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Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 647 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels Volume 01.

Such is the account of these travels which has been handed down to us from various sources, and which their importance and intrinsic merit have induced us to record at some length.  Of these adventurous travellers, some notices yet remain, which may be worthy of being preserved.  Signior Maffio Polo, the uncle of Marco, became a magistrate of Venice, and lived for some time in much respect among his countrymen.  Nicolo Polo, the father of Marco, is said to have married during the captivity of his son at Genoa, and to have left three children by this second marriage.  Marco himself married after his return to Venice from Genoa, and left two daughters, Moretta and Fantina, but had no male issue.  He is said to have received among his countrymen the name of Marco Millioni, because he and his family had acquired a fortune of a million of ducats in the east.  He died as he had lived, universally beloved and respected by all who knew him; for, with the advantages of birth and fortune, he was humble and beneficent and employed his great riches, and the interest he possessed in the state, only to do good.

[1] Harris, I, 593.  Forst.  Voy. and Disc. p. 117.  Modern Geogr.  II. xvi.

[2] Ital Libr. p. iv.

[3] Mod.  Geogr.  II. xvi.

SECTION I.

Introductory General Account of the whole Travels, from the commencement of the first Journey of Nicolo and Maffei Polo, in 1260, to their final return along with Marco to Venice, in 1295.

[Illustration:  MAP OF THE Eastern part of Tartary & ADJACENT COUNTRIES]

In the year 1260, when Baldwin was emperor of Continople, two brothers of an illustrious family at Venice, Nicolo and Maffei Polo, embarked in a vessel which was laden with a various assortment of merchandize on their own account; and, after traversing the Mediterranean and Bosphoros with a fair wind, they arrived in safety at Constantinople.  Having remained for some time in the imperial city, they crossed the Great Sea to Soldadia[1], from thence they went to the court of a Tartar prince, named Barha[2], who lived in the towns of Bolgara and Alsara[3].  To this prince they shewed the fine jewels which they had brought for sale, and presented him with some of the most valuable.  He was far from ungrateful for their presents, which he kindly accepted, and for which he made them returns of greater value.  Having remained a whole year at his court, they were desirous of returning to Venice; but before they had any opportunity of departing, a war broke out between Barha and another Tartar prince named Arau[4]; the armies of these rivals came to a battle, in which Barha was defeated, and obliged to fly.  By this unfortunate incident, the roads to the westwards became quite unsafe for the journey of the Polos, and they were advised to make a large circuit round the north and east frontiers of the dominions of Barha; and by which route they

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