vrijdag 6 april 2018

History Channel: Marco Polo - Journey to the East

A documentary by History Channel, Marco Polo - Journey to the East is the tale as told by perhaps the first ghostwriter in history.

When Marco ends up in jail at age 44,  he tells his story to his cellmate, a writer of novels.  The book will later become published and known as Il Milione, or The Travels of Marco Polo.

The documentary follows the life of the young 17 year old Marco who together with his father and uncle travel to the empire of Kublai Khan.  Here he will enter the service of this most wisest of rulers for nearly 20 years, being granted the job of envoy to the farthest reaches of China and Kublai's Empire.
During these travels he will observe the local customs and report on them with his greatest asset: his memory.  Though there are sceptists who even doubt that Marco actually ever reached China, like he describes the final battle of the Mongol Empire against the Sung Dynasty, while arriving there 3 years after that battle.  But it has been decided in academic circles that, based on a lot of details of local customs from that time, descriptions of places and more or the like, he did get there.

It also looks into the fact that Marco is never put on the same levels like for example Christopher Columbus, who was actually inspired and motivated by Il Milione.  And how he lived out the remaining 30 odd years of his life once he had returned to Venice.

A nice little documentary, that gave some great insights in the life of the famous Venetian merchant who has become synonymous with travels and adventures in the modern days...

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