Did Marco Polo Go to China?
Having recently watched two documentaries regarding Polo's travels, I am now in some doubt as to whether the Venetian got beyond Constantinople .....
The two documentaries are:
ZDF - The Secret File of Marco Polo (2014)
Did Marco Polo, the most illustrious traveller in history, ever venture to China? A debate continues as to whether the Venetian's book is actually a personal account of China's 13th-century Middle Kingdom and its marvels. Scientists, western scholars and Chinese historians have uncovered striking new evidence that the son of Venetian merchants had travelled to the mysterious middle kingdom.
National Geographic - Mystery Files: Season 2 (2011)
We reveal that despite the book suggesting he spent 20 years in the court of the Chinese emperor, there is no mention of Marco in Chinese records. Marco Polo’s last will and testament remains unsigned and even the inventory of his possessions made on his death has question marks hanging over it. Our experts examine all the best evidence. Did Marco Polo, or any European, travel so far into China so long ago? Are the famous tales really based on Marco Polo’s travels? And did a man named Marco Polo even exist?
On the one hand, several elements of the original early manuscript (reconstructed) are startlingly accurate and ring true but, on the other hand, the original manuscript was written by the fantasist Rustichello da Pisa and the early reconstructions are conspicuous by their failure to mention a number of things and practices commonly associated with China, such as the Chinese characters, tea, chopsticks, and footbinding.
The "zealots" point to the accuracies as proof while the "sceptics" point to the discrepancies ..... you pays yer money and you takes yer choice .....
Well, I haven't paid yet but I lean towards the "thief and braggart" end of the spectrum of appraisal .....