Marco Polo may have never gone to Asia

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Italian archaeologists have claimed that the ancient Italian world traveler Marco Polo might have never been to Asia and compiled the orient stories in his book from other traders’ experience. 

This illustration shows Marco Polo and his fellow explorers along the Silk Road to China [Credit: MPI/Getty Images]

Marco Polo, who is renowned as one of the history’s pioneer explorers, is now under the suspicion of archaeologists puzzled with the question of how genuine his stories actually are. 

They believe that orient description featured in Marco Polo’s travelogue The Travels of Marco Polo as one of the first travel books, is not his own experience from his journeys through Persia, Asia and the Far East between 1271 and 1291. 

They say that fellow traders around the Black Sea must have narrated their own tales of China, Japan and the Mongol Empire in the 13th century to him and then Polo gathered them in his book, Daily Maill reports. 

The doubtful archaeologists told Italian history magazine Focus Storia that there were numerous inconsistencies and inaccuracies in Marco Polo’s description of Kublai Khan’s attempted invasions of Japan in 1274 and 1281. 

They say they noticed two paradoxical mixing up details about the first expedition with those of the second one. 

“In his account of the first invasion, Marco Polo describes the fleet leaving Korea and being hit by a typhoon before it reached the Japanese coast,” said the professor of the University of Naples and the leader of the archaeology team, Daniele Petrella. 

“But that happened in 1281; is it really possible that a supposed eye witness could confuse events which were seven years apart?” he asked. 

He also stated that Polo’s description of the Mongol fleet did not match with the remains of ships that the team had excavated in Japan, as he had written of ships with five masts, while those which had been found had only three.  

Source: Press TV [August 13, 2011]

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