Marco and his party were camped in a small town. He asked the town headman his name.
"Pol-us", he replied.
Marco said, "Tis an odd name. Sounds like one from my country."
The Headman replied, "It is in memory of an ancestor of mine who was a captain of hundreds in the armies of the Emperor of the Western Lands".
Marco mused, "Captain Pol-us? You must mean 'Centurion Paulus'. There must have been a Centurion Paulus that arrived here long ago. Do you know how?"
The Headman said, "That tale has been told many years. Long ago a mighty Emperor of the Western Lands set out to conquer the steepe barbarians. But he was defeated and my ancestor from whom I take my name was cut off. He and his men wandered from oasis to oasis, serving various princes. At last they came to the Emperor of Cathay. He promised them that they could have land on his borders if they would serve him. Captain Pol-us saw no hope in return so he and his men took the offer. They took Cathayan women to wife, bore children and lived happily on for many generations and the memory of Captain Pol-Us is still kept in my land."
PLEASE ENCOURAGE AUTHOR,
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In Irene Franck's, The Silk Road: A History it is speculated that some prisoners captured in The Roman warlord Crassus' disastrous expedition into the Parthian Empire, immiediatly before Caesar's reign found their way across Central Asia. They then gained the favor of the Chinese Emperor and were settled as military colonists on the frontier. This theory may be to good a tale to believe but I am basing my tale on that.