Rustichello da Pisa

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Rustichello da Pisa, also known as Rusticiano (fl. late 13th century), was an Italian romance writer. He is best known for cowriting Marco Polo's autobiography, The Travels of Marco Polo, while they were in prison together in Genoa. Earlier, he wrote the Roman de Roi Artus (Romance of King Arthur), also known as the Compilation, the earliest known Arthurian romance by an Italian author.

Life and work

Rustichello was apparently a native of Pisa. His first known work is the French text known as the Roman de Roi Artus or simply the Compilation, evidently derived from a book of in the possession of Edward I of England, who passed through Italy on his way to fight in the Eighth Crusade in 1270-1274. Though written in French, it is the first known romance by an Italian author to take on the Arthurian legend.[1] The Compilation contains an interpolation of the Palamedes, a now-fragmentary prose account of Arthur's Saracen knight Palamedes and the history of the Round Table.[2] It was later divided into two sections, named after their principal protagonists, Meliadus (Tristan's father) and Guiron le Courtois; these remained popular for hundreds of years, and influenced works written in French as well as in Spanish, Italian, and even Greek.[1]

Rustichello may have been captured by the Genoese at the Battle of Meloria in 1284, amid a conflict between the Republic of Genoa and Pisa. When Polo was imprisoned around 1298, perhaps after a clash between Genoa and Venice (according to tradition the Battle of Curzola[3]), he dictated his tales of travel to Rustichello, and together they turned it into the book known as The Travels of Marco Polo.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Hoffman, "Rusticiano da Pisa", p. 392.
  2. Lacy, "Palamedes", p. 352.
  3. The Travels of Marco Polo, p. 16.


  • Hoffman, Donald L. (1991). "Rusticiano da Pisa". In Lacy, Norris J. (ed.). The New Arthurian Encyclopedia. New York: Garland. p. 392. ISBN 0-8240-4377-4.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Lacy, Norris J. (1991). "Palamedes". In Lacy, Norris J. (ed.). The New Arthurian Encyclopedia. New York: Garland. p. 352. ISBN 0-8240-4377-4.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Polo, Marco; Latham, Ronald (translator) (1958). The Travels of Marco Polo. New York: Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-044057-7
  • Cigni, Fabrizio. (1994). Il romanzo arturiano di Rustichello da Pisa, Edizione critica, traduzione e note, Pisa: Pacini, 1996.

External links