History Makers: Marco Polo | Pocketmags.com

Shopping Cart -

Your cart is currently empty.
Upgrade to today
for only an extra Cxx.xx

You get:

plus This issue of xxxxxxxxxxx.
plus Instant access to the latest issue of 300+ of our top selling titles.
plus Unlimited access to 27000+ back issues
plus No contract or commitment. If you decide that PocketmagsPlus is not for you, you can cancel your monthly subscription online at any time. Auto-renews at $9.99 per month, unless cancelled.
Upgrade Now for $9.99 Learn more
This website use cookies and similar technologies to improve the site and to provide customised content and advertising. By using this site, you agree to this use. To learn more, including how to change your cookie settings, please view our Cookie Policy
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
US
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
Read anywhere Read anywhere
Ways to pay Pocketmags Payment Types
Trusted site
At Pocketmags you get
Secure Billing
Great Offers
Web & App Reader
Gifting Options
Loyalty Points

History Makers: Marco Polo

He changed the way the Western World looked at the planet, but we may never have heard of him at all, if it weren’t for a serendipitous meeting in jail, writes Mel Sherwood

THE ORIGINAL GLOBETROTTER

The learned traveller as immortalised in this glass mosaic, a gift from his home city of Venice to Genoa
GETTY X2

For Italian romance writer Rustichello da Pisa, being locked up in a Genoan prison near the end of the 13th century was a blessing in disguise for, in his cell, he stumbled across a story that is still in print today. His cellmate was Marco Polo, the story: the tale of the merchant’s travels. In that dank prison, the 40-something Venetian traveller let his exotic stories of Jerusalem, China, India and beyond unfurl. The caged wordsmith lapped them up. A cosmographycum-memoir, originally entitled Divisament dou Monde (‘Description of the World’) now commonly called The Travels of Marco Polo, was born.

The book was a sensation – it created ripples in Italian society that would, over the years, turn into tidal waves, with his story inspiring many adventurers of the Age of Exploration.

But Marco Polo’s real story begins long before the narrative of the book, with a young lad in the most prosperous and sophisticated city in the known world.

ON TOP OF THE WORLD

Growing up in a wealthy merchant family during 1250s Venice, Marco’s childhood was a mixture of fortunes. His home life would have been very comfortable and his education, thorough. He would have learned to read and write, with extra emphasis on mathematics and bookkeeping. Such an education was hardly common for the working classes at this time. And where he grew up was hardly common, either. In the 13th century, Venice was in its heyday. Considered the cultural centre of the Western World, the proud Venetians called their city la serenissima – ‘the most sublime’. Venice’s port was the main gateway to Asia, and with oriental fashions at a peak in Europe, this made for a prosperous place.

READ MORE
Purchase options below
Find the complete article and many more in this issue of BBC History Revealed Magazine - June 2015
If you own the issue, Login to read the full article now.
Single Issue - June 2015
$4.99
Or 499 points
READ NOW
Getting free sample issues is easy, but we need to add it to an account to read, so please follow the instructions to read your free issue today.
Email Address
Annual Digital Subscription
Only $ 3.15 per issue
SAVE
37%
$40.99
Or 4099 points
6 Month Digital Subscription
Only $ 4.15 per issue
SAVE
10%
$26.99
Or 2699 points
Monthly Digital Subscription
Only $ 4.61 per issue
$4.99
Or 499 points

View Issues

About BBC History Revealed Magazine

June 2015 issue of History Revealed