Written by BibleScienceGuy.wordpress.com | August 12th, 2011
Marco Polo (1254–1324) was a merchant from Venice, Italy who is famous for his 24-year, 15,000-mile camping trip.
In 1271 at age 17, Marco Polo left Italy for Asia with his father and uncle. They returned in 1295 to find Venice at war with Genoa. The Venetians had long given up the Polo merchants for dead.
Polo was captured and thrown into a Genovan prison for 4 years where he entertained his cellmates with stories of his travels. Prison was a godsend for Polo, because one of his cellmates was a writer who offered to document Polo’s journey. Polo dictated a detailed account to Rustichello da Pisa to produce
The Travels of Marco Polo.
Over the next several centuries the book stimulated great geographical discoveries, including Christopher Columbus’ attempts to sail to China by going west around the world. Polo’s book with handwritten comments was found among Columbus’ belongings.
Travels was the only “encyclopedia” of the East, and gave Europeans their first look at Asia. It served as a guide for mapmakers for 200 years, especially since Polo brought back a nautical and world map from China.
Polo’s journey preceded construction of China’s Great Wall by two centuries. Polo reported seeing fountains of oil (mineral oil springs), black stones that people burned for heat (coal), and paper money.
In 1275 Polo met Kublai Khan, grandson of Genghis, in Beijing and served as Kublai’s emissary to Mongolia, India, and Sumatra.
One of his adventures involved a 2-year journey by sea accompanying a wedding party. Of the 600-person party, only 18 survived, including all three Polos.
Marco Polo Sees Dragons
One of the many unusual items in Travels is Polo’s account of ferocious beasts he encountered in southwest China in what is now Yunnan province bordering Burma, Laos, and Vietnam.......