Dom Duarte de Meneses: A great captain who was obedient unto death

October 16, 2014

King Afonso V of Portugal and the Algarves

King Afonso V of Portugal and the Algarves

When King Afonso V of Portugal was in Ceuta he made some incursions into the lands of the Moors. On one of these raids into the mountains, he was surprised by numerous enemies and resolved to withdraw and spend the night in Tetouan. Upon reaching the city he saw that his troops were retreating in disorder and without direction. He therefore ordered Dom Duarte de Meneses, Count of Viana and captain of Alcácer, to return and organize the withdrawal. Knowing that death awaited him in this task, the noble said to the king:

— “Sire, I commend my wife and children to your care.”

When other nobles asked him why he was returning to the battlefield, he explained:

— “I return to die, for my lord the king commands it.”

And indeed, shortly thereafter, Dom Duarte de Meneses was killed in action.


José Hermano Saraiva, Ditos portugueses dignos de memória (Sintra: Europa-América, 1997), 568. ( translation.)

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 429


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