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Penguin Classics

The Cosmography and Geography of Africa

The Cosmography and Geography of Africa

The first new translation in over 400 years of one of the great works of the Renaissance: an African diplomat's guide to Africa. In 1518, al-Hasan ibn Muhammad al-Wazzan, a Moroccan diplomat, was seized by pirates while travelling in the Mediterranean. Brought before Pope Leo X, he was persuaded to convert to Christianity, in the process taking the name Johannes Leo Africanus. Acclaimed in the papal court for his learning, Leo would in time write his masterpiece, 'The Cosmography and the Geography of Africa.'

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