Marco Polo (TV Series)

Anyone watched this? I have Netflix, like they’re most basic package, and I always struggle to find stuff I like to watch, especially enough to actually follow a series. But after finding this show I devoured every episode of it in the space of a week. It came out in 2014 so I’m expecting 2 years of episodes to keep me busy but sadly there were only like ten.

It’s about Marco Polo the explorer in his 20’s being left behind as an offering to Kublai Kahn’s court in northern China in exchange for trading rights. He basically becomes a member of his court as the Mongols are vying for control of the rest of China ruled by the whatever Dynasty.

The one time I mentioned it to one of my more intelligent acquaintances he was all like “Oh…that’s like history right?” I don’t know if it’s the way it’s taught to us in school, where it’s all boring dates of events and names or if we as a society just have a popular disdain for it being as technologically advanced as we are.

I don’t know I loved watching this show though and there’s another season coming this summer I’m looking forward to.

I watched it, really liked it. Can’t wait for next season.

We used to play Marco Polo in my friends pool.

Heh…we played Nikola Tesla.



Also looking forward to season 2. I think I read a while ago that it should be this year

Hello mussel! I had the chance to watch the first couple of episodes of Netflix last year. It does seem to be a good show. It is indeed based on some historical events. In particular the trade on the Silk Road. Silk was a type of clothing that required caterpillars and spiders on some plants to produce. Marco Polo is known for being one of the most prominent figures to travel between the silk road. Some have even go so far as to suggest Marco Polo and Kublai Khan were one in the same however the history is not 100% empirical. One thing is for sure, at the time Kublai Khan defended travelers on the silk road after his father. However the Huns often get a bad rep as they did have many of factions who would rob different traders of particular goods when they were in need of supplies and rations. It has been awhile since I studied that part of history, essentially they were hunter-gatherers that took to shooting men. In history they are recognized among the most skilled horseback archers. Imagine a person able to shoot a hare with an arrow while riding a horse; that is an amazing feat. Well instead their bows were aimed at wealthy people traveling and vying for supremacy over territorial disputes. Also the differs leader, for example Kublai Khan is viewed as a wise strategic leader whilst his father Genghis Khan is viewed as one of histories greatest conquerors. Kublai Khan was more merciful compared to his father. Kublai Khan bolstered the trade on the silk road. Also some of the history has been demonized.

One thing about the Mongols I find interesting is that they were so ruthless in their conquests and yet most of their leaders may have been some of the most tolerant when it came to others religions. One of the Khans I remember reading somewhere had one holy building (temple, church, mosque) for every major religion constructed in their capital Karakorum, which was basically a glorified yurt city.

Another is that the silk road, which most people think of as something of the middle ages was in existence during the time of the roman empire. There were a even a few Roman emmisaries recorded by the Chinese as having visted the imperial court. Chinese silk was selling for probably as much as a modern luxury car in the forums of Rome and China prized the glassware of the Romans.

Back to the show, the one glaring historical mistake they made (which I realized only the other day) was when the Khan was attacked by ninjas in the employ of a sect called the Hashishans. They go to the dessert to meet their leader and of course there’s plenty of hashish smoking in this scene.

The reality was that while this sect existed and were assassins, terrorizing Persia and later both the leadership of the Crusaders as well as the Islamic armies on the mediteranian coast. The notion that they smoked hash (hashishan-assassin) was a propaganda move by Persia to discredit them that went on unchalanged for most of history and is where we get the word assassin.

Sorry. I started to ramble on there after a while.

You may be correct mussel, with that being said, there was a lot of incense burning during that time period, partly to keep warm while not causing stench.

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