MARCO POLO AND KUBLAI KHAN | Facts and Details
While Netflix gets ready to launch its original series, 'Marco Polo,' we thought Marco Polo begins with Marco's arrival at the court of Kublai Khan and follows in a battle between Venice and its rival city-state Genoa in In this lesson, we'll look at the story of Marco Polo and see The story of the Silk Roads really begins with Kublai Khan (). was really just one last thing standing between him and his grandfather's dream of a unified Asia: China. To make sure the brothers would be given every assistance on their travels, Kublai Khan presented them with a golden tablet (or paiza in Chinese, gerege in .
They sailed to Acreand then rode on camels to the Persian port of Hormuz. The Polos wanted to sail straight into China, but the ships there were not seaworthy, so they continued overland through the Silk Roaduntil reaching Kublai's summer palace in Shangdunear present-day Zhangjiakou. In one instance during their trip, the Polos joined a caravan of travelling merchants whom they crossed paths with.
Unfortunately, the party was soon attacked by banditswho used the cover of a sandstorm to ambush them. The Polos managed to fight and escape through a nearby town, but many members of the caravan were killed or enslaved.
It is possible that he became a government official;  he wrote about many imperial visits to China's southern and eastern provinces, the far south and Burma.
They became worried about returning home safely, believing that if Kublai died, his enemies might turn against them because of their close involvement with the ruler.
InKublai's great-nephew, then ruler of Persiasent representatives to China in search of a potential wife, and they asked the Polos to accompany them, so they were permitted to return to Persia with the wedding party—which left that same year from Zaitun in southern China on a fleet of 14 junks.
The party sailed to the port of Singapore travelled north to Sumatra and sailed west to the Point Pedro port of Jaffna under Savakanmaindan and to Pandyan of Tamilakkam. The two-year voyage was a perilous one—of the six hundred people not including the crew in the convoy only eighteen had survived including all three Polos.
For example, the opening introduction in The Book of Marvels to "emperors and kings, dukes and marquises" was lifted straight out of an Arthurian romance Rustichello had written several years earlier, and the account of the second meeting between Polo and Kublai Khan at the latter's court is almost the same as that of the arrival of Tristan at the court of King Arthur at Camelot in that same book.
Polo had at times refuted the 'marvelous' fables and legends given in other European accounts, and despite some exaggerations and errors, Polo's accounts have relatively few of the descriptions of irrational marvels.
In many cases where present mostly given in the first part before he reached China, such as mentions of Christian miracleshe made a clear distinction that they are what he had heard rather than what he had seen.
It is also largely free of the gross errors found in other accounts such as those given by the Moroccan traveler Ibn Battuta who had confused the Yellow River with the Grand Canal and other waterways, and believed that porcelain was made from coal. Such detailed descriptions are not found in other non-Chinese sources, and their accuracy is supported by archaeological evidence as well as Chinese records compiled after Polo had left China.
His accounts are therefore unlikely to have been obtained second hand.
His claim is confirmed by a Chinese text of the 14th century explaining how a Sogdian named Mar-Sargis from Samarkand founded six Nestorian Christian churches there in addition to one in Hangzhou during the second half of the 13th century.
Seal of the Mongol ruler Ghazan in a letter to Pope Boniface VIIIwith an inscription in Chinese seal script Omissions Skeptics have long wondered if Marco Polo wrote his book based on hearsay, with some pointing to omissions about noteworthy practices and structures of China as well as the lack of details on some places in his book.
While Polo describes paper money and the burning of coal, he fails to mention the Great Wall of ChinateaChinese characterschopsticksor footbinding.
Marco Polo and His Travels
Haeger argued the Marco Polo might not have visited Southern China due to the lack of details in his description of southern Chinese cities compared to northern ones, while Herbert Franke also raised the possibility that Marco Polo might not have been to China at all, and wondered if he might have based his accounts on Persian sources due to his use of Persian expressions.
Haw argued that the Great Walls were built to keep out northern invaders, whereas the ruling dynasty during Marco Polo's visit were those very northern invaders. They note that the Great Wall familiar to us today is a Ming structure built some two centuries after Marco Polo's travels; and that the Mongol rulers whom Polo served controlled territories both north and south of today's wall, and would have no reasons to maintain any fortifications that may have remained there from the earlier dynasties.
The Muslim traveler Ibn Battutawho asked about the wall when he visited China during the Yuan dynasty, could find no one who had either seen it or knew of anyone who had seen it, suggesting that while ruins of the wall constructed in the earlier periods might have existed, they were not significant or noteworthy at that time.Marco Polo cast on the ‘incredible world’ of the Kublai Khan empire
While the Italian missionary Odoric of Pordenone who visited Yuan China mentioned footbinding it is however unclear whether he was merely relaying something he had heard as his description is inaccurate no other foreign visitors to Yuan China mentioned the practice, perhaps an indication that the footbinding was not widespread or was not practiced in an extreme form at that time.
As an emperor of China, Kublai established a Chinese-sounding dynasty called the Yuan. Finally, all of Asia was unified under a single empire. Kublai used his troops to build and protect roads across the continent, and reduced restrictions on trade. It didn't take European merchants to start exploring these new trade routes and an international market of exchange was developed.
Marco Polo - Wikipedia
Venice, which was its own republic at this time, had long been a trade center in the Mediterranean and was in a great position to start mediating trade with Asia. According to legend, Kublai Khan received the brothers and was interested in their description of Christianity. Kublai allowed for a high degree of religious freedom in his empire as long as conquered people submitted themselves to his rule.
He asked the Polo brothers to return to Europe and send people from the Vatican to explain Christianity and discuss the possibility of introducing it in China with submission to Kublai as their emperor.
Marco Polo would have been a teenager at the time, finally reaching Kublai's court when he was around 20 years old. For the next 17 years, Marco Polo lived in China with his father and uncle. We really don't know everything that happened during this time, but Kublai seems to have taken a deep interest in young Marco. The Venetian was educated in Kublai's court, learned Chinese and Mongolian customs, and actually became one of Kublai's favored diplomats.
As an emissary of the Mongol emperor, Marco Polo travelled across China conducting diplomatic missions for Kublai. He had arrived in China as a foreigner, but came to be a member of Chinese society under the Mongols.