Mongol Group c2

Is Marco Polo’s description of cities and stories in Chapter 1 reliable?

Kerman and Hormos

Introduction

Marco Polo was a famous Venetian explorer who journeyed through Asia using the Silk Road. He set out for his 24-year journey in 1271 with his father and his uncle. His account of his travels was published in 1298 and is known as The Description of the World. After the death of Yule, Cordier was asked to be editorial lead in composing the third edition of The Book of Ser Marco Polo. The third edition of The Book of Ser Marco Polo comprised of new information such as the new routes in central Asia and new studies conducted about Persia and China with more accurate observations. It also included some of Yule’s notes, which Cordier corrected on behalf of new proven information to validate and rectify Yule’s notation of Polo’s journey. Polo’s expedition to Asia encountered many foreign lands and his travels have been immortalized in the memoirs of Sir Yule notes on his itinerary and account of the lands he ventured through while journeying. By understanding Polo’s journey, one can gain information on the economic, political, religious, and cultural structures of Asia including detailed observations of the geography and rich histories.

 
Polo in Kurman

The first city, which was a kingdom, that the Polo’s visited was Kerman in Persia. Polo observes the political structure of the city and notes that there was a royal succession to rule the kingdom. “Since the Tartars conquered the country the rule is no longer hereditary”[1]. Yule notes that Ptolemy mentioned Kerman and that its correct name was Kuwashir[2]. Yule verifies Polo’s statement about the political structure of Kuwashir and notes that after the fall of the Dynasty, the country was left in the hands of the Turks and was subsequently claimed by Khwarizm Kings that began the invasion of the Mongols. Polo mentions finding mines of precious stones. These stones were turquoises and were very abundant in the mountainous area. The stones were extracted from rocks, according to Polo. Shebavek in Kerman was the site of a Turquoise mine[3]. However, according to Houtum Schindler, the stones were of no value due to their pale blue color[4]. The people in Kerman were skilled and therefore, used their skills to create their daily equipment and weapons such as “saddles, bridles, spurs, swords, bows, quivers, and arms of every kind”[5]. The equipment and weapons were created in the Parpa iron mines from Kerman to Shiraz from the description of steel mines from Polo[6]. Polo’s praised these weapons, as these steel objects were beautiful from this time but Indian steel was a lot more famous and thus, it was imported to Persia as the Hindus were extraordinary in manufacturing iron and were masters in creating the ingredients that yielded the ideal material used to create the style of Indian Steel[7].

 

The women of Kurman with the help of their daughter master needle working to produce beautifully embroidered silk in differing colors. The designs include “figures of beasts, birds, trees, flowers, and a variety of others”, according to Polo[8]. Their works were put on display to be marketed to consumers. Some of their products included carpets (called hangings by Polo)[9], and other handcrafted home items. Yule noted that “rosewater, shawls, and carpets”[10] are the stapes of Kerman now even though there is no evidence in Polo’s observations that point to shawl making[11]. Kerman is home to the best size falcons, but they are inferior to the Peregrine. Polo had a visual description of the peregrine with red on the breast, neck, and thighs, so fast that no bird can escape them in flight. Following Yule, these falcons were plentiful in the mountains of Southern Persia[12] but are now not so much as very few are sold to the Arabs of Oman[13]. These sports included hunting and hawking, according to Polo[14]. In Yule’s notes, he refuses to make geographical mentions of the landscape and terrain before Polo reaches Hormuz.[15] The journey is a 7-day ride when leaving the city of Kurman and during this journey, there are towns, and villages filled with beautiful houses that aids in creating aesthetics to make the journey pleasing.

 

After the journey of 7 days, one meets a vast mountain, which takes about 2 days to travel down once you have reached the top. In a few days there will be evidence of communities along the way with fruits lining the path and pastoral lands[16]. No amount of clothes is enough for the weather brewing out of the city of Kerman. According to Edrisi, the colder the mountains, the better the iron deposits[17]. Thus, this shows that Persia was an advanced society during the time of Marco Polo who lived on traditional values and had a unique skillset that was dominated by their utilizing their geography.

 

 

[1] Henry Yule and Henri Cordier. “Concerning The Kingdom of Kerman.” The Travels of Marco Polo: the Complete Yule-Cordier Edition, by Marco Polo, 3rd ed., vol. 2, ( New York: Dover Publications, 1993), p. 90.

[2] Ibid, p. 91.

[3] Ibid, p. 92.

[4] Ibid, qtd. in Yule, p. 92.

[5] Ibid, p. 90.

[6] Ibid, p. 93.

[7] Ibid, p. 93.

[8] Ibid, p. 90.

[9] Ibid, p. 90.

[10] Ibid, p. 96.

[11] Ibid, p. 96.

[12] Ibid, p. 96.

[13] Ibid, p. 96.

[14] Ibid, p. 91.

[15] Ibid, p. 96.

[16] Ibid, p. 91.

[17] Ibid, p. 92.

 

 
Polo in Camandi

Polo rested on his voyage from Kerman to Hormos in the village of Camandi. Polo reaches the city of Camadi after two days[1]. He notices that the area is home to a variety of fruits such as dates, pistachios, and others that are not typically found in colder climates, such as where he is from.[2] Polo also notes the differences in the variations of bird species prevalent in the area such as Turtledoves, Saracens, and Francolins,[3] which is found in Egypt. He goes into detail about the description of the bird and then mentions the animal most abundant in the area – the oxen[4]. He makes physical observations of the animal such as their fur, which he establishes that it is occurring due to the climate. The descriptions of the animals have evidence of close looking and comparative stances as he compares their sizes, heights, and colors. Yule mentions that Polo’s description of the animals was accurate following with Kampfer[5]. Polo notes that this city has villages galore but is defending by a mud wall against bandits[6]. These bandits are said to be of Indian mothers and Turkish fathers[7]. Therefore, their ethnicity makes them feared in Persia, as the Turks were territorial. Camandi in the point of view of Polo is a ruin because of its values. He mentions that the bandits capture anything living in the city. This shows evidence of violence, exploitation, overharvesting, and human trafficking[8]. The bandits have a leader, Nogodar a notorious criminal[9]. Polo was caught up with bandits as his company was executed or sold[10].

 

 

[1] Henry Yule and Henri Cordier “Of the City of Camadi and Its Ruins; Also Touching the Carauna Robbers.” The Travels of Marco Polo: the Complete Yule-Cordier Edition, by Marco Polo, 3rd ed., vol. 2, (Dover Publications, 1993) p. 97.

[2] Ibid, p. 97.

[3] Ibid, p. 97.

[4] Ibid, p. 94.

[5] Ibid, p. 100.

[6] Ibid, p. 98.

[7] Ibid, p. 98.

[8] Ibid, p. 98.

[9] Ibid, p. 98.

[10] Ibid, p. 99.

 

 
Polo in Hormos

The journey to Hormos is about 5 days in the direction of South and almost 20 miles in length[1]. The roads are not good and there are robbers[2]. After 2 days of unjust traveling, paradise awaits. There are rivers, with both date and palm trees[3]. Polo notes the different types of birds that have habitats in the area are not local to his area. Therefore, he is amazed by their presence[4]. Hormos is the city near the harbor close to the Ocean[5]. The area is a port city and thus, is used for trade. Ships are loaded with merchants and products such as gold, precious gems, silk, ivory, etc[6]. This city is ruled by a king and therefore, everything is owned by him once the merchant is dead. Hormos, according to Polo, is famous for its winemaking with spices[7]. The locals have an unusual diet as opposed to Polo. During healthy periods of their life, Polo notes that they consume dates; salted fish with onions and this conserves their health.[8] Polo notes that the people of Hormos are “black” due to the climate and are muslim[9]. Polo describes the times of harvesting in Hormos and notes the specific months that crops are harvested for their consumption[10]. The societal structure is also observed. Polo mentions that mourning is a big business and that women do it as trade as they have to mourn their husbands for 4 years before they marry again[11]. With this, Polo halts his discussion of Hormos[12]. Yule notes that the description made from Kerman to Yule was geographical evidence[13] Thus, these geographical descriptions pay homage to Homer’s The Iliad which gave geographers’ and world travelers’ the foundation in studying the environment.

 

 

[1] Henry Yule and Henri Cordier “Of the Descent to the City of Hormos.” The Travels of Marco Polo: the Complete Yule-Cordier Edition, by Marco Polo, 3rd ed., vol. 2, (Dover Publications, 1993), p. 107.

[2] Ibid, p. 107.

[3] Ibid, p. 107.

[4] Ibid, p. 107.

[5] Ibid, p. 107.

[6] Ibid, p. 107.

[7] Ibid, p. 107.

[8] Ibid, p. 108.

[9] Ibid, p. 108.

[10] Ibid, p. 108.

[11] Ibid, p. 109.

[12] Ibid, p. 109.

[13] Ibid, p. 110.

 

 

 
Conclusion

In conclusion, Yule made notes to back up every observation made by Polo during his journey through Kurman. His observations included economical, political, religious, cultural, and geographical accounts. He took into account the jobs of the citizens, such as the woman and the skilled laborers, although he did not mention if these skilled laborers in the iron industry were women. The reader can only assume that it was men due to religious reasons as women have been seen as homemakers which are evident in their creation of household ornamental craft such as embroidered carpets, pillows, etc. Traditional values were seen in the society of Kurman as women taught their daughters how to do needlework. Polo referred to the resources of the country and how the goods were manufactured such as turquoises and weapons. Yule’s notes were rectified by Cordier for the publishing of the third edition of The Book of Ser Marco Polo. Cordier fact-checked all of Yule’s notes and compared them to new historical evidence to support Yule’s explanation of Polo’s claims. Thus, Yule considered Polo’s account of his voyage to be truthful with only a few errors, while Cordier remedied Yule’s statements for historical accuracy and to champion their legacies for their contributions to Geography and the sciences.

 

 

 
 
 

Reference:

1. Yule, Henry, and Henri Cordier, editors. “Concerning The Kingdom of Kerman.” The Travels of Marco Polo: the Complete Yule-Cordier Edition, by Marco Polo, 3rd ed., vol. 2, Dover Publications, New York, 1993, pp. 90–96.

2. Yule, Henry, and Henri Cordier, editors. “Of the City of Camadi and Its Ruins; Also Touching the Carauna Robbers.” The Travels of Marco Polo: the Complete Yule-Cordier Edition, by Marco Polo, 3rd ed., vol. 2, Dover Publications, 1993, pp. 97–106.

3. Yule, Henry, and Henri Cordier, editors. “Of the Descent to the City of Hormos.” The Travels of Marco Polo: the Complete Yule-Cordier Edition, by Marco Polo, 3rd ed., vol. 2, Dover Publications, 1993, pp. 107–122.

css.php