• We, Portugal, the possibility of being. Virtual universalism as the result of the process of cultural self- mythification.

    The article is divided in four parts. The first one contains the working hypothesis, associating Mensagem by Fernando Pessoa, the culminating formulation of the Portuguese self-mythification, with the trauma of Atlantic expansion. In the second part, Mensagem is analyzed as an emblema triplex, an initiatic poem revealing the secrets of the national destiny inscribed in heraldry. In the third part, Pessoa appears as supra-Camões, completing the legitimization of the maritime expansion. Portuguese self-mythification is interpreted as a process of contamination between the secular, nationalistic logic and the religious one. Portugal becomes a universal empire of “the law of eternal life”. Its existence is nonetheless presented as virtual, unfulfilled, yet-to-come. The conclusions in the fourth part introduce a post-colonial perspective, showing the persistence of the virtual universalism in the lusophone discourse.

    Portuguese identity – Fernando Pessoa – universalism – expansion – Lusophony