Robert E. Wyllie.

Orders, decorations and insignia, military and civil; with the history and romance of their origin and a full description of each online

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boundaries. Some Americans have been decorated by
the Prince with the Order of St. Charles. This order was
established in 1858 by Prince Charles III, to reward ser-
vices rendered to the principality or to the reigning prince.
It has five classes, having the same names and with the
same manner of wearing the insignia as in the Legion of
Honour. The badge is a white maltese cross resting on a
green wreath ; in the centre is the double monogram * * C.C. "
and a crown on a crimson background, surrounded by the
motto 'Trinceps et Patria." The whole is surmounted by a
crown. The ribbon is red with a white band down the


Foreign Medals (British and French)

1. Military Cross (Gt. Britain) 6. Croix de Guerre with Palm (France)

2. Royal Red Cross (Gt. Britain) 7. Black Star (France)

3. Military Medal (Gt. Britain) 8. Palms (France)

4. Distinguished Flying Cross (Gt. Britain) 9. Medaille Militaire (France)




IN 191 1 as a result of the overthrow of the monarchy
during the preceding year, all existing orders were
abolished by the new republic, but during the World
War they were reinstituted, the Order of the Tower and
Sword by President Machado on September 26, 191 7, and
the Orders of Christ, Avis, and St. James of the Sword on
December i, 191 8 by President Paes.

As these Portuguese orders are among the oldest in
Europe and have several unique features, they are of great
interest, notwithstanding the comparatively few Amer-
icans who have been decorated by that country. The
Portuguese and American armies were not directly as-
sociated during the war, consequently Portuguese decora-
tions were almost entirely confined to our naval officers
operating in those waters.

The order of precedence of Portuguese decorations and
orders is as follows :

The Order of the Tower and Sword
The War Cross
The Order of Christ
'^ 145

The Order of Avis

The Order of St. James of the Sword

The Military Medal

All Portuguese orders have five classes, having the same
names as in the Legion of Honour. The President of the
Republic is Grand Master of all the orders, and following
the ancient royal custom he is ex officio Grand Cross of
each and wears a broad ribbon in which the colours of
Christ, Avis, and St. James of the Sword are combined, or,
if he so desires, he can wear the broad ribbon of the Tower
and Sword. In each order the badge is worn by Chevaliers
and Officers on the left breast. The ribbon of the badge
is provided with a gold slide, and on this slide is a rosette
for Officers, for Chevaliers the slide is plain. This slide is
a peculiar feature, reminiscent of the buckle on the ribbon
of Companions of the Bath and of St. Michael and St.
George, but without the prongs with which that buckle is
provided. All the Portuguese decorations have this slide
on the ribbon. Commanders and Grand Officers wear a
star on the left breast, that of the Commander being silver,
of the Grand Officers gold; they do not wear Ipadges sus-
pended from ribbons, this again is a unique feature.
Knights Grand Cross follow the usual custom of other
countries, wearing the badge from a broad ribbon over the
right shoulder, and the star of the Grand Officer on the
left breast. Portuguese service ribbons are very large,
y^ inch in length, and provided with the same gold sHde,
the class in the order being shown by rosettes placed on the
slide, commencing with a small rosette ^ inch in diameter,


for Officers, and gradually increasing in size to a ^-inch
one for Grand Cross. (Plate 15.) There is no rosette on
the slide of the Chevalier. When in campaign uniform
small service ribbons are worn, without slides or rosettes.
In civilian clothes a small silk cord of the colour of the order
can be worn in the lapel buttonhole by Chevaliers, and
rosettes of the proper size by the higher classes.

The Order of the Tower and Sword was originally created
by Dom Alphonso V in 1459, renewed in 1808, enlarged
the following year, and again reorganized in 1832 by Dom
Pedro IV. Its old name was the ''Old and most Noble
Order of the Tower and Sword of Valour, Loyalty, and
Merit. ' ' It can be conferred on both the civil and military
for deeds of great valour in battle ; for acts of self sacrifice
and civic spirit ; for any high or signal service to humanity,
the country, or the republic, or for service in command of
troops in war from which resulted great benefit and glory
to the country. It is not confined to officers but can also
be given to the men, who are then entitled to the honours
of junior officers, and receive a special annuity.

The badge is a five-pointed star of gold, enamelled
white, resting on a wreath of oak leaves in green, and sur-
mounted by a golden tower. On the central medallion
are a gold sword and oak leaves surrounded by a blue band
bearing the inscription ''Valour, Loyalty, and Merit" in
Portuguese. (Fig. 6, Plate 19.) On the reverse is the
national coat-of -arms with the legend ' ' Republica Portu-
guesa." The ribbon is dark blue. The star of the Com-
mander and higher classes is the same except that it is
larger and the wreath on which the star rests is omitted, in


©rberfl{, ©ecorationiBf, anb Stts^ignia

its place are rays emanating from the medallion. On state
occasions members of the order wear an enlarged badge of
the Chevalier, from a collar around the neck composed of
swords and towers alternately. (Fig. 6, Plate 19.) The
collar and badge are of silver for Chevaliers, of gold for the
higher classes. This also is peculiar to Portugal, members
of the highest class of an order wear the badge from collars
in some other countries, but in no other case do all the
classes so wear it.

The War Cross was established during the World War
and is given only for individual heroism in battle. It has
two classes and is rarely conferred.

The Order of Christ was established by King Dionysius
in 1 3 19, as the Order of the Knights of Christ, and took the
place of the Knights Templars, which had been suppressed
by Papal edict in 13 1 1 . The new order was endowed with
the confiscated Templar property, and was founded for
''the defence of the true faith, the discomfiture of the
Moors and the extension of the Portuguese monarchy."
The knights of the order joined in all the Portuguese
crusades and expeditions against the Moors and in Africa
and India. In 1523 the order was made entirely monastic
in character; in 1797 it was secularised and reorganised.

This order, like that of the Tower and Sword, is open
to both civil and military, officers and men. The badge
is a green enamelled cross of gold, with a white cross
superimposed thereon, suspended from a crimson rib-
bon. The star is a medallion enamelled white, bearing
the green and white crosses in the centre, and surrounded
by rays.


I^ortugal anb Stalp

The Military Order of Avis as its name indicates is given
only to those in the army or navy, and is limited to officers
of those services. This is another very old order, being
instituted in 1 162 by Dom Alphonso I as an offshoot of the
Spanish order of Calatrava, which had recently been
organised for the express purpose of driving the Moors out
of the Iberian peninsula. Its first headquarters were at
Coimbra, then moved to Evora, and in 12 14 Alphonso II
established it at Avis, and it became known as the Mili-
tary Order of St. Benedict of Avis. It was separated from
the Order of Calatrava about 1435. It was secularized in
1789 and reorganised in 1894.

No one in the Portuguese services can be admitted to
the lowest class of this order unless he has had at least
eight years service, and is a first or second lieutenant. To be
eligible for the class of officer he must have had ten years
service and be a first lieutenant or captain; commanders
can be taken only from major or lieu tenant ^colonels of at
least fifteen years service, colonels and general officers of
twenty years service are eligible for Grand Officer, and
Grand Cross is limited to general officers of at least thirty
years service. The same rules apply to the navy, taking
the corresponding grades. Foreign officers do not have to
fulfil these conditions.

The badge is a gold cross enamelled green, the ends being
in the form of fleurs-de-lys (Fig. 8, Plate 17). The ribbon
is green. The star has the same cross on a white enamelled
medallion surrounded by a garland of laurel in gold, from
which emanate rays in the form of an eight-pointed star.
Members of this order are permitted to wear a miniature


©rterflf, ©etorationsf, anb Snsfigttia

of the badge on the service ribbon in Heu of the customary
rosette if they so desire. (Plate 15.)

The origin of the Order of St, James of the Sword is a
matter of great dispute. Tradition ascribes it to the year
844 when St. James is reported to have appeared, mounted
on a white horse, to assist the Christians in battle with the
Moors, the result being unparalleled slaughter among the
enemy. Then again 1029 is given as the date, it being
stated that a decree of Ferdinand I, King of Castile, of
the following year shows that the order was then in being.
Still others say it was instituted in 11 77 by Alphonso I,
We can, however, be sure that it was in existence in 1288.
as in that year a bull from Pope Nicholas IV exempted the
order from obedience to the crown of Castile.

This order was an offshoot of the Spanish order of the
same name, which was established about 11 70 for the
purpose of protecting the pilgrims to the shrine of St.
James at Compostella from the attacks of the Moors.
The body of St. James is reputed to have been found at
Compostella in the eighth century.

The order played a very important part in the long
struggle against the Moors, and became a wealthy and
powerful organisation. It was secularised in 1789, and
reorganised in 1862 as an order to be conferred for dis-
tinguished merit in science, art and literature, and its
re-establishment by the republic was on the same basis.
It is never given for purely military services.

The badge is a cross of unusual shape, the lower arm
being formed like a sword blade; it is threaded with gold
and ornamented with two crossed palms, also in green,


Portugal anb 3talj>

bearing the legend "Science, Letters and Art" in gold on
a white enamelled ribbon. It is surmounted by a green
laurel wreath, and suspended from a violet ribbon. The
star has the same cross, palms, and legend on a white en-
amelled medallion. On state occasions the members wear
the badge from a collar of laurel wreaths and crosses of the
order alternately, in silver for the Chevaliers and in gold for
the higher classes as in the order of the Tower and Sword.
The Military Medal is awarded to all grades of the army
and navy for exemplary conduct. It is bronze and is
suspended from a ribbon having five bright green and
four white stripes of equal width alternately.


It is the almost universal custom for decorations and
medals to be worn in the relative order of importance,
those which are considered of greater value and more
difficult to obtain being placed ahead or to the right of
those of less value. Italy is an exception to this rule as in
that country the order of wearing is based entirely on the
date on which the decoration was originally instituted, and
not its relative importance.

The following is a list of all the Italian orders, decora-
tions, and medals in the order in which they are worn, with
the date of the original establishment thereof :

The Order of St. Maurice and St. Lazarus (1434)
The Military Order of Savoy (1815)
The Civilian Order of Savoy (1831)
The Military Valour Medal, gold and silver (1833)


0xttxsi, ©etorationsf, anb Sniefignia

The Civil Valour Medal, gold and silver (1851)

The Crimean Service Medal (1857)

The Naval Valour Medal, gold and silver (i860)

The Service Medal for the Sicilian Campaign of i860

The Service Medal for the Italian Wars of Independence

The Medal for Distinguished Services rendered in Epi-
demics (1867)
The Order of the Crown of Italy (1868)
The Medal to commemorate the Union of Italy (1883)
The MiHtary Valour Medal, bronze (1887)
The Naval Valour Medal, bronze (1888)
The Civil Valour Medal, bronze (1888)
The Service Medal for the Abyssinian Campaign (1894)
The Cross for Long MiHtary Service (1900)
The Medal for the China Campaign of 1900 (1901)
The Medal for Long Naval Service (1904)
The Medal for Distinguished Service during the Earth-
quake of 1908 (1909)
The Service Medal to commemorate the same earth-
quake (1910)
The Service Medal for the Turkish War (1912)
The Service Ribbon for the European War (191 6)
The Medal to commemorate the Earthquake of Avez-

zano (1916)
The War Cross (1918)

The Supreme Order of the A nnunziata. This is the senior
order of Italy, and one of the three oldest of Europe. It


Portugal anb Stalp

is not given in the preceding list because it has no ribbon
and is worn only at the neck from a gold collar, therefore
it is not necessary to place it in the list showing the order
in which worn. In 1350, Amadeus VI, Count of Savoy,
estabHshed an order called The Black Swan. In 1362,
the name was changed to The Order of the Collar, The
order fell into disuse until 1518 when Charles III, Duke of
Savoy, re-established it under the name of the Order of the
Annunziata. This order is bestowed only on the most
eminent personages, corresponding very much to the
Garter of England or the Golden Fleece of Spain. All
members of this order are styled ''cousins" of the King and
are ex officio entitled to be present on all occasions of
marriage, death, and other events occurring in the Royal
Family. It has but one class. There are two collars,
one large which is worn on special occasions, the other
small and fitting close which is worn at other times. This
is the only Italian order which has a collar. The star is
worn on the left breast. The motto of the order, "Fert,"
is on the star and collar ; it is composed of the initial letters
of the phrase 'Tortitudo Ejus Rhodium Tenuit," (He held
Rhodes by strength), referring to one of the great ancestors
of the House of Savoy, Amadeus V, who assisted the
Knights Hospitallers of Rhodes in mediaeval times to repel
attacks of the Mohammedans. In the badge, figure-of-
eight knots are given great prominence ; they are symbol-
ical of the House of Savoy and are called Italian knots-of-
love. It should be borne in mind that the House of
Savoy, which now furnishes the Kings of Italy, is one of the
oldest Royal Families of Europe, and as will be seen later,


the insignia of the different Italian orders and decorations
are nearly all based on various symbolisms pertaining to
that House. The Carthusian church of Callegno is the
chapel of the order.

In 1434, Duke Amadeus VIII of Savoy retired to a
hermitage in Ripaglia on Lake Geneva, taking with him
his councillors, and from that place he governed his duke-
dom. These councillors he formed into an order of knight-
hood called The Order of St. Maurice. These councillors
were all widowers of illustrious birth, well along in years,
and with long experience in the governing of the country.
All, including the Duke himself, wore the habits of monks
and lived under Augustinian rules. In 1439, the Duke
was elevated to the Pontificate under the title of FeHx
V, and the Knights of St. Maurice accompanied him from
his solitude in Ripaglia. Amadeus 's will directed that
the institution be continued, that the knights be very
carefully selected from those who had performed notable
services for the State, in either military or civil life, that
they renounce the pomp of the world and take vows of
chastity. The order, however, fell into disuse until 1572
when Emanuel Philibert, Duke of Savoy, who reconquered
the ancient possessions of his House, restored the order
and combined it with the still older Order of St. Lazarus
which was established in Jerusalem by the crusaders to
protect Christians from Mohammedans and also to aid the
innumerable lepers which abound in the Holy Land. The
Order of St. Lazarus was driven out of Palestine by the
Saracens in 1291, going first to France, and twenty years
later to Naples, where it founded leper hospitals but in time


Portugal antr Stalj^

fell a prey to internal dissension and declined in prestige.
In 1573 Pope Gregory XIII formally united the two by a
decree which enjoined on the combined order the propaga-
tion of the Catholic faith and the defence of the Holy See.
This is really the date of the commencement of the
present Order of St. Maurice and St. Lazarus, although it
was further revised and enlarged in 183 1. As then in-
stituted it contained three classes; this was modified in
1855 by the addition of two more. The classes now con-
form to those of the Legion of Honour and membership is
limited in each as follows:

Knights of the Grand Cross 60 (exclusive of the Knights of the An-

nunziata who, upon admission to that
order automatically become Knights
of the Grand Cross, St. Maurice, and
St. Lazarus, if not already in that

Grand Officers







no limitation

The order is bestowed for both civil and military work.
The religious part which was so prominent a feature of the
original order has long since been abandoned. The rank
and position of the recipient determines the class into
which he is admitted, no one is eligible to the class of
Knight below the grade of Major in the Army or Lieuten-
ant Commander in the Navy. The badge of the order is a
white enamelled cross of St. Maurice with trifoliate ends,
this cross has arms of equal length and is one of the em-
blems of the House of Savoy, St. Maurice being the patron
saint of that family. Between the arms of this cross shows


(©rbetflf, ©ecoratiottfi;, anb Snie^ignia

the cross of St. Lazarus, in green enamel, thus indicating
the two orders which are now combined. (Fig. 8 Plate 12.
The star is shown in Fig. 5, Plate 5.) For all classes except
the Knights the cross is surmounted by a gold crown. The
badges of the Officers and Knights are worn on the left
breast, those of the Commanders and Grand Officers at the
neck, and that of the Knights of the Grand Cross at the
left hip suspended from a broad ribbon over the right
shoulder. In addition, the members of the two highest
classes wear a star on the left side, and a unique provision
is made ^ for the Knights Grand Cross only; in evening
clothes they can wear a watch fob of gold having the
letters "C.A." surmounted by a crown on the chain, and a
miniature badge of the order suspended therefrom. This
is called a "catenella" and was prescribed by King Charles
Albert in 1838, the letters being his initials. The ribbon
is green. A plain service ribbon is worn for all classes, no
distinction between them being made in any of the Italian
orders on the service ribbons. In this respect Italy follows
the British custom not the French.

The Military Order of , Savoy was instituted in 1815 by
Victor Emmanuel I, King of Sardinia, to commemorate the
re-establishment of that kingdom after its overthrow by
Napoleon. It is used exclusively to reward distinguished
services rendered in war, only in the most exceptional
cases being conferred in time of peace. It consists of five
classes, having the same designations as in the Order of
St. Maurice and St. Lazarus. The Grand Cross is re-
served for the very highest military and naval officers.
Grand Officer rank is bestowed on other generals and flag


Portugal anb 3tal|>

officers. Regimental commanders are eligible to the class
of Commander, battalion commanders to the class of
Officer, and Knight is conferred on company commanders
or other junior officers who have already been awarded
two medals for personal valour. The badge is a white
enamelled cross resting on a green wreath and having a red
medallion in the centre, containing the white cross of
Savoy and an inscription in Italian ''For Military Merit."
The badge of the officer is surmounted by a trophy of flags
(Fig. 2, Plate 17), that of the three highest classes by a
crown. The badges and stars are worn in the same man-
ner as in the corresponding classes of the Order of St.
Maurice and St. Lazarus.

The Civilian Order of Savoy was instituted in 1831 by
King Charles Albert to reward services rendered in civil
administration; it contains but one class. The badge, a
blue enamelled cross of Savoy, is worn on the left breast.

The Order of the Crown of Italy was founded by Victor
Emmanuel II, in 1868, to commemorate the union of the
various comparatively petty States of the Italian penin-
sula into the Kingdom of Italy, and the regaining of Venice
from Austrian rule. It is bestowed for both civil and
military services and has five classes, having the same
designations as those of the Order of St. Maurice and St.
Lazarus, and the same number of members in each. The
badge of the order is a white enamelled cross with the
knots of Savoy in gold between the arms, the iron crown
of Lombardy in gold is in the centre on a background of
blue enamel and surrounded by a gold circle. (Fig. i,
Plate 17.) The historical Iron Crown of Lombardy is


0vtittsi, ©etorationiEf, anb M^igpxia

said to have been forged from a nail of the true cross. It
was first used in the coronation of Agileeph, King of
Lombardy in 591, afterwards in that of Charlemagne and
numerous other Kings and Emperors, until Napoleon
crowned himself with it at Milan in 1805 as King of Italy,
with the remark *'God gave it to me, woe to him who
touches it." It is still kept at Milan. The badge is worn
by all classes as in the Order of St. Maurice and St.
Lazarus. Stars are provided for the two highest classes.
The ribbon is red with a white band down the centre.
Officers are distinguished from Knights by a large red and
white rosette on the ribbon. This is the order which has
been the most freely bestowed on Americans.

Decorations and Medals

The Military Valour Medal was established in 1833 by
Charles Albert, King of Sardinia, to reward individual
acts of heroism in action. At that time there were two
kinds, in gold and in silver, the gold medal being awarded
only for acts of the greatest self-devotion and valour. In
1887 a third medal, in bronze, was added. All three
medals are of the same design and are suspended from a
ribbon of dark blue. The grade of the medal is shown on
the service ribbon by a gold or silver star, a plain ribbon
being worn by the possessor of a bronze medal. Unlike
all other decorations a subsequent award is recognized by
an additional medal, so the same individual frequently has
several of them. This is probably the oldest decoration
used exclusively as a reward for heroism in action as it


Portugal anb 3talj>

antedates the Victoria Cross by twenty-two years and our
own Medal of Honor by twenty-nine years, and the gold
medal is on a par with those two decorations in value and
esteem as it is bestowed with the utmost care and only
for the most extraordinary acts. The fact that when the
Armistice was signed in November, 191 8, there were but
twenty-six living holders of the gold medal in the entire
Italian Army, after three and one half years of war, is
sufficient to show how difficult it must have been to earn.

The Naval Valour Medal corresponds exactly with that
for the Army. It is given for the same class of perform-
ances and has the same three grades of gold, silver, and
bronze, and the same plan of distinguishing them on the
service ribbon. The ribbon is also blue but with two white
stripes near each edge. The gold and silver medals were
established in i860, the bronze in 1888.

The same comments hold for the Civil Valour Medal
which is given for life saving and other deeds of heroism
in civil life. The ribbon is red, white, and green, the
National Colours of Italy. The gold and silver medals date
from 1 85 1 and the bronze from 1888.

The designs of these three valour medals, military, naval,
and civil, while not identical, are very similar. On the
obverse of each is the cross of Savoy surmounted by a
crown; on the naval and civil medals the cross is on a
shield, on the military it is on an oval. The inscription
reads " Al valore militare" the last word being changed to
*'di Marina" and ''Civile," for the naval and civil medals

The War Cross is a product of the World War, being

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Online LibraryRobert E. WyllieOrders, decorations and insignia, military and civil; with the history and romance of their origin and a full description of each → online text (page 11 of 19)