ROME (Reuters) – On January 9, 1324, the Venetian traveler, service provider and author Marco Polo was making ready for his last journey – to the afterlife that he as a God-fearing Christian was sure existed.
Aged 70, Polo summoned a priest-notary to his residence in Venice to report his phrases in Latin on a sheepskin measuring about 67 x 27 cm (26 x 10 inches).
Now, a three-year research of the need by students and historians affords a contemporary glimpse into Polo in addition to extra assist for the commonly-held view that he visited China, which some historians had questioned.
Venice’s Nationwide Marciana Library, custodian of the need, has co-published a large-format ebook, which accommodates a parchment replica of the practically 700-year-old will, together with marks left when the sheep was sheared and ink stains on the writing aspect.
The work, referred to as “Ego Marcus Paulo Volo et Ordino” (“I, Marco Polo, Want and Order”), is meant principally for collectors, historical past buffs and libraries. It was produced with Scrinium, a Venetian publishing home.
“The final ‘diplomatic transcription’ of the need is 150 years outdated,” mentioned Stefano Della Zana, Scrinium’s cultural director, referring to the time period utilized by consultants who research historic letters and handwriting to provide trendy interpretations.
“This was carried out with the most recent scientific methods and scholarly requirements of philology, so earlier errors have been corrected,” he mentioned.
In a single case, a scribbled Latin phrase that had beforehand been believed to consult with cloth was corrected to imply a residence.
One of many causes of the misunderstanding, in response to Professor Attilio Bartoli Langeli, was as a result of the notary’s handwriting was “decidedly dangerous cursive script, awkward and careless”.
Polo left cash to Church establishments in Venice, forgave excellent money owed, and freed his indentured servant, a Tatar he had named Peter, “in order that God could absolve my soul from all guilt and sin”.
Within the late 20th century a couple of historians argued that Polo by no means made it to China however picked up tales of the Mongol Empire from Persian retailers he met on the Black Sea.
Most historians have rejected this view and Della Zana mentioned the truth that Polo’s servant was a Tatar, who have been a Mongol individuals, helps proof that he did get to China.
Additional proof lies in a listing of Polo’s possessions that surfaced after his demise and listed objects from the far east, corresponding to costly musk.
Other than the cash bequeathed to the Church, Polo left practically all the things else to his spouse and three daughters. Della Zana mentioned this was unusual as a result of it was then customary for males with out sons to depart their belongings to male members of the prolonged household.
“In that sense, he was nicely forward of his occasions,” Della Zana mentioned.
Reporting By Philip Pullella; modifying by David Stamp