Friday, November 13, 2009

Becoming Leo Africanus

This weeks readings in Leo Africanus begain with the exile of Hasan. He was exiled because he stood up for his brother-in-law and pushed for a pardon for him. Due to being exiled, Hasan decided to make a grand exit and throw gold coins to people. Hasan then reluctantly accepts money from his slave and lovers ancestors for her return and travels to Timbuktu and then Cairo where he meets his third wife. From there he travels to the capital of the Ottoman Empire (where Hasan’s third wifes late husband was the prince of) on a mission with the pirate Barbarossa. I found the politics and plans in this section to be interesting, with the Grand Turk Salim’s plan to invade Egypt that Hasan finds out. When Hasan returns to Cairo to warn them about the coming invasion he is greeted by the birth of his second daughter. He leaves Cairo to go to Mecca, but instead an Italian pirate captures him and brings his to Rome. In Rome, Hasan is given to the Pope and he studies and teaches. In Rome, Hasan’s name is changed from Hasan to Leo Africanus. This week’s section of the book is when the importance of religion is truly shown, as well as the battles between the religions.

This section of Hasan’s life was very interesting, although I believe I enjoyed the previous readings more. There wasn’t one part that stood out completely more interesting than the others. All the places Hasan travelled and things he did and observed stood out, like watching the battles at Agadir and traveling to Cairo. I also found all the religious tension intriguing.

One thing I find interesting about Hasan and the culture is that in this section he meets and marries his third wife. I have found every marriage or romance story in Leo Africanus to be quite interesting. Just in this section before Hasan heads to Cairo, there was Hasans relationship with his slave girl, Hiba. I could not grasp their relationship. First, there was the section where they were trapped inside the cave because of snow when Hasan realizes his love for Hiba because he decides to bring her back to her family instead of reselling her to another person. Another section that shows his “love” for her is when he leaves Hiba’s ancestors and Timbuktu is the first place he decides to go. Timbuktu is important to Hasan and Hiba because it is the place where they shared their first kiss. But then if he loves her, one would think that he would want her to be with him on all his next journeys, and that he would not have given (sold) her back to her family. So I guess my question is, what do you think of love and marriage in Leo Africanus, and what do you think of marriage in the book overall?

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