Chinese were referred to by the ancient Romans as the Seres1. The Romans associated this people far east of the borders of the Empire primarily for the beautiful silk fabric, on which the Chinese held a monopoly. The Middle Kingdom for centuries had enormous profits from the sale of silk, which was very much in demand by the Roman aristocracy.
Horace additionally mentions the so-called “Seric arrows” (sagittas Sericas) and talks about the potential threat from the Chinese. Pomponius Mela, in turn, believes that the Seres have the justest manners.