Tomb of Luís de CamõesJerónimos Monastery
Luís Vaz de Camões is considered to be Portugal’s greatest poet. His treatment of verse and his linguistic ability has been compared to literary heavyweights Shakespeare, Vondel, Homer, and Dante. While he wrote many lyrical poems and dramas, he is best remembered for his epic work Os Lusíadas (The Lusiads).
Not a huge amount is known about Camões himself, but we do know that he moved around a lot during his 55 years. Born in Lisbon in 1524, the poet moved to Coimbra to study at university. He later moved to Morocco to become a soldier for the Portuguese army and served in India, Arabia, Macau, and Goa.
It was during Camões’ time in Macau where he began to write Os Lusíadas in a hidden grotto – every poet's favorite hideaway. Explore some of the locations Camões described in his monumental poem and learn more about the poet himself.
Mount Olympus, Greece
Not one to start small, the beginning of Os Lusíadas sees the gods of Greece being called to decide whether or not the Portuguese will be successful on their voyages. Watching over the voyage of Vasco da Gama from Mount Olympus, the gods have divided loyalties. Who wouldn’t want to see the gods battle it out with this view?
The Island of Mozambique, Nampula Province, Mozambique
In Os Lusíadas, the Portuguese fleet arrives on the Island of Mozambique and they are initially welcomed by Muslims who, intimidated by the power of the ships, promise them supplies and a pilot to take them to India. Camões was familiar with the island, having lived there from 1568 to 1570 – the story goes that it was there that the poet undertook the final revisions of Os Lusíadas, before returning to Lisbon.
Battle of Ourique, Baja, Portugal
Featuring in cantos III and another example of Camões’ descriptive passages, the battle of Ourique is the clash between the forces of Portuguese Prince Afonso Henriques (of the House of Burgundy) and the Almoravid, led by Ali ibn Yusuf.
Mekong Delta River, Vietnam
Camões alludes to his time being shipwrecked on the Mekong Delta river in Os Lusíadas, but only very briefly. The story goes that the poet was returning from Goa after responding to accusations of misappropriations during his time in the military.
Padrão dos Descobrimentos, Lisbon, Portugal
Padrão dos Descobrimentos (Monument of the Discoveries) is a monument on the northern bank of the Tagus River estuary, in the civil parish of Santa Maria de Belém, Lisbon. It celebrates the Portuguese Age of Discovery, written about in Os Lusíadas.