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0028 Marco Polo : vol.1
Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 28 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000271
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indisputable evidence that any member of the Polo family was on the Grand

Council before the election of Nicolò of S. Geremia in 1381. However this may

be, RAMUSIO himself does not mention the castellano of Verona, and the fact is

that two men of the name of Marco Polo died about the year 1418. From the

genealogical trees and from the documents to which reference is there made it will

be seen that the last man (Marco Polo) of the S. Giovanni Grisostomo line died

early in the fifteenth century,' while his sisters survived till at least 1457 and 1461

respectively in full possession of their faculties. The interest of this lies in the

fact that it makes it possible that RAMUSIO, who reached Venice before 1500, had

heard Polo stories from old persons who in turn had heard them direct from these

last survivors of the family.'

The last passage quoted above introduced the subject of the arms of the Polo

family, and about this too RAMUSIO has something special to say. " The arms of

the family (that not even this thing may be passed in silence), by that which is

seen carved on this tomb,' are a bend with three birds upon it, the colours of

which, according to certain books of ancient histories in which all the arms of

the gentlemen of this noble city are seen emblazoned, are the field azure, the

bend argent, and the three birds sable, which are that sort of birds which are

here vulgarly called pole, named by Latins gracul i .   This is the true shield of

these most noble gentlemen, which I have wished to say to the end that, since

many other nobles who many years later have had themselves called members of

the House of Polo have taken different arms (with indeed the same sort of birds,

but in other arrangement and colours), it may be known for all time from this

It has been thought that members of the cancellation committee were always members of the Council and therefore nobles, but a minute of 21 August 1287 specifies et possint accipi de omni loco exceptis consiliariis judicious proprii et petitionum et advocatoribus communis. M.C. Zaneta fol. 32v0 (G.O.). The exception is not repeated on 27 June 1301. cf. M.C. Luna reg. 12 fol. 3ov°; Pilosus fol. 59v0; Zaneta fol. 35, 42, 64, 86 (?); Magnus fol. 15vß, (G.O.). For the use of the title " noble " see dd. 4,'50, 75, 86, 88, 9o, 91, 92. (pl.7, 8.)

1 He was dead some time before 29 May 1417, d. 92.

2 None of the large number of Venetian genealogies which we have been able to consult seems explicitly to recognize more than one family of Polo, namely the " Poli di Dalmazia " as Marino SANUDO the younger calls them. But the earliest which has been seen is dated 1423, when both branches of the family were already extinct in the male line.

3 The tomb of Nicolò the traveller in the porch of the old Church of S. Lorenzo ; see

p. 3o.