Marco Polo: From Venice to Xanadu (Audio) ~ Laurence Bergreen (A... Cover Art

Marco Polo: From Venice to Xanadu (Audio)

By: Laurence Bergreen (Author)


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Drawing on original writings and walking in the footsteps of Marco Polo himself, Laurence Bergreen's Marco Polo: From Venice to Xanadu is the most definitive biography of the legendary traveler to date, separating the man from his considerable myth.

Look inside Marco Polo (Click on thumbnails to see a larger image):

Marco Polo: a traditional portrait; Granger
Frontispiece of an early published edition of Marco Polo’s Travels, Nuremberg, Germany, 1477; Granger
Kublai Khan, emperor of the world’s largest land-based empire; Granger
Marco Polo commanded a Venetian galley similar to this in the Battle of Curzola; Granger
Stone carving on the Marco Polo bridge; Laurence Bergreen
Marco Polo’s vivid and occasionally misinterpreted descriptions of his travels inspired this medieval artist to depict dragons in China; Granger


Marco Polo timeline (All dates given in the Julian calendar):

1215 - Kublai Khan, the grandson of Genghis Khan and Marco Polo's mentor, is born.

1254 - Marco Polo born in Venice, although one tradition locates his birthplace in the Venetian colony of Dalmatia.

1260 - Kublai Khan becomes leader of the Mongols and in 1271 founds the Yuan ("Origin") Dynasty.

1271 - Young Marco Polo leaves Venice with his father Niccolo and uncle Maffeo, bound for the court of Kublai Khan.

1274 - Kublai Khan oversees a failed Mongol invasion of Japan, as the Mongols, masters of the Steppe, meet their match at sea.

1275 - The three Polos arrive in Shang-du, Kublai Khan's summer palace immortalized by Samuel Taylor Coleridge as Xanadu; Marco begins his years in the service of the Khan.

1276 - 1293 - Marco travels throughout Asia, reaching the coast of India, and possibly Zanzibar, gathering intelligence for Kublai Khan and serving as a tax collector for the Yuan (Mongol) dynasty.

1281 - Kublai Khan's second failed invasion of Japan, a serious blow to his prestige.

1292 - The Polos escort Princess Kokachin to Persia to marry, their last formal service to Kublai Khan before departing.

1294 - Kublai Khan dies, freeing the Polo family, who undertake a dangerous return voyage by sea.

1295 - Marco, his father, and uncle, arrive in Venice after their 24-year absence. They have been away for so long that their fellow Venetians do not recognize them.

1298 - Marco is captured by the Genoese in the Battle of Curzola, according to some accounts, and confined to a cell in Genoa with a romance writer, Rustichello of Pisa, to whom he dictates his adventures in China, his reminiscences of Kublai Khan, his life among the Mongols.

1300 - Safely back in Venice, Marco Polo marries Donata Badoer; the couple has three daughters.

1324 - As manuscript versions of his exploits spread throughout Europe, Marco Polo dies in Venice, claiming that he did not reveal the half of his experiences in his remarkable Travels.


Short Desription

As the most celebrated European to explore Asia, Marco Polo was the original global traveler and the earliest bridge between East and West. A universal icon of adventure and discovery, he has inspired six centuries of popular fascination and spurious mythology. Now, from acclaimed author Laurence Bergreen, comes the first fully authoritative biography of one of the most enchanting figures in world history. In this masterly work, Marco Polo’s incredible odyssey–along with the Silk Road and through all the fantastic circumstances of his life–is chronicled in sumptuous and illuminating detail.

Drawing on original sources in more than half a dozen languages, and his own travels along Polo’s route in China and Mongolia, Bergreen explores the lingering controversies surrounding Polo’s legend, settling age-old questions and testing others for significance. Synthesizing history, biography, and travelogue, this is a timely chronicle of a man who extended the boundaries of human knowledge and imagination. Destined to be the definitive account of its subject for decades to come, Marco Polo takes us on a journey to the limits of history–and beyond.



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