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Thread: Did Marco Polo rate a mention in HSDS or any JY story set later in continuity?

  1. #1
    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
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    Default Did Marco Polo rate a mention in HSDS or any JY story set later in continuity?

    Europeans, for the most part, didn't play much of a role in Jin Yong's stories. A few historical Europeans were mentioned. Golden-Haired Lion King Tse Tsun mentioned King Richard I of England in passing (how he would have learned of King Richard is beyond me; perhaps from Dor Yee See, who was Persian, and might have known about the Crusades in the Middle East). Portugese characters had some role in ODE TO GALLANTRY (I think). Princess Sophia Alekseyevna of Russia actually played a fairly significant role in DUKE OF MT. DEER.

    Marco Polo's visit to China during the Yuan Dynasty is considered one of the landmark events of history in terms of cultural contact between Europe and Asia prior to the Age of Discovery. Polo even served as the Governor of Yangzhou under Kublai Khan for a period of time.

    Polo's visit to China post-dated ROCH. After all, during ROCH, Kublai was still a young prince and not yet the Khan of the Mongol Empire...nor was China entirely occupied by the Mongols yet. By the time of HSDS, however, Kublai was long in his grave and the reign of the Yuan Dynasty was past ripe. By that time, Marco Polo's journey to China would have already been a part of the historical record for decades.

    So did Marco Polo get a mention in HSDS or any of the Jin Yong stories set later in continuity?

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    Don't forget Moore Watson.

    It wasn't Richard that Xie Xun mentioned, but Edward I (the old king in Braveheart), in connection with the Hashashin, whose founder Hasan-i-Sabbah was supposedly the originator of the Persian Ming Cult's martial arts. Historically, Prince Edward was indeed attacked and wounded by a member of the Hashashin while on crusade, and the dagger was said to have been poisoned, for the wound festered. However, the story about his wife Eleanor sucking the poison from his blood was added by later storytellers, and she didn't die from doing so, as the attack happened in June 1272 and she died in November 1290.

    Marco Polo and his relatives are thought to have considerably embellished their RL stories in their accounts. It's highly unlikely that the Mongols would have used passing foreigners such as he as high ranking officials, as they tended to favour Khitans and cultures closer to their own, people whose families had served the Mongols for generations (eg. Yelu Chucai, Guo Kan), and individuals who had already proved themselves to be very, very able indeed (Lu Wenhuan comes to mind). Passing merchants would more likely be used as messengers and couriers, as William of Rubruck was thus used by Mongke.

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