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White Foam on Black Water

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Srinivas Reddy

on 21 August 2014

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Transcript of White Foam on Black Water

Viagens de Longo Curso | Roteiros e Mapeações | 16 de Maio 2014

Srinivas Reddy
IIT Gandhinagar | ISCTE

White Foam on Black Water
translating the first voyage of Vasco da Gama


Outras palavras tais lhe respondia
O Capitão, e logo, as velas dando,
Para as terras da Aurora se partia
Que tanto tempo há já que vai buscando.
No piloto que leva não havia
Falsidade, mas antes vai mostrando
A navegação certa; e assim caminha
Já mais seguro do que dantes vinha.

As ondas navegavam do Oriente,
Já nos mares da India, e enxergavam
Os tálamos do Sol, que nasce ardente:
Já quase seus desejos se acabavam.

The Captain made fitting reply, and then, spreading his sail, set out once more for the lands of the dawn that for so long now had been his goal. This time he had a pilot, above suspicion of double-dealing, who straightway showed that he knew his job, and he sailed in consequence with an easier mind than he had known till then.

They were launched now on the waters of the Indian Ocean, with their eyes fixed on the cradle of the sun where it rises resplendent in the East.

Lá bem no grande monte que, cortando
Tão larga terra, toda Asia discorre,
Que nomes tão diversos vai tamanco
Segundo as regiões por onde corre,
As fontes saem donde vem manando
Os rios cuja grão corrente morre
No mar Indico, e cercam todo o peso
Do terreno, fazendo-o Quersoneso.

And in that mighty Himalayan range that divides a whole continent—for it stretches right across Asia, taking different names in different regions—are to be found the sources of these rivers which empty their huge volume into the Indian Ocean, embracing the entire land, peninsula-wise, in their course.
astyuttarasyāmṁ diśi devatātmā himālayo nāma nagādhirājạh
pūrvāparau toyanidhī vigāhya sthitạh prthivyā iva mānadạṇdạh

Formed of a living god, Himalaya, supreme
Rajah of the Mountains, rises in the north
and bathing in the western and eastern oceans
stretches out like a rod that could measure the earth. //I.1//

(Heifetz 1990: 21)
Moor from Tunis
who could speak

"May the devil take thee! What brought you hither?" They asked what he sought so far away from home, and he told them that we came in search of Christians and spices."

"A lucky venture, a luck venture! Plenty of rubies, plenty of emeralds! You owe great thanks to God, for having brought you to a country holding such riches!" We were greatly astonished to hear our language spoken so far away from Portugal. (FV 48-9)
The king then asked for the letter. The captain-major said that he begged as a favor, that as the Moors wished him ill and might misinterpret him, a Christian able to speak Arabic should be sent for. The king said this was well, and at once sent for a young man, of small stature, whose name was Quaram. The captain-major then said that he had two letters, one written in his own language and the other in that of the Moors; that he was able to read the former, and knew that it contained nothing but what would prove acceptable; but that as to the other he was unable to read it, and it might be good, or contain something that was erroneous. As the Christian was unable to read Moorish, four Moors took the letter and read it between them, after which they translated it to the king, who was well satisfied with its contents. The king then asked what kind of merchandise was to be found in his country. (FV 62-3)
The city of Calecut is inhabited by Christians...When we arrived they took us to a large church, and this is what we saw: The body of the church is as large as a monastery, all built of hewn stone and covered with tiles. At the main entrance rises a pillar of bronze as high as a mast, on the top of which was perched a bird, apparently a cock. In addition to this, there was another pillar as high as a man, and very stout. In the centre of the body of the church rose a chapel, all built of hewn stone, with a bronze door sufficiently wide for a man to pass, and stone steps leading up to it. Within this sanctuary stood a small image which they said represented Our Lady. Along the walls, by the main entrance, hung seven small bells. In this church the captain-major said his prayers, and we with him.

We did not go within the chapel, for it is the custom that only certain servants of the church, called quafees, should enter. These quafees wore some threads passing over the left shoulder and under the right arm, in the same manner as our deacons wear the stole. They threw holy water over us, and gave us some white earth, which the Christians of this country are in the habit of putting on their foreheads, breasts, around the neck, and on the forearms. They threw holy water upon the captain-major and gave him some of the earth, which he gave in charge of someone, giving them to understand that he would put it on later. Many other saints were painted on the walls of the church, wearing crowns. They were painted variously, with teeth protruding an inch from the mouth, and four or five arms. Below this church there was a large masonry tank, similar to many others which we had seen along the road. (FV 49, 52-54)
AM I.79

With his hard earned savings that great yogi served food
to all the groups of visiting Vaiṣṇavas
who came and went along the road that stretches
from the northern Snow Mountains
to the southern Sandalwood Hills.

Além do Indo jax e aquém do Gange
Um terreno mui grande e assaz famoso
Que pela parte Austral o mar abrange
E para o Norte o Emódio cavernoso.
Jugo de Reis diversos o constrange
A várias leis: alguns o vicioso
Mahoma, alguns os Idolos adoram,
Alguns os animais que entre elese moram.
Beyond the Indus, lying between it and the Ganges, there extends a vast territory, not unknown to fame, whose southern boundaries reach to the sea and whose northern to the cavernous Himalayas. Diverse kings rule over it, and there are in consequence diverse religions: some worship the infidel Mahomet, some bow down to idols, others to native animals.
nyāyājit vittambuna, nāyogīśvarụdu pẹṭtun anambāprā
leya pạtīrācala padyāyātāyāta vaịṣnavavāvalikĕllan
Fernão Martins
Monçaide >>>
El Masud
"the happy one"
Bontaibo >>> Portuguese
+ Arabic
= "good"

native of Seville, captured when five years old
turned Moslem although "in his soul he was still a Christian"
the "Castilian" whose true name was Alonso Perez
"We understood them to say that all these things, with the exception of the gold, were brought thither by these Moors; that further on, where we were going to, they abounded, and that precious stones, pearls and spices were so plentiful that there was no need to purchase them as they could be collected in baskets.

All this we learned through a sailor the captain-major had with him, and who, having formerly been a prisoner among the Moors, understood their language." (FV 23)
The "African slave" who spoke Arabic
present at the first audience between da Gama and Samorin
VII.24,25, 29, 31, 32,33

Entre a gente a vê-lo concorria
Se chega um Mahometa, que nascido
Fora na região da rberia,
Lá onde fora Anteu obecido.

Em vendo o mensageiro, com jucundo
Rosto, como quem sabe a lingua Hispana,
Lhe disse: Quem te trouxe a estoutro mundo,
Tao longe da tua patria Lusitana?

O Capitão o abraça, em cabo ledo
ouvindo clara a lingua de Castela;
Junto de si o assenta e, pronto e quedo,
Pela terra pergunta e cousas dela.
Qual se ajuntava em Ródope o arvoredo

Sabei que estais na India, onde se estende
Doverso povo, rico e prosperado
De ouro luzente e fina pedraria
Cheiro suave, ardente especiaria

Esta provincia, cujo porto agora
Tomado tendes, Malabar se chama;
Do culto antigo dos Idolos adora,
Que cá por estas partes se derrama;

Porém, como a esta terra então viessem
De lá do seio Arábico outras gentes
Que o culto Mahomético trouxessem,
No qual me instituram meus parentes,
Among the crowd was a Moslem born in Barbary, where the giant Antaeus once held sway.

At sight of the messenger his face brightened, and, speaking in Spanish, he hailed him with a 'And who brought you to this other world, so far from your native Portugal?'

The captain embraced him, overjoyed again to hear again the clear Castilian speech, then sat him next and, all attention, plied him questions about the land and its way, the sailors crowding round to listen as the trees once did in Rhodope,

'You must know that you are now in India, the abode of a diversity of peoples who prosper and grow rich on their gleaming gold and precious stones, their cinnamon and spices.

This country where you have now made harbour is called Malabar. Its people worship idols, as did their fathers before them: it is a cult widespread in these parts.

It was in his [Sarama Perimal's] time that there
came here other peoples from the region of the Red Sea, bringing with them the worship of Mahomet, the same in which I was brought up.'
White Foam on Black Water
translating the first voyage of Vasco da Gama
Imagination of India - Diversity of Land and People

History and Ethnography in Epics and Travelogues

Relations with Africans and Arabs

Prosopography of Interpreters

Roteiro da primeira viagem de Vasco da Gama à Índia 1497-1499 (1500-1550)
eyewitness account of an anonymous author
1551: Castanheda accesses
1838: Diogo Kopke publishes
Os Lusíadas (1572)
Luís Vaz de Camões (1524-158o)
Goa (1553), wrote
in Macau, saved manuscript in shipwreck
published three years after return to Lisbon

White Foam on Black Water
translating the first voyage of Vasco da Gama
Retrieving empiricist history from literary sources

Scrutinizing the role of interpretation as dialouge

Historiography of early encounters and their dialogic nature

Towards a prosopography of interpreters and translators
White Foam on Black Water
translating the first voyage of Vasco da Gama
Obrigado | Dhanyavad | Shukriya | Thank you

Srinivas Reddy
IIT Gandhinagar | ISCTE


Translators | Interpreters
"Monsaide interpreting as much as he understood of the two languages (
Monçaide, entre eles, vai interpretando| As palavras que de ambos entendia
)" VII.46
The people here, rich and poor alike, are of the one religion, which is full of lies and superstitions. (
Andam nus e sòmente um pano cobre

You will see much more that is strange in this country, with its great variety of customs. (
Mais estraezas inda das que digo | Nesta terra vereis de usança vária
Catual | Kotwal
On shore, surrounded by Naires, stood one of the high officials of the realm, known in their language as Catual.

The Catual, diligent as ever in his master's service, had already been charged to learn all he could about the foreigners, where they came from, what their land was like, and the nature of their customs and religion. (OL 173)
There was much puzzlement in the faces of the onlookers at the strange sight, and they would have liked well to question the foreigners, had not the Tower of Babel made that impossible long before. VII.45
Here the barbarous heathen performed his superstitious devotions (
Aqui feita do bárbaro Gentio | A superstici adoração
) VII.49
Encountering Faith
Catual = Kot-wal
= Alcaide
= Bale
= governer of a fort
"At the same time the king sent a bale, with other men of distinction...to conduct the captain-major to where the king awaited him." (FV 51)
Barros and Castanheda:
Catual, civil attendant of Rajah, head of police
Gosil or Guozil , possibly from Arabic wazir or minister
Cantino Planisphere
Alberto Cantino, undercover agent of the Duke of Ferrara
Smuggled map from Portugal to Italy in 1502

Africa and India depicted according to their astronomically-observed latitudes
Merdian of Treaty of Tordesillas
Italian inscription :
Carta de navigar per le Isole nouam trovate in le parte de India: dono Alberto Cantino al S. Duca Hercole
'Navigational chart of the islands recently [discovered]... in part of the Indies: from Alberto Cantino to Duke Hercole'
The Skilled Pilot
Malemo Cana
(Arabic) "instructor" +
(Skt.) "astrologer"
Moor of Guzerate
Gabriel Ferrand
: Ahmad ibn Mājid?

Afzal, Ahmed.
Indo-Portuguese Diplomacy During the 16th and 17th Centuries (1500-1663)
. Delhi: Originals, 2008.

Atkinson, William C.
The Lusiads
. London: Penguin Books, 1952.

Auerbach, Erich.
Introduction to Romance Languages and Literature
. New York: Capricorn Books, 1961.

Camões, Luis de.
Os Lusiadas,Edição Nacional
. Lisboa: Imprensa Nacional de Lisboa.

Monteiro, George.
The Presence of Camoes: Influences on the Literature of England, America and Southern Africa.
Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 1996.

Ravenstein, E.G.
A Journal of the First Voyage of Vasco da Gama 1497-1499
. London: Hakluyt Society, 1898.

Subrahmanyam, Sanjay.
The Career and Legend of Vasco da Gama
. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998.

Velho, Alvaro.
Roteiro da primeira viagem de Vasco da Gama à Índia
. Porto: Universidade do Porto, 1999.

Thoughts for Reflection
Full transcript