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0052 Marco Polo : vol.1
Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 52 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000271
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G.-B. RAMUSIO • HIS NAVIGATIONI ET VIAGGI ,4MARCO POLO as well as the origin of one of the texts of Odoric in the same volume, has been and remains a mystery. Giovanni-Battista RAMUSIO was an official and a learned student of geography in Venice in the sixteenth century.' The Venetian printers GIUNTI seem to have determined to publish a collection of voyages and travels (Navigazioni et Viaggi) with RAMUSIO as their editor. The first volume appeared in 155o, the third in 1556, without mention of RAMUSIO'S name. Marco Polo, which was to be in the second volume, seems to have been ready, with Preface (d.95 p.577) written in 1553, but other matter for that volume could not, somehow, be got ready for publication so quickly. On io July 1557 RAMUSIO died at Padua, and on 4 November the same year the Giunti printing press was burnt down. Some of the matter intended for Volume II was destroyed, but Marco Polo escaped and was printed in 1558 and published in 1559, with a note by Tommaso GIUNTI saying that RAMUSIO, who would not let his naine be published in his lifetime, had really done all the work for the three volumes ; and the Collection has been Rarnusio ever since.' Careful analysis of R by BENEDETTO shows that it is based on P (the common Latin version by Pipino3) with additions from other known

return towards the end of the book to the Moslem lands we find more than once "Saracens who worship Mahomet". Not only so, but in F "Saracen" is consistently sarain in c.41, saracin or the like in cc.26-29, and so on, as if Rustichello had perhaps a book of stories which he had copied from various sources, and copied them out again into Marco Polo without making the spelling uniform. And lastly c.152 seems to be doubly based on documents, for it claims to be based on a Chinese document (cf. pp. 326, 327) from which Marco Polo presumably made notes, and the result is a number and accuracy of details quite without parallel in the rest of the book.

A more difficult question is that of the subsequent alteration of the text by conscious editing. "Malabar" for "Dilivar" (c.36) and the statement that Curmos is on an island (c.37), with the forms tembul and toscaol, may perhaps be due to RAMUSIO'S deliberate wish to correct, and when for "the great lord who now reigns" (c.25) V substitutes "Mongu who reigned at that time we cannot doubt that a deliberate change has been made. But these are points which it has not been possible to collect and study in detail here.

1 See the Article by Sir Percival DAVID in volume III.

2 See d. 96, p. 589.   It is remarkable that RAMusIO's name was openly published,
presumably with his knowledge, in the French edition of vol. 1, Lyons, 1556.

3 So he is always, I think, called by modern editors. The colophon to P'8, a beautifully written manuscript of the fourteenth century, has frater franciscus pipini ciuis Bononiensis ; but Luigi MANZONI quotes more than one example of the autograph signature Franciscus Pipinus ( ?= Pipino) from the archives at Bologna. cf. " Fr. F. Pipino da Bologna " in Atti e Mem. della R. Dep. di Storia Patria per le prov. di Romagna. 3a ser. volume XIII, 1896, pp. 256-3 32. The statement (p. 581) that the ancient books (Libri) which had come into RAMUSIO'S hands