Paulo, Mark

, a celebrated traveller, was the son of Nicholas Paulo, a Venetian, who went with his brother Matthew, about 1225, to Constantinople, in the reign of Baudoin. While they were on this expedition Marco was born. On their return through the deserts they arrived at the city where Kublai, grand khan of the Tartars, resided. This prince was highly entertained with the account which they gave him of the European manners and customs, and appointed them his ambassadors to the pope, in order to demand of his holiness a hundred missionaries. They accordingly came to Italy, obtained from the Roman pontiff two Dominicans, the one an Italian, and the other an Asiatic, and carried with them young Marco, for whom the Tartar prince expressed a singular affection. This youth was at an early period taught the different dialects of Tartary, and was afterwards employed in embassies which gave him the opportunity of traversing Tartary, China, and other eastern countries. After a residence of seventeen years at the court of the great khan, the three Venetians came back to their own country in 1295, with immense wealth. A short time after his return, Marco served his country at sea against the Genoese, his galley in a naval engagement was sunk, and himself taken prisoner and | carried to Genoa. He remained there many years in confinement; and, as well to amuse his melancholy, as to gratify those who desired it of him, sent for his notes from Venice, and composed the history of his own and his father’s voyages in Italian, under this title, “Delle maraviglie del mondo da lui vidute,” &c. of which the first edition appeared at Venice in 1496, 8vo. This work has been translated into several foreign languages, and has been inserted in various collections. The best editions are one in Latin, published by Andrew Miiller at Cologne in 1671, and one in French, to be found in the collection of voyages published by Bergeron, at the Hague in 1735, in two vols. In the narrative there are many things not easily believed*, but the greater part of his accounts has been verified by succeeding travellers. He not only gave better accounts of China than had been before received; but likewise furnished a description of Japan, of several islands of the East Indies, of Madagascar, and the coasts of Africa, so that from his work it might be easily collected that a direct passage by sea to the East Indies was not only possible, but practicable. 1


Encycl. Britannica. Univ. History.