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The silk road itself has also inspired a slot machine by Aristocrat. The slot is not very popular and very hard to find. The show focuses on his early years in the court of Kublai khan.

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In , the Polo brothers embarked on a new journey, and this time the took Marco with them. They had finally been able to deliver the letter from Kublai Khan to the pope, since Teobaldo Visconti had been elected at the conclusion of the papal election that had been running from to — the longest papal election in the history of the Latin Church. With them on their new journey east, the Polo family brought letters and gifts from the pope that they were to give to Kublai Khan, and they were also accompanied by two friars.

The friars left them fairly soon, however, because they reached a war zone and the friars got too scared to continue. The Polo family pushed on without them, traveling through Armenia, Persia, and Afghanistan, and following a route that went over the Pamir Mountains of Central Asia to get to China. It is excellently situated so the goods brought to here come from many regions. Latin merchants specially Genevis go there to buy the goods that come from foreign lands.

After Tabriz, the Polos traveled south to Hormuz, a port on the Persian Gulf from where they intended to travel by ship to the Chinese coast. In Hormuz, they had a change of heart, because the ships available were in very poor condition. So, instead of going by sea, the Polos continued to travel over land, from Homurz to Kerman, passing places such as Herat and Balk. Marco Polo got ill, which meant staying in Badakhshan for a year to allow him to recover.

Badakshan had emerged as an important trading center in antiquity, especially for lapis lazuli which was traded here as early as the 4th millennium BC. Located along the Silk Road, Badakshan eventually started playing an important role in the trading of silk and other commodities as well. Marco Polo himself describes it as a place where Balas rubies could be found under the mountain Syghinan Shighnan. Balas ruby is a rose-tinted variety of spinel, and for centuries the mines of the Gorno Badakhshan region were the main source for these gems.

The name Balas ruby is a reference to Balascia, which was the ancient name for Badakhshan. When Marco Polo was well enough to travel, the party got going again and traversed the Pamir Mountains. When they reached the outskirts of the Taklamakan Desert, they took the southern route, passing through Yarkand, Khotan, Cherchen, and Lop-Nor.

Marco Polo describes Yarkand as a place where the locals are extremely prone to goiter, which he thought was caused by the drinking water there. Goitre is an enlarged thyroid gland, often caused by iodine deficiency. Polo aslo writes about a province called Pem which is rich in jasper and chalcedony; a translucid kind of jasper.

And the men, wherever they go, take wives in the same way. It is also the location of several important cities along the Silk Road.

It consists entirely of mountains and sands and valleys. There is nothing at all to eat. Still, his writing also suggests that the route through the desert was well-established at this point in history. In Suchow, Marco Polo took a break from traveling and stayed for a year. Situated in an oasis that included the Crescent Lake, Suchow was one of the major stops on the southern Silk Road, and also a stop on the main road going from India via Lhasa to Mongolia and southern Siberia. Suchow controlled the entrance to the narrow Hexi Corridor, which was the most important route between North China and the Tarim Basin and Central Asia.

Kublai Khan new that they were on their way, and had sent a royal escort to greet them. The Great Khan bade them rise and received them honorably and entertained them with good cheer. He asked many questions about their condition and how they fared after their departure. The brothers assured him that they had indeed fared well, since they found him well and flourishing.

Then they presented the privileges and letters which the Pope had sent, with which he was greatly pleased, and handed over the holy oil, which he received with joy and prized very hightly. When the Great Khan saw Marco, who was then a young stripling, he asked who he was.

E. Jane Burns

What need to make a long story of it? Great indeed were the mirth and merry-making with which the Great khan and all his Court welcomed the arrival of these emissaries. And they were well served and attended to in all their needs. They stayed at Court and had a place of honor above the other barons.

Kublai Khan took a liking to the young Marco Polo and appointed him to high posts in his administration. Already well-traveled and capable of speaking several different languages, Polo was sent by the Khan on a number of special missions to various places in China, Burma, and India. Many of the places that Marco Polo visited during these missions were remote ones that no European would visit and write about again until the 19th century.

When the Kublai Khan was in his late 70s, the Polo family began to worry about what would happen to them when he died. The Polos had amassed great amounts of gold and jewelry, but would they be able to take it out of China without the protection of the Khan?

At the same time, the Khan really enjoyed their company and was reluctant to let them go. They were assigned one last task: escorting the Mongol princess Kokachin to her betrothed Persian prince Arghun.

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The Silk Brief (The Silk Tales #1) by John M. Burton

Various theories have been proposed, including scurvy, cholera, drowin, pirate attacks, and hostile natives. When they finally reached Persian land, they found out that Prince Arghun had died two years ago.


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While in Persia, the Polos also learned that Kublai Khan had died. At dusk, I hear the rubber ball served and returned on the ball court below.


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  • I grab the costume, stilts, and container of salt, and leave a pair of shoes outside the villa, in case the jumbie follows me. Up the hill, a flight of crumbling stairs ascends to the ruins of a sugar cane plantation from the mids. He beat his slaves to death, vanishing them into unmarked graves.

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    A wrinkled old woman appears at my side, as I scramble up the steps. She seems to have come from nowhere.

    Book Summary

    I watch as she lifts her skirt to climb and catch a glimpse of her feet. Slaves believed the tree possessed a resident evil spirit who ruled the souls of the dead—a jumbie—in the rooted entrance to the underworld. An Obeah man once told me the only way to destroy her is to pour salt in the skin she takes off at night. The old woman disappears. Into the tree, I think. A dark shadowy figure appears beneath the tree. The Buddha gained enlightenment under the Bodhi tree. This shadow is his opposite. I climb into my moko jumbie costume—brightly colored pants, mask of feathers, stilts to make me taller than the jumbie—transforming me into the flip side of spiritual darkness.

    I bang on the root buttresses. The tree booms like a bass drum. I know better than to cut the spirit loose. The shadow lets out a belly laugh. I recall reports of tornadoes and mph winds—and stilt-walk closer to the tree, the salt container in a big pants pocket. The jumbie flies across the darkened sky—a fireball.

    I feel the burning of my skin and hair. The stilts collapse beneath me in flames.

    Marco Polo and his travels

    But I fumble for the salt and manage to douse the skin she left in the fold of the tree. She lives in the Mid-Hudson Valley with her husband. She has spent over twenty winters in Tortola and feels a deep connection with the people and the place. The rights to the story revert to the author immediately upon publication.