Was Marco Polo’s birthplace in Croatia?
Marco Polo, a Venetian merchant and explorer, journeyed from Europe to Asia between 1271 and 1295. He authored ‘Il Milione,’ which is recognized as ‘The Travels of Marco Polo’ in English. Born in 1254, Marco Polo’s birthplace was situated within the Venetian empire, spanning the area between Venice and Constantinople.
The facts that connect him to Croatia rather than Italy is that what is now viewed as the “Marco Polo House” was once owned by a family with the surname “Depolo,” which is a variation of the surname “Polo.” And Depolo is, at its origin, a Dalmatian name. Marko Polo’s father, who had the surname Pilic, was Dalmatian, and that he changed his name later in life. The lack of evidence makes the Korčula theory as a specific birthplace strongly disputed but his birth house is a nice museum in the medieval city on the island with the same name.
Marco Polo’s stories about his travels in Asia were published as a book called The Description of the World, later known as The Travels of Marco Polo.
Just a few years after returning to Venice from China, Marco commanded a ship in a war against the rival city of Genoa. He was eventually captured and sentenced to a Genoese prison, where he met a fellow prisoner and writer named Rustichello. As the two men became friends, Marco told Rustichello about his time in Asia, what he’d seen, where he’d travelled and what he’d accomplished.
The book made Marco a famous person. It was printed in French, Italian and Latin, becoming the most popular read in Europe. But few readers allowed themselves to believe Marco’s tale. They took it to be fiction, the construct of a man with a wild imagination.
“When a man is riding through this desert by night and for some reason -falling asleep or anything else -he gets separated from his companions and wants to rejoin them, he hears spirit voices talking to him as if they were his companions, sometimes even calling him by name.”