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Militarium Ordinum Analecta:
Sources for the Study of the Religious-Military Orders
New approaches based on the written memory


Paula Maria de Carvalho Pinto Costa



The Militarium Ordinum Analecta (MOA)is a publication that has as its aim to disseminate working materials and texts about the Religious-Military Orders. The first volume in this collection was published in 1997, and there is currently a total of ten such books. This publication is edited by Luís Adão da Fonseca and is linked to a working group that has dedicated itself for several years to the study of the Military Orders, having begun its activity under the auspices of the Faculty of Letters of the University of Porto. Regardless of the individual interests of these researchers and the direction taken by the MOA itself, which naturally reflects these, it should be stressed that in 2007 it was acknowledged that it would be important to begin a systematic line of publication of documentary sources. To this end, a subtitle was given to this collection: Sources for the Study of the Religious-Military Orders. With this choice, we do not, however, seek to limit our editorial activity (exclusively) to the transcription of charters. Given the profile of the work undertaken by the International Seminar on Military Orders (SIOM), which arose from the dynamic contribution of the above-mentioned team, it is clear that we must also continue to develop other aspects of research that go beyond the publication of documents.

Why, then, publish sources? In developing a research program that first began in the 1980s, when a master’s degree seminar on Military Orders was introduced at the Faculty of Letters of the University of Porto, we have created the necessary conditions for publishing some of the sources that are essential for the knowledge of these institutions.

The publication of sources is considered praiseworthy, even being described by some historians as the quintessential work of research, as was demonstrated by Jean Mabillon’s famous work De re diplomatica (Paris: Ludivice Billaine, 1681) and its impact in Portugal, expressed by the Royal Academy of Sciences, and by its most charismatic director, Alexandre Herculano (1810–1877). As we know, the advantages of publishing sources have been underlined by the discourse produced by historians (or by the vast majority of them). From the very beginning, the sources, and in this concrete case the writings, are the quintessential raw material of historians. Thus, publishing sources means contributing towards an increase in the volume of information available and creating working bases that can support new interpretations and make it possible to study subjects in greater depth. In this field, engaging in internal and external criticism of the charters and developing multidisciplinary approaches by experts from various disciplines are both important tasks. It should further be added that this activity is fundamental for preserving the contents of documents out of respect for the archival heritage and for our collective memory. One of the great advantages of the documentary edition, nowadays, includes the development of means that can guarantee greater access to the charters on the part of new researchers. This is essential at a time when the field must adapt to the new schedules that are currently being established for the preparation of postgraduate dissertations. Besides the factors that have already been mentioned, the publication of documents contributes towards the greater visibility of the Portuguese sources and should be seen as a service to the international academic community. With this concrete aim in mind, we are therefore intending to make these works available in an online version very soon.

The last instance mentioned, namely the dissemination of the Portuguese historical sources in an international context, is fundamental in the specific case of the Military Orders, since these institutions were a major force in Portuguese history and each of them, in their own way, mirrored much more far-reaching realities. In fact, they were mainly branches of organizations that had their headquarters in other realms. In this sense, it is very important to assess the mutual relationship between what the Portuguese component of each of these institutions represented in their global context, and, conversely, what the “foreign” leadership of the Orders represented for the institutions that were installed in Portugal. In order to achieve this aim, it is essential to bring to light the sources underlying these conditions so that various (Portuguese and foreign) researchers can turn their attention towards them.

The fact that the MOA has adopted a systematic behavior of publishing working elements that are related with the Military Orders is also an added advantage. Bringing materials together in this ordered way combats the dispersal that not only characterizes many publications but also frequently makes access to these works more difficult.

These new working guidelines will form the basis for the preparation of comparative studies, which are fundamental for the pursuit of knowledge in this area. Thus, different sectors may benefit from this attitude, ranging from diplomatics, or in other words the structure and characteristics of the documentation (see how the specialists define diplomatics), to the themes dealt with in the published sources. It should further be stressed that we believe that the MOA may act as a stimulus for younger researchers, insofar as it may help them to become more aware of the importance of the publication of sources.

In programming this second phase of the MOA, geared towards the publication of documents, an attempt has been made to consider sources of all the Military Orders that were present in Medieval Portugal: Santiago, Christ, Avis, the Hospital and the Temple, this latter order by virtue of its ancestral relationship with the Order of Christ. Thus three books in the collection have so far been published, corresponding to volumes 7, 8 and 10, which include sources that will be of multidisciplinary interest and come from various origins.
As we have already stated, volume 7 marked a change in the MOA itself. Until 2005, the MOA was essentially reserved for the publication of master’s and PhD dissertations written by members of the team. This volume, dedicated to the Livro dos Copos and representing the seventh volume in the collection, was published in 2006 and has a total of 767 pages, including, in general terms, an introduction, the documentary transcription of the source (pp. 17–678), the summaries of the charters that are copied out here and their chronological listing. The Livro dos Copos is the cartulary of the Order of Santiago, drawn up as a result of a decision taken by Dom João II. According to the register itself, this manuscript was begun in 1484 and completed, at least in its first version, already after the death of Dom João II. The name by which it is known—Livro dos Copos—is an abbreviated and rather common form, seeking to summarize a very extensive title that clearly expresses the contents of the cartulary. In fact, its full name is The Book of the bulls, graces and donations, favors, privileges and freedoms that the holy fathers and the past kings of glorious memory gave and conceded to the Order of the Knighthood of St. James of the Sword in these kingdoms of Portugal, which book is commonly referred to as the Livro dos Copos and was made at the orders of the king Dom João the 2nd that God made the governor and perpetual administrator of the aforesaid Order in the year 1484 in Santarém. (IAN/TT, Ordem de Santiago / Convento de Palmela, Códice 272, fl. 1).

In 2007, volume 8 of the MOA was published, under the title of A dispute between the Crown and the Order of the Hospital: the structures available for fishing in the River Tagus (publication of the judgment of 1417). This volume is based on a judicial source dating from the early fifteenth century. It is a Judgment through which the King was absolved of a lawsuit brought by the Prior of Sprital about some canals in the River Tagus in the district of the town of Belver that the aforesaid lord ordered to be demolished. (IAN/TT, Núcleo Antigo, no. 239, opening page). The publication of the aforementioned judgment, dated 1 September 1417, with all of its accompanying process, is preceded by an introductory note in which the charter itself is contextualized and its contents examined. In this way, references are made to the judicial procedure, the fishing infrastructures, the navigability of the River Tagus, the importance of the water resources, the region’s economic activities (fishing, industry and trade) and the natural landscape.

Volume 9 of the MOA, also published in 2007, deals with The Female Community of the Order of Santiago: The Benefice of Saints at the end of the 15th century and in the 16th Century. A Religious, Economic and Social Study, and also fits in with the first guideline established for this collection, which is intended to be maintained, because it consists of a study that corresponds to a PhD dissertation. Not being the publication of a documentary source provides a good number of elements from the archives that may be used as a starting point for future works about the community in question.

In turn, Volume 10, published in 2008, corresponds to the History of the Illustrious Knighthoods of Christ, Santiago and Avis, by Friar Jerónimo Román. This volume is essentially composed of an introduction, the chronicles of the Orders of Christ, Santiago and Avis and the indexes of names and places. It is a sixteenth-century source that is enormously significant for the Military Orders and of undeniable usefulness for the scholars of these institutions. It must, however, be underlined, once again, that these sources have great potential for use outside the specific context of the Military Orders. In fact, the chronicle written by Friar Jerónimo Román is a good example of the breadth of interest that written texts of this type may have, for it is directly related to the discourse promoted by the Portuguese royal power and, in particular, by the dynasty of the three Filipes, which, during the time when Román was devoting his attention to such matters, governed the two Iberian kingdoms. Furthermore, this more universal character, which extends its sphere of interest beyond the history of Portugal, arises from the fact that the Portuguese branches of the Orders were fully integrated into the organizations to which they belonged. It should further be noted that in order to justify the foundations of his work the chronicler makes countless documentary references that, nowadays, make it possible to fill in certain gaps that otherwise would have been forgotten with the passage of time since they correspond to charters that have already disappeared.

These are documentary sources whose interest is not restricted solely to those studying the Military Orders, for they provide extremely important information about the agents who were interrelated with these institutions and about the physical and social spaces in which the orders were housed. Given that the main objective of this research group has long been to study the socio-economic profile and the power relationships in which the Military Orders were involved, the relevance of this editorial project would seem unquestionable. To this end, this group of researchers has read, transcribed, and published sources, as well as produced studies that contextualize and interpret them.

Currently in print at this moment is a range of documentation related with the benefices of the Military Orders, expressing one of the more recent aspects of our research. By way of example, it should be stated that on 3 and 4 November 2008, we organized an International Seminar on the Benefices of the Military Orders, which brought together researchers from Portugal, Italy and Spain. The proceedings of this seminar will be published shortly as yet another volume in this collection. In fact, because of their different methodological approaches and the renewed possibilities of reading sources related with these nuclei of organization and management, it is important that they should be included in this context. Besides this volume, others are nearing the final stages of their preparation, based on documentation from the Orders of Christ, Avis and Santiago. These are sources that are wide-reaching in nature and make it possible to undertake studies comparing these with other Portuguese and foreign benefices. They are also sources that portray the physical appearance of the rural space and the urban fabric in which the heritage adjacent to a benefice was inserted. In this case, we find important references to the architectural heritage, which are fundamental for the area of art history. Thus, sometimes, it is possible to have information about buildings that otherwise would have remained inaccessible to our knowledge, to take note of the state of conservation of these, the colors used in their decoration, the construction techniques used, the materials of which they were made. We may also collect information about the exercise of jurisdictions, the collection of rents, the people that were in some way connected to these universes, in short we can capture important traces of the past that we seek to record and interpret. The fact that the documentation in which this information is expressed has come to be published represented a possibility for drawing attention to its importance and guaranteeing that it could be read and interpreted by other researchers who are interested in these questions.  

Published Volumes

Volume 1—As Ordens Militares no Reinado de D. João I [The Military Orders in the Reign of Dom João I] (1997). This volume contains two master’s degree dissertations: one entitled A Ordem de Cristo durante o Mestrado de D. Lopo Dias de Sousa (1373?-1417) [The Order of Christ during the Mastership of Dom Lopo Dias de Sousa (1373?-1417)], by Isabel Morgado Silva, and the other A Ordem Militar de Avis (durante o Mestrado de D. Fernão Rodrigues de Sequeira) [The Military Order of Avis (during the Mastership of Dom Fernão Rodrigues de Sequeira)], by Maria Cristina Pimenta. The section entitled Varia [Various] includes two articles: Aspectos sociales y económicos del movimiento cruzado (1095-1291) [Social and economic aspects of the Crusade movement (1095-1291)], by Luís Garcia-Guijarro Ramos, and La corona de Castilla y la incorporación de los maestrazgos [The Crown of Castile and the Incorporation of the Grand Masterships], by Carlos de Ayala Martínez.

Volume 2—As Ordens de Cristo e de Santiago no início da Época Moderna. A Normativa [The Orders of Christ and Santiago at the Beginning of the Modern Period. The Rules and Regulations] (1999). This volume contains two master’s degree dissertations, one of which is about A Ordem Militar de Cristo na Baixa Idade Média: espiritualidade, normativa e prática [The Military Order of Christ in the Low Middle Ages: Spirituality, Rules and Practices], by António Pestana de Vasconcelos, and the other about A Ordem de Santiago em Portugal nos finais da Idade Média (normativa e prática) [The Order of Santiago in Portugal in the Late Middle Ages (Rules and Practices)], written by Isabel Lago Barbosa. The Varia [Various] section consists of an article entitled … y “los maestres se hicieron reyes, y los reyes maestres” [… and “the masters became kings, and the kings masters”], by Elena Postigo Castellanos.

Volumes 3/4—A Ordem Militar do Hospital: dos Finais da Idade Média à Modernidade [The Military Order of the Hospital: from the Late Middle Ages to Modernity](1999/2000). This volume consists of a master’s degree dissertation about the evolution of the Portuguese priorship of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem from the 14th to the 16th centuries, written by Paula Pinto Costa. The Varia [Various] section includes an article about As comendas das Ordens Militares do séc. XVII a 1830 – algumas notas [The Benefices of the Military Orders from the 17th century to 1830 – some notes], written by Nuno Gonçalo Monteiro and Fernando Dores Costa.

Volume 5—As Ordens de Avis e de Santiago na Baixa Idade Média. O governo de D. Jorge (2001) [The Orders of Avis and Santiago in the Low Middle Ages. The Governorship of Dom Jorge]. This volume consists of a PhD dissertation about the administration of the Orders of Avis and Santiago during the governorship of Dom Jorge, the son of Dom João II (first half of the sixteenth century), written by Maria Cristina Pimenta. The Varia [Various] section consists of a dossier entitled La Cruzada permanente [The Permanent Crusade], with an introduction by Pedro Garcia Martin. Four articles are also published here: La fissazione della frontiera nel Mediterrâneo Centrale: della reconquista di Otranto all’assedio di Malta [The fixing of the frontier in the Central Mediterranean; from the reconquest of Otranto to the siege of Malta] (Angelantonio Spagnoletti), La Jerusalén libertada. El discurso cruzado en los autores del Barroco [Jerusalem liberated. The Crusade discourse in the authors of the Baroque] (Pedro Garcia Martin), La conquista de América. Empresa imperial o guerra popular sacralizada? [The conquest of America. An imperial enterprise or a popular holy war?] (Germán Vásquez Chamorro) and Belicismo y espiritualidad: una caracterización del Yihad Islámico [Bellicism and spirituality: a characterization of the Islamic Jihad] (Nieves Paradela Alonso).

Volume 6—A Ordem de Cristo (1417-1520) [The Order of Christ (1417-1520) ] (2002). This volume is composed of the publication of a PhD dissertation on the evolution of the Order of Christ, throughout the 15th century and the early 16th century, written by Morgado Sousa Silva.

Volume 7—O Livro dos Copos  [The Livro dos Copos] (2006). This volume is composed of the publication of the cartulary of the Order of Santiago, popularly known as the Livro dos Copos, drawn up at the request of King Dom João II. It contains an introduction, the documentary transcription of the source, the summaries of the charters copied out here, and their chronological listing.

Volume 8—Uma contenda entre a Coroa e a Ordem do Hospital: estruturas de pesca no Rio Tejo (Publicação da sentença de 1417) [A dispute between the Crown and the Order of the Hospital: fishing structures on the River Tagus (Publication of the judgment of 1417)] (2007). This volume is dedicated to the publication of a judicial source, or in other words a lawsuit in which the Portuguese Crown opposed the Knights Hospitaller. It is preceded by an introductory study in which the charter itself is contextualized and its contents examined.

Volume 9—A comunidade feminina da Ordem de Santiago: a comenda de Santos em finais do século XV e no século XVIUm estudo religioso, económico e social [The Female Community of the Order of Santiago: The Benefice of Saints at the end of the 15th century and in the 16th Century. A Religious, Economic and Social Study] (2007). This volume consists of the publication of a PhD dissertation, written by Joel Mata, and, as the title itself indicates, it involves the study of the female community of the Portuguese branch of the Order of Santiago in the late Middle Ages.

Volume 10—História das Ínclitas Cavalarias de Cristo, Santiago e Avis de Fr. Jerónimo Román [History of the Illustrious Knighthoods of Christ, Santiago and Avis, by Friar Jerónimo Román] (2008). The aim of this volume is the publication of a historical source of the chronicle type, written by Friar Jerónimo Román in the sixteenth century. It is composed of an introductory text, the documentary transcription of the chronicles of the Orders of Christ, Santiago and Avis and the indexes of places and names.






Copyright 2008, ISSN 1645-6432
e-JPH, Vol.6, number 1, Winter 2008



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