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Le devisement du monde : Le livre des merveilles
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Le devisement du monde : Le livre des merveilles

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3.6 of 5 stars 3.60  ·  rating details  ·  2,364 ratings  ·  180 reviews
So much has been written on the subject of the celebrated Venetian traveller of the middle ages Marco Polo, and the authenticity & credibility of his relation have been so well established, that it is now quite unnecessary to enter into this part of the question; but the reader of the following translation will doubtless be desirous of learning something more about the ...more
Paperback, 554 pages
Published November 2004 by La Découverte (first published 1298)
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William1
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
David
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
Fahad
رحلات ماركو بولو

قبل ابن بطوطة ورحلته بخمسين عام، انطلق شاب بندقي - سيصبح فيما بعد أحد أشهر رحالة العالم – مع أبيه وعمه إلى الصين، حيث كان يحكم في ذلك الوقت قوبلاي خان العظيم، حفيد جنكيز خان، كان ماركو بولو في الثامنة عشرة عندما بدأ رحلته التي استمرت سبعة عشر عاماً، وكان يمكن لماركو بولو أن ينتهي كما انتهى الكثير من الرحالة من قبله أو من بعده، أي بلا ذكر، لولا أنه قضى بضعة شهور في سجن جنوي كأسير أحد الحروب التي كانت تنشب بين الدويلات الإيطالية، وهناك أملى كتابه هذا والذي كان نافذة الأوروبيين على
...more
Liz
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
Arwen56
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
Meg
Come non appassionarsi allo straordinario racconto di Marco Polo, del suo viaggio e di tutte le stranezze che incontra? Come non desiderare di aver visto con i propri occhi le meraviglie del palazzo di Ciandu, o il ponte di marmo sul fiume Pulisanghin?

Ecco, se non lo avete mai fatto, vi consiglio di leggere il "Milione" e di lasciarvi trasportare sulle ali della fantasia (o sulla groppa di un destriero dei Tartari, come vi pare).
Dan
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
Adam Ferry
Marco Polo was an epic explorer who ventured all the way through the Middle East to China, Japan, India, Sri Lanka, the African east coast, and modern day Russia. The start of his journey is in Venice. Niccolò, Marco’s father, and Maffeo, Marco’s uncle, decided to set off on a trade journey through Asia before Marco was born. Returning in 1269, when Marco was fifteen, they first encountered him. In 1271 they set off again to Asia on the journey Marco would recount in his book. The trio and their ...more
dbd
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.
Jean
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
Tlsmith
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
Ingrid
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
Vinoth G
Adventures too imaginative to be real. Though through years the tales would have taken different shapes, interesting read.
Will
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
Mike Sanders
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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 nei d ...more
Alice
I don't know what I was hoping to find in this book that has been in my wishlist for way too long. Probably i read exactly what i was supposed to, an humongous list of places and people as viewed and re-thought by a catholic of more that 800 years ago. I am not saying that it is a book to avoid: it really is interesting to see how a catholic tried to adapt (and he really tried if you ask me) to widen his view to better understand foreign habits and countries and how he was actually fascinated by ...more
Nate
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.
Tony Anna
Per quanto se ne possa dire, scrivere o disquisire é oramai assodato che Marco Polo abbia compiuto il viaggio e visitato le terre descritte nel libro; per quanto riguarda le storie in esso narrate si ricordi che sono racconti visti o sentiti raccontare da parte di popoli che abitavano terre pressoché sconosciute circa 800 anni fa.
La narrazione degli avvenimenti, per quanto fantastici o assurdi possano essere, mostra uno spaccato di popolazioni quasi del tutto scomparse con tradizioni e culture
...more
David R.
While this was certainly a wildly popular text in its time, Polo's narrative suffers from various literary flaws with time. One is the inclusion of sensationalist rotgut like the mythic Prester John. Another is the repetitive and pedantic style. In various regions one can predict the religion, economy and funereal practices. It's hard to tell whether Polo actually saw the sights in most of Asia, or if he picked up anecdotes from others. But it is fun to read the book and imagine how, say, explor ...more
Marissa
Marco Polo was the son of a Venetian family who entered into a lucrative partnership as merchants with the Mongol Khans. After an initial journey to the court of Qubilai Khan in northern China, Marco's father and uncle return on a second visit with young Marco in tow. What follows is his account of the diverse peoples and regions under Qubilai's control over more than 15 years living in East Asia as part of the Khan's own household.

This is a must-read source for anyone hoping to understand how
...more
Richard
Marco Polo's Travels is an uneven mix of geographical survey and anecdote, in which the actual adventure of Polo's peregrinations is outlined and dispensed with in a relatively short prologue. The main body of the work is for the most part a descriptive catalogue of cities, kingdoms, and distant regions, and the style veers between the dry enumeration of facts and a conversational verbosity that can become taxing (e.g. "let us now... turn to Turkestan, so that you may hear about it. But as a mat ...more
Kamil
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
John
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
Phoebes
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
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Ian Somerhalder F...: Marco Polo 4 56 May 18, 2012 05:35AM  
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9262
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...
Travels in the Land of Kubilai Khan (Penguin Great Ideas) The Customs of the Kingdoms of India (Penguin Great Journeys) marco polo Marco Polo the Description of the World A.C. Moule & Paul Pelliot Volume 1 Travels in the Land of Serpents and Pearls (Little Black Classics #16)

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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.” 2 likes
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