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0041 Marco Polo : vol.1
Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 41 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000271
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THE DESCRIPTION OF THE WORLDI MARCO POLO IN MASQUES the nickname was given to him because of the exaggerated numbers with which his often repeated stories of the wealth of the East were filled.' In the Imago Mundi, as we have seen, the name is said to have been earned by his actual wealth.' It seems to be the case that the real meaning of the name was not certainly known even in the fourteenth century, and until further evidence is found we must be content to remain uncertain ourselves.

RAMusTo's and BARBARO'S well known accounts of the return of the wanderers need not be repeated here.' They do not seem to be supported by any early authority.




1 Y. I. p. 67 ; Or. p. 1 i. For RAMUSIO'S words (Pref. fol. 6v0) see d. 95 p. 5 8 5

Yet the word million is not once found in the book. If it could be shown that it was intentionally avoided, this, no doubt, might tend greatly to confirm RAMUSIO's view. But the word was not common.

2 Milionario, used (talvolta per esagerazione) for a very rich man, seems to have been recently, if it is not still, peculiar to Venice. cf. BOERIO Diz. Vert. s.v..

3 Pref. fol. 50-60 (p. 583 below) ; Y. I. pp. 4-6 ; BARBARO (Vienna, 6156), fol. 338.

It may be well to give more exact references for the story that " long after our Traveller's death there was always, in the Venetian Masques, one individual who assumed the character of Marco Milioni " (Y. I. p. 67). The story is told by C. AMORETTI Voyage de la Mer Atlantique &c., 1812, p. 67, note (a) : " Après sa mort on se mocqua encore de lui, de manière que dans les masquerades il y avoit toujours quelqu'un qui prenoit son nom, et le représentoit pour amuser le peuple en racontant tout ce qui lui venoit dans la tête de plus extravagant. Ensuite on a usa de même envers Pigafetta (Pignoria, Prefaz. all'Opera degli Dei antichi) " ; and by G. B. I. T. LIBRI-CARRUCCI L' Histoire des Sciences Mathématiques, 1838, II. p. 26 note (i) : " Tout le monde sait que Marco-Polo fut appelé par dérision Million, parce qu'il racontait les grandes choses qu'il avait vues en Orient : sa maison fut appelée Cha Milione, son ouvrage fut désigné par le même sobriquet, et une espèce de paillasse fut destiné, dans les mascarades, å tourner en ridicule le grand voyageur (Doglioni historia venetiana, Venet. 1598, in-4, p.161-162, Lib. III.— Ramusio, viaggi, tom. II, prefat.— Humboldt, Examen critique, édit. in-fol., p. 71). Plus tard, Pigafetta fut traité...." But the story is not told by PIGNORIA, who says (Seconda Edit. delle Imagini degli dei delli antichi di Vicenzo Cartari Reggiano . . . de Lorenzo PIGNORIA Padovano, in Padova M.DC.XXVI. p.546) : " fino gl'auoli nostri si risero di Narco(sic) Polo, al quale per ischerno addossarono il cognome di Millione. Et Christoforo Colombo.... Et in Vicenza il Carnouale le brigate si faceuano maschera, narrando spropositi, all'imitatione di Antonio Pigafetta."—nor by G. N. DOGLIONI, Hist. Ven., 1598, p. 162 : " Doue, perche nella relatione del gran Can, & della sua molta potenza, nominaua spesse uolte le migliaia, e li milioni, acquistò alla sua casa, the era posta nel confin di san Giouanni Chrisostomo, the hor få l'anno s'abbruggiò totalmente, con gran danno di molti, il detto nome di chà Milione."—nor by Alexander von HUMBOLDT,

Examen critique de l'histoire du nouveau continent, 1836, vol. I. p. 221: " Marco ... connu d'abord