The Travels of Marco Polo
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The Travels of Marco Polo

3.58 of 5 stars 3.58  ·  rating details  ·  1,977 ratings  ·  154 reviews

Now in a handsome and newly revised hardcover edition: the extraordinary travelogue that has enthralled readers for more than seven centuries.

Marco Polo’s vivid descriptions of the splendid cities and people he encountered on his journey along the Silk Road through the Middle East, South Asia, and China opened a window for his Western readers onto the fascinations of the E...more
Hardcover, 472 pages
Published October 21st 2008 by Everyman's Library (first published 1298)
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I find it interesting how Marco Polo's description of the Middle East of more than 700 years ago is pretty much a reflection of the way it is today. That is to say, in thrall to the same old tribal passions. Sad, that. The text is perhaps most remarkable for its narrator's incuriousness. We know the richness of these regions from the writings of subsequent travelers and historians, but Polo makes them all seem strikingly similar. The narrative is thin and repetitive. The only thing that makes th...more
Sep 17, 2007 David added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all y'all suckas
Shelves: summer2007
Here's a book that looks fantastic on the cover: it's the story of Marco Polo's incredible travels to the East, told by the man himself. Then you open the book and look into it a bit and realize that it might be boring against all odds. For one, it isn't the tale of his adventure. Instead, it's a systematic description of all the countries one can find east of Italy. Check that: no narrative.

Then you actually start reading and you find out that no one--not Marco Polo, not the scribe who wrote do...more
This is the narrative of one of the most famous explorers in history, describing his adventures in the Far East as a sort of emissary for the great Kublai Khan. In it he describes all of the strange cities and peoples he comes across in his years wandering through the exotic locales encompassed by the Khan’s extensive empire.

I’m sure that when this narrative was first published, it would have been considered fascinating reading by the general public, as it describes places, peoples and things th...more
Libro decisamente anomalo, direi, per diversi motivi:

1) In primo luogo, non è stato neppure redatto nel volgare italiano, bensì, a quanto mi risulta, principalmente in francese antico (lingua d'oïl). Di conseguenza, il testo che leggiamo è una delle tante traduzioni esistenti. Quanto possa essere fedele all’originale è da vedersi.

2) Non è neanche stato scritto dallo stesso Marco Polo, ma dettato a Rustico da Pisa nel carcere in cui entrambi allora si trovavano. Quanto sia possibile attribuire al...more
Interesting for both it's accuracies and inaccuracies and the insight provided on the medieval point of view of foreign cultures. Unfortunately, Polo tends to simplify nearly every culture he encounters into one very large pot. In example, he seems to be under the impression that all 'idolaters' (read non-christians, non-muslims, non-jews) all follow one giant pan-asian religion. These kind of assumptions make a lot of his observations nearly useless, revealing more about the author than the sub...more
K.D. Absolutely
This novel is among the 501 MUST READ BOOKS and it was written in 1298. So, next to the Holy Bible this is now the 2nd most oldest book that I've ever read.

In fact, in the travel book that I read last month about the travels of Ferdinand Magellan, this book was mentioned several times as the Magellan fleet brought this book. It was the same case for Christopher Columbus because both the world navigators came after the travels of Marco Polo, his father Nicolo and his uncle Maffeo that happened i...more
Very interesting historical account of Polo's travels to Mongolia and China, He spent much more time there than I had known, not all of it by design. He was highly regarded by Kublai Kahn for his knowledge of western culture which was of great interest to the Kahn. Polo was surprised, as was I, by the sophistication of the Mongolian culture.
This is a book of which I cannot say, "I couldn't put it down!" Many of the 650-year-old accounts of Polo's travels through 13th century Asia were vividly described yet others were very matter-of-fact and well, dry for the most part. For example, most of the places he visited and subsequently dictated to his prison cell mate, Rusticiano, were described in this manner: "...its inhabitants, for the most part Mahometans, with some Nestorian Christians, and the rest idolaters are subjects of the gra...more
A translation of Marco Polo's account of his travels through the Middle East and Asia. I have spoken to some people who think that this book is too dry (which may make sense since Polo was a merchant and the stated purpose of his book is to let other merchants know what products and resources were available in these new lands). It could be the translation that I read (I chose the right one here) but it was in no sense dry or boring. Imagining Polo traveling through Baghdad, across the Gobi Deser...more
Again, how can you give history less than a 3? The book was initially disappointing to me, because I thought Marco had high tales of adventure and wonder, when actually his book is more like a journal. But, that's why you read, correct? WHAT a life - he walked from Italy to the edge of China a back - discovering people and places that no one in Europe had ever heard of - and upon returning, no one was even impressed. And even after the story was written, his renown is relegated to a childhood sw...more
I read this as I was travelling through Mongolia. There are some entertaining gems tucked away in this book: colourful and unique descriptions of cities and peoples now changed beyond recognition, but to get to these one must wade through long sections of drivel, endless repetition of the same stock phrases and a somewhat haphazard narration. I don't know why but I'd assumed that a writer almost contemporaneous with Dante might have had a better grasp of style. Still, this is a unique book and h...more
P.J. Wetzel
Fascinating eyewitness look into the world of the late 1200's. Admittedly it was told with some Western bias and some Christian bias (He lumps Buddhists, Hindus, Confucians, etc., together, simply declaring them 'idol-worshipers'). His strongest bias was toward his host and employer in China, 'The Grand Khan', who ruled China by the sword and employed foreigners to keep order because he could not trust the natives. Marco describes the marvels of the Chinese civilization, but is not always apprec...more
Procyon Lotor
Educazione veneziana Libro di viaggi, d'avventure, di storia, geografia, tecnica, economia e sociologia. Collezione d'aneddoti e romanzo di formazione pure, non scordiamo che Marco Polo part� giovinetto e torn� uomo. Ricostruito da filologi d'erudizione sconfinata e poi (questa edizione) ritradotto in un italiano "anticato" dall'ottima Bellonci. Sono brevi scritti, taluni vere e proprie schede geopolitiche, Polo spessissimo cita la citt� (sempre nobilissima e bellissima, un vero PR, salvo poi ne...more
Jul 09, 2007 Nate rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Well, there is debate over whether or not Marco Polo ever went to what is now known as China. Some say he bridged together pieces of tales from other travelers whom had been to distant lands. We'll never know for sure. This travelogue is still somewhat interesting. I can see why it would've been more so during its time.
Togoldor Erdenebileg
Even though there were some fascinating details, most of which were hard to believe, the book overall wasn`t as great as I expected. Most of the pages included almost identical information about cities and countries.
May 11, 2014 Kamil rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: History students
Recommended to Kamil by: My History of literature teacher (prof. Putna)
Welcome to the world of the 13th century, where you will visit many unimaginable places along with Marco Polo!

The Travels, being one of the first stories of western Europeans visiting the far cities of Armenia, Katay, China, Malaysia and many more, provide a great insight into how, in that age, an average nobleman saw the foreign nations.

What I liked the most about the book was its short chapters one could read with any amount of time, and the storyteller's (Rustichello, a scribe and a co-priso...more
My interest in reading Polo’s work came out of the blue. I came across a brief reference to him, and decided to pick up his work. My overall impressions of the book are actually quite high considering the time when it was written. Although at times the descriptions get repetitive, I feel like it could have been much duller. Polo regularly pulls out interesting points about towns and areas, even if they are brief. In fact, I often found myself wanting a little more detail about places or customs...more
Non è proprio come mi aspettavo. Io pensavo al racconto del viaggio, narrato in prima persona, invece i riferimenti all’autore ci sono solo poche volte, e tutto il libro non è altro che la descrizione dei vari popoli incontrati, che di per sé non sarebbe neanche male, se non fosse che le descrizioni sono tutte uguali, solo ogni tanto c’è qualcosa di diverso e più interessante!
Insomma, non mi è piaciuto molto, ma mi è comunque difficile stabilire quanto ha contato nel giudizio la difficoltà di l...more
Cym Lowell
This is a fascinating review of the travels of Marco Polo, which is distilled from his actual Travels as transcribed during his incarceration in Genoa following his epochal return to Venice from his travels. He had assumed the position of captain of a warship in the nacy of Venice in its periodic war with Genoa for control of the trade routes.

The narrative of the story reads as a fascinating story of adventure in cultural diversity, geography, the court of Kubla Kahn, and the charming sexuality...more
Guy Grobler
Its not an easy book to get into as its a translation and its old, but it is a very good read. It has a slow beginning but then picks-up. Marco Polo is very descriptive in his collection of memories of what he saw. There are a number of things to consider - like context, Marco Polo will almost always state for each town or country he visits - which religion is dominant (or if the locals are idol worshippers), what trade is dominant and so on. There is also a hidden message, and that is - that th...more
In the late 13th century, three Venetian merchants, two brothers and the son of one of them, visited China, which was then ruled by the Mongols. The Mongols distrusted the native Chinese and hired foreigners such as the young man as minor officials. The Venetian merchant-turned-official traveled extensively through North and South China, South-East Asia and India. After he returned to Venice, he took part in a war between Venice and Genoa, was taken prisoner, and in prison met a professional wri...more
I read once that Christopher Columbus carried a well-worn and dog-eared copy of The Travels with him across the Atlantic as he searched for a shorter route to the Indies than the one Marco Polo traveled. This book fires the imagination and broadens the horizons of even my 21st century mind. I cannot even begin to imagine what this book did for someone even 100 years ago when the Internet and globalization had not made the world so close. The vast scale of societies and cultures that Marco Polo e...more
Douglas Summers-Stay
This is an amazing book. It is the original travels of Marco Polo, with annotations explaining where the various places mentioned in the text are, and photographs of places mentioned and illustrations from medieval editions.
The book was originally written in Italian in 1298. The translation they've used keeps a lot of archaic language and phrasing-- If you've ever read Malory's Le Morte D'Arthur, it's similar in language.
Marco Polo was recognized by Kublai Khan as a bright young man with a gift...more
Robert Sheppard

For most of us coming from a Western background when we think of the great travelers and travel accounts of world history the name that first comes to mind is of course that of Marco Polo, the 13th Century Venetian whose Odyssey took him to the China court of the Mongol Emperor of Yuan Dynast...more
M. Milner
The product of several different relationships, all of which happened at just the right time, The Travels of Marco Polo is an interesting document of one of the first men to really travel. Marco was the son of a merchant and travelled across Europe, Asia and the Indian Ocean in a time when most people never left their hometowns. He met with people on the coast of Africa, travelled as far north as the Arctic Ocean and spent years living in China in the court of Kublai Khan. And later, in a prison...more
Gijs Grob
Marco Polo's eigen reisverslag zoals deze die heeft gedicteerd aan ene Rustichello tijdens zijn gevangenschap in Genua. Hoewel dit verslag begint met een opsomming van zijn lotgevallen en die van zijn vader en oom, bestaat het grootste gedeelte uit een nogal anonieme reisgids langs streken en steden. Deze bevatten veel herhalingen (heel veel steden bevatten 'onderdanen van de grootchan' en 'afgodendienaren'), veel extreme superlatieven (de grootste/mooiste/bloederigste/zoals je nooit gezien hebt...more
Chilly SavageMelon
An important historical document, according to the afterword - the second most influential ghostwritten work after the bible, unfortunately a rather dry read. Polo dictated the tales to another while imprisoned by the Genovese and the style is objective: I saw this, the people are like this, my impressions are stated as fact without feeling etc. In a way, he was one of the luckiest teenagers in history, as his father Niccolo and Uncle Maffeo had already gone east, met and befriended Kublai Khan...more
The Travels is divided into four books. Book One describes the lands of the Middle East and Central Asia that Marco encountered on his way to China. Book Two describes China and the court of Kublai KhanKublai Khan. Book Three describes some of the coastal regions of the East: Japan, India, Sri Lanka, Southeast Asia, and the east coast of Africa. Finally, Book Four describes some of the recent wars among the Mongols and some of the regions of the far north, like Russia.

The edition that I own and...more
One tends to picture man in ages past as a rather stationary critter, clutching tight to one little piece of earth. Marco Polo's story knocks that theory neatly on its ass. Presented in this edition strictly for its value as a travelogue, Travels chronicles Messr Polo's journey from Italy to China and back again. It's wondrous stuff, even if the narrator's eye tends to an extremely mercantile view of the world. (When he waxes eloquent on the beauty of a certain species of Chinese crane, you rat...more
Etienne Mahieux
C'est quand même une belle opération de littérature commerciale. Prenez un mec qui a pas mal d'expériences à raconter mais qui n'est pas exceptionnellement cultivé ; payez-lui une résidence d'écriture (dans une prison génoise) avec un auteur un peu raté de romans arthuriens un peu ratés. Il en sort un livre d'entretiens, écrit directement en français pour tâcher de dépasser le public classique des scriptoria abbatiaux.
Si Rustichello (le plumitif) a du mal à varier les formules pour raconter les...more
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Ian Somerhalder F...: Marco Polo 5 56 May 18, 2012 05:35AM  
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Marco Polo was supposedly born in Venetian Republic, in what is now Venice, Italy. There are also stories and various documents which point to his ancestry originating in Korčula, Croatia.
He was a well known trader and an explorer. He recorded his adventures in a book published as "The Travels of Marco Polo". The original copies of his works are lost.
More about Marco Polo...
The Customs of the Kingdoms of India (Penguin Great Journeys) Travels in the Land of Kubilai Khan (Penguin Great Ideas) Travels of Marco Polo The Travels of Marco Polo - Volume 1 Il Milione

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“The personal appearance of the Great Kaan, Lord of Lords, whose name is Cublay, is such as I shall now tell you.” 1 likes
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