Friday, November 20, 2009

Leo Africanus 3

In this section, Hasan's father dies and his wife, Fatima, dies during childbirth. Hasan is banished from the area for supporting his brother who is the alleged murderer of Zarwali, the man his sister married. He is exiled and sent as a slave with the Italians. Pirates bring him to Rome, where Hasan meets the pope and develops and intimate relationship. The pope treats Hasan as a son and is concerned with his education. They have discussions about things like church and state, and eventually Hasan is baptized by the pope under the name "Leo Africanus", giving us the title of the book.

It was most interesting to read about the development of the relationship between the pope and Hasan. It is strange to me that they even met, never mind developed such a relationship. I wonder what would have happened if Hasan were never exiled. It was interesting to see Africa for the first time as a part of the system and to read about the role of slavery in society. I could not imagine having an arranged marriage and wonder if people thought it was at all wrong or unfair at the time.

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