Thursday, November 19, 2009

The End of Leo Africanus

The last part of this novel deals more with Hasan's journey through life. During the Year of the Conversa he was called to come see the Pope and Cardinal Julius. While there Hasan is informed that there is a young woman whom he is to take as his wife. Her name is Maddalena, and at first he did not want to become her husband instead putting it in God's hands. However after meeting Maddalena and hearing her tell the story of her life, he becomes enchanted with her and even feels a spring of love popping up for her. The next year however the Pope ends up dying of an ulcer and Cardinal Julius was exiled to Florence. The new Pope was a bit less materialistic and book and picture orders were unfilled because he found them a waste of resources. After these turns of events Sulaiman became powerful and stopped the brutal practices of his own father. Hasan eventually got arrested and was thrown in jail for two years after he was found to have pamphlet someone slipped into his pocket while he was at church. After those two years though Guicciardini came to get Hasan out of prison because the Pope apparently wanted to talk to him. Instead of Pope Adrian though Cardinal Julius came into the room. Apparently while in prison Pope Adrian had died and now Julius was in charge. Upon his release from prison he was greeted enthusiastically by a lot of people.

What I found to be interesting about this last part of the book was the foisting of Maddalena onto Hasan like she needed to be given away. I know Cardinal Julius caused a scene when he took her from the convent withput permission, instead just putting her in his carriage and leaving, but I did not understand why they were so anxious for Hasan to take her. Did they want Hasan to take her because she was causing too much of a scandal and Hasan was the first person they thought of to have her, or was there another motivation. Because both the Pope and Cardinal Julius seemed anxious to get rid of her, even saying that Hasan could meet her today, not wasting any time. I just thought that dynamic was interesting.


  1. Originally I thought it was because the Cardinal had been discovered having an affair with her and she had become pregnant because this seemed to be Hasan's suspicion. But after Maddalena told her story, I thought what happened was that Maddalena signaled to the Cardinal that she needed to confess to him, and when she did later, she told him the abuse she was suffering at the convent. Out of sympathy for her, he took her with him against the will of the nuns. Since he was known for his ostentation and sexual exploits, the head nun was able to easily generate rumors about the nature of her departure, which reached the Pope. The Pope believed the rumors and, hasty to cover up the whole thing, found an easy way out by having her marry Hasan, who was luckily of the same heritage.

  2. I will have to agree with Liz on this one. I, too, was originally confused on the situation but after re-evaluating and reading over some people's blogs - out of convenience, the Pope used Hassan to marry the woman.