The "New York Times" bestselling author of "1421" offers another
stunning reappraisal of history, presenting compelling new evidence
that traces the roots of the European Renaissance to Chinese
exploration in the fifteenth century
The brilliance of the Renaissance laid the foundation of the
modern world. Textbooks tell us that it came about as a result of a
rediscovery of the ideas and ideals of classical Greece and Rome.
But now bestselling historian Gavin Menzies makes the startling
argument that in the year 1434, China--then the world's most
technologically advanced civilization--provided the spark that set
the European Renaissance ablaze. From that date onward, Europeans
embraced Chinese intellectual ideas, discoveries, and inventions,
all of which form the basis of western civilization today.
Florence and Venice of the early fifteenth century were hubs of
world trade, attracting traders from across the globe. Based on
years of research, this marvelous history argues that a Chinese
fleet--official ambassadors of the emperor--arrived in Tuscany in
1434, where they were received by Pope Eugenius IV in Florence. The
delegation presented the influential pope with a wealth of Chinese
learning from a diverse range of fields: art, geography (including
world maps that were passed on to Christopher Columbus and
Ferdinand Magellan), astronomy, mathematics, printing,
architecture, steel manufacturing, military weaponry, and more.
This vast treasure trove of knowledge spread across Europe,
igniting the legendary inventiveness of the Renaissance, including
the work of such geniuses as da Vinci, Copernicus, Galileo, and
In "1434," Gavin Menzies combines this long-overduehistorical
reexamination with the excitement of an investigative adventure. He
brings the reader aboard the remarkable Chinese fleet as it sails
from China to Cairo and Florence, and then back across the world.
Erudite and brilliantly reasoned, "1434" will change the way we see
ourselves, our history, and our world.
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