Insight of Marco Polo Essay

This essay has a total of 1117 words and 5 pages.

Insight of Marco Polo

The result of the publication of this book was a rapid increase in commerce between the
Italian city states and China. This expansion of enterprise soon spread to the rest of
Europe as well. The result for Italy was the creation of wealth and leisure that made
possible the Renaissance.

For the rest of Europe as well it meant the slow death of the medieval period and the
coming of the age of exploration and enterprise. It was, after all, a passage to India and
China by sea that Columbus sought in 1492. The Travels of Marco Polo is among the books
that helped shape the world we now live in.

The great Chinese civilization of that period, the Ydan dynasty, formed by Kublai Khan in
1271 is credited with sending many of China's innovations to the Western world via Marco
Polo. Its cuisine, silk, spices, gun powder, rockets and other weapons of war are among
the most famous.

But perhaps the innovation most constructive and destructive throughout western history,
depending on whose hands it was in, was the use of paper money as a substitute for what
had been used as real money in other civilizations-gold and silver. Gold and silver are
still acknowledged as real money in every civilized nation as well as recognized
commodities of real value in primitive societies. Paper money was introduced as a new idea
to western civilization by Marco Polo in a chapter of his Travels entitled: "How the Great
Khan Causes the Bark of Trees, Made into Something Like Paper, to Pass for Money All Over
His Country". After reading the chapter title like that, Polo's readers probably thought
the Great Khan to be the Great Con.

Marco Polo writes as follows:
"Now that I have told you in detail of the splendor of this city of the emperor's, I shall
proceed to tell you of the mint which he has in the same city, in the which he has his
money coined and struck, as I shall relate to you. And in doing so I shall make manifest
to you how it is that the great Lord may well be able to accomplish even much more than I
have told you, or am going to tell you in this book. For, tell it how I might, you never
would be satisfied that I was keeping within truth and reason!

"The emperor's mint then is in this same city of Cambaluc, and the way it is wrought is
such that you might say he has the secret of alchemy in perfection, and you would be
right. For he makes his money after this fashion. He makes them take of the bark of a
certain tree, in fact of the mulberry tree, the leaves of which are the food of the
silkworms, these trees being so numerous that the whole districts are full of them. What
they take is a certain fine white bast or skin which lies between the wood of the tree and
the thick outer bark, and this they make into something resembling sheets of paper, but
black. When these sheets have been prepared they are cut up into pieces of different
sizes.

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