chapter  12
30 Pages

Identity and the Construction of Memory in Representations of Garcia de Orta

It was only in the middle of the nineteenth century that the importance of Garcia de Orta’s Colóquios dos simples e drogas e cousas medicinãis da India (Goa, 1563) was acknowledged for Portuguese history of medicine. As with Carolus Clusius’s original discovery of a copy of the book while travelling in Lisbon in 1564, chance was also to play a role in this process.2 Almost 300 years later, in 1841, another copy of the Colóquios was located in an antique bookshop in Lisbon by António José de Lima Leitão, the President of the Sociedade das Ciências Médicas de Lisboa (Figure 12.1).3 However, the Portuguese physician’s find was not entirely accidental. For more than 20 years, obtaining a copy of the original Portuguese version of Orta’s work had

1 I would like to thank Francesca Rayner for her linguistic revision of the chapter and translations of original quotations; to Christopher Damien Auretta for his translation into English of Luís de Camões ode ‘Ao Conde Do Redondo, Viso-Rey Da India’; to Bruno Barreiros for his assistance in locating in Portuguese Archives two of the images presented in this chapter; and to José Luís Dória for his kind support in obtaining an image of the panel Veloso Salgado’s ‘Garcia de Orta e os Médicos Portugueses’ held at the Faculdade de Ciências Médicas of the Universidade Nova de Lisboa.