The biography of Marco Polo tells the story of one of the most famous explorers of all time. Leaving Venice with his father and uncle, he spent 24 years going all the way from Israel to China, where he lived for 17 years. His life story involves working for the great Kublai Khan personally, surviving perilous journeys, and eventually writing one of the greatest travelogues of all time.
But who was Marco Polo? In addition to being an explorer, he was a merchant, a soldier, and a keen observer of strange cultures. He also was known to be a braggart and an exaggerator. Some modern scholars don't believe that Marco Polo wrote his famous Travels or even went to China at all. With hundreds of different versions of the book (and some that omit basic facts about life in China), it's likely that the original dictations he made are lost to history.Here are some interesting things you might not have known about the great Venetian writer, and the famous journey he took.
His Exact Birthplace and Birthdate Are Unknown
Marco Met His Father at Age 15
Exploration Was in His Blood
Marco's father Nicollo and his uncle Maffeo were among the most successful traveling merchants in the Kingdom of Venice. Both brothers were born in 1230, and in 1254, they left Venice for Constantinople, where they lived with fellow Venetians and set up a trading post.In 1259 or 1260, they left Constantinople just before it was sacked, and moved their business to a city in the Crimea. Finding it under the control of the Mongols, they made their way east, and eventually found themselves in the court of Mongol ruler Kublai Khan. In 1269 or 1270, they came back to Vencie - with a request from the Khan.