My friend Bassa’s tales of Georgia’s Christmas inspired me to create a new category in my blog about Portuguese legends.
Me and mom have always been fascinated about the stories that go on and on through the years, centuries, millennia embellished by common people’s hopes and fears… stories that passed from mouth to mouth in times when reading and writing were a privilege that only a few could afford.
So, for those of you who share our passion, hope you enjoy the legends to come…
I’ll start with the legend of Gerald the Fearless (Geraldo, o Sem Pavor, in Portuguese), the “El Cid” of my city, Évora.
Évora has a very long history, dating back a couple of millennia before Christ. and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Yes, it’s very beautiful and has a lot of monuments. 🙂 You cam read a little more about it here, as this post is not about it’s history but about it’s hero’s, Gerald.
And it goes like this…
The legend begins in 1166.
By then, Évora was called Yeborath and was still Arabic. D. Afonso Henriques was not happy at all. He wanted her as a strategic point of the reconquest of Portugal from the Moors.
Gerald, of noble birth, led a group of outlaws living in a small castle on the outskirts of Yeborath. Its ruins can still be visited and have a great view upon the city. To the present day, it’s called “Gerald’s Castle”.
Also known by the Fearless, Gerald decided to conquer Évora to redeem his honor and obtain forgiveness for his men.
Disguised as a troubadour, he walked around the city and outlined a strategy. He would attack the main tower of the castle which was guarded by an old Moorish and his daughter.
One night, the Fearless went alone to the tower and killed the two Moors, taking in silence the key of the city gates. On a moonless night, he mobilized his men and attacked the sleeping town that, surprised, succumbed to the Christian power.
The next day, D. Afonso Henriques received the great news with great wonder. He was so happy that he gave back the keys to the city to Gerald, as well as the sword he’d won, naming him Perpetual Mayor of Évora.
To this day, the city bears in the emblem of the cloister of the Cathedral, the heroic figure of Gerald and two severed heads of the Moors, in addition to dedicating the most emblematic square of Evora, Gerald’s Square (Praça do Geraldo, in Portuguese).
Hope you liked it.
Stay tuned for more… 🙂