Marco Polos’ departure from Venice, miniature from Book of the Wonders of the World, France, 15th Century
“I did not tell half of what I saw, for I knew I would not be believed”
“My heart beats as much as I can breathe.”
“Without stones there is no arch.”
“One of these nuts is a meal for a man, both meat and drink.”
“The true sweetness of wine is one flavor”
“If you put together all the Christians in the world, with their Emperors and their Kings, the whole of these Christians, – aye, and throw in the Saracens to boot, – would not have such power, or be able to do so much as this Kublai, who is Lord of all the Tartars in the world.”
“To the north of Armenia lies Zorzania Georgia, near the confines of which there is a fountain of oil which discharges so great a quantity as to furnish loading for many camels. The use made of it is not for the purpose of food, but as an unguent for the cure of cutaneous distempers in men and cattle, as well as other complaints, and it is also good for burning. In the surrounding country no other oil is used in their lamps, and people come from distant parts to procure it.”
“Fully sixty thousand men were slain in this battle, but king Toctai, as well as the two sons of Tolobuga, escaped.”
Marco Polo, 1254 -1324
Marco Polo mosaic, Palazzo Tursi, Genoa, Italy
Marco Polo (1254 -1324) An Italian merchant traveller from Venice. The traveler and writer Marco Polo left Venice for Cathay (now China) in 1271, spent seventeen years in Kublai Khan’s (1215–1294) empire, he served the Kubilai Khan on on numerous diplomatic missions, and returned to Venice in 1295.
His book Livre des Merveilles du Monde (Book of the Marvels of the World, also known as The Travels of Marco Polo, c. 1300) did much to introduce Europeans to Central Asia and China.Polo related his memoirs orally to Rustichello da Pisa while both were prisoners of the Genova Republic. The book was written in Old French by romance writer Rustichello da Pisa.