Africa

Among the Faithful by Dahris Martin

By Dahris Martin

Dahris Martin, a tender American looking for sunlight, arrived within the holy urban of Kairouan within the past due Nineteen Twenties. Befriended through the roguish Kalifa, she is welcomed into his circle of family and friends. one of the trustworthy is a special portrait of conventional Tunisian society. It tells of barefoot pilgrims and bedouin, the deflowering of virgin brides, spirit ownership and dances held for djinn. It sings the praises of the unsung: Eltifa the blind musician, Zinibe (who had a middle for all of the international) and the entrancing, dancing Aisha. Dahris Martin witnessed family lifestyles in Tunisia from inside, a privilege she stocks with no pretension, with affection and with a yes lightness of contact.

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Berbrugger {Revue Africaine (1858), p. 362) is not without hope INTRODUCTION. xlvii T H E LATER YEARS OF LEO. In Rome Leo lived for many years, though at times he paid visits to Bologna and other cities. In 1550, when Ramusio published his Navigazioni, he does not appear to have been a resident in the Pontifical city, or indeed in Italy. He is merely described as having lived for a long time in Rome (cost abitb poi in Roma lungo tempo) ; and this statement is repeated in the edition of 1554. 2 At all events, he was at work in the year 1541.

CAPTURE OF LEO AND H I S LIFE IN ITALY. But it so happened that the cup went too often to the fountain ; for on returning from what appears to have been a second voyage to Constantinople (which had then been for about seventy years under the Turks), he had the ill-luck to fall into the hands of some Christian (probably Venetian) corsairs1 off the famous island of Djerba, the Island of the Lotos Eaters, and for three centuries later a favourite haunt of the Mediterranean sea-robbers. These pirates, finding that they had a person of greater learning than usual on board, carried him to Rome as a present to Pope Leo X (Giovanni de' Medici), in the hope, no doubt, of atoning by this pious act for a long accumulation of infamy.

Even in Ramusio's version it is far from elegant, though not without a certain rude vigour, and a simple lucidity which renders it difficult to mistake his meaning. Latin was, however, one of his Roman acquisitions. He also taught Arabic—the most distinguished of his pupils being the Bishop of Viterbo, afterwards Cardinal Egidio Antonini. In Rome, also, he would appear to have written in Italian the work which is his chief claim to fame. No doubt he had previously kept a diary or notes ; for it is impossible that so multifarious a mass of details could have been retained with such accuracy in his memory.

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