Beyond Marco Polo: Venice and the Mongols in the 13th-15th Centuries
Presenter: Nicola di Cosmo, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton
Moderator: Pier Mattia Tommasino, Italian Department, Columbia University
The enormous influence of Marco Polo’s Travels in Medieval and Renaissance literature, rekindled recently by the suggestion that he may not have been in China after all, has conditioned and often obscured the historical assessment of Venice’s engagement with Mongol rulers and its activities in the East. This talk aims to reorient the discussion, showing motivations, obstacles, limitations and achievements of the Venetians who lived, traded and often died in Mongol lands. It will also discuss the differences between Venice and Genoa in their engagement with Asian rulers and establishment of colonies on the Black Sea and in Iran.
This event is co-sponsored by the Italian and Mediterranean Colloquium, the European Institute, and the Weatherhead East Asian Institute.