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The Travels Of Marco Polo And His Influence On The Western World

1277 words - 5 pages

Marco Polo is considered by most to be the most important link between Europe andChina in the 13th century. His accounts of the Eastern world had an immense impact onWestern thinking and life in Europe.Marco Polo was born in 1254 to a noble family in Venice, which was at that time anindependent city-state in northern Italy. Marco had a typical education of a young man of histime1. At age 15, he had already studied many of the classical authors and understood the Bibleand theology of the Church. He also had a good knowledge of French and Italian language.From his later history we find out about his interest in natural resources, the ways of the people,and many strange and interesting plants and animals. Because he came from a family of traders,everything he learned he related to the possibility of commerce2.By the time Marco was 15, his father and uncle, who were both merchants, had alreadytraveled all the way to Eastern Asia. The two men had made contact with many peoples,including the Persians, and the Tartars and Mongols. They knew of all the popular tradingroutes through Asia and they even had established a trading post of their own3. Throughout theland they were known as men who were 'signally noble, wise and provident4.' Since this firstvoyage was a success, they planned to embark on a second expedition, on which they decidedto along young Marco.On the elders' initial journey, Kublai Khan, the great ruler of China, gave the menspecial letters that were delivered to the Roman Pontiff. On this journey the Pope gave theadventurers letters in response to the Great Khan's messages5. With these letters the men setout on their voyage to China. Their course took them through Armenia where Marco noted thewonderful hand woven rugs and textiles. They traveled through the oil fields in the Caspian Seaarea. They then went south to Iraq, to the city of Tabriz which was a great trading center.Next, they went through Persia and then north to Upper Persia6.3All along the journey, Marco recorded what he saw and described the peoples that theVenetians encountered. Later, after the voyage, his travels would be made into a book7 whichwould not have been possible if it weren't for Marco's notes.Back to the voyage, the travelers then journeyed into the land of the Tartars and into theChinese Empire. As he continued into China, Marco noticed increasing signs of wealth and thatthe people were highly civilized. The Chinese had a much higher sense of social unity andconcern for all members of a community than those of neighboring societies8.They then arrived at the Court of the Great Kublai Khan in what is now the City ofPeking. Marco marvels at the beauty of the buildings, and gardens in the city. From the verypopulous city ran roads out to the country. Every part of the country was carefully noted in theofficial records, and the distance from Peking to every village in the empire was included inthese records. The Great Khan had a messenger service that used these...

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