The Occasional Joke

Nurse: Patient's name?

Centurion: Marcus Licinius Crassus

Nurse: And his date of birth?

Centurion: 115 BC.

Nurse: All right. And what is he here for?

Centurion: Cataphract surgery.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Well, maybe

Recent and very well done scholarship has cast doubt on whether Marco Polo (him and his shirt - pfft) really did visit China or whether he based his writings on the subject on things he learned from other travelers.

Now, another researcher says, Yes, he did go. University of Tübingen Sinologist Hans Ulrich Vogel has done a lot of digging into primary sources, including those in Chinese, and concludes that what Polo had to say about China in the 13th century was, on the mean, credible -- as in, he really did go and he really was an employee for a bit, anyway, of Kublai Khan.

Well, maybe. I don't think Vogel's points (at least as summarized in the article linked above) are conclusive, although they make the case muddier, anyway. I'll wait for the next round, myself. Or -- here's a revolutionary thought -- I'll get around to digging out Vogel's actual piece and see how much the journal abridged it. Or I'll just forget the whole thing.

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