In his História da America Portugueza, the Bahian historian Sebastião da Rocha Pitta noted two qualities essential to a monarch. The first was religion, “a mais firme columna das monarchias.” The second was generosity, “a generosidade é o segundo atributo nos príncipes.” Rocha Pitta observed that both qualities were not merely present but superabundantly so in the persona of Dom João V. The former found its expression in his financial and spiritual support for churches in Lisbon, the unprecedented splendor of the royal chapel, his appointments to bishoprics and high ecclesiastical office of persons of exceptional spiritual and scholarly gifts, and the unparalleled splendor of processions, most notably Corpus Christi, whose magnificence and pomp bedazzled visitors from other Catholic nations. His generosity (generosidade and liberalidade) found expression in his financial support for wars against Islam and in his unstinting satisfaction...

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