Thursday, October 29, 2009

Blog 1: Leo Africanus

This weeks reading of the Introduction of Leo Africanus, dealt with the dramatics of family. The setting is of the Reconquista and Fall of Grenada, each provided the Iberian peninsula with religion idealism, and created the desire to expand. At this time Leo Africanus's parents were to become married, after a long engagement- as cousins. This marriage was arranged in order to have children, specifically boys. Sons were a big deal during this time. Everyone wanted sons, to raise them strong and powerful. It was hard for for Leo's mother to originally conceive, and this frustrated his father and caused a lot of tension in the marriage. His father went on a long trip and came back with a mistress. Women were treated very differently in this time period depending if they are wedded or not. Mistresses were able to sing, dance, and do a lot more than a married woman, who was forced to take care of her husband, the house, and children. His father ended up impregnating the mistress, as well as his mother! When Leo's father found out he had the potential to have two sons, he was ecstatic. His mistress gave birth to a girl, but his wife delivered a boy. Leo's father was overjoyed at this.
I find it interesting the favoritism between wed women, and mistresses. It reminds me of life today. When a girl has a boyfriend or husband, to another man's eyes, she is unattractive. If a single woman walks by, she is appealing. It is unfortunate because this is why men today cheat on their wives. But for Leo Africanus' family, it was all the norm.



  1. I agree with you as in it seems like the grass is always greener on the other side. I also found it interesting how relationships like that were normal back then and almost expected.

  2. I think it is interesting because in our culture I am always hearing "you always want what you can't have" but in this instance, when Mohammed wanted a boy, and Warda had a girl, he was still able to get a boy from Salma. I think it is interesting because he is able to get his needs met from multiple wives, while I would imagine the wives couldn't be completely fulfilled.

  3. I think the idea of polygamy is smart but feel its a way to satisfy the "what if" needs of a mans relationship to a women. if he cant get one thing from one wife, he goes to another?..It gives men the idea that what they are doing is right. Imma strong believer in tradition. but i guess in a polygamous relationship its ok because everybodyh knows whats going on and they allow it?....idk