Join us on a literary world trip!
Add this book to bookshelf
Grey
Write a new comment Default profile 50px
Grey
Subscribe to read the full book or read the first pages for free!
All characters reduced
The Mysteries of the Marco Polo Maps - cover

The Mysteries of the Marco Polo Maps

Benjamin B. Olshin

Publisher: The University of Chicago Press

  • 0
  • 0
  • 0

Summary

What’s the truth behind the travels of Marco Polo? “A fascinating tale about maps, history and exploration.”—Times Literary Supplement (UK)   In the thirteenth century, Italian merchant and explorer Marco Polo traveled from Venice to the far reaches of Asia, a journey he chronicled in a narrative titled Il Milione, later known as The Travels of Marco Polo. While Polo’s writings would go on to inspire the likes of Christopher Columbus, scholars have long debated their veracity. Some have argued that Polo never even reached China—while others believe that he came as far as the Americas.   Now, there’s new evidence for this historical puzzle: a very curious collection of fourteen little-known maps and related documents said to have belonged to the family of Marco Polo himself. Here, historian of cartography Benjamin B. Olshin offers the first credible book-length analysis of these artifacts, charting their course from obscure origins in the private collection of Italian-American immigrant Marcian Rossi in the 1930s; to investigations of their authenticity by the Library of Congress, J. Edgar Hoover, and the FBI; to the work of the late cartographic scholar Leo Bagrow; to Olshin’s own efforts to track down and study the Rossi maps, all but one of which are in the possession of Rossi’s great-grandson. Are the maps forgeries, facsimiles, or modernized copies? Did Marco Polo’s daughters—whose names appear on several of the artifacts—preserve in them geographic information about Asia first recorded by their father? Or did they inherit maps created by him? Did Marco Polo entrust the maps to an admiral with links to Rossi’s family line? Or, if the maps have no connection to Marco Polo, who made them, when, and why? Regardless of the maps’ provenance, this tale takes us on a fascinating journey, offering insights into Italian history, the age of exploration, and the wonders of cartography.   “Olshin’s book tugs powerfully at the imagination of anybody interested in the Polo story, medieval history, old maps, geographical ideas, European voyages of discovery, and early Chinese legends.”—The Wall Street Journal

Other books that might interest you

  • Socrates in Love - The Making of a Philosopher - cover

    Socrates in Love - The Making of...

    Armand D’Angour

    • 1
    • 1
    • 0
    An innovative and insightful exploration of the passionate early life of Socrates and the influences that led him to become the first and greatest of philosophers 
     
    Socrates: the philosopher whose questioning gave birth to the ideas of Western thought, and whose execution marked the end of the Athenian Golden Age. Yet despite his pre-eminence among the great thinkers of history, little of his life story is known. What we know tends to begin in his middle age and end with his trial and death. Our conception of Socrates has relied upon Plato and Xenophon – men who met him when he was in his fifties and a well-known figure in war-torn Athens. 
      
    There is mystery at the heart of Socrates' story: what turned the young Socrates into a philosopher? What drove him to pursue with such persistence, at the cost of social acceptance and ultimately of his life, a whole new way of thinking about the meaning of existence? 
      
     In this revisionist biography, Armand D'Angour draws on neglected sources to explore the passions and motivations of young Socrates, showing how love transformed him into the philosopher he was to become. What emerges is the figure of Socrates as never previously portrayed: a heroic warrior, an athletic wrestler and dancer – and a passionate lover. Socrates in Love sheds new light on the formative journey of the philosopher, finally revealing the identity of the woman who Socrates claimed inspired him to develop ideas that have captivated thinkers for 2,500 years.
    Show book
  • The Canterbury Tales - cover

    The Canterbury Tales

    Geoffrey Chaucer

    • 0
    • 1
    • 0
    One spring day, the Narrator of The Canterbury Tales rents a room at the Tabard Inn before he recommences his journey to Canterbury. That evening, a group of people arrive at the inn, all of whom are also going to Canterbury to receive the blessings of "the holy blissful martyr," St. Thomas à Becket. Calling themselves "pilgrims" because of their destination, they accept the Narrator into their company. The Narrator describes his newfound traveling companions.
    
    The Host at the inn, Harry Bailey, suggests that, to make the trip to Canterbury pass more pleasantly, each member of the party tell two tales on the journey to Canterbury and two more tales on the journey back. The person who tells the best story will be rewarded with a sumptuous dinner paid for by the other members of the party. The Host decides to accompany the pilgrims to Canterbury and serve as the judge of the tales. (non illustrated)
    Show book
  • A Pluralistic Universe - cover

    A Pluralistic Universe

    William James

    • 1
    • 1
    • 0
    In May 1908 William James, a gifted and popular lecturer, delivered a series of eight Hibbert Lectures at Manchester College, Oxford, on “The Present Situation in Philosophy.” These were published in 1909 as "A Pluralistic Universe."
    
    In “A Pluralistic Universe” James captures a new philosophic vision, at once intimate and realistic. He shares with his readers a view of the universe that is fresh, active, and novel. He defends the mystical and anti-pragmatic view that concepts distort rather than reveal reality. 
    The message conveyed is as relevant today as it was in his time.
    Show book