Luís de Camões

Luís de Camões

Infobox Writer
name = Luís Vaz de Camões

caption =
birthdate = c.1524
birthplace =
deathdate = death date|1580|6|10|mf=y
deathplace = Lisbon
occupation = Writer
genre = Poetry
movement =
notableworks = "Os Lusíadas"
influences =
influenced =

Luís Vaz de Camões (pronounced|luˈiʃ vaʃ dɨ kaˈmõĩʃ; sometimes rendered in English from old Portuguese as Camoens) (c. 1524–June 10, 1580) is considered Portugal's greatest poet. His mastery of verse has been compared to that of Shakespeare, Homer, Virgil, and Dante. He wrote a considerable amount of lyrical poetry (in Portuguese and in Spanish) and drama but is best remembered for his epic work "Os Lusíadas". His philosophical work "The Parnasum of Luís Vaz" was lost, stolen with part of "Os Lusíadas" by envious enemies while he was visiting Mozambique.

As mentioned in the "Nobiliário das Famílias de Portugal", by Manuel José da Costa Felgueiras Gaio: "The famous Luís de Camões, celebrated poet whom with the sword gave shows of his value and illustrious blood and with the pen made even more known his surname making his celebrated and great work in verse which so known it is in the literary republic, the whom was little esteemed at his time and only after his death he got esteem: he is buried at Santa Anna of Lisbon in a grave that one of his friends ordered to be made for him, so rich of a good name as he lived poor of wealth. Was born in Lisbon by the years of 1517."

As mentioned in the "Pedatura Lusitana", by Cristóvão Alão de Morais: "Luís de Camões, who served in Africa and in India and was the greatest ingenious of Portugal. He composed "Os Lusíadas" and many rhimes, for what he deserved the title of "Prince of Poets". He died single and without issue. He is buried at the Church of Santa Ana of Lisbon, on a leveled grave, deserving an illustrious mausoleum, as thanks of the gold status his poem erected to the Heroes of his Motherland. In his praise, made a eulogy Manuel de Faria Severim, Chantre of Évora, which goes printed between his speeches, where the main actions of his life can be seen."

The portrait at right is a lithograph after an imaginary portrait by François Gérard.


Many details concerning the life of Camões remain unknown, but he is thought to have been born around 1524. Luís Vaz de Camões, the only son and child of Simão Vaz de Camões and wife Ana de Sá de Macedo [ [ - Luís Vaz de Camões ] ] . His birthplace is unknown. Lisbon, Coimbra or Alenquer are frequently presented as his birthplace, although the latter is based on what may be a wrong interpretation of one of his poems.

Camões belongs to a family originating from the northern Portuguese region of Chaves near Galicia. At an early age, Simão Vaz left his son and wife to discover personal riches in India, only to die in Goa in the following years. His mother later re-married.

Camões lived a semi-privileged life and was educated by Dominicans and Jesuits. For a period, due to his familial relations he attended the University of Coimbra, although records do not show him registered (he participated in courses in the Humanities). His uncle, Bento de Camões, is credited with this education, owing to his position as Prior at the Monastery of Santa Cruz and Chancellor at the University of Coimbra. He frequently had access to exclusive literature, including classical Greek, Roman and Latin works, read Latin, Italian and wrote in Spanish.

Camões, as his love poetry can attest, was a romantic and idealist. It was rumored that he fell in love with Catherine of Ataíde, lady-in-waiting to the Queen, and also the Princess Maria, sister of John III of Portugal. It is also likely that an indiscreet allusion to the king in his play "El-Rei Seleuco", as well as these other incidents may have played a part in his exile from Lisbon in 1548. He traveled to the Ribatejo where he stayed in the company of friends who sheltered and fed him. He stayed in the province for about six months.

He enlisted in the overseas militia, and traveled to Ceuta in the fall of 1549. During a battle with the Moors, he lost the sight in his right eye. He eventually returned to Lisbon in 1551, a changed man, living a bohemian lifestyle. In 1552, during the religious festival of Corpus Christi, in the Largo do Rossio, he injured Gonçalo Borges, a member of the Royal Stables. Camões was imprisoned. His mother pleaded for his release, visiting royal ministers and the Borges family for a pardon. Released, Camões was ordered to pay 4,000 réis and serve three-years in the militia in the Orient.

He departed in 1553 for Goa on board the "São Bento", commanded by Fernão Alves Cabral. The ship arrived six months later. In Goa, Camões was imprisoned for debt. He found Goa "a step-mother to all honest men" but he studied local customs and mastered the local geography and history. On his first expedition, he joined a battle along the Malabar Coast. The battle was followed by skirmishes along the trading routes between Egypt and India. The fleet eventually returned to Goa by November 1554. During his time ashore, he continued his writing publicly, as well as writing correspondence for the uneducated men of the fleet.

At the end of his obligatory service, he was given the position of chief warrant officer in Macau. He was charged with managing the properties of missing and deceased soldiers in the Orient. During this time he worked on his epic poem "Os Lusíadas" ("The Lusiads") in a grotto. He was later accused of misappropriations and traveled to Goa to respond to the accusations of the tribunal. During his return journey, near the Mekong River along the Cambodian coast, he was shipwrecked, saving his manuscript but losing his Chinese lover. His shipwreck survival in the Mekong Delta was enhanced by the legendary detail that he succeeded in swimming ashore while holding aloft the manuscript of his still-unfinished epic.

In 1570 Camões finally made it back to Lisbon, where two years later he published "Os Lusíadas". In recompense for his poem or perhaps for services in the Far East, he was granted a small royal pension by the young and ill-fated King Sebastian (ruled 1557–1578).

In 1578 he heard of the appalling defeat of the Battle of Alcazarquivir, where King Sebastian was killed and the Portuguese army destroyed. The Spanish troops were approaching LisbonFact|date=July 2008 when Camões wrote to the Captain General of Lamego: "All will see that so dear to me was my country that I was content to die not only in it but with it". Camões died in Lisbon in 1580, at the age of 56.


* "Os Lusíadas"
* "The Parnasum of Luís Vaz" (lost)
* "Lyric Poems"
* "Auto dos Anfitriões"
* "Auto El-rei Seleuco"
* "Auto do Filodemo"
* "Letters"


The definitive biography is "Life of Camões", by John Adamson, published by Longman in 1820.



* "Luis de Camões: Epic and Lyric", ed. Keith Bosley (1990)
* "Camoens: His Life and his Lusiads", 1881
*The Place of Camoens in Literature / Nabuco, Joaquim., 1908
*Luis de Camões / Bell, Aubrey F. G., 1923
*Camoens, Central Figure of Portuguese Lit. / Goldberg, Isaac., 1924
*From Virgil to Milton / Bowra, C. M., 1945
*Camoens and the Epic of the Lusiads / Hart, Henry Hersch., 1962
*The Lusiads of Luiz de Camões / Bacon, Leonard., 1966
*The Presence of Camões / Monteiro, George., 1996
*The Lusiads / White, Landeg., 2002
*Ordering Empire: The Poetry of Camões, Pringle and Campbell / Meihuizen, Nicholas., 2007


*Camoens y Cervantes / Orico, Osvaldo., 1948
*Camoens / Filgueira Valverde, Jose., 1958
*Homenaje a Camoens: Estudios y Ensayos., 1980
*Cuatro Lecciones Sobre Camoens / Alonso Zamora Vicente., 1981


* Camões is one of the roles in Donizetti's grand opera "Dom Sébastien, Rei de Portugal"

* Camões figures prominently in the book "Het verboden rijk" ("The Forbidden Empire") by the Dutch writer J. Slauerhoff, who himself made several voyages to the Far East as a ship's doctor.

* Today, a museum dedicated to Camões can be found in Macau, the Museu Luís de Camões.

ee also

* Portuguese poetry


External links

* [ Luis Vaz de Camões] - Catholic Encyclopedia article
* [ Fulgrosse's Blog about Luiz Vaz de Camões and his mysteries]

NAME= Camões, Luís Vaz de
ALTERNATIVE NAMES= Camões, Luis Vaz de; Camoens, Luís Vaz de; Camoens, Luis Vaz de; Camões, Luís de; Camoens, Luís de; Camões, Luis de; Camoens, Luis de
SHORT DESCRIPTION= Portuguese poet
DATE OF BIRTH= circa 1524
DATE OF DEATH= June 10, 1580

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  • Luís de Camões — Luís Vaz de Camões [luˈiʃ vaʃ dɨ kaˈmõi̯ʃ] (auch Luiz Vaz de Camoes) (* 1524 oder 1525 vermutlich in Coimbra oder Lissabon; † 10. Juni 1579 oder …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Luís de Camões — Luís Vaz de Camões o Camoens (Lisboa,c. 1524 Lisboa, 10 de junio de 1580[1 …   Wikipedia Español

  • Luís de Camões — Luís Vaz de Camões D’après un portrait de François Gérard. Activités …   Wikipédia en Français

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  • Luis de Camões — Luís de Camões Luís Vaz de Camões D’après un portrait de François Gérard. Activité(s) …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Luís De Camões — Luís Vaz de Camões D’après un portrait de François Gérard. Activité(s) …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Luís de camões — Luís Vaz de Camões D’après un portrait de François Gérard. Activité(s) …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Luís de Camões — Luís Vaz de Camões o Camoens, escritor y poeta portugués (10 de junio de 1524 – 10 de junio de 1580), generalmente considerado como el mayor poeta en lengua portuguesa; también escribió algunos sonetos en español. Es poco lo que se sabe de Camões …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Praça Luís de Camões — Platz in Lissabon …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Luís Vaz de Camões — Luís de Camões Luís Vaz de Camões D’après un portrait de François Gérard. Activité(s) …   Wikipédia en Français

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