Marco Polo was no doubt one of the most influential explorers in the world. His tales of the East opened the minds of the Europeans, and his tales were a catalyst for the Age of Exploration in Europe. His influence on geographical exploration was so pivotal that many years later Christopher Columbus used Marco Polo’s book on his voyage to the New World. Marco Polo’s book, The Travels of Marco Polo, was widely published and thousands of copies were printed in different languages. However, many skeptics believe that Marco Polo never actually set foot in China, but used other traveler’s accounts of China as his own. Despite Marco Polo’s huge influence on Europe, the false and wildly exaggerated claims and the amount of Chinese Culture he failed to mention in his book made it evident that Marco Polo was really a fraud and never really made it to China.
Historians have questioned Marco Polo’s credibility with his many dubious claims in his book, suggesting that he also fabricated his story about setting foot in China. One false claim Marco Polo made was that he assisted Kublai Khan as a military advisor during the siege of Hsyiang-Yang. According to records, the Chinese siege ended on January 1273, which was two years before Marco Polo actually got to northern China. Another doubtful claim Marco Polo made was that he was the governor of Yangzhou, and served as an ambassador under Kublai Khan. Yet despite his high-ranking positions, his name does not appear in any of the Chinese records. Historians have argued that Marco Polo’s publisher, Rusticello, might have exaggerated his stories to make it more interesting, but that just furthermore questions the credibility of Marco Polo’s book. If Marco Polo and Rusticello exaggerated and lied about so many things, they might have lied or exaggerated about Marco Polo even setting foot in China. In addition to his questionable claims, Marco Polo also fails to mention important aspects of 13th century Chinese life and...
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