By 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 referred to as the African, yet it's not that i am from Africa, nor from Europe, nor from Arabia. i'm also known as the Granadan, the Fassi, the Zayyati, yet I come from no nation, from no urban, no tribe. i'm the son of the line, my nation is the caravan, my existence the main unforeseen of voyages."
therefore wrote Leo Africanus, in his 40th yr, during this imaginary autobiography of the recognized geographer, adventurer, and student Hasan al-Wazzan, who used to be born in Granada in 1488. His kin fled the Inquisition and took him to town of Fez, in North Africa. Hasan grew to become an itinerant service provider, and made many trips to the East, trips wealthy in event and remark. He used to be captured by way 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.
Translated via Peter Sluglett.