Video:Profile of Marco Polowith Matt Rosenberg
Want to learn about the life of Marco Polo? Here, see interesting facts and details about his life.See Transcript
Transcript:Profile of Marco PoloMarco Polo was born in 1254 in Venice. In 1271, Marco Polo traveled east from Europe with his father and uncle and in 1275 met Kublai Khan in Kaifeng, the capital of the Mongol Empire.
Information About Marco PoloKublai Khan, also known as the Great Khan, liked the youthful Marco and conscripted him into service for the Empire. Marco served in several high-level government positions, including as ambassador and as the governor of the city of Yangzhou. While the Great Khan enjoyed having the Polos as his subjects and diplomats, Khan eventually consented to allow them to leave the Empire, as long as they would escort a princess who was scheduled to wed a Persian king.
Facts About Marco PoloThe three Polos left the Empire in 1292 with the princess, a fleet of fourteen large boats, and 600 other passengers from a port in southern China. The armada sailed through Indonesia to Sri Lanka and India and onto its final destination at the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf. Supposedly, only eighteen people survived from the original 600, including the Princess who could not wed her intended fiancee because he had died, so she married his son instead.The three Polos returned to Venice and Marco joined the army to fight against the city-state of Genoa. He was captured in 1298 and imprisoned in Genoa.While in prison for two years, he dictated an account of his travels to a fellow prisoner named Rustichello. Shortly thereafter, The Travels of Marco Polo was published in French.
Additional Information About Marco PoloThough Polo's book exaggerates places and cultures his book was widely published, translated into many languages, and thousands of copies were printed.Polo's book includes fanciful accounts of men with tails and cannibals seem to be around every corner. The book is somewhat a geography of Asian provinces. It is divided into chapters covering specific regions and Polo delves into the politics, agriculture, military power, economy, sexual practices, burial system, and religions of each area. Polo brought the ideas of paper currency and coal to Europe. He also included second-hand reports of areas that he had not visited, such as Japan and Madagascar.
The influence of Marco Polo on geographic exploration was enormous and he was also a major influence on Christopher Columbus. As Polo neared death in 1324, he was asked to recant what he had written and simply said that he had not even told half of what he had witnessed. Despite the fact that many claim his book to be unreliable, it was a sort of regional geography of Asia for centuries.
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