Master of the Arts
by Doug McPhillips
This is a blended genre story of the facts and fictitious events surrounding the life of Marco Polo. Marco spent 17 years in the court of Kublai Khan, gaining favour with the Khan and eventually becoming one of his trusted diplomats. After Marco returned to Venice employed in the family merchant business, he got involved in the city’s war with Genoa and was imprisoned with trusted friend and confidant Rustichello da Pisa. It was during their imprisonment Marco told his story to Rustichello of his service to The Khan of Khans in Asia and his many adventures beyond the confines of the known world. Rustichello journaled a manuscript entitled “The Travels of Marco Polo.” Whilst this story was read far and wide throughout Europe at the time it was nonetheless eclipsed by the stories and talents of the author’s life himself, for Da Pisa’s adventures gained him much notoriety in later life as ” A Master of The Arts.”
This story is a tale of tragedy, loss of material; wealth, courage and determination to succeed in the face of great odds, of adventure, change in direction and philosophy of life which carried Rustichello into many fields of endeavour as it had done for his friend Marco Polo. It is fitting that this tale be told of a man of many talents and how he utilised his God-given gifts ultimately in the service of others. If the facts and fiction of the tale had not been told it would be just a whiff of smoke in the scheme of things and a loss of pity beyond the imagining.