Marco Polo

Real Name

Marc Polo


15 September 1254


8–9 January 1324

Historical Background

Marco Polo was a trader and explorer from the Venician Republic. He was born in 1254 to trader Niccolò Polo. Niccolò and his brother Maffeo traveled through out Asia from 1259 to 1269, returning with correspondence of Kublai Khan for the Pope. The Papal throne was vacant at their return and they had to wait until 1271 for a Pope to be elected. Finally bringing their message to newly elected Gregory X they were then assigned delivering his answer to Kublai Khan. This time they were accompanied by young Marco.

Marco traveled with his father and uncle until reaching Kanbaliq in 1274. There the Polos joined the Mongol court until 1291, never allowed to leave the Empire. In 1291, Marco was assigned with deliverin g Cocacin, a Mongol princess, for marriage to her betrothed Arghun Khan. Arghun was the ruler of the Ilkhanate, the Persian line of the Mongol dynasty. The elderly Niccolo and Maffeo joined the mission as a way to leave the court. They arrived to Persia in 1294 and found Arghun to be deceased. Cocacin settled in the Persian court and would later marry Ghazan Khan, another Ilkhanate ruler. Marco and the elder Polos headed to Trebizond and returned from there to Venice.

The Polos returned to Venice in 1295. They had trouble convincing their various kinsmen that they were the same trio which had left the city 24 years before. When they did convince them, many sought more information on China and the Mongols. Marco later took part in the conflict between Venice and the rival Republic of Genoa. He was taken prisoner by the Genoans and remained in a cell from 1298 to 1299. He dictated his memoirs to fellow prisoner Rustichello da Pisa. Their book became known as the "Il Milione", the main source of knowledge about China in Europe for several centuries. The accuracy of the information has been questioned however.

Released in 1299, Marco returned to Venice and started running the family trading business from within its grounds. He married in 1300 and had three daughters over the following years. He died in 1324, having spend his last 25 years within the city Venice. His book influenced other European travelers interested in China, including Christopher Columbus.

Golden Age Comic Stories

During the golden age of comics Marco Polo both appeared in many comics himself and served as an inspiration for new characters (like Marco Polo Jones).

Public Domain Comic Appearances of Marco Polo

  • Approved Comics #6
  • Picture Stories from American History #1
  • Picture Stories from World History #2
  • Treasure Comics #1-9
  • Jumbo Comics #100
  • Marco Polo #[nn]
  • Strange Planets #18
  • Real Life Comics #16
  • True Comics #24
  • Valor #5

Public Domain Comic Appearances Inspired by Marco Polo

  • Thrilling Comics #3-7,9,11,15-16,23,26

See Also

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