The Other’s portrait and the historical truth in classical authors and Portuguese 16th Century chroniclers

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


The Other’s portrait crosses all Classical Antiquity literature from Homer to Latin
authors. This fact means an implicit awareness that it doesn’t exist identity without alterity.
This is the fundamental question of Iliad, in the conflict between Greek and Trojan peoples. This is also the recurrent question of Odyssey, in the adventurous demand of the Other from Troy to Ulysses’ return to his Ithaca Island. The Golden Fleece demand also brings to the confrontation between Argonauts and the Colchis people.
The Greek historiography takes this question again with Herodotus, Thucydides and Xenophon, but from a historical truth perspective, in an internal conflict between Athenians and Spartans (Thucydides), and in an external conflict between Athenians and Persians (Herodotus and Xenophon).
The same way, Virgil refers Carthage and Dido Queen in his Aeneid epopee, announcing the future Punic Wars. In the Roman historiography Titus Livy and Sallust a special attention to the other’s portrait is also paid as identity awareness counterpoint. The same way Julius Caesar does in the memorial literature when he writes about Gallia. The historical truth is the most important aim in the Roman historiography as a heuristic
(documentum) and as an exemplary pedagogy (monumentum) after the Ciceronian perspective, a privileged form of civic intervention (res romana).
The 16 th Portuguese chroniclers (João de Barros, Fernão Lopes de Castanheda, Gaspar Correia, Diogo do Couto) inherited this Classical Antiquity methodological perspective. So they link the historical sources to the national identity and alterity questions.
The aim of this paper is to register both explicit and implicit forms of Classical reception in the 16 th Portuguese chroniclers.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventThe International Conference Sources to Study Antiquity: Between Texts and Material Culture - NOVA FCSH, Lisboa, Portugal
Duration: 9 May 201610 May 2016


ConferenceThe International Conference Sources to Study Antiquity


  • Alterity
  • Identity
  • Sources
  • Historical truth
  • Exemplary pedagogy


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