Thursday, November 12, 2009

Leo in Rome!!

This part of Hasan’s life was dangerous and intriguing. We see Hasan living in Constantinople as a diplomat. He notes that there is relative peace and prosperity between various religious and cultural groups at this time. Internally the Ottomans seem to be at their height of power and are looking for new lands to conquer. Hasan learns that the Ottomans have set their eyes upon the Mameluke Empire centered in Cairo. Nur and Hasan race back there to warn the city and its leaders of the impending danger which is heeded. Nonetheless the city is conquered and a great massacre of the people takes place. It is during this great time of fear and death that Nur gives birth to Hasan’s daughter that they aptly name Hayat, or life. After things die down a little, the family escapes the city and begins their nomadic lives for a while.
In the following year, Hasan is captured by an Italian pirate that has been looking for a traveler, scholar and diplomat. Hasan is brought to Rome the seat of Christianity where he is received by Pope Leo X. Hasan is now an academic inside of Rome doing some teaching and learning. He is baptized and renamed Leo but comes to be known as Leo Africanus. In his time in Rome, he is introduced to a fledgling Lutheranism. The main focus of this movement is against the extraction of German gold to pay for churches in Rome and against the indulgences that Rome has come to rely on.
What is most interesting is how Hasan, now Leo, is able to remain loyal to the Pope that received him as a son while at the same time acknowledging the obvious problems with the Roman church. The question then becomes: is it inevitable at this point that bloodshed between Christians will happen? Why with the looming religious war within Christianity is the Pope so concerned with Leo?

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