Marco Polo

Marco Polo (* approx. 1254 probably in Venice; † 8. January 1324 in Venice) was a venezianischer dealer, whose family probably originally originated from Dalmatien and which by the reports over its China - journey admits became.

ModernPhantasieportrait of the Marco Polo

table of contents


before the Polos afterAsia to the Mongols, had before already the monk Johannes de Plano Carpini and also William of Rubruk in each case such a journey in official mission above all the Pope Innozenz IV. applied.begun and later - again back in Europe- also to its clients on it reports. Of these predecessors verbally like in writing written reports on a journey after the broken off Mongol storm in still scared Europe due to their pieces of news had fast spread. Thus these information became at least from all thosewith large interest taken up, for which for political, religious or business reasons such messages were from special value. Whether the Polos knew the reports on a journey mentioned as buyers with orientation after the Krim, is unknown.

The journey of its father and uncle

Marco Polos father Niccolò and its uncle Maffeo, both jewel dealers from Venice, applied 1260 to a journey, in order to sell at the underflow of the Volga jewels. Over Konstantinopel they went to Sudak (= Soldadia) on the Krim, whereMarco the older one, which operated third of the brothers Polo, a Kontor. Thus they almost traveled on the same route, which selected also William of Rubruk 1253 for its mission towards the east. After their intermediate stay they arrived into the area, thatat that time of the golden horde/hurdle controlled, and to have about one year in the proximity of the Dschingis Khan - grandchild Berke Khan at the Volga was. They became subsequently, by there still dominant war confusions ever further towards the east overthe river the Urals and along the silk road (northern branch to south Russia) until book era strike. Since they were prevented from a return journey by war sequences, they remain there three years and finally followed to a Persian legation, on thatAway to the Grosskhan Kubilai was. During the winter months 1266 after one year's travel time they arrived to yards of the Mongol ruler in Peking (= Kambalu), where they became to receive from the Khan welcomely taken up and. This gave the Polo with a messageto the Pope the order to send to it gesalbtes oil from the Jesusgrab into Jerusalem and about one hundred Christian scholars for spreading the gospel among its subjects. Therefore the Polo decreased/went back again after Venice, where they arrived around 1269.In the meantime several successors had replaced that in each case the deceased Pope, and also Marco Polos nut/mother had deceased.

Niccolò and

Maffeo Polo with

letters and

gifts of the Pope broke own journey direction of front Orient alleged travel route 1271 andcarried forward the seventeen-year old Marco. The way led it first into the “holy country after Akko, but the church could not miss for Kublai Khan Christian scholars there. Thus them only two monks closed, however soon on againturned around. On the next station in Jerusalem they could procure the oil from the Jesusgrab without problems and it continued to go afterwards over the city Täbris impressing the young Polo by their multicolored bazaars to Saweh. After Marco Polohere the holy three kings were buried. From there it led its journey into the oasis city Jasd, which was also fed by tunnels from the mountains herleitetem water. Marco Polo reported from this city that manufactured the there and Jasdi silk material mentioned were sold by the residents buyers with good profit.

The journey led the Polo after Kerman where the jewel dealers probably exchanged their horses against robustere camels. Next rice act ions were Rajen, a city of the Schmiedeand manufacture place of artful products of steel, and Qamadin, which last stop of a route, on the pepper and other spices from India were brought here. Over this city destroyed today Marco Polo wrote that her repeatedly devastated of act arene penetrating from central Asiais. The following attendance of the city hearing mash, the today's Minab with its port versandeten meanwhile, left a strong impression with Marco Polo, because spice sorts, jewels, beads, silk materials, gold cloths and ivory were turned over there.

Over detours to Asia

from hereout the commercial travellers wanted to actually break distance open over the sea route to China, but let them the bad condition of the ships in hearing mash from their plans take. By the now necessary substantial detours Marco Polo arrived 1273 to before the ruinsthe city Balch. The city is to have been destroyed by the troops Dschingis Khans. Marco Polo wrote in addition: „Here wonderful palaces and magnificent marble mansions stood, but today there is ruins “. Also in the city Taluquan made it for stop- Marco Polo describes the environment of the city very beautifully as „“. Particularly please him the gold-yellow rice fields, the Pappelalleen and the irrigation canals. The city Faisabad was at that time famous alleged for their bluish green Lapislazuli - jewels, the finest Lapislazuli of the world.

Thosefurther journey led across the cities Eschka, Qala e Pandscha, 1274 across Kaschgar at the west edge of the sand desert Taklamakan and then across the oasis city Nanhu. Marco Polo reports here of „spirit, which could away-lure a latecomer, by them itwith voices called, which resembled deceptive those of its companions. And pretty often meant one, different music instruments, particularly drums, to hear “. Today as a cause for such hallucinations the sand or whistling desert wind blowing by the dunes is accepted.

In China

The city Shazhou, today Dunhuang, was a junction of the trade routes at that time. Marco Polo saw for the first time a large number of Chinese, who had settled at that time in one of the largest buddhistischen centers of China in Shazhou. Marco Polo had nowfinally Chinese country reaches. The travel's group crossed the cities Anxi, Yumen, Zhangye and arrived 1275 at Schangdu , the actual goal of their journey. Here Marco Polo met allegedly Kublai Khan, the large ruler of the Mongols and grandchildof Dschingis Khan. Kublais realm extended at that time from China into the area today's Iraq and in the north until Russia. The three commercial travellers established themselves under the Obhut of the ruler here until 1291.

AsPräfekt of the Kublai Khan

Marco Polo before Kublai Khan

over China told Marco Polo later many stories, whose origin and truth content were questioned already at that time and until today are not clearly clarified. So is the Grosskhan favour onfound to the young European and it its Präfekten appointed. As such roamed across Marco Polo allegedly China over several years after all directions. It is to have come over the cities Daidu and Xi' on into the city Dali, wherethe people, at that time like today, raw Schweinefleisch with garlic, Chili and Sojasosse eat. According to its report Marco Polo that seemed obviously quite “barbarianly”, since he originated from a culture, which did not know such eating habits. Over the cityIt continued to arrive to Kunming after Yangzhou, the seat at that time of the regional government. In the numerous crafts enterprises of this city Harnische for the army of the Khan were manufactured. Subsequently, Marco Polo reports to the today's of the arrival in its favourite city Quinsai, Hangzhou. It schwärmt from magnificent palaces and public warm baths as well as from the port, into which ships ran Asia out completely and spices, beads and jewels unloaded.

When jerky times threatened to break out, the Polo wanted to travel back after Venice. Despite theirThe Grosskhan did not let requests for asking pull it, since they had become it in the meantime a valuable support. When a seventeen-year old princess should be led to the grinding to Persia and the Landweg was too dangerous, the buyers took this opportunity. They struckthe Grosskhan forwards, the princess over the sea route surely to Persia to geleiten. Widerstrebend finally accepted these the only promising offer and permitted them thereby in the long run the home journey.


the return journey after Venice on the sea route began 1291 inPort of Quanzhou, a kosmopolitischen city with addresses of all important religions. It took place on 14 Dschunken with altogether 600 passengers, from whom at the end only 17 survived. On the stopovers in Sumatra and Ceylon (today Sri Lanka) describedMarco Polo the there cultures. After 18 months drive on reached the ship the Persian port hearing mash. Later at the black sea in the kingdom Trapezunt, the today's Trabzon konfiszierten the there officials of the sailors about 500 kilograms of raw silk,which the Polos with home to bring wanted.

After the journey

IL Milione

1295 reached the travelers Venice and first from their relatives were not finally recognized. After they gave to recognize each other, they cut the seams open of their clothesand the bring along jewels got out.

Some time participated later Marco Polo in a naval warfare, into which Venice was involved already for years with its ore rival Genova. In the sea-battle with Curzola it led 1298 a venezianische Galeere andcame thereby into genuesische shank in which it was held until May 1299. There here it of a Mitgefangenen, also as an author of other works admitted of Rustichello Pisa, pushed, to dictate to it the report of its Far East journey. As most suitableLanguage the two selected them sufficiently trusted French (is however interspersed with Italianismen).

The result entered French literature history as Le livre of the merveilles you moons (“the book of the miracles of the world”, 1298). It is the first to a large extent realistic report on up to then the countries practically unknown in Western Europe and peoples in the Far East. Among other things therein Japan is mentioned for the first time.

The “Marco Polo” was read in the following two centuries very much, because more than 80Handwriting is received, among them also from translations into other languages, e.g. in the Italian and/or. Toscani as Libro depression meravigilie del mondo and later under the title IL Milione.

In addition the book was evaluated by scholars of all kinds, above all Geographer, whom Polos very accurately working range readings for their maps took over. Still Kolumbus used these data for the calculation of the length of a navigation quasi in the back around to India (whereby it calculated much too optimistic however and verhungert and verdurstet would be,it would not have America, more exactly: a Caribbean island found).

Already as a seriously ill man Marco Polo wrote its will, which remained briefly before its death at the beginning of January 1324. From this it comes out that it soon after its release in the year1299 and its return from Genova to Venice Donat Badoer, which married daughter of the buyer Vidal Badoer, and late father of three daughters with names Fantina, Bellela and Moreta became. Both first already were in the year 1324married and Marco Polo left in the end an inheritance in the value of more than 70 kg of gold to all. From its father Niccolò Polo is only well-known that he deceased around 1300, and of its uncle one knows Maffeo only1310 made will.


1324 died Marco Polo. Since critics considered his narrations untrue, he last requested by priests, friends and used, in order to nevertheless finally swear off sake his soul welfare lie stories. The report of its contemporary and first bio graph Fra Jacopo d´Acupui according to is to have answered Marco Polo however on the dying bed: “I did not tell half to its, what I saw! ”

After its death Marco Polo was buried in the Benediktinerkirche by San Lorenzo (Venice), in thatits father was likewise buried. This church became at the beginning 19. Century the ground made equal.

Marco Polos house, which was at right-angled meeting of the Rio di San Giovanni Crisòstomo and the Rio di San Lio, is burned down 1596.

Only completely little is


results of the Marco Polo research handwriting over Marco Polo, but there is nevertheless approximately 150 handwriting of its report on a journey. The Englishman Henry Yule, which promoted the Polo research more than others, could do alone already seventy-eightManuscripts prove. Of it are written forty-in in Latin, twenty-in in Italian, ten in French and four in German [1]. It is accepted by many researchers that Polo noted its experiences not personally in the prison, but at the most over notesordered, he to the Rustichello there Pisa dictated. The comparative research led to the result that a manuscript in old-French language has a very large proximity for original version. Thus the French manuscript is meant, that the geographical society to Parisin the year 1824 published and which since then as the “geographical text” are designated. From further special interest in the researchers also an franko Italian text and latin “Zelada manuscript” are, the two likewise than the original version very close in this regardstanding to be regarded [2]. Over it, which stands from these three earliest manuscripts of an original version very next, there is so far no agreement.

Barbara resistance, Professorin for French and Italian linguistics of the Johannes good mountain university Mainz (Forschungsgebiet: Roman and general linguistics,Research project: Marco Polo) represents the view that so far the view generally usual among researchers, Marco Polo has its report on a journey the Rusticiano there Pisa dictated and the language of the original text is old French, perhaps to be corrected must [3]. Their opinion afterthere is there Bologna a strand of the text excessive quantity, which does not exhibit any traces of the French version of Rusticiano there Pisa with latin version of Fra Pipino. It concludes from the fact that Rusticiano there Pisa itself only later into the text excessive quantity interferedit has and that there was an original text, which originated directly from the feather/spring Marco Polos and on Altvenezianisch was written.

Not only substantial

parts of its reports were considered already to reliability of its reports during lifetimes Marco Polos a little realistic, onedoubted their truthfulness even completely. Until today the reliability Polos is indeed unsettled. The thesis, it was not at all even in China and shows in this part of its report on a journey only that, which it in the Orientof other China travelers, supports themselves according to the British Historikerin and chief that had heard British LIBRARY Frances Wood among other things on the fact that in its travel descriptions not the Chinese wall, not the typical Chinese characters or Chinese and Mongolian designations, alsonot in China far spread already at that time printing, the dte drunk in the country, which is mentioned tied “lily feet” of the Chinese women or the Essstäbchen used everywhere - hardly comprehensibly for someone, that allegedly as Präfekt of theGrosskhans approximately ten years generally speaking Chinese country to have around-traveled wants. Even if the Chinese wall in its shape and in the today's process were only finished in the Ming dynasty and thus after Marco Polos death, were nevertheless large sections the samealready established before Marco Polos times for the defense of Mongolian assaults. The doubts are strengthened also by remarkable inaccuracies of descriptions straight from this region, although it describes travel impressions from other areas again very precisely.

According to Wood there is weightyThings, of which it does not report, although it 17 years at the yard of the Chinese emperor served and later than Präfekt of the Grosskhans generally speaking country wants to have come around. Here the question alone already arises whether the emperor ofChina a stranger from it completely unknown a country would have actually made one of its highest-ranking coworkers. It remains therefore questionably, whether Marco Polos report on a journey is actually authentic or whether it let that note only, what he on the way by othersBelongs to China travelers taken up or of father and uncle, but never with own eyes saw. The specialized scientist Professor.Harsh ore Franke is beside the fact the view that Marco Polo must have availed itself of Arab and Persian sources with its descriptions andequal their error with took over [4].

Dietmar Henze, the author of the “encyclopedia of the discoverers and researcher of the earth “sighted almost all old reports on a journey world-wide and it evaluated. In the contribution over Marco Polo it analyzes up, It sets and compares 370 sides its travel description with so far singular care to the geographical conditions specified in it in relationship each sentence from the report on a journey with the reports of later travelers. Finally he comes to the result that Marco Polo surelynever in China had and his report from strange verbal descriptions to have freely been built up must. Over Marco Polo it falls the literally following judgement: Quotation “its whole is enough given journey meanwhile - and to clarify, was here first task- is a bright piece of fable, in order to say it more clearly: the kolossalste swindle of global discovery history. “Quotation end [5].

Regardless of its Historikerin Frances Wood gets straight expressly that it - independently of the truthfulness of the Polo' report - straightit to owe it is that an active traffic developed between west and east.

Wrong details

construction of catapults

the statement that Niccolò and Maffeo Polo for the FE storage of Xiangyang (SA-January-fu) catapults, “as one them in the evening country need”, would have designed,is as can be prove wrong. On the one hand the designers of these munitions were two Muslims named Ala ud DIN and Ismail and on the other hand were the blockade mentioned of this city 1274 already terminated, thus one year before the arrival of the Polos in China after Chinese sources [6].

From the Grosskhan

to the Präfekten, gives it would have been made for Präfekt or governors for the statement, Marco Polo not one voucher and in the older manuscripts is of it also not the speech. Also the statement goes that it “inspecial order SR. Majesty “in Yangzhou (January GUI) for three years the posts of the governor dressed, only on the evaporability of a Textkopisten back, from one” sejourna “=” is “” seigneura “=”prevail “had made. And in such a way the Marco Polo Biograph Alvise Zorzi promoted it with formulations like “it has the appearance “and” wins one the impression “to the custodian or director/conductor of the salt administration [7].

Noodles from China

Since there were noodles in China already for over 4000 years, Marco Polo is frequently after-said the prescription of the noodles from China to Italy and Europe to have brought. Actual noodles from wheat already were in antique Rome and Greeceadmits. Also form by the Arabs, dried by their storage in , one had already experienced in Italy. So Marco Polo is to have bring along only Spaghetti of the Mongols from China also to Europe.


  • Divisament dou moons, in Italian(toskanischer) translation IL Milione


  • Henry H. Hard: Veneziani adventurer. Time, life and report of the Marco Polo. Translated by Heinz Kotthaus. (1959) Carl Schünemann publishing house, Bremen.
  • Marco Polo: IL Milione. The miracles of the world translates of Elise Guignard. (1983) One-eat,Zurich.ISBN 3-7175-1646-9
  • Marco Polo: Milione. Le divisament dou moons, given change from Gabriella Ronchi. (1982) Mondadori.
  • Frances Wood: Marco Polo did not come to China, (1995) Piper, ISBN 3-49203-886-7
  • Detlef fuel corner (Hrsg.): Marco Polo - the description of the world.1271 -1295., Earthling publishing house, 2003, ISBN 3-86503-116-1
  • Michael Yamashita: Marco Polo. A wondrous journey (2003) Frederking & Thaler. ISBN 3-89405-621-5 (Book of pictures with original quotations)
  • Johannes Paul: Adventurous life journey - filters biographic essays (page 15 - 66: Marco Polo: In the realmthe large Khans). William charcoal burner publishing house Minden 1954.
  • Marina Münkler: Experience of the stranger. The description of Eastern Asia in the eye-witness reports 13. and 14. Century, (2000) academy publishing house, Berlin, ISBN 3-05-003529-3
  • Marco Polo: The miracles of the world, the journey afterChina to the yard of the Kublai Khan, translation from old-French and latin sources (and epilog) of Elise Guignard, (2004) island publishing house, paperback No. 2981, Frankfurt ISBN 3-458-34681-3
  • Marina Münkler: “Marco Polo. Life and legend “(an introduction tothe multilayeredness, complexity and difficulty of the Marco Polo research), C.H.Beck knowledge, Munich 1998
  • Dietmar Henze: Encyclopedia of the discoverers and researcher of the earth, academic pressure and publishing house, Graz 1978 to 2004; 5 Bde. ISBN 3-201-01835-X


  • John Larner: Marco Polo andthe Discovery OF the World (1999) Yale Univ. Press
  • Sir Henry Yule (OD.): The Travels OF Marco Polo [London 1870] (1983) Dover Publications, New York
  • Henry H. Hard: Marco Polo, Venetian Adventurer (1967)

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