‘There was never man yet, Christian or Saracen, Tartar or Pagan, who explored so much of the world as Messer Marco’
Marco Polo was the most famous traveller of his time. His voyages began in 1271 with a visit to China, after which he served the Kubilai Khan on numerous diplomatic missions. On his return to the West he was made a prisoner of war and met Rustichello of Pisa, with whom he collaborated on this book. The accounts of his travels provide a fascinating glimpse of the different societies he encountered: their religions, customs, ceremonies and way of life; on the spices and silks of the East; on precious gems, exotic vegetation and wild beasts. He tells the story of the holy shoemaker, the wicked caliph and the three kings, among a great many others, evoking a remote and long-vanished world with colour and immediacy.
In his introduction, Ronald Latham examines Marco Polo’s background to explain how he understood and classified the people, races, cultures and religions he saw in The Travels. This edition also contains an index and maps.