Lopes: The English in Portugal 1383-1387 Cover Image

About the Author: Fernão Lopes

Fernão Lopes was a Portuguese chronicler appointed by King Edward of Portugal. Fernão Lopes wrote the history of Portugal, but only a part of his work remained.

His way of writing was based on oral discourse, and, on every page, it revealed his roots among the common people. He is one of the fathers of the European historiography, or a precursor of the scientific historiography, basing his works always on the documental proof, and, has he said, on his pages "one cannot find the beauty of words but the nudity of the truth." He was an autodidact. By the time of his death, a new kind of knowledge was arising, a Latinized scholasticism that involved imitations of the classics.

He was born sometime between 1380 and 1390, and he belonged to the generation that came of age after the war with Castile and the Battle of Aljubarrota. During his life, he knew many of the protagonists of the Castilian crisis, including John I of Portugal, Edward of Portugal, Nuno Álvares Pereira, and Dr. João das Regras. He saw the reign of three monarchs: John I, Edward I, and Afonso V, and he also lived during the regency of Pedro, Duke of Coimbra.

Portugal saw many social and political changes in his time, such as: the growth of the new nobility of the 'Illustrious Generation' (Ínclita Geração) (the children of John I and Philippa of Lancaster); the conquest of Ceuta; the insurrection of Lisbon against the Queen Mother, Leonor of Aragon; the election of Pedro, Duke of Coimbra, to the regency; a civil war between Pedro and Afonso V; and the subsequent Battle of Alfarrobeira, where Pedro died. At the end of his life, Lopes witnessed the beginning of Portugal's maritime empire.

In 1418, Fernão Lopes was appointed by John I as the head (guardião-mor) of the royal archives ('Torre do Tombo'). In 1434, King Edward appointed Fernão Lopes as the first royal chronicler (cronista-mor) of the realm, and commissioned him to write historical accounts of the reigns of the Kings of Portugal. Lopes threw himself into the task. Fernão Lopes is acknowledged as the author of at least three chronicles: of the reign of king Peter I (r.1357-1367), of the reign of Ferdinand I (r.1367-1385) and the first two parts of the reign of John I (1385 up to year 1412, his successor Gomes Eanes de Zurara would produce the third and final part). Fernão Lopes is believed by some modern historians to also be the author of an anonymous history of the constable Nuno Álvares Pereira and, more contentiously, of a summary chronicle of the first several kings of Portugal (of which two drafts exist — one of the first five kings (Porto MS), another of the first seven (Cadaval or '1419' MS).[1]

Fernão Lopes held his official positions until around 1454, when he was forced to retire on account of his advanced age, and was succeeded by Gomes Eanes de Zurara. Lopes died sometime after 1459.

It has been controversially alleged by some historians (starting with Damião de Góis[2]) that later 16th-century chroniclers Duarte Galvão and Ruy de Pina composed their chronicles of the remaining reigns from draft manuscripts left behind by Fernão Lopes — not merely drawing upon them, but plagiarizing them in whole or in part, to the point that Fernão Lopes is sometimes credited as their joint author. While there is some evidence that Galvão's chronicle of Afonso I might have copied parts from Lopes's manuscripts, historians generally agree that the accusation against Ruy de Pina is largely unmerited and unjust.


Lopes: The English in Portugal 1383-1387 Cover Image

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Hardcover, Published in Jan 1988 by Liverpool University Press

ISBN10: 0856683418 | ISBN13: 9780856683411

Page count: 402

It is astonishing that this is the first English translation of these Chronicles, as they are undoubtably amongst the finest produced in the Middle Ages and treat an important episode in the Hundred Years War.

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