Lead Moderator European Armoury
Join Date: Dec 2004
The original sword of Dom Afonso Henriques resided by his tomb in the church of Santa Cruz in Coimbra, founded in 1181 with the support of this King and his successor Dom Sancho I, whose tomb is also kept in there.
In 1834 with the extinction of religious orders, the sword was transferred to Oporto, to be kept in the Museum Soares dos Reis. In it was againg moved in 1987, this time to the Oporto Military Museum, where it stays, exhibited inside a glass case.
It is written by period chronicler Friar Nicolau de Santa Maria, canon in the same church that, Dom Sebastião had visited both tombs in October 1570 and admired Afonso Henriques sword; kissing it, he said to his entourage: Good times when they fought with so short swords ! This is the sword that liberated the whole Portugal from the cruel yoke of the Moors, always a winner, and therefore worthy to be kept with all veneration. Then he gave it back to the church Prior, saying: Keep it father, as one day i shall resource to it against the Moors in Africa.
There is also documental evidence that Dom Sebastião wrote a letter to the Head Prior eight years after such visit, in 14th March 1578, requesting the sword (and shield) for the African incursion, with comitment to return it after winning the battle.
What actually lacks written evidence, after carefuly searching the church archives, is whether the actual sword was in fact returned to the temple, from which speculation exists that the one later present might have began to another (later) King, judging by its typology.
However still today the Museum tag defines it as the sword of Dom Afonso Henriques.