The Sogdians, in turn, through their first-hand experience of Byzantium and indirectly through the golden solidi (which, we will remember, bore the portrait of the emperor) that they acquired, would help disseminate images of the West in ancient East Asia. It is no surprise, considering this, that a man of Central Asian origins settling in Sui China would choose to be buried in a sarcophagus bearing the image of the world that he knew. This world shows expanding geographical awareness by all protagonists of their further horizons in Eurasia, and shows them developping, accordingly, a geopolitical strategy that would include more and more their more remote neighbors.(1) The New Rome had a firm grasp of this new geographical horizon and knew how to use it to her benefit.

(1) Curiously, Chinese annals mention “Fu-lin” (the name usually given to the Roman empire) embassies in 643, 667, 701, and possibly 719. If this is correct, this 50-year period would thus have seen more direct diplomatic contacts than the preceeding five centuries. Were the emperors trying to secure aid against the invading Arabs? There is so far no way to verify this.