Marco Polo was a 13th century
Venetian merchant who set out for Venice
on a journey
to the east. He stayed there many years serving The Emperor
of China, Kublai Khan. Upon returning he set out as a warrior in the Venetian Fleet to meet the hereditary foe, the Genoans.
He was captured and apparently looked too rich for the Genoans to throw him overboard and waste a good ransom. In any case he was kept prisoner next to a professional storyteller
and told his adventures to pass the time. This story was later published under the title Description of the World
or Books of the Marvels of the World
, but it has eventually become better known under its nickname Il Milione
or, more simply, The Travels of Marco Polo
. The Travels
themselves are a surprisingly dull book but the idea of the story was so powerful that it became a classic, and Marco was nicknamed Il Millione
for the "millions" of tales he brought back.
Curiously, very little is known about Marco himself. For that reason, even though more than one "biography" has been written, large parts often come from the author's imagination.
And, contrary to the myth, he never introduced pasta to Italy.
Not to be confused with the videogame Marco Polo
that was of course inspired by this adventurer.
Tropes in The Travels of Marco Polo a.k.a. Il Milione:
Adaptations of Il Milione:Comic Strip
- Plays an important part in the Suske en Wiske album De Tartaarse Helm (The Tartarian Helmet).
- Marco Polo by Phillips Interactive Media.
- In one of Carmen Sandiego games, you get to meet him during a time travel adventure in which one of Carmen's crooks had stolen oils that they were bring to the Chinese.