Wonders and Whoppers

Following in Marco Polo’s footsteps through Asia leads our intrepid author to some surprising conclusions

Polo wrote of men with dogs’ features (a French illustration, c. 1412), among several other fantastic creatures. (Bibliothèque Nationale/ AKG Images)
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Some readers took notice of things "which are reckoned past all credence," as a Dominican friar recorded. When Polo was dying, in 1324, friends urged him to remove "everything that went beyond the facts," presumably to cleanse his soul.

Polo refused, saying he had not written half of what he had seen. He might have added: "And only half of what Rustichello and I invented."

Mike Edwards covered 6,000 miles in Marco Polo's footsteps.


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