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Portugal's Saint Vincent and the Crows

If you have ever seen the seal or flag of Lisbon you cannot help but notice the ship with two ravens on either end, and the motto "MUI NOBRE E SEMPRE LEAL CIDADE DE LISBOA" (most noble and always loyal city of Lisbon). There we have a tale….


The story behind this coat of arms refers to Saint Vincent, patron of the city (Saint Anthony was “simply” born here). According to a legend, our founding King, D. Afonso Henriques, made a vow to protect the remains of St. Vincent if he would guide the king's outnumbered forces to victory in the siege of Lisbon in 1147. Well, the Portuguese took the city, and the king was a man of his word. He dispatched his agent to find the bones of the saint, and bring them to the city. St. Vincent had been martyred by the Romans, and his bones hidden in a cave in the Algarve when the Moors later invaded the Iberian Peninsula. The saint’s bones were protected by a flock of crows. And the crows, bones, and all were taken by ship, from what we now call Cape St Vincent to Lisbon. The crows perched on the ship all the way. The bones were buried in the Cathedral, and they say the crows still watch the building to this day.


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If you look at a famous painting of st. Vincent holding a crusefix, you can see a crows head in his arms taking sacrament. Also a triangle on his collar that represents the trinnity. I wonder how many other hidden messages an be found in it. Davinci?

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