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HISTORY INVESTIGATION UNIT. Suspect Name: Polo, Marco Birthplace: Venice, Italy Birth date: Eyes: Brown Hair: Brown Height: 5’7” Weight: 140 lbs Occupation: Merchant. Artist renderings, no photos of suspect exist. Case Summary

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history investigation unit
HISTORY INVESTIGATION UNIT

Suspect Name: Polo, Marco

Birthplace: Venice, Italy

Birth date:

Eyes: Brown

Hair: Brown

Height: 5’7”

Weight: 140 lbs

Occupation: Merchant

Artist renderings, no photos of suspect exist

Case Summary

In 1298 Marco Polo of Venice was arrested and put in prison in Genoa. Venice and Genoa were involved in a civil war and Polo was charged with serving the Venetian army. He was imprisoned without a trial.

Polo offered a unique defense. He argued that he owed no loyalty to Venice since he had been gone for over 20 years. Further, he claimed that those 20 years were spent in China. While in jail he told his story to his cellmate Rusticello who wrote the story in a book called Description of the World and later, The Travels of Marco Polo.

Even in his time people doubted the stories in the book. They seemed far too fantastic to the people of Europe. It is important to note, however, that Europe had not yet seen the Renaissance and in many ways their technology was well behind that of China. What seemed like “magic” to them was simple science to the Chinese. Also, it is impossible to know exactly what parts were added by Rusticello to simply add excitement to the story. However, Polo swore on his deathbed that his story was true, adding “I have not even told you half of what I saw.”

While most historians have chosen to accept that Polo did visit China there are many who continue to argue that he did not. Your job is to examine the evidence and determine the answer.

Did Marco Polo ever reach China or did he simply make up the story based on what he heard from other travelers?

You decide.

slide2

Marco Polo’s

Last Will and Testament

slide3

Marco Polo’s Last Will and Testament

Here in his will Polo indicates he received a “golden tablet” from the Kahn himself. Polo’s tablet has not been found by historians but others matching his description have been found in China. Shown below are a picture from his book showing the tablet and a modern recreation of what they may have looked like.

Presented here is a copy of Marco Polo’s will. A will is a document that spells out what a person will leave to their family and friends when they die. There is no doubt among historians that it is truly Polo’s will. There is great doubt, however, in some of the things he has listed to leave to his friends and family.

"By the strength of the eternal Heaven, holy be the Khan's name.  Let him that pays him not reverence be killed."

Peter the Tartar

Here Polo mentions the servant he claims to have been given while living in China. The Tartars were a group of people living in China at the time.

"Also I release Peter the Tartar, my servant, from all bondage, as completely as I pray God to release mine own soul from all sin and guilt. And I also remit him whatever he may have gained by work at his own house; and over and above I bequeath him 100 lire of Venice denari."

Five years later the city of Venice gave to this same Peter all the rights of a Venetian citizen, so this person did in fact exist. But just calling Peter a "Tartar" does not necessarily mean that Marco Polo bought Peter in the Far East. Most slaves used in Venice, no matter where they were brought in from, were called Tartars.

slide4

Here in his will Polo indicates he received a “golden tablet” from the Kahn himself. Polo’s tablet has not been found by historians but others matching his description have been found in China. Shown below are a picture from his book showing the tablet and a modern recreation of what they may have looked like.

"By the strength of the eternal Heaven, holy be the Khan's name.  Let him that pays him not reverence be killed."

peter the tartar
Peter the Tartar

Here Polo mentions the servant he claims to have been given while living in China. The Tartars were a group of people living in China at the time.

"Also I release Peter the Tartar, my servant, from all bondage, as completely as I pray God to release mine own soul from all sin and guilt. And I also remit him whatever he may have gained by work at his own house; and over and above I bequeath him 100 lire of Venice denari."

Five years later the city of Venice gave to this same Peter all the rights of a Venetian citizen, so this person did in fact exist. But just calling Peter a "Tartar" does not necessarily mean that Marco Polo bought Peter in the Far East. Most slaves used in Venice, no matter where they were brought in from, were called Tartars.

Presented here is a copy of Marco Polo’s will. A will is a document that spells out what a person will leave to their family and friends when they die. There is no doubt among historians that it is truly Polo’s will. There is great doubt, however, in some of the things he has listed to leave to his friends and family.

slide6

The Creature of Sumatra

“In Sumatra they have wild elephants and plenty of unicorns, which are scarcely smaller than elephants. They have the hair of a buffalo and feet like an elephant’s. They have a single large, black horn in the middle of the forehead. They do not attack with their horn, but only with their tongue and their knees; for their tongues are furnished with long, sharp spines, so that when they want to do any harm to anyone they first crush him by kneeling upon him and then lacerate him with their tongues."

slide7

These (Blemmyae, Sciopod, Wildman) are not found in Marco’s text – only as illustrations in early manuscripts. They are found in other European mythologies and described by other explorers.

slide8

CHAPTER XIII

CONCERNING THE ISLAND OF ANGAMANAIN.

Angamanain is a very large Island. The people are without a king and are Idolaters, and no better than wild beasts. And I assure you all the men of this Island of Angamanain have heads like dogs, and teeth and eyes likewise; in fact, in the face they are all just like big mastiff dogs! They have a quantity of spices; but they are a most cruel generation, and eat everybody that they can catch, if not of their own race. They live on flesh and rice and milk, and have fruits different from any of ours.

Illustration from a version of the book printed in the 1450s. Not from the original work.

beijing bridge
Beijing Bridge

Over this River there is a very fine stone bridge, so fine indeed, that it has very few equals. The fashion of it is this: it is 300 paces in length, and it must have a good eight paces of width, for ten mounted men can ride across it abreast. It has 24 arches and as many water-mills, and 'tis all of very fine marble, well built and firmly founded. Along the top of the bridge there is on either side a parapet of marble slabs and columns, made in this way. At the beginning of the bridge there is a marble column, and under it a marble lion, so that the column stands upon the lion's loins, whilst on the top of the column there is a second marble lion, both being of great size and beautifully executed sculpture. At the distance of a pace from this column there is another precisely the same, also with its two lions, and the space between them is closed with slabs of grey marble to prevent people from falling over into the water. And thus the columns run from space to space along either side of the bridge, so that altogether it is a beautiful object.

the great wall in marco s time
The Great Wall in Marco’s Time

What things do you think of when you think of China? The Great Wall? Strange looking writing? How about chopsticks? China is a very unique land with lots of things that stand out. Marco Polo, oddly, didn’t mention many of them. Shown here are some of the more obvious things he left out. None of the things shown here are mentioned in Polo’s book.

Footbinding

calligraphy
Calligraphy

Writing is considered an art in China. Calligraphers would spend years perfecting their technique and were greatly respected.

food and drink
Food and Drink

Chinese Tea Set

Bamboo Chopsticks

Tea Ceremony

slide13

The Annals of Yuan Shih

The Mongols kept very detailed records of almost everything. This was a practice they copied from the Chinese. The names of all visitors to the Kahn’s court would have been recorded.

Below you will find a copy of the record from 1266, the year Marco Polo claims he arrived in the capital city.

Guan Ping/ 關平

Kan Pei / 關平

Guan Yu / 關羽

Kan U / 關羽

Huang Zhong / 黄忠

Kou Chuu / 黄忠

Jiang Wei / 姜維

Kyou I / 姜維

Liu Bei / 劉備

Ryuu Bi / 劉備

Ma Chao / 馬超

Ba Chou / 馬超

Ma Dai / 馬岱

Ba Tai / 馬岱

Pang Tong / 龐統

Hou Tou / 龐統

Wei Yan / 魏延

Gi En / 魏延

Xing Cai / 星彩

Sei Sai / 星彩

Yue Ying / 月英

Getsu Ei / 月英

Zhang Fei / 張飛

Chou Hi / 張飛

Zhao Yun / 趙雲

Chou Un / 趙雲

Zhuge Liang / 諸葛亮

Shokatsu Ryou / 諸葛亮

Fu Xi / 伏羲

Si Se/ 伏羲

Fuku Gi / 伏羲

Diaochan / 貂蝉

Chousen / 貂蝉

Dong Zhuo / 董卓

Tou Taku / 董卓

Lü Bu / 呂布

Ryo Fu / 呂布

Meng Huo / 孟獲

Mou Kaku / 孟獲

Yuan Shao / 袁紹

En Shou / 袁紹

Zhang Jiao / 張角

Chou Kaku / 張角

Zhu Rong / 祝融

Shuku Yuu / 祝融

Zuo Ci / 左慈

Sa Ji / 左慈

Deng Ai / 鄧艾

Tou Gai / 鄧艾

Guo Huai / 郭淮

Kaku Wai / 郭淮

Sima Shi / 司馬師

Wu Shi / 司馬師

Sima Yi / 司馬懿

Wu I / 司馬懿

Sima Zhao / 司馬昭

Wu Shou / 司馬昭

Wang Yuanji / 王元姫

Ou Genki / 王元姫

Xiahou Ba / 夏侯霸

Kakou Ha / 夏侯霸

Zhong Hui / 鍾會

Da Qiao / 大喬

Dai Kyou / 大喬

Ding Feng / 丁奉

Tei Hou / 丁奉

Gan Ning / 甘寧

Kan Nei / 甘寧

Huang Gai / 黃蓋

Kou Gai / 黃蓋

Ling Tong / 凌統

Ryou Tou / 凌統

Lü Meng / 呂蒙

Ryo Mou / 呂蒙

Lu Xun / 陸遜

Riku Son / 陸遜

Sun Ce / 孫策

Son Saku / 孫策

Sun Jian / 孫堅

Son Ken / 孫堅

Sun Quan / 孫權

Sun Shang Xiang / 孫尚香

Son Shouka / 孫尚香

Taishi Ci / / 太史慈

Taishi Ji / 太史慈

Xiao Qiao / 小喬

Syou Kyou / 小喬

Zhou Tai / 周泰

Syuu Tai / 周泰

Zhou Yu / / 周瑜

Syuu Yu / 周瑜

Nobunaga / 信長

Nü Wa / 女媧

Cai Wenji / 蔡文姫

Sai Bunki / 蔡文姫

Cao Cao / 曹操

Sou Sou / 曹操

Cao Pi / 曹丕

Sou Hi / 曹丕

Cao Ren / / 曹仁

Sou Jin / 曹仁

Dian Wei / 典韋

Ten I / 典韋

Jim Xu / 賈詡

Ka Ku / 賈詡

Pang De / 龐徳

Hou Toku / 龐徳

Xiahou Dun / 夏侯惇

Kakou Ton / 夏侯惇

Xiahou Yuan / 夏侯淵

Kakou En / 夏侯淵

Xu Huang / 徐晃

Jo Kou / 徐晃

Xu Zhu / 許褚

Kyo Cho / 許褚

Zhang He / 張郃

Chou Kou / 張郃

Zhang Liao / 張遼

Chou Ryou / 張遼

Zhen Ji / 甄姫

Sin Ki / 甄姫

Zhuge Dan / 諸葛誕

Jo Ka / 女媧

Toukichi / とーきち

slide14

Wei Liang / 姜維

Jan Kyou / 姜維

Hou Chi / 張飛

Zhao Yun / 趙雲

Chou Un / 趙雲

Liang Bo / 諸葛亮

Shokatsu Ryou / 諸葛亮

Fu Xi / 伏羲

Fuku Gi / 伏羲

Tokatsu Tan / 諸葛誕

Bei Liu / 劉備

Kyuu Zi / 劉備

Pa Cao / 馬超

Ba Chou / 馬超

Yuan Ging/ 關平

Khan Wei / 關平

Guan Sung / 關羽

Kan U / 關羽

Guang Yong / 黄忠

Kou Chuu / 黄忠

Ma Dai / 馬岱

Ja Mai / 馬岱

Pang Long / 龐統

Hou Zhou / 龐統

Wei Ban / 魏延

Kong Ping/ 曹操

Tao Ren / 曹丕

Jan Hu/ 曹丕

Jin Wun/ / 曹仁

Gi Hen / 魏延

Xing Pai / 星彩

Mei Mai / 星彩

Yue Ying / 月英

Tetsu Wei / 月英

Fang Zhei / 張飛

Wang Chung/ 蔡文姫

Ni Hao/ 曹操

Zhou Jin / 曹仁

Wian Wei / 典韋

Mok Tril/ 典韋

Dang Koz/ 鄧艾

Gait Lok/ 鄧艾

Guai Han / 郭淮

Jak Bok/ 郭淮

Tak Bel/ 大喬

Chi Kan/ 大喬

Zheng He/ 丁奉

Da Cao/ 丁奉

Meng Huong / 孟獲

Kaku Yao / 孟獲

Shao Lin / 袁紹

En Shou / 袁紹

Jiao Wen / 張角

Chou Kaku / 張角

Zhu Rong / 祝融

Shuku Yuu / 祝融

Zuo Ci / 左慈

Wu I / 司馬懿

Sima Zhao / 司馬昭

Wu Shou / 司馬昭

Wang Yuanji / 王元姫

Ou Genki / 王元姫

Xiahou Ba / 夏侯霸

Hakou Den / 夏侯霸

Zhong Hui / 鍾會

Sa Ji / 左慈

Deng Ai / 鄧艾

Tou Gai / 鄧艾

Guai Han / 郭淮

Kaku Wai / 郭淮

Shi Shang / 司馬師

Wu Shi / 司馬師

Yuma Tang/ 司馬懿

Chan Do / 貂蝉

Ghoujen / 貂蝉

Tong Zhuo / 董卓

Taku Ba / 董卓

Bu Fu/ 呂布

Ryu Fo / 呂布

Bou Kyou / 張遼

Wi Khen / 甄姫

Sanji Pao / 蔡文姫

Pi Long / 曹丕

Hi Zho/ 曹丕

Cao Ken / / 曹仁

Jou Win / 曹仁

Yuan Wei / 典韋

Baken Ik / 典韋

Zu Xin / 賈詡

Bu Luang / 徐晃

Co Chou / 徐晃

Zu Zhu / 許褚

Maku Tai/ 賈詡

Kia Yuu / 甄姫

Zhuge Dan / 諸葛誕

Fon Kyou/ 女媧

Gou Kai / 黃蓋

Ting Long / 凌統

Zhou Tou / 凌統

Syuu Tai / 周泰

Song Yu / / 周瑜

Yu Tang / 周瑜

Jin Nobunaga / 信長

Banü Ja / 女媧

Meng Lu / 呂蒙

Ryo Mou / 呂蒙

Lu Xun / 陸遜

Ka Diao / 大喬

Kyai Kou / 大喬

Deng Zing / 丁奉

Wei Hou / 丁奉

Jan Bing / 甘寧

Khan Yei / 甘寧

Guang Hai / 黃蓋

Son Riku / 陸遜

Yun Zhe / 孫策

Son Baku / 孫策

Jun Jian / 孫堅

Son Ken / 孫堅

Sun Quan / 孫權

Sun Shang / 孫尚香

Son Shouka / 孫尚香

Qin Taishi / / 太史慈

Taishi Ji / 太史慈

Xiao Qiao / 小喬

Syou Kyou / 小喬

Zhou Tai / 周泰

Touki Chiba/とーきち

Luk Pu/ 趙雲

Chun Li/ 趙雲

Long Bo / 諸葛亮

Hadu Ken/ 諸葛亮

Zan Gif/ 伏羲

Mi Bison/ 伏羲

Lu Beka/ 諸葛誕

Hung Pi/ 劉備

Lik Pu/ 劉備

Hu Lu/ 馬超

Jin Sho / 司馬昭

Wu Shou / 司馬昭

Por Ran/ 王元姫

Dok Kat/ 王元姫

Ban Zhou / 夏侯霸

Hakou Den / 夏侯霸

Kyo Cho / 許褚

Zhing Tze / 張郃

Kou Kou / 張郃

Zhang Liao / 張遼

Zhou Ryou / 張遼

Ji Khen / 甄姫

Ki Yuan / 甄姫

Zhuge Dan / 諸葛誕

Don Ka / 女媧

Toukichi / とーきち

Wenji Cao / 蔡文姫

Tai Bunji / 蔡文姫

Liao Pao / 曹操

Sou Sou / 曹操

Tao Pi / 曹丕

Sou Hi / 曹丕

Cao Ren / / 曹仁

Zhou Jin / 曹仁

Wian Wei / 典韋

Ten I / 典韋

Xu Jin / 賈詡

Xu Huang / 徐晃

Jo Kou / 徐晃

Xu Zhu / 許褚

Ka Ku / 賈詡

Pang De / 龐徳

Hou Toku / 龐徳

Dun Wo / 夏侯惇

Zaho Ton / 夏侯惇

Yuan Ti / 夏侯淵

Kakou En / 夏侯淵

Zhong Hui / 鍾會

slide15

Rustichello da Pisa was the author of The Travels of Marco Polo. He was a fairly well known writer before writing the book. A few scanned pages of his works are provided for analysis.

Table of Contents

The Romance of King Arthur … 3

The Magician’s Daughter ………. 237

Pixie and Gnome ………………... 423

Love in London ………………….. 675

Romantic Poems ………………… 804

Short Fiction Collection ………… 864

The Collected Works

of

Rustichelloda Pisa

MDCX

slide16

The Romance of King Arthur

Arthur rode over the hill and open before him were fields of the dark knight’s followers riding on their signature beasts. Their dark scales and enormous legs were unlike any other beast of the Earth. Each foot of the beast held six massive claws that could tear through even the largest of trees.

Arthur gripped Excalibur just a bit harder. He looked into the eyes of one of the beasts and saw the empty red stare that he had come to know very well. Maybe this wasn’t the time to make his move. He thought of Guinevere and steeled his nerve. He could not leave her trapped in the castle. It was now or never.

43

Rustichello da Pisa

slide17

Interrogation Transcript of Mr. Marco Polo

(Translated from original Italian)

(BEGIN AUDIO RECORDING)

MARCO POLO: (INAUDIBLE) because I really did go there!

DETECTIVE STONE: So, you went to China. How then do you explain your name not appearing in the records? Surely an Italian would have stood out enough to be in them right?

MARCO POLO: How do you know I’m not in the records? Do you speak Mongolian? You were looking for the name “Marco Polo” I assume? That’s not my Mongol name so why would it appear in the record that way?

DETECTIVE STONE: So, what is your Mongol name?

MARCO POLO: Look, why would I tell you? You’re the detective. Prove me guilty if you can but I’m not going to help you.

DETECTIVE STONE: Fine. Why didn’t you write about The Great Wall or (INAUDIBLE) in your book?

MARCO POLO: The great what? The only thing “great” in China was the Kahn. There were walls around the cities sure but nothing called a “Great Wall” As for the other thing, I’ve never heard of it either. We drank goat’s milk, water and wine. Nothing like what you’re describing – are you trying to trick me?!

DETECTIVE STONE: Is there anything you left out of your book that you’d like to go on record as seeing?

MARCO POLO: Did you even read the book? I said at the end I saw twice as much as I could ever describe in a book. Of course I saw more.

DETECTIVE STONE: Anything specific?

MARCO POLO: Not that I’d want to tell you.

DETECTIVE STONE: I can see you aren’t going to cooperate – just one final question. Can you tell me what this says?

MARCO POLO: (INAUDIBLE) so I don’t know – mostly looks like some kind of squiggle writing.

DETECTIVE STONE: It’s Chinese – are you sure you don’t know what it says?

MARCO POLO: I never bothered to learn Chinese so no; I don’t know what it says. I’m done with this nonsense. I have nothing more to say.

(END AUDIO RECORDING)