A tradition is extant to the effect that Singapore was an important trading centre in the 12th and 13th centuries, but neither Marco Polo nor Ibn Batuta, both of whom wintered in Sumatra on their way back to Europe from China, have left anything on record confirmatory of this.
He published Cathay and the Way Thither (1866), the Book of Ser Marco Polo a871-75), for which he received the gold medal of the Royal 'Geographical Society, and brought out with Dr Arthur C. Burnell Hobson-Jobson (1886), a dictionary of Anglo-Indian colloquial phrases.
In 1272-1273 Marco Polo and his companions stayed for a time in Badakshan.
Moreover, we know that the Ethiopic Church did long possess a chapel and altar in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and, though we have been unable to find travellers' testimony to this older than about 1497, it is quite possible that the appropriation may have originated much earlier.(fn 5) We know from Marco Polo that about a century after the date of Pope Alexander's epistle a mission was sent by the king of Abyssinia to Jerusalem to make offerings on his part at the Church of the Sepulchre.
It was along these roads that the fame of China first reached Europe, and it was by the Tian-shan nan lu that Marco Polo entered the empire.
Yule's Cathay and the Way Thither, p. 173 seq., and in Marco Polo (2nd ed.), i.
In China his mention of Canton by the name of Censcolam or Censcolam (Chin-Kalan), and his descriptions of the custom of fishing with tame cormorants, of the habit of letting the finger-nails grow extravagantly, and of the compression of women's feet, are peculiar to him among the travellers of that age; Marco Polo omits them all.
Simurgh), a stupendous bird like the roc (rukh) of Marco Polo and the Arabian Nights, also borrows some features of the phoenix.
The work of Marco Polo is the most valuable narrative of travels that appeared during the middle ages, and despite a cold reception and many denials of the accuracy of the record, its substantial truthfulness has been abundantly proved.
From the statements of older travellers, like the Venetian Marco Polo (13th century) and the Chinese pilgrim Hsiian Tsang (7th century), as well as from other data, it is perfectly evident, not only that this country is suffering from a progressive desiccation, but that the sands have actually swallowed up cultivated areas within the historical period.