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'Marco Polo never reached China, compiled Orient stories in book from fellow traders'

Rome, Wed, 10 Aug 2011 ANI

Rome, Aug 10 (ANI): Thirteenth century Italian world traveler Marco Polo might never have visited China, but is reported to have gathered his stories about the mysterious Orient from fellow traders and compiled them into a book, Italian archaeologists have claimed.


They believe that fellow traders around the Black Sea must have related tales of China, Japan and the Mongol Empire in the 13th century to him, which he compiled in his book-'The Travels of Marco Polo', believed to be one of the first travel books that gives an account of his journeys through Persia, Asia and the Far East between 1271 and 1291, The Daily Mail reports.


Although Marco Polo is hailed as one of history's greatest explorers, archaeologists are now suspicious of how genuine his tales actually are.


The doubters 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.


"He confuses the two, mixing up details about the first expedition with those of the second. In his account of the first invasion, he describes the fleet leaving Korea and being hit by a typhoon before it reached the Japanese coast," Professor Daniele Petrella of the University of Naples, the leader of the archaeology team, said.


"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 said 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.


"It was during our dig that doubts began to emerge about much of what he wrote," Professor Petrella said, adding that "when he describes Kublai Khan's fleet, he talks about the pitch that was used to make ships' hulls watertight. He used the word 'chunam', which in Chinese and Mongol means nothing." (ANI)


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