Leo Africanus

Amin Maalouf


"I, Hasan the son of Muhammad the weigh-master, I, Jean-Leon de Medici, circumcised on the hand of a barber and baptized on the hand of a pope, i'm now known as the African, yet i'm really not from Africa, nor from Europe, nor from Arabia. i'm often known as the Granadan, the Fassi, the Zayyati, yet I come from no kingdom, from no urban, no tribe. i'm the son of the line, my state is the caravan, my existence the main unforeseen of voyages."

Thus wrote Leo Africanus, in his 40th yr, during this imaginary autobiography of the recognized geographer, adventurer, and pupil Hasan al-Wazzan, who used to be born in Granada in 1488. His family members fled the Inquisition and took him to the town of Fez, in North Africa. Hasan turned an itinerant service provider, and made many trips to the East, trips wealthy in event and statement. He used to be captured by means of a Sicilian pirate and brought again to Rome as a present to Pope Leo X, who baptized him Johannes Leo. whereas in Rome, he wrote the 1st trilingual dictionary (Latin, Arabic and Hebrew), in addition to his celebrated Description of Africa, for which he's nonetheless remembered as Leo Africanus.

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