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Marco Polo - Explorer Or Conman?

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posted on Aug, 11 2011 @ 10:13 AM
I was taught in 5th class that Marco Polo was a great explorer, but when he got back to Italy he was declared a fraud & no one would believe his fantastic tales.

Maybe the Middle Age people knew him better than we thought.

I saw a documentry on this recently about there being no real evidence of his trip, no documents in China itself. Strange considering how record mad the ancient Chinese were.

Other stuff about how his dates & places he mentioned never match real life.

Also claims of how his book was not written by him & has been elaborated & added to over the centuries.

Marco Polo never went to China and picked up tales of the Orient from other travellers

Marco Polo, one of history's greatest explorers, may in fact have been a conman, it was claimed yesterday.

Far from being a trader who spent years in China and the Far East, he probably never went further east than the Black Sea, according to a team of archaeologists.

They suspect the Venetian adventurer picked up stories about the mysterious lands of the Orient from fellow traders around the Black Sea who related tales of China, Japan and the Mongol Empire in the 13th century.

He then put the stories together in a book which purports to be his account of his travels between 1271 and 1291. It details his relations with Kublai Khan, the Mongol ruler.

But now an Italian team of archaeologists studying in Japan have cast doubts about one of their country's national heroes - although there have been competing claims to him from Croatia, which argues he was born there.

Following the research, Professor Daniele Petrella of the University of Naples told Italian history magazine Focus Storia there were many inconsistencies and inaccuracies in Marco Polo's description of Kublai Khan's invasions of Japan in 1274 and 1281.

'He confuses the two, mixing up details about the first expedition with those of the second,' Professor Petrella said.

'In his account of the first invasion, he describes the fleet leaving Korea and being hit by a typhoon before it reached the Japanese coast,' said Professor Daniele Petrella of the University of Naples, the leader of the archaeology team.

'But that happened in 1281  is it really possible that a supposed eye witness could confuse events which were seven years apart?'

Polo's description of the Mongol fleet did not square with the remains of ships the archaeologists excavated in Japan, as he had written of ships with five masts, while those which had been found had only three.

'It was during our dig that doubts began to emerge about much of what he wrote,' added Professor Petrella.

'When he describes Kublai Khan's fleet he talks about the pitch that was used to make ships' hulls watertight. He used the word 'chunam', which in Chinese and Mongol means nothing.

'In fact, it is the Persian word for pitch. It's also odd that instead of using, as he does in most instances, local names to describe places, he used Persian terms for Mongol and Chinese place names.'

The explorer claimed to have worked as an emissary to the court of Kublai Khan, but his name does not crop up in any of the surviving Mongol or Chinese records.

The famous travel book was said to have been dictated by Polo to a fellow prisoner named Pisa while he was in jail after returning from his adventures, and to be fair to Polo, it is thought Pisa embellished many of the stories.

But the latest claims back those made in a book by British academic Frances Wood in 1995 entitled 'Did Marco Polo go to China?'. She argued he never got beyond the Black Sea and that his famed account was a collection
of travellers' tales.

edit on 11-8-2011 by acrux because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 11 2011 @ 10:25 AM
I have only post small parts of documentry "Marco Polo: The China Mystery Revealed‏", but with a quick search on google I did find the whole documentry for download or streaming. I will not post link due to copyright reasons.

Preview of documentry only


Final word

edit on 11-8-2011 by acrux because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 11 2011 @ 10:33 AM
How is this deception any different than all the others about important figures in history?
Columbus - lies
Apollo 11 - lies
Napoleon - lies
Sept. 11 - lies
Founding fathers were benevolent "slave owners" - lies

I can go on & on but you get the point.

posted on Aug, 11 2011 @ 10:37 AM
reply to post by JibbyJedi

You can add the Duke of Wellington from The Battle Waterloo fame to that as well.

PS Jesus too.

edit on 11-8-2011 by acrux because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 11 2011 @ 10:58 AM

Originally posted by acrux
Marco Polo, one of history's greatest explorers, may in fact have been a conman, it was claimed yesterday.

"It was claimed yesterday"

This claim of fraudulency has been around since as long as I can remember.
Probably true, too.

posted on Aug, 11 2011 @ 02:41 PM
reply to post by acrux

they called him "Il Milione"
because he was always talking about millions: of people. etc.

the europeans of his day thought that there were people with no heads with their faces on there torsos, and people with giant feet that used them occasionally as parasols. people simply had difficulty in accepting marco's tales.

i'm sure he would have fit just nicely here on ATS.

great thread but perhaps these discrepancies may be due to pisa's embellishments, also remember that Kublai was a foreign occupier, and much of the history of his rule may have been edited by subsequent dynasties, as the chinese have a looong history of re-writing their history.

edit on 11-8-2011 by DerepentLEstranger because: added edit & additional comment

posted on Aug, 11 2011 @ 02:44 PM
If Marco Polo never did what he said he did, how do you explain spaghetti?

Spaghetti was based off of the noodles that he had brought back from China. Prior to that, Italian food didn't use noodles at all.

And now, I am hungry.

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