(Order of) A military and religious order instituted in
1214 by Alfonso IX., King of Castile, to commemorate the taking of
Alcantara from the Moors. The sovereign of Spain is ex-officio,
head of the Order. A resuscitation of the order of St. Julian of the
Pear-tree, instituted by Fernando Gomez in 1176, better known by
the French title St. Julien du Poirier. The badge of the order
was a pear-tree.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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