The kingdom of León was brilliant in the 11th Century. The King Fernando the 1st “The Great” became one of the most important kings of cristianity in Europe, The kingdom of León was brilliant in the 11th Century. The King Fernando the 1st “The Great” became one of the most important kings of cristianity in europe, taking part of an important labour of reconquer against muslims. He reconquered cities such us Toledo, Seville, Zaragoza or Badajoz, earning important outcastes that enriched the Kingdom. Taking part of an important labour of reconquer against muslims.He reconquered cities such us Toledo, Seville, Zaragoza or Badajoz, earning important outcastes that enriched the Kingdom.
When he died, decided to divied the land between his daughters and sons, giving León to Alfonso, Castilla to Sacho, Galicia to Garcia, Toro to Elvira and making Urraca Lady of Zamora.
This fact produced a fight between his sons. Alfonso the 6th was the emperor of León and fight against the other, winning the battle. He also conquered Toledo in 1085 and was named “Imperator totius Hispaniae” ( Emperor of all Spain).
Doña Urraca, the donner of the jewelery was Fernando I and Sancha’s daughter, was Dómina (ladyship) del Infantado of León and later Lady of Zamora. It was an institution that permits women to have their own goods and properties while they did not get married. They were powerfull women.
She is well known because was the asesor of his brother, the King Alfonso the 6th and appears in the epic poem “Cantar de Mio Cid”. In this book we see her defending the walls of Zamora against the Cid Campeador who had support Sancho, the other brother of Urraca.
She was very important for the Kingdom of Leon’s legitimacy. Her remains rest in our Royal Panteon.
The body of the Chalice is formed by 2 cups of eastern Roman onix or agate one for the drinking vessel and one for the base dated in the first century.
These Roman pieces were decorated by Doña Urraca with her finest jewels and precious stones and she gave them the shape of a Chalice.
The decoration is made of gold, silver gilt, precious stones like amethysts and emeralds, seed pearls and a human face made of glass paste which has been considered a Roman cameo. The nail knot has green cabochons pearls, sapphires and emeralds. All this is by crimping with a golden filigree and topped by leaves and stems.
In the bottom of the knot, there is an inscription on golden strand saying: "IN NOMINE D (OMI) NI VRRACCA FREDINA (N) DI" On behalf of the Lord, Urraca from Fernando.
El pie del cáliz está decorado con arquillos de medio punto y cordoncillos de oro.
The interest of the media about this work of art was triggered by the publication of the research carried out by PhD. Margarita Torres Sevilla and PhD. José Miguel Ortega del Río ‘The Kings of the Grail: Tracing the Historic Journey of the Holy Grail from Jerusalem to Spain’ Michael O'Mara Books Ltd (16th April 2015). From the aforementioned research it is derived that the Roman bowl decorated to form this chalice was venerated since S.IV AD in all Christendom as the goblet which Christ used in His Last Supper.
The Holy Grail was in the Saint sepulcra of Jerusalem from the 4th Century to the year 1009 when the city was saked by Al-Hakam.
The researchers found two documents dated in the 11th Century kept in the Library of al-Azhar in the Cairo. The documents tell that there was a great famine in Egipt becouse of the dryness. The Calif Al-Mutansir asks for aid to the muslim’s kingdoms. The Emir of Denia, a little kingdom near Alicante sent boats with food.
To thank his gesture, the Calif of Egipt gave to the emir of Denia different gifts. Among all of them he gave him the two ónix cups that comose this chalice. During the journey a small piece of ónix was cut with a small knife. We can see the missing part in the upper vessel.
The Kingdom of león ha done of the most powerfull kings of cristianity, Fernando the 1st, at that time was attacking the city of Valencia. So the emir of Denia, gave the vessels as a gift to Fernando the 1st in order to get on well with him and not to be attaked.
The other document found in the Cairo, tell us that in the 12th Century Sultan Saladin ask for the piece that had been cut of the vessel in order to cure his daughter that was ill. At that time, people considered these relics to have special powers.
We wonder if Urraca enriched the piece with her personal finest jewels, knew or not that the relic was one of the most important relics of Cristianity.