|About the Book|
Marco Polo (1254-1324) was born in either Venice or Korcula in what is now Croatia. The son of a merchant family, he left Europe on a trading mission with his father and uncle. The man who arrived back in Italy a generation later in 1295 wasMoreMarco Polo (1254-1324) was born in either Venice or Korcula in what is now Croatia. The son of a merchant family, he left Europe on a trading mission with his father and uncle. The man who arrived back in Italy a generation later in 1295 was unrecognizable, but soon accepted as Marco by his relatives when he showed them the jewels he had brought back from the east. Captured in a later battle, he was briefly imprisoned, and dictated his memoirs to his cellmate Rustichello, a novelist who may have embellished the original text with some asides of his own. The result was A Description of the World, better known as Travels, a detailed account of Polos wandering, much of which seems to parallel the expeditions of Mongol armies, in China, Burma and Indonesia.Some have argued that his claims were largely falsified- that he merely stayed for a while in Western Asia, and assembled his book with stories he had heard from others. The records of the Chinese Yuan dynasty do not mention a Marco Polo at all (and they should), and there are some suspicious omissions from Polos text - no tea, no foot-binding, no mention of Chinese printing, or even of the Great Wall. Did Polo even go to China? This new biography will try to answer some of the questions connected with the perpetually fascinating adventurer of the 13th century.