Roman culture was highly influenced by the Greeks; as Horace said, Graecia capta ferum victorem cepit "Captive Greece captured her rude conqueror". While some Roman nobles regarded the Greeks as backwards and petty, many others embraced Greek literature and philosophy. The Greek language became a favorite of the educated and elite in Rome, such as Scipio Africanus , who tended to study philosophy and regarded Greek culture and science as an example to be followed. He was honored with a victory in every contest, and in the following year he proclaimed the freedom of the Greeks at the Isthmian Games in Corinth, just as Flamininus had over years previously. Hadrian was also particularly fond of the Greeks; before he became emperor he served as an eponymous archon of Athens.

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In his prose, he made quite a few remarks about China and the Chinese. Marshall, London , p. BOYM et cetera. Racism, orientalism and the ideology of European civilising mission were very common among Europeans3. The weakness of China resulted in a series of lopsided treaties with Euro- pean powers. How did the traveller from the then centre of the world, Europe, describe cultural and political relations between civilisations?

He studied in gymnasiums in Temisvar and in Pest, and in he graduated from the Medical Faculty in Vienna. Later, he got a doctorate in Leipzig Said, Orientalism, London ; E. Said, Kultura i imperializm, trans.

B och, Pozna Jovanovi , Gore dole po Napulju. Putni ke crte Beograd, Zagreb, In , he moved from Novi Sad to Herceg Novi at that time the Principality of Montenegro , where he worked both as a teacher and doctor. This gave him an opportunity to under- take the aforementioned travels. He returned to Serbia in and continued to work as a doctor, and from he took up the position of Professor of hygiene at the War Aca- demy in Belgrade.

Jovanovi also took part in the Serbian-Bulgarian war of he left behind memoirs of this war in manuscript form. In , he became a member of the Serbian Royal Academy of Sciences.

He died in in Belgrade. During his life, Jovanovi published quite a number of literary works. His dramas, critical studies and travel writings were very popular.

Howe- ver, the unfavourable opinion from the most important Serbian literary critics at the turn of the 19th and 20th century, Ljubomir Nedi and Jovan Skerli , condemned him into oblivion.

His works were not reissued for more than a hundred years and only sporadic remarks about Jovanovi are found in publications on the history of Serbian literature. Neverthe- less, even today his travel writings could be found very interesting. Stip evi Beograd, , p. The travelogue Tamo amo po istoku is interesting especially for the intercultural relations de- scribed in the book, a topic that will be examined in the main part of the paper.

These quoted words describe the situation in the second half of the 19th century, even though this kind of discourse is very popular even today. Putopisi Srba o Kini: Beograd, ; R.

Srbi o Kini putopisi i lanci Beograd, Jovanovi , Tamo amo Po istoku. Sveska prva Beograd, , All translations into English are my own, unless otherwise indicated. Translations were made to ensure the paper is coherent for non-Serbian speaking readers. I have sought to provide exact translations; however, they cannot be acknowledged as proper literary translations.

Jovanovi described Chinese customs and way of life with fascination. He was excited by such details as the clean shoes of the Chinese women and the importance of hygiene, kept even during tiring sea travels8. The Serbian author also described the custom of foot binding.

In what is quite typical for travel writings, the writer made a lot of comparisons between China and Europe. For example, he compared eating habits: Among this crowd of Chinese I started to think that the reason for many of our physical and moral problems lies maybe in our too generous and spicy food. I do not know if Confucius did advise his nation to be moderate, as our wise men did; however, if yes, it can be said with cer- tainty that the Chinese listened to him better than we did ours.

Among the Chinese, there is no strong beverage, so there is no drunkenness, so there is no excess. During ten days when those people were on the ship, it was impossible to hear among them any unfriendly word. In the quoted fragment, a comparison and contrast are used as a me- ans to create a representation of the Chinese people for Serbian or Eu- ropean readers. What seems important is that a comparison also means a judgement.

Even in this short fragment, the tendency to present the Chinese as a positive alternative to Europeans seems obvious. In the next parts of his travelogue, describing Singapore, South Chi- na Sea and Hong Kong, Jovanovi paid a lot of attention to the Chinese people, their history and culture.

His views on China were very posi- tive. Even when he mentioned poverty and overpopulation, suggesting that those factors were responsible for frequent thefts, he also introduced topics of Chinese practicality, severe but fair regulations, and a strong 8 M. Jovanovi , Tamo amo po istoku. Sveska druga Beograd, , p. His writings were full of ad- miration for the Chinese national character, their everyday life, and the greatness of their culture.

For example, Jovanovi noted the quality of Chinese crafts, saying that quality was at a very high level, on a par with Europeans: The Chinese are unusually skilful at crafts. Only a Chinese is able to make socks in such a way that a seam does not hurt a foot. Only he can make a chair from a thin cane, which will sustain even the heaviest man The symbol of Chinese achievements was their great literature, in which the notion of multi-generational continuity is clearly evident.

This continuity is evident in every kind of work, and especially in economic and literary works, and so because of that, among the Chinese those works are [grounded] on a broad basis. Books after books are accumulated, like a canal after a canal, and there is a plan in this continuity, which is carried out by whole generations. The Great Wall of China and Chinese literature are of equal proportions Chinese industriousness, perseverance, frugality and good manners were extolled by Jovanovi in the description of a shopping district in Pe- 10 Ibidem, p.

He described an interesting case: English colonial masters had brought a group of Chinese to cultivate the rich islands next to Penang. In the end, the invited workers have become a major trading power in the colony.

The Serbian traveller compared Far East traders to Europeans and had a lot of respect for the former. In the tropics the English are not the same as on their island. The line of thought in the words quoted above is based on the contrast between the Chinese and European values and way of life. According to travel writing theore- ticians, this method is very typical for travel writings in general.

The most important means of de- 13 Ibidem, p. A Critical Survey, ed. Beller and J. Leerssen Amsterdam, New York, , p. Various researchers into travel writings emphasize that images of foreign countries express the ideas and beliefs of their creators This is also the case with Jovanovi. His vision of the Far East civilisa- tion expressed what values and ideas are in high esteem in his own.

Therefore, his writings may be perceived as an example of exoticism. This was also the case for Jovanovi. His European identity was strong so that he looked on China from the point of view of Europe. Jovanovi was not proud of being a member of a civilisation of colonizers. On the con- trary, a very sharp criticism of colonialism and European expansion was evident in his work. For example, the Serbian author described in very negative terms the colonisation of Africa: 15 M.

Todorova, Ba kany wyobra one, trans. Szymor and M. Budzi ska Wo owiec: Czarne, ; B. Jezernik, Dzika Europa. Bracewell and A. Leerssen Amsterdam - New York, , p. Native sultans do not sell slaves to America, but now they and their subjects are slaves of European farmers and it has become easier for them only because of the fact that now they are slaves in their own homeland. The Serbian writer had seen the real effects of those ideas with his own eyes.

From this per- spective, he wrote about the European presence in China. For instance, the opium wars are seen as an example of European greed, concealed by the rhetoric of the so-called civilizing mission.

The topic of opium allowed Jovanovi to introduce one more com- parison between the Chinese and Europeans. As could be expected, as a doctor, Jovanovi condemned smoking opium as harmful; however, drin- king, presented as a European vice, was much worse for him. Describing how drunken British sailors had behaved in Singapore, he admitted to be- 18 M. Sveska druga, Sveska druga, p.

It led the Serbian travel- ler to one general conclusion about the relation between Europe and Asia: Opium trade and similar phenomena of European insolence in Asia have created a strange notion of European civilization among Eastern nations. This is the reason behind the contempt for the European civili- zation and hatred for those who use it to cover their crimes According to Jovanovi , European presence in Asia is dominated by greed, violence and injustice, and because of that, the peoples of Asia have started to despise Europeans and perceived them as cruel barba- rians.

Jovanovi is a liberal and a humanist who be- lieves in noble ideas of human dignity and brotherhood. His outlook on the world, as manifested in Tama amo po istoku, was do- minated by the dichotomy between the East and the West.

In the second part of the book, this notion was connected mostly with the Chinese.


Greece in the Roman era

Book II, epistle 1, lines Graecia capta ferum victorem cepit et artes intulit agresti Latio. Cicero recognizes it well in his Tusculans Dispute, I, 1. In learning, indeed, and all kinds of literature, Greece did excel us, and it was easy to do so where there was no competition ; for while among the Greeks the poets were the most ancient species of learned men since Homer and Hesiod lived before the foundation of Rome, and Archilochus 1 was a contemporary of Romulus we received poetry much later.


Graecia capta ferum victorem cepit

In his prose, he made quite a few remarks about China and the Chinese. Marshall, London , p. BOYM et cetera. Racism, orientalism and the ideology of European civilising mission were very common among Europeans3. The weakness of China resulted in a series of lopsided treaties with Euro- pean powers. How did the traveller from the then centre of the world, Europe, describe cultural and political relations between civilisations?

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