Reception Studies: Biblical and Eastern Antiquity in the Portuguese Travellers’ Writings (16th-17th Centuries)

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Ever since ancient times, there are records of pilgrimages between
Portugal and the Holy Land – this was especially true during Modern
Age. In the 16th and 17th centuries, the adventurous spirit of Modern
Man and the expansion of the Portuguese power into some Eastern
areas resulted in the augmentation of the journeys and pilgrimages‘
records written by the Portuguese travelling to Jerusalem. For the most
part, these men‘s travel diaries were extremely exhaustive regarding
practical information about the journey, the preparation required, what
they had witnessed or to whom they had spoken. In fact, descriptions
of these contemporary themes held special interest, as these men aimed
to create a document that would help and even encourage people to
undertake journeys of this kind. However, these manuscripts contained
more than trivial information and journey advice: in these writings,
travelers also expressed their understanding about the Ancient History
of the Near East, especially that concerning the Biblical history and the
sacred places of Christianity. Nevertheless, in these same writings,
several references to an extra- Biblical antiquity were found – most
often, the references formulated were either about Mesopotamian or the
Egyptian worlds, due to the geographic proximity; however some
authors also mention – although less common – Greek and Roman
Antiquity and the religious system practiced by each of these four
civilizations. It is in these references to the extra-Biblical Antiquity that
this paper will focus on. It aims to comprehend what motives these
extremely faithful men had, which lead them to make such allusions to
an extra-Biblical reality, as well as to evaluate what their perceptions
about other religious systems were, and how they could associated
them to the history of Christianity. Overall, this study pretends to
contribute to the discussion around the Reception of Antiquity during
the 16th and 17th centuries, providing elements for several
investigations that allow to better understand the mentality of the
Modern man, in addition to their knowledge about the past.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2020
EventAnnual International Conference on History & Archaeology: From Ancient to Modern - Athens, Greece
Duration: 1 Apr 20204 Apr 2020
Conference number: 18


ConferenceAnnual International Conference on History & Archaeology


  • Portuguese travelers
  • 16th – 17th 33 studies
  • Land routes
  • Jerusalem
  • Biblical 34 History
  • Reception of Antiquity


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