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Marco Polo's Influence On Christopher Columbus

2312 words - 10 pages

Marco Polo's Travels formulated in Europe of the fourteenth and fifteenth century a new perception of the Eastern world, a world just as advanced and sophisticated as that of the West. Yet, another two centuries were needed for a significant change to take place; this was Christopher Columbus' voyage. For Christopher Columbus, Marco Polo's travelogue was a valuable and solid resource that contained the necessary details of the East. The geographical descriptions in his writing generated a basis for Columbus' scientific calculations for his expedition and the explicit depictions of the luxury of Cipangu and Cathay, flawed though they were, created a strong motivation for Columbus. In the 12th ...view middle of the document...

The seventeen years of service under Kublai Khan safely and conveniently provided Marco with a wide range of experiences in the Asian continent. The Polo brothers, Maffeo and Nicolo Polo (father and uncle of Marco Polo) had initially met with the Khan some years before they took Marco on their second journey to China.Let me tell you next of the personal appearance of the Great Lord of Lords whose name is Kubilai Khan. He is a man of good stature, neither short nor tall but of moderate height. His limbs are well fleshed out and modeled in due proportion. His complexion is fair and ruddy like a rose, the eyes black and handsome, the nose shapely and set squarely in place.The Khan was a wise and brave man, and Marco being a master four languages and young and healthy as he was, the Khan appointed him to a high post in the administration. Marco was given a golden tablet in the shape of a tiger's head, "which grated Ch'ang Ch'un a free pass and the right of assistance everywhere in the Mongol Realm." With sufficient access, Marco was able to visit various places in Asia and gained an abundant amount of experience with its culture. He illustrates the geography, climate, people, and religions of the East in depth, even mentioning the recipe of Mongolian dried milk.Marco Polo's achievements were only completed after his return home, when encounters Rustichello of Pisa, a romance writer who became his collaborator in putting his stories into a book. Two years before the death of Kublai Khan, the Polos were assigned their last mission to escort the Mongol princess Kokachin to marry the Persian prince, and then to return home. Painstakingly, they accomplished their mission and arrived home in the winter of 1295. Marco begins a new life with the jewels and gold acquired in his journey. When a war between Venice and Genoa starts off, Marco is captured and imprisoned for a year in the Genoese prison. Here he meets Rustichello, to whom Marco tells the stories of his great journey. After his return home, Marco, although Rustichello did most of the work, publishes his travelogue: Marco Polo Travels.Marco's book remained more for entertainment purposes until the 1450s and 60s when Johann Gutenberg invents the letterpress and catalyzes its spread. At first, many people were skeptical about his book. His writing contained many mentions of legends and myths that seemed to be quite exaggerated. Neither did Marco include any descriptions about the Great Wall. Regardless of these controversies, his book became one of the first books to be massively published through the Gutenberg's letterpress. Travels spreads out through Europe in no time. By the time all of Europe is shocked by his book, Marco approaches his death, leaving the last words: "I have only told the half of what I saw!" Whether or not Marco's words were reliable was not an issue at this point.In the years following Marco's death, immense changes occurred in the minds of Europeans including the perception of...

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