MARCO POLO AND KUBLAI KHAN | Facts and Details
Marco Polo () was a Venetian merchant believed to have Marco Polo entered the court of powerful Mongol ruler Kublai Khan, who not the first European to explore China—his father and uncle, among others. Marco Polo, Netflix's new historical drama, features extravagant settings, his way from Europe into China and ends up in the court of Kublai Khan. to the essence of the close, trusted relationship between Khan and Polo. While Netflix gets ready to launch its original series, 'Marco Polo,' we thought Marco Polo begins with Marco's arrival at the court of Kublai Khan and follows in a battle between Venice and its rival city-state Genoa in
Marco Polo and his travels
Soon Venice was at war with its rival city-state, Genoa, on the west coast of Italy. As was custom for a wealthy merchant, Marco Polo financed his own war galley. He was captured during a naval battle and ended up in prison in Genoa. By chance, one of his cellmates, Rusticello from Pisa, had experience writing romantic novels. As Polo entertained everyone with his tales of traveling to China, Rusticello wrote them down in a French dialect.
The couple had three daughters in quick succession. He spent his remaining days as a businessman, working from home. He died there at almost 70 years of age, on January 8,and was buried under the church of San Lorenzo, though his tomb has now vanished.
It could be circulated only one copy at a time, since printing in Europe did not begin until almost years later. About to early manuscripts — hand-printed and fragmentary versions of The Travels — survive, and every one of them is different. The earliest readers were scholars, monks, and noblemen. It took more than a century for the book to become part of mainstream European consciousness.
Few texts have provoked more controversy than The Travels of Marco Polo. The authorship is not clear — is it Polo or Rusticello? Sometimes the text is in the first-person voice, sometimes in the third-person. Polo proved an engaging storyteller. He found Mongolian customs fascinating and reported them enthusiastically, such as the use of paper for money and the burning of coal for heat see excerpts below.
Paper money had been utilized in China for several hundred years, and coal had been burned in parts of China since the beginning of agriculture. Polo also missed a few unfamiliar practices, notably the books being sold in Quinsa now Hangzhouthe capital city of the earlier Song dynasty in southern China.
Books were widely available there because they were printed with moveable type made of wood, clay, or tin. InKublai's great-nephew, then ruler of Persiasent representatives to China in search of a potential wife, and they asked the Polos to accompany them, so they were permitted to return to Persia with the wedding party—which left that same year from Zaitun in southern China on a fleet of 14 junks.
The party sailed to the port of Singapore travelled north to Sumatra and sailed west to the Point Pedro port of Jaffna under Savakanmaindan and to Pandyan of Tamilakkam. The two-year voyage was a perilous one—of the six hundred people not including the crew in the convoy only eighteen had survived including all three Polos.
Marco Polo - Wikipedia
For example, the opening introduction in The Book of Marvels to "emperors and kings, dukes and marquises" was lifted straight out of an Arthurian romance Rustichello had written several years earlier, and the account of the second meeting between Polo and Kublai Khan at the latter's court is almost the same as that of the arrival of Tristan at the court of King Arthur at Camelot in that same book. Polo had at times refuted the 'marvelous' fables and legends given in other European accounts, and despite some exaggerations and errors, Polo's accounts have relatively few of the descriptions of irrational marvels.
In many cases where present mostly given in the first part before he reached China, such as mentions of Christian miracleshe made a clear distinction that they are what he had heard rather than what he had seen.
It is also largely free of the gross errors found in other accounts such as those given by the Moroccan traveler Ibn Battuta who had confused the Yellow River with the Grand Canal and other waterways, and believed that porcelain was made from coal. Such detailed descriptions are not found in other non-Chinese sources, and their accuracy is supported by archaeological evidence as well as Chinese records compiled after Polo had left China.
His accounts are therefore unlikely to have been obtained second hand. His claim is confirmed by a Chinese text of the 14th century explaining how a Sogdian named Mar-Sargis from Samarkand founded six Nestorian Christian churches there in addition to one in Hangzhou during the second half of the 13th century. Seal of the Mongol ruler Ghazan in a letter to Pope Boniface VIIIwith an inscription in Chinese seal script Omissions Skeptics have long wondered if Marco Polo wrote his book based on hearsay, with some pointing to omissions about noteworthy practices and structures of China as well as the lack of details on some places in his book.
While Polo describes paper money and the burning of coal, he fails to mention the Great Wall of ChinateaChinese characterschopsticksor footbinding. Haeger argued the Marco Polo might not have visited Southern China due to the lack of details in his description of southern Chinese cities compared to northern ones, while Herbert Franke also raised the possibility that Marco Polo might not have been to China at all, and wondered if he might have based his accounts on Persian sources due to his use of Persian expressions.
Haw argued that the Great Walls were built to keep out northern invaders, whereas the ruling dynasty during Marco Polo's visit were those very northern invaders. They note that the Great Wall familiar to us today is a Ming structure built some two centuries after Marco Polo's travels; and that the Mongol rulers whom Polo served controlled territories both north and south of today's wall, and would have no reasons to maintain any fortifications that may have remained there from the earlier dynasties.
The Muslim traveler Ibn Battutawho asked about the wall when he visited China during the Yuan dynasty, could find no one who had either seen it or knew of anyone who had seen it, suggesting that while ruins of the wall constructed in the earlier periods might have existed, they were not significant or noteworthy at that time.
Marco Polo studied the Chinese language, and it was not very long before he could speak it and converse with Kublai Khan. He did the work well and from that time was often employed as an envoy of the Chinese monarch.
His travels were sometimes in lands never before visited by Europeans and Marco Polo had many strange adventures among the almost unknown tribes of Asia. Step by step he was promoted by Kublai Khan. For several years he was governor of a great Chinese city. Finally Marco Polo and his father and uncle desired to return to Venice. They had all served Kublai Khan faithfully and he had appreciated it and given them rich rewards; but Kublai Khan did not wish to let them go.
This monarch wanted to marry the daughter of Kublai Khan who was called the Princess Cocachin. Consent was given, and Kublai Khan fitted out a fleet of fourteen ships to carry the wedding party to Persia.