Skip to comments.Marco Polo was not a swindler -- he really did go to China
Posted on 04/17/2012 6:38:08 PM PDT by SunkenCiv
It has been said that Marco Polo did not really go to China; that he merely cobbled together his information about it from journeys to the Black Sea, Constantinople and Persia and from talking to merchants and reading now-lost Persian books. But in Marco Polo was in China: New Evidence from Currencies, Salts and Revenues, (Brill Verlag) Hans Ulrich Vogel, Professor of Chinese Studies at the University of Tübingen, puts paid to such rumors. He begins with a comprehensive review of the arguments for and against, and follows it up with evidence from relevant Chinese, Japanese, Italian, French, German and Spanish literature. The result is compelling: despite a few, well-known problems with Marco Polo's writings, they are supported by an overwhelming number of verified accounts about China containing unique information given over centuries.
Doubts have been raised since the mid-eighteenth century about Marco Polo's presence in China. Skeptics have pointed out that Marco Polo did not mention the Great Wall. Yet research in the East and the West have shown that the Great Wall as we know it is a product of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and that earlier earth walls had long since disintegrated and had lost the military role they played in the Mongol Empire...
Marco Polo's descriptions of currency, salt production and revenues from the salt monopoly. Vogel concludes that no other Western, Arab, or Persian observer reported in such accurate and unique detail about the currency situation in Mongol China. The Venetian traveler is the only one to describe precisely how paper for money was made from the bark of the mulberry tree...
(Excerpt) Read more at alphagalileo.org ...
|GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother & Ernest_at_the_Beach|
To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.
There were folks in the 1800s who also doubted the existence of Admiral He and the Treasure Fleet.
They were professional doubters who made money off the dime press questioning just everything ~ they even questioned every detail of the Bible. Then, one day, someone discovered cunuiform wedge filled fired clay tablets and Sumer was uncovered! The Brits figured out who Admiral He was. Polo's works were popularized and doubters were simply kicked aside.
It's hard to believe there continue to be folks who doubt Polo!
“The story that it was Marco Polo who imported noodles to Italy and thereby gave birth to the country’s pasta culture is the most pervasive myth in the history of Italian food.”
(Dickie 2008, p.48). And I was ready to give him all the credit, but I still shout his name in the swimming pool.
That would be Admiral Zheng aka Ma Three Treasures (i.e. Ma the Eunuch) aka Hajji Mahmud Shamsuddin.
I doubt you’d import any actual noodles. It’s the method of manufacture that is the important secret of the noodle and the idea of how to make them requires no heavy lifting on a long trip home.
Marco Polo certainly seems to have been the type of observer who’d make a note of that detail so even if he didn’t bring actual noodles back to Italy, I’m gonna believe and give him credit for his contribution to my favorite food.
Way to go, Polo, way to go!
I have a question, perhaps some educated FReeper might know the answer to?
One observation this poster made visiting China was that Chinese traditionally also had the custom of using a red carpet, to signify an honored welcome.
Prior to Marco Polo, the East and West really did not interact much.
How is it, both East and West, ended up using a red carpet to signify the same thing?
Was it an imported, custom originally from the East, or actually a rather remarkable coincidence?
The earliest known reference to walking a red carpet in literature is in the play Agamemnon by Aeschylus, written in 458 BC. When the title character returns from Troy, he is greeted by his vengeful wife Clytemnestra who offers him a red path to walk upon:
“Now my beloved, step down from your chariot, and let not your foot, my lord, touch the Earth. Servants, let there be spread before the house he never expected to see, where Justice leads him in, a crimson path.”
Agamemnon, knowing that only gods walk on such luxury, responds with trepidation:
“I am a mortal, a man; I cannot trample upon these tinted splendors without fear thrown in my path.”
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Maybe the Chinese “acquired” the idea from the west? Buddhism would have been a way for China to become familiar with western habits via Persia.
Thanks all! Only eight posts, but a great thread.
I only said one word.
I thought you might be interested in how noodles are made by hand. Takes about two minutes on average with a good chef.
Which brings up the important anthropological questions of the day: What in the world led to the original discovery of this method?
I’m thankful they were so velly cleva, those ancient Chinese.
:’) The best noodles are made by guys named Tony. I wanted some handmade noodles for the restaurant one night, he didn’t show up, so I had to rig a Tony.
Thank you, thank you, I’ll be here all week.
24/7, if past habits are any guide.
That’s using the old noodle!
Lasagne, er, listen you, I’m getting fed up with, well, this pasta is delicious...
It was reopened in the 1200/1300 period by the Mongols at great expense in men and treasure ~
My theory is that flat bread was first used for pies (with filling) or with a topping (like pizza). Then someone took thinly rolled dough cut into strips and boiled them (oven probably wasn’t available), then mixed the cooked filling in with the “noodles” and ‘voila!’, pasta style dinner.
It’s just my theory.
Where did you see that the Silk Road was shut down between 535 a.d. and reopened some 750 years later? I’ve never read that anywhere.
Silk was always in great demand in Europe, and Byzantine royalty highly valued it. Later, the Republic of Venizia took control of trade with nations to the east - it is how Venice became a powerful Republic.
To straighten up your timeline ~ the Silk Road opened up sometime BC, but by Classical Times it became a major luxury trade route between East and West.
By the EARLY 6th century ~ before AD 535 ~ both the Arabs and the Greeks(Byzantines) found the secret of silk and were raising their own silk worms and producing their own silk.
In 535 a climate anomaly occurred that resulted in the destruction of civilization in much of Western and all of Northern Europe. Serious intellectual activity in Southern and Eastern Europe disappeared as well. China itself effectively shut down for 300 years.
Venice, as of AD 535 was still a collection of muddy islands in the Adriatic. With the destruction of Rome (in the West) and the severe weaking of Rome (in the East) Venice had time to develop. LATER ~ many centuries later ~ Venice became a major power in the Mediterranean and could even dictate terms of trade to the various authorities that ran the Turkish empire during their period of ascendancy.
In the 7th century the Arabs in Mecca actually became a serious military power in the Eastern Mediterranean ~ and they took over much of Eastern Byzantium, all of North Africa, Spain, islands in the Mediterranean, and so forth. Within a couple of centuries they'd seized Persia and it's tributaries and had begun advancing on India itself.
At some point they ran up against the budding Mongol Empire and their advance into Central Asia was brought to a huge grinding halt.
Europe took quite some time to recover and it wasn't until the 11th century that they were able to form and dispatch serious military missions to non-European lands. Such ventures were an outgrowth of some serious technological advances that'd been made in the Dark Ages (which were not totally dark, but certainly not like living in Rome). By 1492 Europeans could project presence if not power all the way to America, and by the late 1500s, they could literally carve up global trade and dominate all the sea routes that'd begun supplanting the Silk Road.
By 1775 Europeans were founding new nations in America and elsewhere, and at the end of 1945 the United States, one of those nations, stood astride the globe as not just the dominant power, but the source of 50% of the world's wealth!
Back to the Silk Road, the United States is currently occupying the key locations through the Hindu Kush ~
This is a good way to make EGG NOODLES. Toss 'em in the chicken broth. Sometimes you cut crosswise and make spaetzle ~ which can be thought of as little noodles, miniature dumplings, or whatever you want depending on the thickness of the sauce, and whether or not you take the boiled noodle/dumpling and fry it up!
One popular way of making noodles is to EXTRUDE THEM through a die. I have an enormous set of dies and two different machines to mix the dough.
The key element in extruding food and food byproducts is the die. The grinder or mixer will almost invariably use a variation of the Archimedes screw ~ which is credited to Archimedes the Greek inventor ~ in the third century BC.
That idea spread far and wide quite rapidly as a way of lifting water, and other applications probably popped up almost immediately. Pushing soft dough through a hole is an OBVIOUS application.
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