Marco Polo 's Influence On The World Of The 18th Century

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Marco Polo was born in the thirteenth century (1254 A.D.) in Venice, an Italian city-state, and he was very much a man of his time. He had the standard education for a young gentleman — knowledge of classical authors and the basic beliefs of the church, a good grasp of French and Italian, and skills in accounting. This combination is fortunate for us, since his writings offer a window onto the world of the thirteenth century. His knowledge of culture and business made Marco Polo very observant of humans, animals, and plants, as well as anything that might touch upon commercial opportunities. He was observant about cultures that were very different from his own and able to describe them without much bias. European nations and city-states…show more content…
The World Marco Polo Knew The Europe that Marco Polo knew was a collection of small nations and city-states constantly competing with one another. In the north the French empire was the strongest. To the east, northern German and Baltic city-states were united in a loose federation called the Hanseatic League. Scandinavian countries were relatively weak. In the south, southern German states were only loosely united and the Italian citystates were fiercely competitive, with Genoa and Venice especially bitter rivals. (After Marco Polo returned to Venice from China, he participated in a sea battle between Venice and Genoa. He was captured and imprisoned in Genoa, and it was during his imprisonment that he dictated his book.) Nearly all states were involved in wars with one anoother. Either the religious organization — the Roman Catholic Church — or the political entity — the Holy Roman Empire — could have been a unifying force, but they also were also locked in competition for power. In Asia Minor, the power of the Byzantine empire was in decline, and the power of the Turkish Ottoman Empire was increasing. In addition, Europe was still involved in its own Holy War against the "infidels" — the Crusades. By contrast, the Mongol empire presented for a brief time in the thirteenth century a model of unity. A loose federation of separate nomadic tribes in most times, the
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