Marco Polo Quiz

Staff

4 Min Quiz

Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

This famous adventurer might be one of the few to have actually earned his legendary reputation. How much do you know about Marco Polo?

In which country was Marco Polo born?

He was from Venice, Italy and raised mostly by his extended family.

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True or False: Polo was born into an impoverished family.

Marco was born into a wealthy mercantile family; his mother died when he was young and his father was absent, traveling the world.

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When Marco's father returned from Asia, what did he do?

Marco's father had met Kublai Khan, a Mongol leader who ruled much of Asia, and promised the Khan that he'd one day return.

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How old was Marco when he met his father and uncle?

Marco was a young man when his father and uncle returned from their extended expedition.

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In which century did Marco Polo travel the world?

Polo spent much of the late 1200s exploring the world.

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What did Kublai Khan ask Marco's father to bring when he returned to the Mongol Empire a second time?

The Khan was fascinated by the idea of Christianity and asked the elder Polo to return with 100 priests, as well as a supply of holy water.

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With whom did Marco travel to meet Kublai Khan?

His father (Niccolo) and uncle (Maffeo) were traveling during Marco's childhood but returned with amazing stories of their travels; he decided to join them on their second journey.

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How much time did the group plan to spend on this second trip to see the Khan?

The second trip was intended to be relatively brief, but things did not go according to plan.

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How many priests did the group take with them to see the Khan?

And neither of the priests made it because they turned back for home; they were intimidated by the grueling nature of the trip.

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About how long did Marco spend living in Asia and the Mongol Empire?

For perhaps 17 years, the Polos lived in China, learning the culture and serving the Khan.

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Including travel time, how long did the Polos spend on their journey to the Mongol Empire and back?

The trip took nearly a quarter century, consuming much of the Polos' lifetimes.

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How many languages did Marco learn while serving in the Khan's empire?

Polo learned four languages, a fact that helped him gain even more trust from the Khan and the people he met.

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Why did the Khan at first refuse to allow the Polos to leave his empire?

The Khan didn't want his other servants to see three of his favorite people departing of their own free will.

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When did Marco write his famous book "The Travels of Marco Polo?"

While he was in prison, he told his stories to a fellow captive, Rustichello of Pisa, who was already an accomplished writer.

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Why did Marco wind up in prison after returning from his travels?

Venice was at war with Genoa and Marco was captured and then jailed.

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True or False: When they finally returned home to Italy, the Polos were nearly penniless because they'd been robbed many times.

The Polos did indeed lose many of their riches on the trip home but they held on to enough precious objects to make themselves wealthy in Italy.

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What did Marco's "paiza" allow him to do?

The Khan gave Marco a paiza or gold tablet that allowed him the freedom to wander Mongol lands without fear of the locals.

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In what capacity did Polo serve the Khan?

The Khan trusted Marco with all sorts of important duties, including tax collection and advice on political matters.

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True or False: Marco became a governor of a Chinese city.

The Khan so trusted Marco that he put Polo in charge of a city and even made him part of his inner circle of advisors.

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How did the Khan treat Marco's father and uncle?

As with Marco, the Khan respected the other Polos and gave them important duties within his empire.

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What was the name of the initial manuscript that Polo created to document his travel tales?

"Description of the World" became much better known as "The Travels of Marco Polo."

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True or False: Marco's book offers amazing insights into his inner thoughts and beliefs.

Polo wasn't interested in sharing his personal drama; instead, he was more inclined to go on at length about the people and cultures he encountered.

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Polo's book introduced many Europeans to what?

The idea of paper currency didn't really take off in Europe until after Polo's book became popular.

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True or False: Christopher Columbus used Polo's text as a guidebook of sort for his own travels.

Columbus was inspired and intrigued by Polo's tales and reportedly kept a copy of the book on him during his legendary voyages.

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How many people accompanied the Polos on their trip home to Italy?

The Khan allowed the Polos to depart his empire if they agreed to escort a princess to Persia; hundreds of people made up the entourage.

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How many people survived the trip to Persia and then Italy?

Disease and storms devastated the group, leaving the Polos lucky to be alive by the end of the expedition.

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What fact complicated the lives of the Polos when they returned?

They'd been gone so long that they almost forgot their native language, a fact that made their acclimation much more difficult.

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Upon Polo's return, why did few travelers set out to see the sights he reported?

The Khan's empire began crumbling, making the route much more treacherous; even Polo decided it was safer to stay in Italy.

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As he was dying, what did Polo say in response to people who said he made up most of the stories of his travels?

Polo was unfazed by doubters who called him a liar; he claimed that he documented only a small portion of his adventures.

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Most historians say what about Polo's travel tales?

There are those who think Polo made up most of his stories, but the majority of historians seem to believe that Polo's tales were generally based in real experiences.

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