Thursday, November 12, 2009

Commentary 10

This week’s commentary on Leo Africanus commences with Hasan’s visit to see Ahmad. Here Hasan details the ongoing war against the Portuguese, which was looking positive for them. After three days of war, Ahmad shifted his orders by lifting the siege. A subsequent fight emerged between Hasan and Ahmad, pushing Hasan towards the decision of leaving.

A year later, Hasan’s wife Fatima died during childbirth, along with their son. This devastated Hasan, although he forced himself to continue with his life. The Sultan ordered Hasan to his palace to discuss Zarwali’s death. Hasan argued that he was not the murderer, Huran was, but was still objected to punishment for banishing Zarwali and putting him into a dangerous situation. For that, Hasan was equally banished as punishment. Hasan’s next stop was Cairo. He was enamored by the religious beauty and wealth of the Capital. Unfortunately, a pandemic of disease hit Cairo by storm, killing hundreds of people daily. Eventually, the pandemic ceased and spirits were lifted.

I stop my summary here because I am most interested in the effects of this widespread disease of Cairo and its people. The 16th century seems a little late for the Bubonic Plague, but I am not a history buff. What illness was spreading exactly? What were the immediate and long term effects on the people and the city, besides high morbidity?

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