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0024 Marco Polo : vol.1
Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 24 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000271
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POLO GENEALOGY AS DESCRIBED BY RAMUSIO rMARCO POLO are mentioned in the order in which they almost invariably appear in the younger Marco's book, Nicolò and Maffeo. There is no real evidence to show whether Marco was the first, second, or third of the brothers . RAMUSIO then was certainly mistaken about the date of the elder Marco's death, probably about the seniority of Maffeo and Nicolò, and possibly about the existence or relationship of Andrea of San Felice. He was perhaps rather more happy at the other end of the family tree. He continues, "And of the brothers who were born after the second marriage of his father, that is, Stefano, Zuanne, and Mafio, I do not find that the others had children but only Mafio, who had five sons and one daughter named Maria, who, when the brothers died without children, inherited in 1417 all the property of her father and brothers, having been honourably married to Master Azzo Trevisano of the ward of San Stai of this city. . . . This is the course of this noble and honoured family of the House of Polo, which lasted till the year of our salvation 1417, when, Marco Polo the last of the five sons of Mafio of whom we have

spoken above being dead without any son,     it was quite extinct."' The

ORLANDINI (Or. pp. 2, 17) I doubt whether it may be as fairly inferred that the elder Marco had shared with his brothers in the purchase. The one supposed indication that he may have survived the illness which caused him to make his will in 128o (d. I) and had so shared is the phrase Nicolaus Paulo filius condam marci Paulo de confinio sancti Johannis grisostomi (d. 14, p. 537). This phrase is obviously ambiguous, as are the majority of similar phrases which will be found in the Documents; and the important thing in this case (d.14) was to define the position of Nicolò's, not of Marco's, property. Among examples which are not ambiguous are, marci paulo fratris mathei paulo defuncti (d. 6), where it is Matheus who was dead; blaxius paulino filius nicolai paulino clericus (d. 28a), where Blaxius is the clerk; and Mapheus paulo condam dom. Marci paulo de confinio sancti Angeli (d. 7o), where the locality is probably that of Mapheus. We may not therefore say positively that the elder Marco is described as de confinio sancti Johannis grisostomi. Furthermore, Maffeo says that of the twenty-four parts of the property four and a half, or less than one fifth, belonged to his nephew Nicolò, while the remainder was equally divided between himself and his nephew Marco, carefully adding that the latter with his brother (then dead) had inherited from their father Nicolò the elder— que eis remansit a predicto Nicolao paulo olim fratre meo (d.6, p. 533). This suggests that the house was first owned by the two brothers Nicole) and Maffeo and their nephew Nicolò in the proportions roughly speaking of 2 : 2 : I. There seems to be no evidence to show whether the house was bought or built. RAMUSIO makes the travellers go straight to their old home in S. Gio. Grisostomo, while BARBARO says that they built the house with their new wealth. Neither statement has any known documentary support. Some connexion between the family and the church of S. Felice may possibly be inferred from the signatures appended to dd. 2 (p. 527) and 6 (p. 536).

1 RAMUSIO ibidem : d. 95, p.588. For the dependence of BARBARO on RAMUSIO see the following note and the Article in volume III. The descent supplied by RAMUSIO to BARBARO