Mongols in World History | Asia for Educators

Marco Polo (1254-1324)

No portraits of Marco Polo that were completed during his lifetime have survived to this day.

This particular depiction of the Italian merchant and adventurer accompanies a much later version of the Marco Polo text, Il Milione, or The Travels of Marco Polo, as it is more commonly known in its English translation.

According to his own account, Marco Polo stayed in China from 1275 to 1291 and returned to Europe with extraordinary tales of his adventures in Persia, China, Central Asia, Armenia, and Southeast Asia, among other places.

For an assessment of Marco's writings:
Marco Polo's Asia, by Leonardo Olschki (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1960)

For a refutation of the view that Marco Polo did not reach China:
"Marco Polo Went to China," by Igor de Rachewiltz (Zentralasiatische Studien 27, 1997), pp. 34-92