Damião de Góis

Damião de Góis

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Damiao de Góis (February 2, 1502 – January 30, 1574), born in Alenquer
Alenquer
Alenquer is a municipality in Portugal with a total area of 304.2 km² and a total population of 42,932 inhabitants. The municipality is composed of 16 parishes, and is located in the District of Lisbon....

, Portugal
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

, was an important Portuguese humanist
Humanism
Humanism is an approach in study, philosophy, world view or practice that focuses on human values and concerns. In philosophy and social science, humanism is a perspective which affirms some notion of human nature, and is contrasted with anti-humanism....

 philosopher. He was a friend and student of Erasmus. He was appointed secretary
Secretary
A secretary, or administrative assistant, is a person whose work consists of supporting management, including executives, using a variety of project management, communication & organizational skills. These functions may be entirely carried out to assist one other employee or may be for the benefit...

 to the Portuguese
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

 factory
Factory (trading post)
Factory was the English term for the trading posts system originally established by Europeans in foreign territories, first within different states of medieval Europe, and later in their colonial possessions...

 in Antwerp in 1523 by King John III of Portugal
John III of Portugal
John III , nicknamed o Piedoso , was the fifteenth King of Portugal and the Algarves. He was the son of King Manuel I and Maria of Aragon, the third daughter of King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Queen Isabella I of Castile...

. He compiled one of the first accounts on Ethiopian Christianity
Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church
The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church is the predominant Oriental Orthodox Christian church in Ethiopia. The Ethiopian Church was administratively part of the Coptic Orthodox Church until 1959, when it was granted its own Patriarch by Coptic Orthodox Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of All...

.

Biography


Góis (also Goes) was born in Alenquer, Portugal, into a noble
Nobility
Nobility is a social class which possesses more acknowledged privileges or eminence than members of most other classes in a society, membership therein typically being hereditary. The privileges associated with nobility may constitute substantial advantages over or relative to non-nobles, or may be...

 family who served the Portuguese kings – the grandfather, Gomes Dias de Góis, had been in the entourage of Prince Henry the Navigator. Around 1518 Góis joined the court of King Manuel I of Portugal
Manuel I of Portugal
Manuel I , the Fortunate , 14th king of Portugal and the Algarves was the son of Infante Ferdinand, Duke of Viseu, , by his wife, Infanta Beatrice of Portugal...

. Under Manuel I’s successor, King John III of Portugal
John III of Portugal
John III , nicknamed o Piedoso , was the fifteenth King of Portugal and the Algarves. He was the son of King Manuel I and Maria of Aragon, the third daughter of King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Queen Isabella I of Castile...

, in 1523, he was sent to Antwerp, as secretary and treasurer of the Portuguese feitoria
Factory (trading post)
Factory was the English term for the trading posts system originally established by Europeans in foreign territories, first within different states of medieval Europe, and later in their colonial possessions...

 (factory, trading post and commercial office). Henceforth, Góis travelled intensely (Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

, Lithuania
Lithuania
Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark...

, Denmark
Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

), entering into contact with a number of important figures, like Sebastian Münster
Sebastian Münster
Sebastian Münster , was a German cartographer, cosmographer, and a Hebrew scholar.- Life :Münster was born at Ingelheim near Mainz, the son of Andreas Munster. He completed his studies at the Eberhard-Karls-Universität Tübingen in 1518. His graduate adviser was Johannes Stöffler.He was appointed to...

, Erasmus (who hosted him in Freiburg
Freiburg
Freiburg im Breisgau is a city in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. In the extreme south-west of the country, it straddles the Dreisam river, at the foot of the Schlossberg. Historically, the city has acted as the hub of the Breisgau region on the western edge of the Black Forest in the Upper Rhine Plain...

), Ramusio, Philipp Melanchthon
Philipp Melanchthon
Philipp Melanchthon , born Philipp Schwartzerdt, was a German reformer, collaborator with Martin Luther, the first systematic theologian of the Protestant Reformation, intellectual leader of the Lutheran Reformation, and an influential designer of educational systems...

 and Martin Luther
Martin Luther
Martin Luther was a German priest, professor of theology and iconic figure of the Protestant Reformation. He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God's punishment for sin could be purchased with money. He confronted indulgence salesman Johann Tetzel with his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517...

. Among the many Portuguese acquaintances, Góis was friend of the writers João de Barros
João de Barros
João de Barros , called the Portuguese Livy, is one of the first great Portuguese historians, most famous for his Décadas da Ásia , a history of the Portuguese in India and Asia.-Early years:...

 and André de Resende
Andre de Resende
André de Resende , the father of archaeology in Portugal, a Dominican friar.He spent many years traveling in Spain, France and Belgium, where he corresponded with Erasmus and other learned men. He was also intimate with King John III and his sons, and acted as tutor to the Infante D...

. A humanist and an open mind, Góis followed courses at the Universities
University
A university is an institution of higher education and research, which grants academic degrees in a variety of subjects. A university is an organisation that provides both undergraduate education and postgraduate education...

 of Padua
University of Padua
The University of Padua is a premier Italian university located in the city of Padua, Italy. The University of Padua was founded in 1222 as a school of law and was one of the most prominent universities in early modern Europe. It is among the earliest universities of the world and the second...

 and Leuven
Catholic University of Leuven
The Catholic University of Leuven, or of Louvain, was the largest, oldest and most prominent university in Belgium. The university was founded in 1425 as the University of Leuven by John IV, Duke of Brabant and approved by a Papal bull by Pope Martin V.During France's occupation of Belgium in the...

, wrote on various topics, like the condition of the Sami people
Sami people
The Sami people, also spelled Sámi, or Saami, are the arctic indigenous people inhabiting Sápmi, which today encompasses parts of far northern Sweden, Norway, Finland, the Kola Peninsula of Russia, and the border area between south and middle Sweden and Norway. The Sámi are Europe’s northernmost...

 (Lapps), and translated some classic
Classical antiquity
Classical antiquity is a broad term for a long period of cultural history centered on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome, collectively known as the Greco-Roman world...

 works
Literature
Literature is the art of written works, and is not bound to published sources...

 – among them, Cicero
Cicero
Marcus Tullius Cicero , was a Roman philosopher, statesman, lawyer, political theorist, and Roman constitutionalist. He came from a wealthy municipal family of the equestrian order, and is widely considered one of Rome's greatest orators and prose stylists.He introduced the Romans to the chief...

’s Cato maior de senectute
On Old Age
On Old Age is an essay written by Cicero in 44 BC on the subject of aging and death. It has remained popular because of its profound subject matter as well as its clear and beautiful language. It is a standard text for teaching Latin to students in the second year.The Latin title of the piece is...

 – into Portuguese
Portuguese language
Portuguese is a Romance language that arose in the medieval Kingdom of Galicia, nowadays Galicia and Northern Portugal. The southern part of the Kingdom of Galicia became independent as the County of Portugal in 1095...

. He was also a composer of some music
Music
Music is an art form whose medium is sound and silence. Its common elements are pitch , rhythm , dynamics, and the sonic qualities of timbre and texture...

al pieces and kept a private collection of painting
Painting
Painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a surface . The application of the medium is commonly applied to the base with a brush but other objects can be used. In art, the term painting describes both the act and the result of the action. However, painting is...

s.

Góis translated into Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 a Portuguese
Portuguese language
Portuguese is a Romance language that arose in the medieval Kingdom of Galicia, nowadays Galicia and Northern Portugal. The southern part of the Kingdom of Galicia became independent as the County of Portugal in 1095...

 opuscle on the Ethiopia
Ethiopia
Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

n embassy
Diplomatic mission
A diplomatic mission is a group of people from one state or an international inter-governmental organisation present in another state to represent the sending state/organisation in the receiving state...

 of the Armenian
Ethiopian Armenians
There is a small community of Armenians in Ethiopia, primarily in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.-Religion:The Armenian presence in Ethiopia is historic...

 Mateus
Mateus (Ethiopia)
Mateus also known as Matthew the Armenian was an Ethiopian ambassador sent by regent queen Eleni of Ethiopia to king Manuel I of Portugal and to the Pope in Rome, in search of a coalition to help on the increasing threat that Ethiopia faced from the growing Ottoman influence in the region, with...

 (the representative of the Negus
Emperor of Ethiopia
The Emperor of Ethiopia was the hereditary ruler of Ethiopia until the abolition of the monarchy in 1974. The Emperor was the head of state and head of government, with ultimate executive, judicial and legislative power in that country...

 Dawit II
Dawit II of Ethiopia
Dawit II , enthroned as Emperor Anbasa Segad , better known by his birth name Lebna Dengel was of Ethiopia, and a member of the Solomonic dynasty...

) to Portugal (1532), which also included the famous "Letter of Prester John
Prester John
The legends of Prester John were popular in Europe from the 12th through the 17th centuries, and told of a Christian patriarch and king said to rule over a Christian nation lost amidst the Muslims and pagans in the Orient. Written accounts of this kingdom are variegated collections of medieval...

" written by the Ethiopian Queen Eleni
Eleni of Ethiopia
Eleni or Helena was the wife of Zara Yaqob, and Empress of Ethiopia. She played a significant role in the government of Ethiopia during her lifetime, acting as regent or advisor to a number of Emperors; one testimony of this is the manuscript Bruce 88, which states that she had been in the palace...

 (1509) and a "Confessio illorum fidei".

In 1538 he published a translation of the Biblical book Ecclesiastes
Ecclesiastes
The Book of Ecclesiastes, called , is a book of the Hebrew Bible. The English name derives from the Greek translation of the Hebrew title.The main speaker in the book, identified by the name or title Qoheleth , introduces himself as "son of David, king in Jerusalem." The work consists of personal...

 in Portuguese, though it was not widely circulated. In the same year, he took a Dutch wife, Joana de Hargen. In 1540 he published the famous Fides, religio, moresque Aethiopum. The book received a widespread diffusion in Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

, in both Catholic
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 and Protestant
Protestantism
Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

 circles, and enjoyed of successive editions (Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

-1541, Leuven
Leuven
Leuven is the capital of the province of Flemish Brabant in the Flemish Region, Belgium...

-1544, Leiden-1561, Cologne
Cologne
Cologne is Germany's fourth-largest city , and is the largest city both in the Germany Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and within the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Area, one of the major European metropolitan areas with more than ten million inhabitants.Cologne is located on both sides of the...

-1574). It also earned the author, however, the criticisms of the powerful Portuguese Cardinal
Cardinal (Catholicism)
A cardinal is a senior ecclesiastical official, usually an ordained bishop, and ecclesiastical prince of the Catholic Church. They are collectively known as the College of Cardinals, which as a body elects a new pope. The duties of the cardinals include attending the meetings of the College and...

 Henry of Portugal, who, as Grand Inquisitor
Grand Inquisitor
Grand Inquisitor is the lead official of an Inquisition. The most famous Inquisitor General is the Spanish Dominican Tomás de Torquemada, who spearheaded the Spanish Inquisition.-List of Spanish Grand Inquisitors:-Castile:-Aragon:...

 of the Portuguese Inquisition
Portuguese Inquisition
The Portuguese Inquisition was formally established in Portugal in 1536 at the request of the King of Portugal, João III. Manuel I had asked for the installation of the Inquisition in 1515 to fulfill the commitment of marriage with Maria of Aragon, but it was only after his death that the Pope...

, banned its circulation in the kingdom. The Jesuit order
Society of Jesus
The Society of Jesus is a Catholic male religious order that follows the teachings of the Catholic Church. The members are called Jesuits, and are also known colloquially as "God's Army" and as "The Company," these being references to founder Ignatius of Loyola's military background and a...

 proved equally critical, as he was accused by the Provincial superior
Provincial superior
A Provincial Superior is a major superior of a religious order acting under the order's Superior General and exercising a general supervision over all the members of that order in a territorial division of the order called a province--similar to but not to be confused with an ecclesiastical...

 Simão Rodrigues of Lutheranism
Lutheranism
Lutheranism is a major branch of Western Christianity that identifies with the theology of Martin Luther, a German reformer. Luther's efforts to reform the theology and practice of the church launched the Protestant Reformation...

 before the Inquisition
Inquisition
The Inquisition, Inquisitio Haereticae Pravitatis , was the "fight against heretics" by several institutions within the justice-system of the Roman Catholic Church. It started in the 12th century, with the introduction of torture in the persecution of heresy...

.

In 1548, Góis was named Guarda Mor (High Guardian) of the Torre do Tombo (Royal Archives) and ten years later was entrusted by the same Cardinal Henry to write the chronicle of Manuel I’s reign. The work was completed in some seven years and became his major achievement. He also published a description of the city of Lisbon
Lisbon
Lisbon is the capital city and largest city of Portugal with a population of 545,245 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Lisbon extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of 3 million on an area of , making it the 9th most populous urban...

 – Urbis Olisiponis Descriptio (1554).

In 1570 the inquisitorial process
Inquisitorial system
An inquisitorial system is a legal system where the court or a part of the court is actively involved in investigating the facts of the case, as opposed to an adversarial system where the role of the court is primarily that of an impartial referee between the prosecution and the defense...

 opened again, sending Góis to reclusion in the monastery of Batalha
Batalha
Batalha is a town located in the Batalha Municipality in Leiria District, Pinhal Litoral Subregion, Centro Region, with 7,500 inhabitants.It is the seat of the municipality of the same name with 103.56 km² of area and 15,002 inhabitants , subdivided into 4 parishes Batalha is a town...

. He died shortly after in Alenquer under mysterious circumstances (apparently, murder), free but sick. Góis had eight sons.

Books by Góis


]
  • Legatio Magni Indorum Imperatoris Presbyteri Ioannis ... (Antwerp 1532; new ed. in: Elizabeth B. Blackburn, “The Legacy of ‘Prester John’”, Moreana 4, 1967, 37–98)
  • Ecclesiastes de Salamam, com algũas annotações neçessarias (Venezia, 1538; new ed. by T. F. Earle, O Livro de Ecclesiastes, Lisboa, 2002)
  • Livro de Marco Tullio Ciçeram chamado Catam maior, ou da velhiçe, dedicado a Tito Pomponio Attico (Venezia, 1538)
  • Fides, religio, moresque Aethiopum ... (Lovanii 1540; Parisiis ²1541; German tr. Wiesbaden 1999)
  • Deploratio Lappianae gentis (Lovanii 1540)
  • Urbis Olisiponis descriptio (Évora, 1554; Frankfurt, 1603; Coimbra, 1791; Eng. tr. New York, 1996)
  • Crónica do Felicíssimo Rei D. Manuel (Lisboa 1566–67; ²1619; Coimbra 1926)
  • Crónica do Principe D. João (Lisboa, 1567; new ed. by Graça Almeida Rodrigues, Lisboa, 1977)
  • As cartas Latinas de Damião de Góis, ed. by Amadeu Torres, in Noese e crise na epistolografia Latina goisiana (Paris, 1982)

Chamber Opera

  • "Melodias estranhas", chamber opera by António Chagas Rosa on a libretto by Gerrit Komrij. 2001.

External links