Marco and the Polos 4: Did You Go to China, Marco?

Marco Polo with Bow and Sword

In this episode, I look at the question of whether Marco actually went to China. Some have thought he did not at all or only made it to Kublai's capital. I also talk about what he was actually doing there if/when he reached China, what he tells us, and what he might have told the khan. There's the Siege of Xiangyang, war with the Southern Song, the theories of Frances Wood, and all that Marco does and does not say of his time with the khan and in his capital at Dadu or Khanbaliq. 

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If you like what you hear, my Patreon is here, my Ko-fi is here, and Paypal is here.

Sources:

  • The Travels of Marco Polo, the Venetian, translated by William Marsden, edited by Thomas Wright. George Bell & Sons, 1907.

  • The Travels of Marco Polo: The Complete Yule-Cordier Edition, translated by Henry Yule and revised by Henri Cordier. Courier Corporation, 1993.

  • Haw, Stephen G. Marco Polo's China: A Venetian in the Realm of Khubilai Khan. Routledge, 2006.

  • Larner, John. Marco Polo and the Discovery of the World. Yale University Press, 1999.

  • Man, John. Marco Polo: The Journey that Changed the World. HarperCollins, 2009.

  • Olschki, Leonardo. Marco Polo's Asia. University of California Press, 1960.

  • Rossabi, Morris. Khubilai Khan: His Life and Times. University of California Press, 1988.

  • Vogel, Hans Ulrich. Marco Polo was in China: New Evidence from Currencies, Salts and Revenues. Brill Academic Pub, 2012.


Marco and the Polos 3: Marco and the Great, Great Khan

In the Marco Polo text, Kublai Khan is seen carried about, on hunts and at war, by up to 4 elephants.

Marco Polo was a tremendous admirer of Kublai Khan and of his Genghisid legacy more generally. This episode, we explore that admiration, the character of Kublai, and the anecdote of the treacherous minister. You'll hear about the khan at his summer palace of Shangdu, the rebellion of Nayan (with the support of Kaidu), the role of Liu Bingzhong, and the story of Ahmed. I also posted a written addition to this episode here

(MP3)

If you like what you hear, my Patreon is here, my Ko-fi is here, and Paypal is here.

Sources:

  • The Travels of Marco Polo, the Venetian, translated by William Marsden, edited by Thomas Wright. George Bell & Sons, 1907.

  • Larner, John. Marco Polo and the Discovery of the World. Yale University Press, 1999.

  • Man, John. Marco Polo: The Journey that Changed the World. HarperCollins, 2009.

  • Olschki, Leonardo. Marco Polo's Asia. University of California Press, 1960.

  • Rossabi, Morris. Khubilai Khan: His Life and Times. University of California Press, 1988.


Marco and the Polos 2: Of Assassins and Other Things

Marco leaves Venice.jpg

The three Polos depart for the summer palace of Kublai Khan. There'll be Assassins, baked corpses, and papal elections along the way! There'll be the conclusion of the longest of interregnums with the election of Gregory X, the threat of Mamluk attacks, the remnants of Alexander the Great, Prester John, Ong Khan, and Shangdu.

(MP3)

If you like what you hear, my Patreon is here, my Ko-fi is here, and Paypal is here.

Sources:

  • The Travels of Marco Polo, the Venetian, translated by William Marsden, edited by Thomas Wright. George Bell & Sons, 1907.

  • The Mission of Friar William of Rubruck, translated by Peter Jackson. The Hakluyt Society, 1990.

  • Cathay and the Way Thither, Being a Collection of Medieval Notices of China, Vol. III, translated and edited by Henry Yule and Henri Cordier. London, 1916.

  • Ackroyd, Peter. Venice: Pure City. Chatto & Windus, 2009.

  • Daftary, Farhad. The Assassin Legends. I. B. Tauris, 1994.

  • Larner, John. Marco Polo and the Discovery of the World. Yale University Press, 1999.

  • Madden, Thomas F. Venice: A New History. Viking, 2012.

  • Olschki, Leonardo. Marco Polo's Asia. University of California Press, 1960.

  • Steinhardt, Nancy Shatzman. Chinese Imperial City Planning. University of Hawaii Press, 1999.


Marco and the Polos 1: From Venice to the World

the polos.jpeg

The journey of Venice's most famous merchant and traveller begins today, but we won't see much of him in this episode. We'll look at Venice in the early 13th century and touch on the 4th crusade, Mediterranean-Asian trade, and the Pax Mongolica, before following the other Polos, Niccolo and Maffeo, east on their own little adventure. Enjoy! 

(MP3)

If you like what you hear, my Patreon is here, my Ko-fi is here, and Paypal is here.

Sources:

  • The Travels of Marco Polo, the Venetian, translated by Willam Marsden, edited by Thomas Wright. George Bell & Sons, 1907.

  • The Mission of Friar William of Rubruck, translated by Peter Jackson. The Hakluyt Society, 1990.

  • Cathay and the Way Thither, Being a Collection of Medieval Notices of China, Vol. III, translated and edited by Henry Yule and Henri Cordier. London, 1916.

  • Abu-Lughod, Janet L. Before European Hegemony: The World System A.D. 1250-1350. Oxford University Press, 1989.

  • Ackroyd, Peter. Venice: Pure City. Chatto & Windus, 2009.

  • Ciociltan, Virgil. The Mongols and the Black Sea Trade in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries. Brill Academic, 2012.

  • Larner, John. Marco Polo and the Discovery of the World. Yale University Press, 1999.

  • Madden, Thomas F. Venice: A New History. Viking, 2012.

  • Olschki, Leonardo. Marco Polo's Asia. University of California Press, 1960.


To See the Mongols 7: Mongol Civil War

FallOfBaghdad.jpg

It’s a busy episode. We’re catching up on the Mongol world and all that was happening away from the specific journeys of European friars. That means the rise of Hulagu and Kublai, the Mongol expansion into Persia and Syria in the west and Song China in the east, the death of Mongke Khan, and a civil war over the future of the empire. Thanks for listening everybody!

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If you like what you hear, my Patreon is here, my Ko-fi is here, and Paypal is here.

Sources:

  • Al-Din, Rashid. The Successors of Genghis Khan, translated by John Andrew Boyle. Columbia University Press, 1971.

  • Asbridge, Thomas. The Crusades: The War for the Holy Land. Simon & Schuster, 2010.

  • Jackson, Peter. The Mongols and the Islamic World. Yale University Press, 2017.

  • Lambert, Malcolm. Crusade and Jihad: Origins, History, and Aftermath. Profile Books, 2012.

  • Man, John. Kublai Khan: From Xanadu to Superpower. Bantam Press, 2006.

  • Marshall, Robert. Storm from the East: From Genghis Khan to Khubilai Khan. University of California Press, 1993.

  • Rachewiltz, Igor de. Papal Envoys to the Great Khans. Faber & Faber, 1971.

  • Rossabi, Morris. Khublai Khan: His Life and Times. University of California Press, 1988.


To See the Mongols 6: The Road from Karakorum

William of Rubruck's route 1253-55.jpg

Friar William wraps up his affairs at the court of Mongke Khan and heads for home. Today, we cover his last audience with the khan, cross the walls of Alexander, and advise King Louis IX as to the future of the crusades. Thanks for listening!

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If you like what you hear, my Patreon is here, my Ko-fi is here, and Paypal is here.

Sources: 

  • Carpini, Giovanni. The Story of the Mongols: Whom we Call the Tartars, translated by Erik Hildinger. Branden Books, 1996.

  • The Mission of Friar William of Rubruck, translated by Peter Jackson. The Hakluyt Society, 1990.

  • The Mongol Mission: Narratives and Letters of the Franciscan Missionaries in Mongolia and China in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries, edited by Christopher Dawson. Sheed & Ward, 1955.

  • Rachewiltz, Igor de. Papal Envoys to the Great Khans. Faber & Faber, 1971.


To See the Mongols 5: The Great Debate

Mongke1.jpg

Friar William goes through stone-cracking cold, frozen toes, and the threat of demons to reach the camp of Mongke Khan. There, his interpreter causes him more problems, and he falls into the bizarre religious life of the camp before being drawn into a debate between Muslims, Buddhists, and Christians before the khan. Thanks for listening!

(MP3)

If you like what you hear, my Patreon is here, my Ko-fi is here, and Paypal is here.

 Sources: 

  • Carpini, Giovanni. The Story of the Mongols: Whom we Call the Tartars, translated by Erik Hildinger. Branden Books, 1996.

  • The Mission of Friar William of Rubruck, translated by Peter Jackson. The Hakluyt Society, 1990.

  • The Mongol Mission: Narratives and Letters of the Franciscan Missionaries in Mongolia and China in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries, edited by Christopher Dawson. Sheed & Ward, 1955.

  • Gladysz, Mikolaj. The Forgotten Crusaders: Poland and the Crusader Movement in the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries, translated by Paul Barford. Brill, 2012.

  • Jackson, Peter. The Mongols and the West: 1221-1410. Pearson Longman, 2005.

  • Morgan, David. The Mongols. Blackwell, 1986.

  • Rachewiltz, Igor de. Papal Envoys to the Great Khans. Faber & Faber, 1971.


To See the Mongols 4: A William Leaves Town

Mongols.jpg

We go east again this episode, in the company of a friar who carried a letter to the son of Batu Khan. Was he there on behalf of King Louis IX? Was his mission more personally religious in nature? Why was he so concerned with the noses of Mongol women? All (or most) will be revealed... Thanks for listening!

(MP3)

If you like what you hear, my Patreon is here, my Ko-fi is here, and Paypal is here.

Sources:  

  • Carpini, Giovanni. The Story of the Mongols: Whom we Call the Tartars, translated by Erik Hildinger. Branden Books, 1996.

  • The Mission of Friar William of Rubruck, translated by Peter Jackson. The Hakluyt Society, 1990.

  • The Mongol Mission: Narratives and Letters of the Franciscan Missionaries in Mongolia and China in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries, edited by Christopher Dawson. Sheed & Ward, 1955.

  • Jackson, Peter. The Mongols and the West: 1221-1410. Pearson Longman, 2005.

  • Morgan, David. The Mongols. Blackwell, 1986.

  • Rachewiltz, Igor de. Papal Envoys to the Great Khans. Faber & Faber, 1971.


To See the Mongols 3: An Interregnum

Ascelin of Lombary Delivers a Letter from Pope Innocent IV to Baiju the Mongol General.jpg

Today, a quick rewind into what it means to be a Mongol, some early reactions to the Mongol invasion, some King Louis IX, the death of a khan, and the question of who is to be next. Also, I horribly butcher Eljigidei's name (Sorry, Eljigidei). Thanks for listening!

(MP3)

If you like what you hear, my Patreon is here, my Ko-fi is here, and Paypal is here.

Sources:  

  • Carpini, Giovanni. The Story of the Mongols: Whom we Call the Tartars, translated by Erik Hildinger. Branden Books, 1996.

  • Joinville, Jean. The Memoirs of the Lord of Joinville. John Murray, 1906.

  • Paris, Matthew. English History. From the Year 1235 to 1273, translated by J. A. Giles. George Bell & Sons, 1889.

  • The Mission of Friar William of Rubruck, translated by Peter Jackson. The Hakluyt Society, 1990.

  • The Mongol Mission: Narratives and Letters of the Franciscan Missionaries in Mongolia and China in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries, edited by Christopher Dawson. Sheed & Ward, 1955.

  • The Secret History of the Mongols, translated by Urgunge Onon. RoutledgeCurzon, 2001.

  • Jackson, Peter. The Mongols and the West: 1221-1410. Pearson Longman, 2005.

  • Jackson, Peter. "Medieval Christendom's Encounter with the Alien," in Travellers, Intellectuals, and the World Beyond Medieval Europe, edited by James Muldoon, 347-369. Routledge, 2016.

  • Man, John. Kublai Khan. Bantam, 2007.

  • Morgan, David. The Mongols. Blackwell, 1986.

  • Rachewiltz, Igor de. Papal Envoys to the Great Khans. Faber & Faber, 1971.

  • Waterfield, Robin. Christians in Persia. Allen & Unwin, 1973.


To See the Mongols 2: A New Khan

Pope Innocent IV Sends Dominicans and Franciscans to the Mongols

Giovanni Carpine returns, to the podcast, and to Lyon. This episode we hear about his journey to the kurultai, the great council which raised Guyuk as the new great khan, his diplomatic dealings with Guyuk, and the news and views he brought home with him. Thanks for listening!

(MP3)

If you like what you hear, my Patreon is here, my Ko-fi is here, and Paypal is here.

Sources:

  • Carpini, Giovanni. The Story of the Mongols: Whom we Call the Tartars, translated by Erik Hildinger. Branden Books, 1996.

  • The Mongol Mission: Narratives and Letters of the Franciscan Missionaries in Mongolia and China in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries, edited by Christopher Dawson. Sheed & Ward, 1955.

  • The Secret History of the Mongols, translated by Urgunge Onon. RoutledgeCurzon, 2001.

  • Jackson, Peter. The Mongols and the West: 1221-1410. Pearson Longman, 2005.

  • Jackson, Peter. "Medieval Christendom's Encounter with the Alien." In Travellers, Intellectuals, and the World Beyond Medieval Europe, edited by James Muldoon, 347-369. Routledge, 2016.

  • Marshall, Robert. Storm from the East: From Genghis Khan to Khubilai Khan. University of California Press, 1993.

  • Morgan, David. The Mongols. Blackwell, 1986.

  • Rachewiltz, Igor de. Papal Envoys to the Great Khans. Faber & Faber, 1971.