Monday, November 23, 2009

Leo Africanus- Part 3

In this part of the book, Hasan’s suffers some misfortunes as well as some triumphs. His wife Fatima and their son die during delivery and Hasan is heartbroken but resolute. At the same time, he is called into the Palace to discuss the death of Zirwali who was murdered. Although Hasan maintains that it was not he that committed the murder, he is sentenced to a two year exile. He leaves with a grand exit but loses his treasures and his guards and the guards were stricken with illness and passersby took the loot. Hasan then finds himself in Cairo which was a beautiful city, but he finds that many of the people there are stricken with a pathological epidemic that is threatening the Muslim foothold in Cairo.

One of the most interesting parts of this section is how Hasan is captured by Italians and taken back to Rome. There he is given to the Pope as a diplomat. Hasan’s intelligence and views on religion are highly regarded by the Pope and they develop a friendly relationship between them. The Pope baptizes Hasan into the Roman Catholic faith and he is then known as Leo. What I find most interesting is that Hasan allowed himself to be converted to Christianity. My question is did Hasan’s upbringing, meaning his father having two wives, one Muslim and one Christian exert any influence on his friendship with the Pope and his eventual baptism?

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