43AD, invited in by Kentish Chieftains to protect them and the trade that had grown between Britain and Roman Gaul from aggressive neighbouring tribes. Again Claudius’s decision to “invade” was a political move to remove doubts that he was a weak choice for Emperor following the death of Nero.

  2. Jared Diamond’s “guns, germs and steel” is a good read if you’re into this stuff.
    I agree, some scholarly stuff on Thailand’s early interaction with China would be interesting. C’mon bloggers, get digging.

  3. Hiuen Tsang was indeed a most popular & loved visitor to India in the early days. Everyone thinks of it in a very nice manner. Otherwise all other visitors from other nations has a commerical or colonial twist to it.

  4. Was the colonial ‘twist’ of the Britich Empire a good thing for India?

  5. Thaifanfan: No, colonialism is not a good thing, principally.

  6. There are some important records of visits to ancient Thailand in Chinese annals. One,translated into English, can be read from White Lotus published “Ying yai Sheng-lan: the Overall Survey of the Ocean’s Shores” by Ma Huan, 1433. I believe there are older accounts naming the area “Funan”. Last week, I bought “Ayutthaya: Venice of the East” by Derrick Garnier published by River Books, 2004. They mention that by that time trade with China was quite established.

  7. As I understand it, the ancestors of the Thais can be traced as originating from Southern China in the 5th century (Common Era), squeezed by Vietnamese & central Chinese expansionalism at this time into the Northeast Laos area. By the early 8th Century they are to be found in great numbers in the area of Chiang Saen, where they formed a state called Yonok.
    From this point of view, China has had cultural ties with Thailand from the very beginning of Thailand itself.