Thursday, November 12, 2009

Leo Africanus

In this week’s reading Hasan becomes Leo by becoming baptized in Italy, and his journey there is most unusual. In Constantinople, Egypt, Hasan is a diplomat, and the Ottoman Empire which was run by the Turkish and they were starting to take over. The Mamlukes and Ottoman are fighting for power, and during this chaotic time his wife, Nur, gives birth to a girl. He then is captured by Italian pirates since he is a diplomat and brought on as a slave. He is brought to Rome where he becomes close to the Pope, and then becomes baptized. This is the time his name goes from Hasan to Leo Africanus, and both the Pope and Leo shared a great deal of the same religious and political views.

One thing that I found interesting is the movement of Hasan in his life. He went from a diplomat in Constantinople to baptized in Rome. Since the Ottoman Empire was so strong during this time it makes sense that Hasan would be pushed out. It is bizarre that he was captured as a slave on a ship and presented to the Pope, and then the Pope basically takes him in. It is interesting to me that the Pope would be so quick to trust Leo, especially since the Ottoman Empire was taking over some many areas.

The separation of church and state is an issue that is brought up by Leo. Leo believes that the military should be backed up with religion. I understand during this time that religion was very closely tied to the culture. I do not agree with the military being backed by religion, and believe that separation of church and state should be practiced. I believe this because of the world I grew up in of democracy, which is the reason for my ideas, but Leo and the Pope grew up in a different reality. But, Leo and the Pope are both extremely close with their religion, so they see religion being part of every aspect of their lives. When it comes to war, I believe that regardless of what a person’s religion, if they believe in what is being fought for then they belong in the fight.


  1. Although in reality, a lot of reliogns are backed up by military power. One example of that is extremist terrorist all claiming reliogn as reason to carry out those acts. Im not saying that it always appears to be backed by military power but if another holocaust would begin, reliogn would no doubt cause military actions to be implemented...

  2. I feel what Eric said is very valid, but only in certain circumstances. When Bush was President, and decided to go to Afghanistan - I don't think religion was the cause (or had any influence on the decision). I am a big supporter of religion having influence in all governmental decisions, but i think some countries have deserted the idea of consulting religion altogether.