Los viajes de Marco Polo a China y el Lejano Oriente lo estableció como uno de los grandes exploradores de la historia, pero los arqueólogos creen que en realidad nunca fuimos allí.
They think it more likely that the Venetian merchant adventurer picked up second-hand stories of China, Japan and the Mongol Empire from Persian merchants whom he met on the shores of the Black Sea – thousands of miles short of the Orient.
He then cobbled them together with other scraps of information for what became a bestselling account, “A Description of the World”, one of the first travel books.
The archeologists point in particular to inconsistencies and inaccuracies in his description of Kublai Khan's attempted invasions of Japan in 1274 and 1281.
“He confuses the two, mixing up details about the first expedition with those of the second. In his account of the first invasion, he describes the fleet leaving Korea and being hit by a typhoon before it reached the Japanese coast,” said Daniele Petrella of the University of Naples, the leader of an Italian archeological project in Japan.
“But that happened in 1281 – is it really possible that a supposed eye witness could confuse events which were seven years apart?”