O mar com fim será grego ou romano: O mar sem fim é português.
The sea without limits is Greek or Roman; the sea without limits is Portuguese.
— Fernando Pessoa
This quote was first brought to my attention by the wonderful history of Portuguese expansion in the 15th and 16th centuries into the Indian Ocean, Conquerors: How Portugal Forged the First Global Empire, which I recently read.
I find it such a powerful sense of showmanship: what is ours, is ours, and it will not be anyone else’s. Yet, this is an incredibly poetic statement at the same time. The original source is a poem (Padrão) which I am keen to read and understand, as it seems to display the penmanship of Pessao to a wonderful degree.
And, indeed, for a while this was very true. The Greeks knew their sea and its shores; the Romans likewise though theirs was immeasurably greater than the Hellenic expanse. Yet, the ways opened up by Diego Cão were nothing less or more than limitless for how the Portugal of the day may have looked at it (even if India was still a step away).