Posted on Nov 25, 2022 355
Brave people who paved the way for all those who followed them. One of these great travelers was the merchant Marco Polo, who made an incredible journey for those times and contributed a lot to the establishment of trade relations between the countries of Europe and Asia.
Interesting facts about Marco Polo
- Many people think that Marco Polo was the first person who established the contact between Europe and China. In fact, this is not true - Europeans have been to Chinese lands before Polo, but he was the first to describe his journey and the customs of Asian countries, including the Mongol Empire and China.
- The question of Polo’s nationality still has no unequivocal answer - it is known that the traveler’s family lived in Venice, but as other researchers point out, Marco was born on the Croatian island of Korcula, and the move to Venice came later. There are also those who call Polo a Pole - according to them, on the cover of his book about the journey, the word “Polo” was written with a capital letter, showing a nationality rather than a surname.
- Polo spent 17 years in China. In his book, the veracity of which, however, raises many doubts, he writes that together with his father and uncle; he was the guest of honor of the khan who ruled the country. The Khan allegedly did not allow the Polo family to return home, appointed Marco governor of Yangzhou province for three years, and included him in his secret council. As a reciprocal courtesy, Polo’s family assisted the Khan in developing his army and trained his soldiers in catapult shooting.
- Even assuming that Polo was not entirely honest in compiling his book of adventure, through his work, Europeans learned about paper money, burning black stones, and a host of other things. He also pointed out where to find spices valued in Europe more than gold.
- The bridge near Beijing, named after Polo, has half as many arches as stated in his book.
- Polo’s notes do not mention Chinese tea, porcelain, the Chinese wall, and many other things available in China. Defenders of the Venetian merchant believe that these things simply did not seem interesting to him, so the book mentions them in passing or says nothing at all.
- In the Chinese and Mongolian chronicles of the time, there is not a single mention of the European merchant Polo.
- After returning home, the traveler was captured by the Genoese and spent about a year in prison. During this time, he dictated the stories of his adventures to another prisoner, who was also engaged in writing novels about knights. This manuscript has not survived, so it is not even known in what language it was written.
- Freed from captivity, Polo returned to Venice and married. He had three daughters, who later became wives of merchants.
- Documents of Polo’s participation in two minor lawsuits have been preserved. It is also known that he had his own house in one of the Venetian streets.
- Polo’s last will mention a golden credential tag, which gave the owner special powers, which his uncle received as a gift from the Khan and left to his nephew as a legacy.
- A few centuries after the merchant and traveler’s death, his house, which supposedly contained items from the Chinese journey, burned to the ground.
- The church of San Lorenzo, where Polo was buried, was demolished in the 19th century.
- “Polo’s Book of the Wonders of the World” is still one of the most popular subjects for historians to research.
- The story of Polo’s wanderings has been translated into a dozen languages and reprinted many times. The oldest surviving manuscript is much shorter than later editions, but it is believed to be based on the original texts as well, only in more detail.