Sunday, August 28, 2005

Discussion: Marco Polo

Introduction: Marco Polo was the most important European of the Middle Ages who opened up Asia for the rest of the world. He spent almost two decades working for Kublai Khan of China and traveled to almost all the places under the Khan’s rule. Further, he also traveled both the overland and the water route between the Middle East and Orient. Throughout all these travels Polo made detailed observations of the lands that he saw. His gave information on the culture, people, and for that most importantly, the economy. Future European explorers who wanted to travel to the East, including Columbus, read his work widely.

Setting the scene: Marco Polo himself was too active of a person to sit down and start writing of his own choosing. In fact, after his travels Polo joined in the Venetian wars against their great foe and rival, the Genoese. During a naval battle Polo was captured and put in jail. It was in the confines of prison that Polo met the writer Rusticiano. It was to him that the traveler related his accounts of distant worlds in extraordinary detail and with much of the medieval European prejudice reduced.

Questions: What would have happened if Marco Polo managed not to get captured? What if he simply decided not to relate his experiences? What if he was killed in the battle? Anybody who reads this post is encouraged to give a response. It does not matter how much you know about the subject, just take what you already know and give the best prediction you can. Once again, this question will stay up for the week.

No comments: