Dr. Charles Desnoyers
12 December 2013
Marco Polo Travels
Marco Polo is regarded as one of the best-known travelers in European history. His accomplishments for traveling beyond any other traveler at his time made him very famous. He was the first European traveler and merchant to have ever visited all of the Asian countries and their dynasties. He served in Kublai Khan’s court. He also made detailed notes and descriptions of the strong Dynasties that ruled the Easter world, such as Genghis Khan’s. His notes were very helpful for all European merchants and travelers, and to educate his world with knowledge about foreign societies. Many people argued that he has not visited all the countries that are mentioned in his book but the detailed manuscripts descriptions he gave were accurate enough to convince the historians. One of his main reasons for traveling was to display to the Asians the existence of the Europeans, and to establish a trading route between them.
Marco Polo was indeed a smart man. He was a successful merchant and spoke four different languages Spanish, Italian, English and French. Marco Polo began his journey during his youth and ended up spending twenty-four years in his travels. In his journey, he expanded his horizons into places such as Cathay, Mongolia, Armenia, Persia, and Afghanistan, over the Pamirs, and all along the Silk Road into China. Through the journey, his crew and himself acquired precious jewelry of all different kinds; rubies, diamonds and sapphires. They also obtained different clothes made from material that Europeans had never seen before.
When he came back from his journey, Marco Polo was dressed in splendid dresses made out of crimson satin, next of damask, and finally a dress made of velvet bearings. He had been awarded with gold and jewelry from the great Khan. One of the most important events in Marco Polo’s travel was serving in the court of Kublai Khan. He was very esteemed by Kublai Khan because he was a gifted linguist and a master of four languages. His stay there gave him the chance to visit many countries that no European had ever seen.
He was given missions to accomplish by Khan, which gave him the chance to visit China, Burma and India. He was also given the chance to understand and see the culture of each different country. He recorded precise descriptions of the ceremonies, the capital, hunting and public assistance. Polo also saw things that he had never seen before, such as the paper money taking over gold. He stated, "With these pieces of paper they can buy anything and pay for anything. And I can tell you that the papers that reckon as ten bezants do not weight one." He was also surprised that these people no matter which social class they belonged to, they had a bath at each house. They would take a bath daily using “black rocks” referring to coal.
These things were big changes for Marco Polo because he had never seen a system like this before. The wealth of these empires surpassed his imagination. As he described one of the palaces of Kublai Khan, he was amazed by the walls, which were almost completely covered with gold. In the Mongol empire, he was also surprised by the communication system they had. The system had three categories, a first class, second class and the Imperial Majesty service, which was above all. The Majesties letters would be sent by soldiers on horses, while the other letters would be sent by people on foot, and they would have a relay with others that would wait for them. As a merchant, Marco Polo along with companions had to buy a lot of goods that they could take back with them to show the Europeans. His greatest fear was leaving the Kublai Khans court. He feared that the emperor wouldn’t allow him to get all his goods out of the empire or that he would get executed if he asked the emperor to let him leave. But as a merchant he had to risk asking the emperor. The emperor didn’t object his departure but he