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Marco Polo was a 13th century Venetian merchant who set out for Venice on a journey to the east. He stayed there many years serving The Emperor of China, Kublai Khan. Upon returning he set out as a warrior in the Venetian Fleet to meet the hereditary foe, the Genoans.
He was captured and apparently looked too rich for the Genoans to throw him overboard and waste a good ransom. In any case he was kept prisoner next to a professional storyteller and told his adventures to pass the time. This story was later published under the title Description of the World or Books of the Marvels of the World, but it has eventually become better known under its nickname Il Milione or, more simply, The Travels of Marco Polo. The Travels themselves are a surprisingly dull book but the idea of the story was so powerful that it became a classic, and Marco was nicknamed Il Millione for the "millions" of tales he brought back.
Curiously, very little is known about Marco Himself. For that reason, even though more then one "biography" has been written, large parts often come from the author's imagination.
Not to be confused with the videogame Marco Polo that was of course inspired by this adventurer.
Tropes in The Travels of Marco Polo a.k.a. Il Milione:
- Badass Bureaucrat: Marco claimed he had been this for Kublai Khan.
- Badass Family: The Polos
- The Epic: A Real Life one, no less.
- Going Native: According to one or two biographers.
- Grim Up North: Russia.
- Intrepid Merchant : Marco (and the rest of his family)
- Merchant City: Every city.
- Proud Merchant Race: Venice
- Proud Warrior Race: Mongols
- Reality Is Unrealistic
- Unreliable Narrator: Often regarded as this. He was a returned traveler telling yarns after all. Someone just remembered to write his yarns down.
- Mighty Whitey: Do remember he might have mildly exaggerated this.
- Verbal Tic: "Let me tell you...", "What more need/shall I say?", "What need to make a long story of it?", "Let us now..." and a lot more.
Adaptations of Il Milione:
- Marco Polo by Phillips Interactive Media.