The Lusíadas as a Historical Document: Extracting Portugal, the Portuguese, Love and Prophecy from the Epic Poem


 

Os Luísadas (1572) by Luís Vaz de Camões is an epic poem that immortalised Vasco da Gama and the Portuguese sea voyages to India via Southern Africa in 1497-1498. Over half a century after this voyage, Camões dramatises the event as world changing, where a divine plan was proposed to the Portuguese with the intervention from the classical gods. In ten ‘cantos’, Camões narrates the history of Portugal, its birth, rise and growth through the Reconquista and expansion overseas. He also notes the fate of the Portuguese, their feats, ‘accomplishments’ and rewards, among other details. (more…)