Marco Polo's Silk Road: The Art of the Journey, an Italian at the Court of the Kublai Khan

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Watkins Pub., 2011 - History - 272 pages
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In the late 1290s, an imprisoned Venetian merchant dictated an account of his amazing adventures in China. That book, The Travels of Marco Polo, was an instant success. Though scholars once derided Polo's tale, today's historians accept it as accurate. The original manuscripts are long lost, but now, for the first time, a modernized hybrid edition has been compiled from translations by William Marsden and Henry Yule. Comprising nearly 150 chapters, this superbly illustrated, silk-bound abridgement of this seminal work is a treasure worthy of its subject.--Publisher description.

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About the author (2011)

Marco Polo (1254 - 1324) was a Venetian merchant traveller. His travels are recorded in Livres des merveilles du monde (Book of the Marvels of the World, also known as The Travels of Marco Polo, c. 1300), a book that described to Europeans the wealth and great size of China, its capital Peking, and other Asian cities and countries.
He learned the mercantile trade from his father and uncle, Niccol and Maffeo, who travelled through Asia and met Kublai Khan. In 1269, they returned to Venice to meet Marco for the first time. The three of them embarked on an epic journey to Asia, returning after 24 years to find Venice at war with Genoa; Marco was imprisoned and dictated his stories to a cellmate. He was released in 1299, became a wealthy merchant, married, and had three children. He died in 1324 and was buried in the church of San Lorenzo in Venice.
Marco Polo was not the first European to reach China (see Europeans in Medieval China), but he was the first to leave a detailed chronicle of his experience. This book inspired Christopher Columbus and many other travellers. There is a substantial literature based on Polo's writings; he also influenced European cartography, leading to the introduction of the Fra Mauro map.

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