Marco Polo and Maps - Dr. Benjamin Olshin

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Marco Polo and Maps:

A Mystery in Italian and Chinese

Dr. Benjamin B. Olshin

November 5, 2019

5:00 p.m.

Gore Hall 222

Dr. Olshin will speak about Il Milione, later known as The Travels of Marco Polo, which recounts the journey of this Italian merchant and explorer from Venice to East Asia. While this text would go on to be read by and inspire notable mapmakers and explorers, including Christopher Columbus, scholars have long debated the account’s veracity. Dr. Olshin reveals new evidence concerning this historical puzzle: a collection of fourteen little-known maps and related documents said to have belonged to the family of Marco Polo himself. He will offer an analysis of some of these artifacts, and explain the complex world of the history of maps.


            Dr. Olshin is Professor of Philosophy, History and Philosophy of Science and Technology, and Design in the School of Critical Studies at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and the former Director of the UArts School of Design. In addition to the history of cartography and exploration, Dr. Olshin also carries out research in cultural studies, the history of technology, and the philosophy of physics.


Sponsored by the Italian Program in the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, the Departments of History and of Geography and Spatial Sciences, and the Center for Global and Area Studies.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019 at 5:00pm

Gore Hall, 222

Event Type

Academics, College of Arts and Sciences



Languages, Literatures & Cultures, Geography, History, Global Studies



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