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  • Marco Polo is born in 1254 in Venice intowealthy family of traveling merchants.

  • At this time, the Republic of Venice controls the main  maritime trade routes in the Mediterranean basin,  

  • importing Asian products, among others.

  • Asia is still very much unknown in Europe,

  • despite that a few years earlier, the Mongol Empire, during its conquests,

  • had shaken all of Europe by moving rapidly across the continent.

  • The situation has since calmed down, and only a handful of Europeans have ventured as far as Karakorum,

  • the capital of the Mongol Empire, for diplomatic and religious missions.

  • When Marco Polo is born, his father Niccolo is probably unaware that he now has a son,

  • and stays in Constantinople with his brother Maffeo to do business.

  • When Marco Polo is 5 years old, his mother dies.

  • At the same time, Niccolo and Maffeo, seeing tensions rising between the Latins and the Greeks,

  • leave Constantinople and go to do business in Asia.

  • They enter the Golden Horde and reach the capital Sarai Berkewhere they sell jewels to the court of the Khan.

  • They then continue their journey and reach Bukhara, where they reside for several years.

  • The Great Kublai Khan, the grandson of Genghis Khan, hears about the two Venetians and wants to meet them.

  • They are escorted to him. Kublai Khan  entrusts them with a letter intended for the Pope,

  • inviting the pontiff to send Christian scholars to him.

  • The Polo brothers then leave for Europe, with the help of a Paiza,

  • that is to saygold tablet that allows them to travel safely throughout the Mongolian empire,

  • obtaining free accommodation and food.

  • After 3 years of travel, they arrive in Venice, and Niccolo discovers his son Marco Polo, who is now 15 years old.

  • But the previous year, Pope Clement IV died, and the cardinals are slow in finding a successor.

  • After two years of waiting, while the election of the pope drags on,

  • the Polos give up their mission and leave again, so as not to keep the Great Khan waiting.

  • This time, Marco Polo accompanies them.

  • They reach Acre, from where they depart to Ayas in the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia, allied to the Mongol Empire.

  • But at the same time, in Viterbo in Italy, the cardinals finally agree to elect a new pope.

  • It is Teobaldo Visconti, who lives in Acre and who met the Polos.

  • Learning of his coronation, Visconti urgently sends a messenger to Ayas to catch up with them.

  • On their return, the new Pope, who will be renamed Gregory X,

  • gives them letters intended for the Great Khan, and two Dominican monks join the expedition.

  • The five men set out again to Ayas, but Cilicia is threatened by the Mamluks,

  • as the two powers compete on trade  between Asia and Europe.

  • Feeling insecure, the two monks decide to turn back.

  • The three Polo men continue alone and enter the Ilkhanate.

  • They pass by Tabriz, the capital.

  • Marco Polo is amazed by the markets in the city, and the numerous colored carpets.

  • They then continue on their journey  southward through arid zones to reach Hormuz,

  • whose port is a starting point towards the Indies and the Far East, from where spices and precious stones come.

  • The Polos planned to leave by seabut they are not reassured by the Arab ships called dhows,

  • which to them seem too unstable to  face storms.

  • They therefore decide to continue on foot, via the land routes of the Silk Road.

  • They reach the high plateaus of Pamir, surrounded by immense mountains,

  • where they discovervariety of mouflon which is today called the Marco Polo sheep.

  • Arriving at Kashgar, they pass to the south,

  • in a short corridor between the Taklamakan Desert and the elevated Tibetan Plateau.

  • Then they reach the first Chinese city, Ganzhou, today called Zhangye.

  • They discover there Buddhism, which is completely unknown to them.

  • In a temple in the city is the largest reclining Buddha in China.

  • They stay there for a while, until an escort comes to get them.

  • Since the Polo brothers' stay in Karakorum eight years earlier, the situation has changed.

  • The Mongols are at war with the Song Dynasty that they are now conquering,

  • and Kublai Khan has founded the Yuan  Dynasty, moving his capital to Khanbaliq,

  • the city of the Khan, now known as Beijing.

  • Three hundred kilometers to the north is Xanadu, the summer capital.

  • In 1274, the Polo family arrives thereand they stay in the sumptuous marble palace.

  • Marco Polo seems to have made a good impression on the Great Khan, who decides to hire him in his diplomatic service.

  • We don't know exactly what his function is, but we do know that he will travel to the farthest reaches of China.

  • In the capitalhe discovers bills made from mulberry bark.

  • Once dried, blackened, and with the imperial sealthey are exchanged for gold and precious stones.

  • This is probably the first time that a European has discovered banknotes.

  • In one or more trips, he explores the Southwest.

  • He is quickly impressed by the highly developed road system.

  • Trees are planted all along the roads to make them visible from afar, to stop people from getting lost in winter,

  • and to protect them from the sun in summer.

  • Every 25 to 30 miles, an imperial post house provides lodging and horses

  • to the merchants and messengers of the Great Khan,

  • which make it possible to circulate information very quickly throughout the empire.

  • After crossing Sichuan and the Yunnan mountains, he reaches the Mekong River,

  • which forms the border with the Kingdom of Pagan.

  • The latter is defeated by the Mongols, who occupy the capital Pagan from 1287.

  • It might therefore be possible that Marco Polo went there

  • and saw the thousands of temples and Pagodas, which were covered with gold.

  • Marco Polo also explored the Southeast.

  • Here, after crossing the Yellow River, the landscape is flatwith huge expanses of water, allowing for massive rice production.

  • He arrives in Yangiu, where he says he had replaced the governor for three years.

  • Further south, he discovers Suzhou, a city with many canals, which is known as the City of Silk.

  • Finally, he arrives in Khinzaithe ancient capital of the Song dynasty.

  • The city is huge and very modern, with paved roads, which are still very rare in Europe,

  • and numerous stone houses in the center.

  • Marco Polo stays there for three years, and probably plays an important administrative role.

  • In any case, he has access to secret information such as the amount of taxes collected by the Great Khan,

  • especially from the salt trade.

  • Finally, he reaches Quanzhou, which he names Zaiton, and which is a huge international commercial port.

  • After 16 years in China, the three Polo men wish to return to Venice.

  • At the same time, an embassy sent by the Ilkhan asks Kublai Khan for a new wife to replace his deceased queen.

  • The latter accepts, and sends the princesskechinaccompanied by an embassy of 600 people.

  • The Polos take advantage of this and join the expeditionwhich leave Zaiton aboard 14 ships.

  • At Sumatra, they make a stopover for 5 months to await the end of the Monsoon.

  • Marco Polo sees elephants and Sumatran rhinoceroses, which he calls unicorns.

  • Finally, the embassy leaves and reaches Ceylon, which abounds in precious stones and pearls.

  • After sailing along the western coast of India, they reach Hormuz,

  • then go back to Tabriz to deliver the princess.

  • Once their mission is accomplished, the Polos set out again towards the West, until Trebizond,

  • where they are attacked and stripped of part of their wealth.

  • Finally, they set sail and reach Venice 24 years after their departure.

  • Their family, who thought they were deadstruggle to recognize them.

  • A few years later, a conflict breaks out between Venice and its great rival Genoa.

  • Marco Polo, during a battle, is made prisoner.

  • He is incarcerated with a certain Rustichello da Pisa, a writer and poet.

  • Marco Polo dictates to him in detail what he has observed in Asia,

  • and Rustichello takes notes and writes a book entitledThe travels of Marco  Polo”.

  • After the peace between Genoa and Venice, Marco Polo is released, and his book quickly becomes a big success.

  • It's translated and copied manually dozens of times, probably resulting  in some errors or changes.

  • Europe discovers Asia, and is now passionate about the riches of this continent.

  • Marco Polo marries Donata, with whom he has three daughters, and dies in 1324 at the age of 69.

  • More than two centuries later, his book will still inspire many explorers,

  • such as Christopher Columbus who, during his travels in America,

  • thinking to be in Asia, has long sought to meet the Great Khan.

  • More recently, some question Marco Polo's journey,

  • especially as it lacks elements that today seem indispensable,

  • such as the Great Wall of China, tea, or  Chinese calligraphy.

  • On the other hand, Marco Polo sometimes describes in a very precise way certain details that he could not have invented,

  • and which seem to prove that he saw them with his own eyes.

  • Additionally, Marco Polo has not been found in Chinese archives,

  • but it's very likely that he was known under another name.

  • Finally, some passages describe legends, or regions that he  could not have seen,

  • given his itinerary, but of which he may have heard, such as oil springs in  the Caucasus,

  • or Japan, which he named Cipango.

Marco Polo is born in 1254 in Venice intowealthy family of traveling merchants.

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The Travels of Marco Polo - Summary on a Map(The Travels of Marco Polo - Summary on a Map)

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    香蕉先生 發佈於 2022 年 07 月 01 日
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