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November 10, 2018


#Classic: The Lusiads

by N@ncy




  1. Late 16th century in Portugal
  2. a epic narrative poem written in four parts.
  3. Narrator: Vasco da Gama
  4. The poem ends at a placed called The Island of Love,
  5. where the ancient god  Bacchus, proclaims that the
  6. Portuguese people have become like gods themselves.
  7. The poem is a vehicle to praise Portugal in general
  8. …and the plot is less important.



  • introduction — theme (glory of Portugal)  and heroes of the poem
  • invocation – a prayer to the nymphs of the Tagus
  • dedication – (to King Sebastian I of Portugal)
  • narration  (the epic itself…voyages …see map )



  1. This is one of those
  2. must read and get it over with”  books.
  3. I approached the book as a chore.
  4. I had  very little interest in the Portuguese history and glory
  5. while being  influenced by the intervention
  6. …of the gods from Mt Olympus:
  7. Venus Jove, Mercury, Mars, Bacchus and Neptune.
  8. But it is a #Classic…so I just got on with it.
  9. I read a few analyses of the story on internet
  10. …to get an idea what lay ahead of me.
  11. Then  I skimmed  the epic poem on my IPAD.
  13. I started to get interested in the royal house of Portugal!
  14. Most of my reading reflects the
  15. …royals of England, France..or The Netherlands.
  16. Now I discovered the richness that is Portuguese history!
  17. The perils that befall and baffle men at sea
  18. …St. Elmo’s Fire, giant Adamastor  the personified Cape of Storms)
  19. Neptune’s waves, Aeolus’s winds
  20. …..nothing can stop the Portugese and Vasco da Gama!
  21. Classic that is seldom seen on reading lists.
  22. I can understand why.
  23. #Classic for the #DieHards


Last thoughts:

  1. The best way to tackle this epic story
  2. …is  to  stop and  look up  in Wikipedia
  3. some historical figures/battles  mentioned.
  4. Example:  Inês de Castro in Canto 3
  5. ….posthumously crowned queen of Portugal.
  6. Example: Nuno Alvares Pereira in canto 4 …general who  assured
  7. …Portugal’s independence. Became a monk and in 2009
  8. …canonized by Pope Benedictus XVI St Constable. (feast day 6 November)
  9. Example: King Manuel I  in canto 4 (1469-1521)
  10. in 1495, King Manuel took the throne, and the country revived
  11. ….its earlier mission to find a direct trade route to India
  12. …with the help of Vasco da Gama. (narrator)
  13. By this time, Portugal had established itself as one of
  14. …the most powerful maritime countries in Europe.
  15. We done with Portugal’s past history
  16. …now Vasco de Gama can continue telling his story.
  17. I found the history more interesting
  18. …than the explorations in canto 5 – 10.



  1. …a weak king can sap the courage of a strong people.
  2. …a change of ruler can work a change in his people too.


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2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Nov 10 2018

    Ooh. I’ve always wanted to read this. But it is off the usual radar, isn’t it?


    • Nov 10 2018

      This is a fun read but you have to invest some time linking the
      parallels with Homer’s Odyssey, Virgil’s Aeneid and references to mythology and historical facts.
      The text has a rhythmic flow even in translation…and at times if you need to skim
      ….that is easily done. I’m concentrating on many classics that I just keep avoiding.
      2019 will be the year of #JustDoIt !!



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