Avis or Aviz
Avis Or Aviz
knights of a military order of Portugal (order of St. Benito de A viz), instituted by Alphonso I, in 1147 or 1162, in commemoration of the capture of Evora from the Moors, whence the knights of this order were at first called knights of Santa Maria d'Evora. They were afterward styled the Knights of Avis. from a place of that name where they built a fortress. These knights followed the rule of Citeaux, with some variations, and their duty was to defend the true faith by force of arms, to keep chastity, and to wear a religious dress, consisting of a scapulary and hood, so made that it did not hinder their fighting. Their dress of ceremony is a white cloak, having on the left side a cross fleur-de-lisee, at the foot of which are two birds. In their armorial bearings they also have two birds and a tower. They possessed in Portugal about forty commanderies, and since 1550 the grand mastership of the order has been in the crown. — Helyot, Ordres Relig. 1, 350; Landon, Eccl. Dict. 1, 674.