That’s a point well-made, Frazier. As a start, I’d direct you to this response I wrote to a person who very helpfully pointed out some specific spots where my excitement about the topic made some historical facts unclear. The TL;DR is that I wrote this piece to counteract a specific bias-by-omission that I’ve noticed in Western education — and yes, my rhetoric went over-the-top at times. I’m a geek at heart, and sometimes I geek out too hard.
To be honest, though, what I was really trying to convey was a sense of what it was like to see Rome through the eyes of these Asian cultures. I obviously don’t think Cato and Catullus were literally “barbarians,” or that the city of Rome was literally “a backwater.” But some of Rome’s Asian contemporaries genuinely did see it that way! That’s a perspective we rarely hear about in the West; and it’s a very interesting one to try on for size.