Marko Polo and Korcula by dr. Zivan Filippi
Million - a Wondrous Book about the Wonders of the World
Marko Polo described his voyage and his life cycle in the book Million in the French language, which he dictated to a writer of knightly romances, one Rusticiano or Rustichello from Pisa, while in the Genoese prison after the battle off Korcula in 1298.
Marko Polo manifested in this book his undisputed talent as a great story teller, inquiring traveller, connoisseur of various races and culture, historian, cartographer ... The original title of the book "Description of the World" speaks about Marko's ambition that his book becomes an extensive cosmography, a complete account of the then unknown biggest continent - Asia. It is "one of the greatest books of all times". Marko's descriptions and remarks are very objective and self-reticent.
The notes, which he was jotting down for more than 25 years, served him well in presenting in detail the great variety customs and people, of which many are bordering on the fantastic. His cultural approach to various races, peoples, and religions is, for the thirteenth century, outside any of the established canons. He was always impressed by beauty - of woman, character, landscape.
The narration of the book follows quite closely the real voyage of the Polos, but it branches often into descriptions of places which he had not visited himself but about which he heard from his friends. Typical digressions are those about Mesopotamia, the Assassins and their castles, Samarkand, Siberia, Japan, India, Ethiopia and Madagascar. The basic structure of the book is a quest for the Grail. The hero of medieval romance, in this case one young Venetian and Korculan, Marko Polo, goes in search of the far away worlds and for exciting adventures which will reveal his talents, bring him glory, eventually to return in his orbiting cycle to the place from which he started his voyage.
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