Through the Eyes of a Warrior, Traveller and Poet: Portugal, Malabar and Indian Traditions as Seen by Luís Vaz de Camões ("Os Lusíadas" VII, 17–85)


  • David Pierdominici Leão International Institute for Asian Studies, Netherlands image/svg+xml



Camões, Portuguese literature, colonial history, Indo-Portuguese relations, Kerala


An adventurer, soldier and great poet, Luís Vaz de Camões (1524–1580) arrived in India in 1555 and remained there till 1567, with ups and mishaps. The author of the Portuguese national epic poem, Camões recounted in a marvellous poetic form the heroic crossing of Vasco da Gama, who reached the Calicut coasts in 1498, skirting for the very first time the Cabo da Boa Esperança (Cape of Good Hope). The paper focuses on the analysis of some ottavas from the 7th canto of Os Lusíadas, in which the arrival of Portuguese sailors and the first meeting with emissaries from the Zamorin are narrated. These passages, concerning the religious and cultural traditions of Malabar (but Indian in general) and its political organization, will be the starting point for a reflection on Indo-Portuguese relationships, as seen not from a historical source, but from a little-studied literary one.

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How to Cite

Pierdominici Leão, David. 2019. “Through the Eyes of a Warrior, Traveller and Poet: Portugal, Malabar and Indian Traditions As Seen by Luís Vaz De Camões (‘Os Lusíadas’ VII, 17–85)”. Cracow Indological Studies 21 (2):159-78.