Martim Moniz – Portuguese crusader hero – an interview with him…

Martim Moniz was a Portuguese crusader who fought with the first king of Portugal – Dom Afonso Henriques – when he conquered what was then the Islamic city of Al-Usbuna which would subsequently become the Christian capital of Portugal…Lisbon.

Many Templars assisted in this battle with Bernard of Clairvaux hoping that the new kingdom of Portugal would be a dagger in to the western flank of the Islamic realms.

Moniz did not survive the battle as, according to legend, he rammed his not inconsiderable frame in to an open gateway to prevent the Moors closing it on the invading crusaders. His body was crushed between the gates but his heroism allowed the Portuguese to enter and win.

This story has been challenged but I’ve incorporated it in to my fictional account of that siege which features in my book Quest for the True Cross

The Portuguese comedian Herman Jose lampooned this story in his show, broadcast in the 1980s, where he played Moniz being interviewed…and as he comes on, the scenery crushes him. If you speak Portuguese – this may be treat, depending on your sense of humour.

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