Spanish Inquisition-era sword found by divers in Brazil

Image copyright Laurence Bell Image caption The find was made in 2012 but has only recently been announced

A long sword that first earned the title Crusader in the 14th century has been found by divers in Brazil.

The sword was confiscated after the Spanish Inquisition and dated back to the reign of King Philip II.

It was the fourth sword in the 900-year-old collection to be found and “easily” belonged to a Crusader knight, says archaeologist Dan Redin.

It’s believed the sword found may be the best-preserved find from the time of the Spanish Inquisition.

Image copyright Laurence Bell Image caption The sword found was known to the Roman historian Adrianus Caesar the most powerful man in the world

“The long sword was very important for the Gaudi [Spanish) Inquisition and was confiscated in 1482 when it was discovered hidden in the basement of a king’s palace in Almeria, southern Spain,” said Mr Redin.

“Only recently did it come back on show in the palace museum because the sword was just too fragile to travel abroad.”

According to the archaeologists, a diver came across the sword in the Capitan de Galileo region of Brazil in 2012.

The long sword was grabbed and bound by the divers with taut wire so they could safely move it ashore and raise it from the seabed.

More than a year later, researchers from Sao Paulo University took it to the nearby city of Caxias da Coruna where it was cleaned, cleaned again and cleaned again, Mr Redin said.

The sword was discovered in a small cove and couldn’t be lifted or showed up in photographs by researchers in Rio or Caxias da Coruna, Mr Redin said.

The sword was the work of hand-made upholstery and probably had been handcarved, he said.

A local archaeologist brought the sword to the town of Vila Guinea near the town of Santo Antiguo. It will be kept in the city hall for safe keeping.

Image copyright Laurence Bell Image caption One of the diver’s guides told the Telegraph he could hear the sword cracking inside as they worked

Image copyright Laurence Bell Image caption The sword is in excellent condition and is still intact and refracting light, said divers Laurence Bell and Moritz Reis

A local archaeologist brought the sword to the town of Vila Guinea near the town of Santo Antiguo. It will be kept in the city hall for safe keeping.

“This sword is very rare in its condition and the longest-remaining sword,” Mr Redin said.

It was the work of hand-made upholstery and probably had been handcarved, he said.

His team is now re-creating an enormous taxidermied replica of the sword, using an Italian replica of the decorative steelwork.

One of the diver’s guides told the Telegraph he could hear the sword cracking inside as they worked.

Image copyright Laurence Bell Image caption The 500kg sword was one of almost 4,000 confiscated swords in Spain at the time of the Inquisition

Image copyright Laurence Bell Image caption The Spaniards were on a mission to end heresy

“It was one of almost 4,000 confiscated swords in Spain at the time of the Inquisition,” Mr Redin told La Secória newspaper in Spain.

He explained the identity of the confiscated swords varied between possessions seized when a citizen got caught for murder or theft and the ownership of valuable goods in the king’s estate.

The confiscated swords were part of the third and fourth collections of swords that were eventually taken back to Spain by the Spanish Crown.

Mr Redin said the sword was in excellent condition and refracting light.

He said it is believed one of the key cannons used by crusaders was also returned to Spain after the Spanish Empire lost control of the Iberian Peninsula.

Lucem Protheron, a Copacabana historian, told La Secória the sword “is very probably the last one belonging to a crusader knight in southern Spain,” and it was found in an area known as Santo Antiguo.

The sword was taken back in 1493 and belonged to the “king of ‘beings’, Adrianus Caesar the most powerful man in the world,” the historian said.

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