字幕列表 影片播放 列印英文字幕 Marco Polo is born in 1254 in Venice into a wealthy 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 Berke, where 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 say a gold 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 sea, but 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 discover a variety 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 there, and 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 capital, he discovers bills made from mulberry bark. Once dried, blackened, and with the imperial seal, they 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 flat, with 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 Khinzai, the 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 princess Kökechin, accompanied by an embassy of 600 people. The Polos take advantage of this and join the expedition, which 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 dead, struggle 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 entitled “The 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.