VENICE, MARCO POLO, AND THE DISCOVERY OF AMERICAOctober 2, 2014
This fantastic article was shared by one of our regular readers here, Mr. K.L., and have to share it. According to the U.K.'s Daily Mail, a map has been found, allegedly in the hand of Marco Polo's daughter, detailing a hand-drawn map of the northern Pacific, including the east coast of Asia, Japan, and the northwestern coast of North America:
Here's the relevant passages:
"The documents, reportedly written by Polo's daughter Bellala recount how the Venetian explorer met a Syrian trader on the Kamchatka Peninsula on the far eastern edge of the Asian continent then sailed across the Bering Straight to North America.
"Before his voyage, the trader told Polo about a land far east - a 40 days voyage from Kamchatka,Smithsonian Magazine reports.
"It is believed that if Polo sailed to North America, he would have crossed the Bering Straight - a 51-mile stretch of waster that connects the easternmost point of Asia to the westernmost point of Alaska.
"This new land, the documents say, was called 'the Peninsula of Seals' and it was 'twice as far from China' as Kamchatka and Polo soon set sail in search of it.
"Polo arrived, according to the documents, and discovered a people who wore seal skins, ate only fish and lived in homes 'under the earth,' according to the Smithsonian."
'It would mean that an Italian got knowledge of the west coast of North America or he heard about it from Arabs or Chinese,' historian Benjamin B. Olshin, a history professor at University of the Arts in Philadelphia, told Smithsonian.
This goes a long way to confirm a hypothesis I outlined in my most recent book, Thrice Great Hermetica and the Janus Age, namely, that Polo, whose account of his travels, may have "hitched a ride" aboard Chinese vessels and voyaged far beyond Japan to North America. What is missing in these recent assessments of the recently discovered map and documents is the willingness to speculate on Polo's real connections, and motivations. Those connections are simply revealed by the fact that Polo was initially sent as a Venetian ambassador - along with papal documents - to the far east, and this after the Serenissima Republica had founded the notorious Council of Ten. The Council of Ten, to put it succinctly, was Venice's version of the National Security Council, a central and highly elite body, acting in the name of the Grand Council and reporting directly to the Doge, coordinating all of Venice's ambassadorial missions, its far-flung intelligence operations, conducting domestic surveillance and counter-intelligence, and finally, the ability to hear and secretly try bills of capital attainder against people "secretly denounced". In short, the Council of Ten also fulfilled the very same role given to the NSC in the recent American NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act).
This implies the possibility that Polo was no "simple traveler" or "explorer", but rather, a Venetian agent, and his mission may have in fact been to test the veracity of persistent rumors - first voiced in medieval Europe by the church father Isidore of Seville - of a land beyond the seas. As I pointed out in the book, the fact that Polo upon his return was subsequently captured and imprisoned by Venice long standing traditional rival, Genoa, also adds weight to the idea that he was a Venetian agent.
But in any case, the map itself is more testimony to the fact that someone in Europe knew of the New World prior to Columbus, and that this knowledge was suppressed and secretly held, and that Venice, for quite some time, knew all about it. And if one could get there from China, it was only natural that Venice might seek to test that knowledge more directly, to see if one could get there from Europe as well.
See you on the flip side.