Last Updated September 5, 2023.
If you’re doing an assignment that involves analyzing The Lusiads, by Luis de Camoes, it’s important that you understand and define some of your terms first. For example, this poem was written hundreds of years ago in Portuguese, so the term “Lusiads” comes from the original Portuguese term “Lusiadas.”
The name means “sons of Lusus.” This itself is a reference to the Portuguese in general. It comes from the old Roman name from a province in Europe during the Roman Empire called “Lusitania” which covered Portugal. The reason why this is important is that it defines the flavor of the poem. There are many references to Roman culture in the poem, and you can emphasize this in your analysis since the name of the poem itself is a reference to Ancient Rome.
Examples of other references include Jupiter at the beginning of the poem, and Bacchus, the God of Wine, towards the end. There’s even a reference to Portugal as being the land of gods, all with a Roman flair. It will help your analysis to start with the Roman allusions and go forward from there to understand the place the author is coming from in praising Portugal and its accomplishments in the fields of discovery and conquest as of the time the poem was written.