Did Marco Polo Go To China? by Frances Wood

By Frances Wood

Opposite to an assumption uncomplicated to ecu and chinese language history-the stories of Marco Polo's trip to China-Frances wooden argues that he not just by no means went to China, yet most likely by no means ventured previous his family members domestic at the Black Sea. as an alternative, his mind's eye fueled via tales garnered from different investors and with assistance from a ghostwriter, Polo might easily have sought to use the transforming into call for for stories of far away lands. through conscientiously reading the Polo relatives heritage, Marco Polo's actions as a service provider, the instruction of his publication, and the imperial chinese language files, wooden attempts to reconcile a few inconsistencies that make clear what could be in basic terms a rare and enduring fantasy.

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That they allowed foreign Christians to build cathedrals in Chinese cities and reside there (Italian bishops lived in Quanzhou from 1313 for a decade and at Peking from 1307-28) also indicates a lack of insularity, which obviously extended to the free travel of merchants in the silk-producing areas around Yangzhou. 3 Missionaries nose to tail Though the Prologue to the Description of the World makes it clear that the elder Polos arrived in Karakorum as merchants, they left as Christian ambassadors, bearing a letter to the Pope (which has not been preserved) and promising to return with various religious tokens.

The reason is simple: many of the 'best' passages do seem to occur only in the late versions of Ramusio and Toledo (fifteenth century). 27 The complications of creating an interesting version are easily seen in Moule and Pelliot's translation, where the confusing variety of manuscripts used to create a coherent and interesting text involves up to forty-two references to different versions per page. 28 This demonstrated the extremely varied use of vocabulary, and led the analyst to the conclusion that a second ghost writer might have taken over at one point.

31 It is possible that when Marco Polo and Rusticello embarked upon their collaboration they were anticipating public interest in travel and exploration but, unfortunately for them, passionate interest in travel books appears to have developed about a hundred years too late. For some 400 years, Ramusio's version of Marco Polo's book remained one of the most lively, for he included stories of Marco Polo and his exaggerated conversation and the 45 Did Matvo Polo go to China? 2* Rarnusio included many passages that do not appear in any other surviving editions, like the healing girdles of the monks of San Barsamo in Tabriz,8* the description of the bustling city of Hangzhou and the marriage of Qinghis Khan to Prester John's daughter.

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