I have decided to completely rewrite my question, since the original text led people to believe that I am asking about historical facts.
Let's imagine a world in ancient/medieval setting populated by two different cultures who developed entirely separated of each other not knowing that the other one exists. Both of those cultures have been convinced that they are the most developed nation in the whole universe - till the day they finally met each other.
One culture (for short called the West) is inspired by late Roman Empire and all states which developed on its ruins - e.g. Byzantine empire, Frankish kingdom, and all other early medieval European kingdoms. The other culture (let's simply call it the East) is inspired by the China dominated orient and all other countries, which were under its influence - Japan, Korea, Tibet and all of south-east Asia.
In the real world, I come from Europe and therefore am a little biased when creating such a world. To me, the West is always "my culture", while the East would always be "the others". Therefore I am asking for help to see the world from both perspectives. If a western expedition arrived in the East, what would be their greatest surprise? How would they be treated? What about the situation when an eastern expedition arrived in the West? How would their relationships evolve? Would they establish a mutually beneficial trade routes? Or would they try to destroy each other, to prove they are the single most advanced civilization in the whole world?
I was thinking about the following concepts for West and East:
- The West would be divided to several kingdoms, united by one religious leader (like the Pope)
- The East is one single empire with a lot of more or less autonomous regions
- In the West, the elite soldiers are the Knights following chivalry. In the East it is the Samurai following Bushido.
- The daily meal in the West would be bread, having a whole food industry around wheat growing, mills and baking. In the East it would be rice, with rice fields, drying and processing buildings.
- The sails of ships in the West would be large square or triangular. In the East they would use junk sails.
- In the West people use cutlery, in the East chopsticks. The whole quisine is adjusted to this (e.g.: eastern meals are easy to eat with sticks).
- West uses catapults, East ballistas.
What other concepts or differences would you suggest that could define each culture? What are the differences/similarities they tackle various every-day problems?
Just a note: I know, the East-West dichotomy is not really exact and omits a lot of various cultures "in between". But I am trying to create a fantasy world, not a real one.