Saturday, December 18, 2004

Il Milione

Christopher Columbus and I have one thing in common. We both have read Il Milione by Marco Polo.

I have to thank Slobodna Dalmacija for the privilege. Split daily had some time to respond to the marketing challenge by Jutarnji list and Večernji list (Vecernji list) and offer its own set of books at bargain prices. Their choice was slightly different than Zagreb dailies, which had concentrated on foreign literary classics and old bestsellers. Slobodna Dalmacija instead chose to offer books with specifically local flavour – books related to Dalmatia, either because of the authors' origin or the subject.

One of those was Il Milione, arguably one of the most important books in European history. The text, dictated by Polo in Genovese prison after his capture in naval battle, was one of the most influential and widely-read books of its time. More than seven centuries later, it turns out to be incredibly easy read. This is hardly surprising – books were very hard to write and even harder to copy before the invention of printing press. They were also very expensive and whoever bought them expected some entertainment and interesting information for their money.


Post a Comment

<< Home