Polo was the most famous traveller of his time. His voyages began in 1271 with a visit to China, after which he served the Kublai Khan on numerous diplomatic missions. On his return to the West, he was made a prisoner of war and met Rustichello of Pisa, with whom he collaborated on this book. The accounts of his travels provide a fascinating glimpse of the different societies he encountered: their religions, customs, ceremonies and way of life; on the spices and silks of the East; on precious gems, exotic vegetation and wild beasts. He tells the story of the holy shoemaker, the wicked caliph and the three kings, among a great many others, evoking a remote and long-vanished world with color and immediacy.
Marco Polo’s account of his journey throughout the East was one of the earliest European travel narratives, and it remains the most important. The merchant-traveler from Venice, the first to cross the entire continent of Asia, provided us with accurate descriptions of life in China, Tibet, India, and a hundred other lands. From the dazzling courts of Kublai Khan to the perilous deserts of Persia, no book contains a richer magazine of marvels than the Travels.
This edition, selected and edited by the great scholar Manuel Komroff, also features the classic and stylistically brilliant Marsden translation, revised and corrected, as well as Komroff’s Introduction to the 1926 edition.