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Leo the African by Amin Maalouf

Leo the African (1986)

by Amin Maalouf

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,1182811,297 (3.94)60
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English (16)  Spanish (7)  Dutch (2)  French (2)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (28)
Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
My five stars go to the best first page I've ever read. The rest of the book is not as good, in my opinion, but those first paragraphs always manage to move me. ( )
  Tacuazin | Feb 28, 2018 |
لذيذة هى الرواية لمن يأخذها على أنها فسحة أو رحلة للبلدان ..! و فى حسي هي إحدى وسائل الخداع و الكذب

حين تنتهي من الرواية تجد نفسك تسأل : "هل هكذا تم تهجير المسلمين من الأندلس ..؟!! و كأنني أقرأ قصة رحلة سياحية ، لا قتل و حرق و لا تعذيب و محاكم تفتيش ..!ـ

صورة فجة للتسامح الكاذب الذى يريد أن يعيش الجميع فى سلام و وئام ، العدو مع الصديق و القاتل مع أهل القتيل ..!

ما ضيعنا إلا مثل هذه المثالية الزائفة حتى فى عصرنا الحاضر

نرضخ لإسرائيل و هى تحتل أرضنا ، و نلجأ للتفاوض و التسامح و المعاهدات فى حين أنهم ينقضون كل عهد و يقتلون منا و يذبحون !! . و من بنى جلدتنا من يقول أصدقائنا اليهود .. بئست هذه النفوس

الأستاذ معلوف على ما يبدو أنه متأثر جدا بالبلاد الأوروبية التى يعيش فيها - التى لها تاريخ فى قتل المسلمين و تهجيرهم من أوروبا - و فى نفس الوقت هو عربي .. فيقع فى الفخ و يُخرج لنا بطله ليون الأفريقي فى صورة كوكتيل .. كوكتيل مسلم نصراني كوكتيل مهاجر مسلم اندلسي لراهب متنسك لإنسان بلا هوية .. لا صراع إسلام و كفر ، لا صراع على غقيدة و دين .. الجميع عند معلوف أحبة .. يخدع نفسه أم يخدعنا ؟!ـ

ارحمونا و ارحموا تاريخنا يرحمكم الله !ـ ( )
  AmrAzzazi | Feb 18, 2018 |
Technically, this book falls into the category of 'factition' -- a fictionalised account of a historical event, but it is so well written in terms of its accuracy of the times and events and in maintaining the 'voice' of Leo Africanus as we know him from his own writing, that it belongs to the highest strata of that category, joining such works as Colleen McCullough's superlative series on ancient Rome.

Leo Africanus, as he is best known, was a historical person, born during the tumultuous late 15th century, a Muslim, in Granada, in Christian Spain during the fervent years of Ferdinand and Isabella. His was an experience-rich life, as revealed in his well-known travelogue written for the Pope upon his conversion to Christianity and published in Latin as Della descrittione dell’Africa et delle cose notabili che iui sono or Geography of Africa--a misleading title if ever there was one for that is like describing Gone with the Wind as a geography of Mississippi.

I have read the original and can not praise highly enough the research and work that Amin Maalouf has shared with us, translated by Peter Sluglett. Since we only know those elements of our subject's life as he himself revealed in his own writings, Maalouf has had to work with those episodes alone, but he has developed them with details garnered from other historical writings and texts of the times--for example, the detail that [Christopher] Columbus followed Ferdinand and Isabella from camp to camp as they led their armies on their 'holy wars', waiting for an audience. Some reviewers have commented that the work seems a little haphazard in its 'plot development', but this is the story of a man's life, and to have embellished what we know of it (or what he reveals to us) to fill in the holes or add a storyline would have made this work less than it is--a work I can recommend to true lovers of history, especially those wishing to fill in their knowledge of European or Mediterranean history in the 15-16th centuries.

Leo Africanus should be as well known as Marco Polo, the 13th century traveller, for his tale is as interesting and exciting, and as rich while simultaneously elusive in detail. Highly recommended to be read either before or after Leo Africanus is [b:1494: How a Family Feud in Medieval Spain Divided the World in Half|12394198|1494 How a Family Feud in Medieval Spain Divided the World in Half|Stephen R. Bown|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348461409s/12394198.jpg|17375341].
( )
  pbjwelch | Jul 25, 2017 |
Historical fiction full of adventure, giving a vivid picture of the Mediterranean from Granada to Constantinople to Rome from 1488 to 1528. Very engaging and enjoyable. ( )
  snash | Oct 31, 2014 |
Peter Slugett made a pretty good translation of this novel. Leo was a real person, and a considerable geographer, who was a treasure trove of information about Northern Africa to the renaissance. The novel has good empathy with a man out of his original place, coping with a dangerous environment. ( )
  DinadansFriend | Feb 24, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Maalouf, AminAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gallego Urrutia, María TeresaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reverte Cejudo, María IsabelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sluglett, PeterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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No dudes, empero, de que León el Africano, León el viajero, también era yo. 
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A Andrée
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Ik, Hassan, zoon van Mohammed de weger, ik Johannes Leo de'Medici', besneden door de hand van een barbier en gedoopt door de hand van een paus, wordt tegenwoordig de Afrikaan genoemd, maar ik kom noch uit Afrika, noch uit Europa, noch uit Arabië. Men noemt mij ook de Granadijn, de Fassi, de Zayyati maar ik kom uit geen enkel land, geen enkele stad, geen enkele stam. Ik ben een zoon van de wegen, mijn vaderland is de karavaan en mijn leven de meest onverwachte der tochten.
A mí, Hassan, hijo de Mohamed el alamín, a mí, Juan León de Médicis, circuncidado por la mano de un barbero y bautizado por la mano de un papa, me llaman hoy el Africano, pero ni de África, ni de Europa, ni de Arabia soy.
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No vaciles nunca en alejarte allende todos los mares, allende todas las fronteras, todas las patrias, todas las creencias.
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
A fascinating imaginary autobiography focuses on the life of Hasan Al-Wazzan, the 15th century geographer who came to be known in the West as Leo Africanus or Leo the African. Leo’s adventures began in Islamic Spain, took him across North Africa, and to many important cities and court positions that help readers understand the medieval history of the Middle East and Europe. The book was long on the best seller list in Paris before this wonderful English translation was printed.
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"I, Hasan the son of Muhammad the weigh-master, I, Jean-Leon de Medici, circumcised at the hand of a barber and baptized at the hand of a pope, I am now called the African, but I am not from Africa, nor from Europe, nor from Arabia. I am also called the Granadan, the Fassi, the Zayyati, but I come from no country, from no city, no tribe. I am the son of the road, my country is the caravan, my life the most unexpected of voyages." Thus wrote Leo Africanus, in his fortieth year, in this imaginary autobiography of the famous geographer, adventurer, and scholar Hasan al-Wazzan, who was born in Granada in 1488. His family fled the Inquisition and took him to the city of Fez, in North Africa. Hasan became an itinerant merchant, and made many journeys to the East, journeys rich in adventure and observation. He was captured by a Sicilian pirate and taken back to Rome as a gift to Pope Leo X, who baptized him Johannes Leo. While in Rome, he wrote the first trilingual dictionary (Latin, Arabic and Hebrew), as well as his celebrated Description of Africa, for which he is still remembered as Leo Africanus.… (more)

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