Friday, October 30, 2009

Leo Africanus Commentary

The book “Leo Africanus” by Amin Maalouf focuses on typical life in Grenada during the 1400’s. This book, however, is fictional and viewed through the eyes of Africanus growing up. The firsthand account of life during this time period allows for comparative insight on subjects concerning women, alcohol, civil war, and cohabitation of faiths. An interesting part found early on in the book, is Leo’s father, Muhammad, and has extra marital affairs with a Warda, a slave girl. His wife and cousin, Salma, could do nothing about it either compared to this day an age where such an act is socially unacceptable. This really opens my eyes in the differences and rights women have come to acquire since the 1400’s. Also, the importance of carrying on a family heir or legacy is also shown by the numerous cases of married men having relations with slave women.
Grenada proceeds to enter a civil war after war is declared on the neighboring Christian empire with no hope full outcome. Eventually, the Grenada is separated into two warring regions between the Sultan and his son. This personal account even gives a view when dealing with revolts as in “Age of Empires,” chapter twelve. It is later told of Grenada’s eventual defeat by the hands the Castilians by the use of siege equipment, cannons, and time.
Alcohol at the time is still sold, yet illegal. The cohabitation of so many different languages and business transactions amazed me. It is possible for such religions to exist with one another, yet in Granada the Castilians sought to recapture Granada and convert it populants why? Granada is referred to a large city which is hard to supply when not in times of war, so did the Castilians capture Grenada for religious aspects, or purely conquest?

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