Sunday, December 11, 2011

Marco Polo Study: Georgia


Georgia's western border runs along part of the black sea
and most of its northern and eastern border is Russia.

Marco was impressed with the large amounts of sturgeon and salmon that came from the sea and the box wood that was located throughout the area.

He mentions the great quantity of silk interwoven with gold. Which is interesting on 2 accounts:
1) Georgia is where the myth of Jason and the Golden Fleece has been believed to be located (since at least 700 BC).
2) People still pan for gold in parts of Georgia with the fleece of sheep.

There is a large species of vulture named "avigi" that Marco reports. There are 2 kinds of large old world vultures currently in Georgia:

Eurasian Griffon Vultures

and Cinereous Vultures.

Marco gives an account of how Alexander the Great constructed the "Gate of Iron:"
"When Alexander the Great attempted to advance northwards, he was unable to penetrate, by reason of the narrowness and difficulty of a certain pass, which on one side is washed by the sea, and is confined on the other by high mountains and woods, for the length of four miles, so that a very few men were capable of defending it against the whole world. Disappointed in this attempt, Alexander caused a great wall to be constructed at the entrance of the pass, and fortified it with towers, in order to restrain those who dwelt beyond it form giving him molestation. From its uncommon strength the pass obtained the name of the Gate of Iron."

Currently, the Gate of Iron is thought to be located in Derbent, Russia on the Caspian Sea.

However, the story of Alexander the Great constructing the wall as it appears now is not possible, as it was constructed in the 6th century. There are some that say this 6th century wall may have been constructed at the same place as a wall constructed by Alexander.

ACTIVITY: Try panning for gold except use fleece.

Photos courtesy of See our References for more information.

I am working on a year long series on the Polo family travels and thought I'd share it with you. Enjoy and please post any additional information you have for us or corrections.

Previously: Turkey      Next Up: Persia (Iran and Iraq)

Wishing you homeschool blessings,

1 comment:

Phyllis at All Things Beautiful said...

Oh, this is wonderful! I love the idea of panning with gold with fleece! What fun! Thanks for sharing all your work with us.

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