MARCO POLO AND KUBLAI KHAN | Facts and Details
In this lesson, we'll look at the story of Marco Polo and see how it's related to that of another major figure in history: the Mongolian emperor Kublai Khan. The Polos reached Kublai Khan's summer Marco Polo writes in great detail about his first meeting. At the height of the Mongol Empire, Marco Polo served Emperor Kublai Khan in China and returned to Venice to write an account of his experiences that would.
In that city stands his great Palace, andnow I will tell you what it is like. There are beasts also of sundry kinds, such as white stags and fallow deer, gazelles and roebucks, and fine squirrels of various sorts, with numbers also of the animal that gives the musk, and all manner of other beautiful creatures, insomuch that the whole place is full of them, and no spot remains void except where there is traffic of people going and coming.
Hence it is made just in the same fashion and of the same size, so that everything can be carried on in the same manner after his own death. Now I am going to tell you of the chief city of Cathay, in which these Palaces stand; and why it was built, and how. Kublai Khan set up a capital with a pleasure palace there before he established Daidu. Xanadu was destroyed in and would likely have been forgotten were in not for Marco Polo's accounts of the palace and Samuel Tayler Coleridge's poem Kublai Khan.
Round this palace is a wall The gyrfalcons alone amount to more than It is gilt all over, most elaborately finished inside and decorated with beasts and birds of very skillful workmanship. It is reared on gilt and varnished pillars, on each of which stands a dragon entwining the pillar with tail and supporting the roof on outstretched limbs. The roof is also made of canes, so varnished that it is quite waterproof. This is the greatest palace that ever was.
The roof is very lofty, and the walls of the palace are all covered with gold and silver. The hall is so large that it could easily dine 6, people. The roof is vermilion, yellow, green and blue, the tiles fixed with a varnish so fine that they shine like crystal and can be seen from a great distance.
Often, too, he enters the park with a leopard on the crupper of his horse; when he feels inclined, he lets it go and thus catches a hare or stag or roebuck to give to the gyrfalcons that he keeps in the mew. And this he does for recreation and sport. When the 28th day of August arrives, he takes his departure, and the Cane Palace is taken to pieces It is held in place by more than chains of silk. Coleridge later wrote, "During three hours of profound sleep, he composes lines of poetry.
After he woke up he wrote down the 54 lines of Kubla Khan when he was interrupted by a visitor. When he returned to his desk he could no longer remember his dream poem. And all should cry Beware! His flashing eyes, his floating hair! Weave a circle round him thrice, And close your eyes with holy dread, For he on honey-dew hath fed, And drunk the milk of Paradise Marco Polo as Kublai Khan's Envoy Kublai Khan welcomed the Polos like long lost friends.
He used Marco Polo as an emissary and ambassador in China and in other Asian kingdoms. This was not that unusual.
Kublai Khan employed thousands of foreigners, mostly Persians and Arabs. Scholars deduce that Marco Polo could speak Persian and Mongol but not much Chinese he often used Persian names rather than Chinese ones for the places he described and spent much of his time with foreigners. Marco Polo didn't mention what his father and uncle did.
It seems probable that they worked as merchants. He served at the Khan's court and was sent on a number of special missions in China, Burma and India. Many places which Marco saw were not seen again by Europeans until last century. Kublai Khan appointed Marco Polo as an official of the Privy Council in and for 3 years he was a tax inspector in Yanzhou, a city on the Grand Canal, northeast of Nanking.
He also visited Karakorum and part of Siberia. Meanwhile his father and uncle took part in the assault on the town of Siang Yang Fou, for which they designed and constructed siege engines. He frequently visited Hangzhou, another city very near Yangzhou. At one time Hangzhou was the capital of the Song dynasty and had a beautiful lakes and many canals, like Marco's hometown, Venice. Marco fell in love with it. And, as he knew all the sovereign's ways, like a sensible man he always took much pains to gather knowledge of anything that would be likely to interest him, and then on his return to Court he would relate everything in regular order, and thus the Emperor came to hold him in great love and favor.
Some scholars think he was exaggerating. Others say he could have been telling the truth because Kublai Khan was in need of administrators. At last the people of the country, to wit the Cathayans, utterly wearied with the endless outrages and abominable iniquities which he perpetrated against them, whether as regarded their wives or their own persons, conspired to slay him and revolt against the government. Amongst the rest there was a certain Cathayan named Chenchu, a commander of a thousand, whose mother, daughter, and wife had all been dishonoured by Achmath.
On the death of the head of the house the eldest son married his father's wives, but not his own mother. A man could also take on his brother's wives if they were widowed. Marco rounded off his account of Mongol's home life by mentioning that alcoholic standby which had impressed Rubrouck before him: It is called koumiss" Marco's account of the Mongol's life is particularly interesting when compared to the tale of many wonders of Chinese civilization which he was soon to see for himself.
Kublai Khan, though ruling with all the spender of an Emperor of China, never forgot where he had come from: During his long stay in Cathay and Marco had many conversations with Kublai, Marco must have come to appreciate the Great Khan's awareness of his Mongol origins, and the detail in which the Mongols are described in his book suggests that he was moved to make a close study of their ways.
Finally the long journey was nearly over and the Great Khan had been told of their approach. He sent out a royal escort to bring the travellers to his presense. In May the Polos arrived to the original capital of Kublai Khan at Shang-tu then the summer residencesubsequently his winter palace at his capital, Cambaluc Beijing.
By then it had been 3 and half years since they left Venice and they had traveled total of miles on the journey. Marco recalled it in detail on the greatest moment when he first met the Great Khan Left Fig. The Great Khan bade them rise and received them honorably and entertained them with good cheer. He asked many questions about their condition and how they fared after their departure.
The brothers assured him that they had indeed fared well, since they found him well and flourishing. Then they presented the privileges and letters which the Pope had sent, with which he was greatly pleased, and handed over the holy oil, which he received with joy and prized very hightly. When the Great Khan saw Marco, who was then a young stripling, he asked who he was.
What need to make a long story of it? Great indeed were the mirth and merry-making with which the Great khan and all his Court welcomed the arrival of these emissaries.
And they were well served and attended to in all their needs. They stayed at Court and had a place of honor above the other barons. He served at the Khan's court and was sent on a number of special missions in China, Burma and India. Many places which Marco saw were not seen again by Europeans until last century. Marco went on great length to describe Kublia's capital, ceremonies, hunting and public assistance, and they were all to be found on a much smaller scale in Europe.
Marco Polo fell in love with the capital, which later became part of Beijing, then called Cambaluc or Khanbalig, meant 'city of the Khan. He marveled the summer palace in particular. He described "the greatest palace that ever was". The walls were covered with gold and silver and the Hall was so large that it could easily dine 6, people. The palace was made of cane supported by silk cords, which could be taken to pieces and transported easily when the Emperor moved.
There too, the Khan kept a stud of 10, speckless white horses, whose milk was reserved for his family and for a tribe which had won a victory for Genghis Khan. However there were some phenomena which were totally new to him. The first we have already met, asbestos, but the other three beggared his imagination, and they were paper currency, coal and the imperial post. The idea of paper substituting gold and silver was a total surprise even to the merchantile Polos.
Marco attributed the success of paper money to Kublai stature as a ruler. And I can tell you that the papers that reckon as ten bezants do not weight one. Coal was by no means unknown in Europe but was new to Marco: But the population is so enormous and there are so many bath-houses and baths constantly being heated, that it would be impossible to supply enough firewood, since there is no one who does not visit a bath-house at least 3 times a week and take a bath - in winter every day, if he can manage it.
Every man of rank or means has his own bathroom in his house There were three main grades of dispatch, which may be rendered in modern terms as 'second class', 'first class', and 'On His Imperial Majesty's Service: Each messenger wore a special belt hung with small bells to announce his approach and ensure that his relief was out on the road and ready for a smooth takeover.
This system enabled a message to cover the distance of a normal ten-day journey in 24 hours. At each three miles station a log was kept on the flow of messages and all the routes were patrolled by inspectors. But the really important business of Kublai empire was carried by non-stop dispatch-riders carrying the special tablet with the sign of the gerfalcon. At the approach to each post-house the messenger would sound his horn; the ostlers would bring out a ready-saddled fresh horse, the messenger would transfer to it and gallop straight off.
Marco affirmed that those courier horsemen could travel or miles in a day. Marco Polo traveled in great deal in China. He was amazed with China's enormous power, great wealth, and complex social structure. China under the Yuan The Mongol Empire dynasty was a huge empire whose internal economy dwarfed that of Europe. He reported that Iron manufacture was aroundtons a year a level not reached in Europe before the 18th century and salt production was on a prodigious scale: A canal-based transportation system linked China's huge cities and markets in a vast internal communication network in which paper money and credit facilities were highly developed.
The citizens could purchase paperback books with paper money, eat rice from fine porcelain bowls and wear silk garments, lived in prosperous city that no European town could match. Kublai Khan appointed Marco Polo as an official of the Privy Council in and for 3 years he was a tax inspector in Yanzhou, a city on the Grand Canal, northeast of Nanking. He also visited Karakorum and part of Siberia. Meanwhile his father and uncle took part in the assault on the town of Siang Yang Fou, for which they designed and constructed siege engines.
He frequently visited Hangzhou, another city very near Yangzhou. At one time Hangzhou was the capital of the Song dynasty and had a beautiful lakes and many canals, like Marco's hometown, Venice.
Marco fell in love with it. Coming Home The Polos stayed in Khan's court for 17 years, acquiring great wealth in jewels and gold. They were anxious to be on the move since they feared that if Kublai - now in his late seventies - were to die, they might not be able to get their considerable fortune out of the country. The Kublai Khan reluctantly agreed to let them return after they escorted a Mongol princess Kokachin to marry to a Persian prince, Arghun.
Marco did not provide full account of his long journey home. The sea journey took 2 years during which passengers and crewed died. Marco did not give much clue as to what went wrong on the trip, but there are some theories.
Some think they may have died from scurvy, cholera or by drowning; others suggest the losses were caused by the hostile natives and pirate attacks. There they learned that Arghun had died two years previously so the princess married to his son, prince Ghazan, instead. In Persia they also learned of the death of Kublai Khan. However his protection outlived him, for it was only by showing his golden tablet of authority that they were able to travel safely through the bandit-ridden interior.
Marco admitted that the passports of golden tablets were powerful: I assure you for a fact that on many occasions they were given two hundred horsemen, sometimes more and sometimes less, according to the number needed to escort them and ensure their safe passage from one district to another. He was captured during the flighting and spent a year in a Genoese prison - where one of his fellow-prisoners was a writer of romances named Rustichello of Pisa.
His account of the wealth of Cathay Chinathe might of the Mongol empire, and the exotic customs of India and Africa made his book the bestseller soon after. The book became one of the most popular books in medieval Europe and the impact of his book on the contemporary Europe was tremendous.
It was known as Il Milione, The Million Lies and Marco earned the nickname of Marco Milione because few believed that his stories were true and most Europeans dismissed the book as mere fable. In the summer of a peace was concluded between Venice and Genoa, and after a year of captivity, Marco Polo was released from the prison and returned to Venice. He was married to Donata Badoer and had three daughters.
He remained in Venice until his death inaged At his deathbed, he left the famous epitaph for the world: He also mentioned his servant, Peter, who came from the Mongols, was to set free. We also learned that 30 years after his return home, Marco still owned a quantity of cloths, valuable pieces, coverings, brocades of silk and gold, exactly like those mentioned several times in his book, together with other precious objects.
Among them there was "golden tablet of command" that had been given him by the Great Khan on his departure from the Mongol capital. Many people took his accounts with a grain of salt and some skeptics question the authenticity of his account.
Marco Polo and his travels - aviabilets.info
Many of his stories have been considered as fairytales: His Travels made no mention about the Great Wall. While traveled extensively in China, Marco Polo never learned the Chinese language nor mentioned a number of articles which are part of everyday life, such as women's foot-binding, calligraphy, or tea. In additional, Marco Polo's name was never occurred in the Annals of the Empire Yuan Shihwhich recorded the names of foreign visitors far less important and illustrious than the three Venetians.