Thursday, November 12, 2009

Leo Africanus Blog 3

This section of Leo Africanus covers a two year time span in Hasan’s life. The year begins with the Sultan of Fez and the Lame of Sharif both attacking the Portuguese. Each however had different motives. One wished to recapture Tangier while the other wanted to relieve Agadir. Hasan decided to be an official scribe for these battles, but upon re-reading his records in Rome 3 years late, he had discovered that he had written little about the actual fighting. He focused more on the princes reactions to defeat and recalled one specific example regarding a defeat to the Portuguese where three hundred soldiers had fallen in the fight for Tangier. The sovereign justified the loss by stating to Hasan that only a small portion of the dead was comprised of the Calvary. He went on to say that most were infantry men, “beggars, louts, good for nothings, of whom hundreds of thousands exist in his kingdom, far more than he could ever arm or supply” (202). However, when Hasan left the tent, he ran into a group of soldiers standing around a body which had just been brought in from the front. Upon seeing him leave the sovereign’s tent, an older soldier approached Hasan and said, while fighting back tears, that his eldest son was just killed in battle but the sovereign should not cry for him. He believed that his son, along with all the dead were guaranteed a rewarded on their Day of Judgment and he was ready to meet the same fate if his master commanded it. The sovereign pulled out of the battle several days later, not achieving in pushing the Portuguese. The people who had sacrificed their lives had died in vain and those who were left lived with the realization that their lives had been changed forever all because of one mans motives.

I found the section where Hasan was banished to be very interesting. Harun, who was pardoned before by the sovereign two years earlier had been seeking and finally achieved his revenge on the Zarwili. Harun had captured him along the road and basically scared the old man to death. He then buried the body under a fig tree nearby, not removing the Zarwili’s clothes, shoes or jewels. The sovereign told Hasan that the body had been discovered near his sisters and her husband’s house, still possessing everything, showing the killing was one of revenge and not robbery. Even though he is not guilty of the crime, the sovereign decides that since Hasan left a criminal at large, which resulted in a murder, along with several other acts that Hasan should be banished from Fez for at least two years. Hasan actually didn’t mind a two month vacation from Fez and after a month of getting his affairs together left Fez.
My Question is do you think Hasan should have been punished for the actions of Harun? Is he responsible for what he did?

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