Marco Polo

 - Italian traveler and explorer -

( 1254 - 1324 )

* List of the stories he appears in :
- W US 6-02 : "Tralla La", from 1954, by Carl Barks (by name only) ;
- W US 20-01 : "The City of the Golden Roofs", from 1957, by Carl Barks (by name only) ;
- W US 64-02 : "Treasure of Marco Polo", from 1965, by Carl Barks (by name only) ;
- D 90314 : "Return to Xanadu", from 1991, by Don Rosa (by name only) ;
- D 92380 : "Guardians of the Lost Library", from 1993, by Don Rosa (by name only) ;
- D 94144 : "The Lost Charts of Columbus", from 1995, by Don Rosa (by name only).


* His biography :
     Marco Polo was born in Venice, Italy, in 1254. His father, Nicolo Polo and his uncle Maffeo Polo, known as the Polo brothers, were merchants, business partners.  His mother died in 1269, so he was raised by his uncle and aunt. He was extremely interested in the practices of different people, different animal and plants, as well as natural resources. Marco Polo went with his father and uncle on many business trips. In 1271, Marco, his father and his uncle went on a journey to China to bring letters and gifts from Pope Clement X to Kublai Khan. They passed through Armenia, Persia, and Afghanistan, over the Pamirs, and all along the Silk Road to China. They reached Shang-tu in 1275. They were the first Europeans to visit most of the territory they traveled in this journey, particularly the Pamir and Gobi desert.
   The Polo's and Khan quickly became good friends : he liked them so much that he offered them jobs and told them to stay as long as they wished.  Marco received a job as an official of the Privy Council in 1277, and he another job as a tax inspector in 1791. His father and uncle became military advisors for the Mongol Empire. The Polos collected a lot of valuable jewels and gold.
   In 1292, the Polos left China as escorts for the Mongol princess Kokachin, who was to marry the Persian prince Arghun, traveling by sea to Persia. The reached venice in 1295.
   In 1298, Marco Polo served as a captain of a Venetian gallery that participated in a battle between the fleets of Venice and Genoa, and was taken prisoner by the Genoese. While jailed in Genoa, he dictated to a fellow prisoner, Rustigielo of Pisa, the detailed accounts of his travels. He was released from prison in 1299 and returned to Venice.
   Marco Polo's literary work, The Travels of Marco Polo, is one of the most famous and influential travel book in history. With a wealth of vivid detail, it gave medieval Europe it s first consequential knowledge of China, and its first information concerning other countries such as Siam, Japan, Java, Cochin China, Ceylon, Tibet, India and Burma. For a long time it was the only existing source in Europe for information on the geography and life in the far east. The book became the basis for some of the first accurate maps of Asia made in Europe. This book helped Columbus for his discovery of America in 1442 while attempting to reach the Far East of Polo's decription by sailing due west from Europe.
   Marco Polo died in 1324. When on his death bed, he said "I didn't tell half of what I saw, because no one would have believed me."

* His place in the Barks/Rosa stories universe :
    First, in "Tralla La", Scrooge asks a man if he knows where is Tralla La, and the man answers that his grandpa once told that his own grandpa had seen a traveller who had seen the valley. Scrooge then grumbles and tells this was probably at Marco Polo's time.
   In "The City of the Golden Roofs", when the Ducks arrive in the Indochina hidden village, Scrooge explains Huey, Dewey and Louie that he knows the language of the people of Ankor Bat becasue it's ancient Bengali and he learnt it when he sold maps to Marco Polo. This has to be a joke, though.
   In  "Treasure of Marco Polo", Scrooge is sent a huge jade elephant from Unsteadystan which was reputed to have been a part of a shipload Marco Polo was taking from Ancient Cathay to Persia. The boat was attacked by pirates in Cochin-China, but Marco Polo escaped. The pirates found the elephant, but the remain of rest of the treasure staid a mystery... But when Scrooge opens the box, he just finds the broken tail of the elephant, and in the tail is hidden a letter written by Marco Polo himself, which explains where the whole treasure is actually hidden, and that a map of the treasure is hidden in the trump of the elephant. Scrooge finally finds the treasure, but gives him to the poor people of  Unsteadystan.
   In "Return to Xanadu", looking in the Junior Woodchucks' Guidebook, the Ducks learn that Marco Polo would have seen the crown of Genghis Khan, while he was looking for the Kingdom of Priest John, in China. Marco Polo pretended he found the Kingdom of Priest John, and when he arrived in Cathay, he talked about this to Kublai Khan, who invaded the Tibet and entered the Kingdom, where he carried his treasure and his grandfater Genghis Khan's Crown. In the same story, one of the nephews tells that Tralla La had to be a high cultural place, during Marco Polo's time.
   In "Guardians of the Lost Library", looking in the Junior Woodchucks' Guidebook, the Ducks learn that Marco Polo and his father have been helped with books based on the Libraries of Alexandria and Islam they found in a library in an abbey in Venice to find treasures in the Orient, and that to thank the abbey, Marco brought copies from the great books of Kublai Khan, that's to say the Library of Cathay, which were added to the other libraries.
   In "The Lost Charts of Columbus", the Junior Woodchucks find maps of Colombus, and one of them is a map Colombus copied from a book of Marco Polo, and which comes from the Chinese explorer Hui-Jhen, from 459.

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