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Travels of Marco Polo [Hardcover]

Marco Polo
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 1982
The authoritative translation

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Product Description


A timeless addition to any travel collection. " --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Marco Polo was born in 1254, joining his father on a journey to China in 1271. He spent the next twenty years travelling in the service of Kubilai Khan. There is evidence that Marco travelled extensively in the Mongol Empire and it is fairly certain he visted India. He wrote the travels whilst a prisoner in Genoa. Ronald Latham has published widely on Medieval studies. He died in 1992. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars PROFESSIONAL TRANSLATION March 3 2014
By pab
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
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4.0 out of 5 stars The fantasy voyage into the great unknown April 25 2013
By Max
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I think that many of us, at one time or another, have wondered about what marvelously interesting lives some of the greats of history have experienced, and felt somewhat diminished by the every day everyday of our own lives. A read of Marco Polo's travels will provide all of the, 'escape into the great unknown', that anyone could ever desire, amid page after page of why we should be careful what we wish for...... We may get it! It is a fascinating read, and well worth the lector's voyage, however, don't be surprised if, among the strange strangeness, the reader (and Marco Polo) seem to become somewhat bored with the trip and just want to tap one's ruby slippers together and go home. This too is part of Marco Polo's tale. He left Italy as a pie-eyed adolescent, and grew to manhood amid Persian caravansari, Tamerlane's glory that was Samarquand, the endless bleakness of the Taklamakand Desert, the fantasies of the Mongol court of China, and the palace life of the south seas. How does one return from a trip like that, especially when it has literally made one into what one has become.

Such is the nature of Marco Polo's post voyage travel log. It opens panaramas in time and space before the reader and allows one to see them with the eyes of a child awakening to adulthood. Curiousity becomes a way of life, and every thing learned is one more chance to survive on the road to the next adventure.

The weakness in this work is the shoddy quality of the historical plates of nonsense interpretations of what Marco Polo saw, as seen through the eyes of an Italian engraver who never traveled further than the next Italian town. High quality plates of well researched historical images of what Marco Polo saw would have been far more interesting. Baring that, no images would have improved it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars "Never man explored so much as Messer Marco." July 14 2004
In 1260, Niccolo Polo, the father of Marco Polo, and his brother Maffeo went across Black Sea in the hope of a profitable brisk of trade. So the brothers from Venice brought many dazzling jewels and set out from Constantinople by ship to Sudak and onward to Barku. A war broke out in Barka's Land forced the brothers to travel the opposite direction from which they had come. After they had crossed the desert, they came to Bukhara (in Persia) and by fortuity met a Tartar (Mongol) envoy on the way back to the Great Khan in Khan-balik (Beijing). On learning that they were merchants from Venice whom had never been seen in the country, the envoy invited the brothers to accompany him to Khan-balik to see the Great Khan.
The Great Khan received the brothers honorably and welcomed them with such lavish hospitality after a year's journey. The curious Khan asked the brothers about their Emperors, about the government of their dominions, about the maintenance of justice, about the Pope and practices of the Roman Church, and about the Latin customs. He decided to send emissaries to the Pope, and asked the brothers to accompany on the mission with one of his barons. He entrusted them a letter written in the Turkish language for the Pope and asked him to send a hundred prominent men learned in the Christian religion to condemn idolaters' performances and shun devil. These well versed were to demonstrate for the idolaters their capability of doing diabolic arts but would not, because only evil spirits performed such enchantments.
As the brothers approached Egypt, they got wind of the Pope's death and so they would go to Venice and visit their families pending the election of a new Pope.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Barely believable adventures. Nov. 9 2003
By bernie TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Audio Cassette
Marco writes well enough of his travels and you feel that you are there. You can actually follow the trail if you have a map. He describes the flora and fauna of each region and describes the economics and industry of the region.
Example: "The women of the superior class are in like manner free from superfluous hairs; their skins are fare, and they are well formed."
It is interesting to see how little has changed from Marco Polo's 13th century and now.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Classic information from a classic read. Sept. 5 2003
If people really try to think back, to how things were in the ancient world, and see how improbable a journey Marco Polo and his father and uncle undertook, and then completed nearly 30 years after they started, they would probably realize how unlikely such a journey was and why so many people attack Marco Polo as a fraud. Nevertheless, simply as an historical Atlas of China, and with an incredible historical context, warts and all, it is a very illuminating book, showing Chinese cities using their ancient Mongol names (in what other context would someone serving the Mongol emperor record the city names?) and allowing the reader the opportunity to research and discover for themselves, just how fascinating and mysterious other ethnicities and other cultures were to a European of the middle ages.
One of the most fascinating aspects of "The Travels" is not just some of the factual innaccuracies, but the apparent perceptions of Marco Polo, fully willing to believe he had found the final resting place of the first man, Adam, and the wizardry of other peoples, the ability to do magic, and a legend of giant "Rocs" near Madagascar, and how the Khan sent a small expedition to investigate the rumors of such.
If you want a book that makes you ask searching questions about humanity, cultural bias, and the importance of lore and myth in cultures, this book is invaluable.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Essential Travelogue, could have been better presented
I have read this book while traveling in China by train. It is a very interesting description of past times, and essential reading for those interested in historical geography. Read more
Published on Oct. 14 2003 by Giant Panda
5.0 out of 5 stars A book as one should be - in content and presentation
The travels of the famous traveler, published as close to the original as possible presents a fantastic world. Read more
Published on Aug. 8 2003
4.0 out of 5 stars Marco Polo: Giant and Canary
Though after reading authors such as Edward Said I should know better, I greatly enjoyed Marco Polo's description of his travels. Read more
Published on May 5 2003 by m. tremble
4.0 out of 5 stars Bonus Points for Visual Style
Marco Polo's memoir of his life and travels in the medieval Asian empire of Kublai Khan is the ultimate adventure tale, a true one-of-a-kind. Read more
Published on May 28 2002 by Brian Busek
3.0 out of 5 stars This is a difficult review.......
If your desire is purely technical, you can't do any better than this. However, if you plan to read this book strictly for enjoyment, then thumbtack your eyelids up. Read more
Published on May 29 2001 by nto62
5.0 out of 5 stars Go to the Source
This volume will enthrall anyone interested in true adventure. Marco Polo was the original Indiana Jones and then some. Please do not waste time on Gary Jennings' The Journeyer. Read more
Published on May 8 2000 by Bruce Kendall
2.0 out of 5 stars Travels Into My Own Personal Hell
I was unfortunate enough to be assigned this book as required reading for a college course of mine and boy, did it blow. The text lacks any interesting voice or information. Read more
Published on March 21 2000
1.0 out of 5 stars Acid paper problems?
I need to know from someone how / whether to trust Penguin / Viking, or any other publisher, regarding the use of acid paper in their editions? Read more
Published on Feb. 14 2000 by Jack Kessler,
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