Twenty-five years ago, which seems like a lifetime in many ways, I was meandering through the Cathedral of Valencia during my first trip to Spain. This cathedral was like so many others I had seen in France. It was large, architecturally impressive, and contained so many works of art that it was nearly impossible to take them all in. Something different caught my eye, however. It was a small sign, next to a secluded chapel, that read, “Chapel of the Holy Grail.” I could have easily not seen it at all, as it was so insignificant in the grand scheme of this magnificent cathedral. I stopped and wondered about it, as I had never once heard anything about the Grail of medieval legend being in the possession of the Spaniards. I entered the chapel and, to my surprise, there was a small chalice above the altar. No one was paying the least amount of attention to it. I wandered into the small gift store next to it and searched for more information, but all I could find was a small leaflet with a poorly translated account of Saint Laurence and how he sent the cup of the Last Supper to Spain. I filed it away in my memory where it began to surface once again eight years later during a visit to the National Library of Madrid. The rest is history.
“It is one thing to write as poet and another to write as a historian: the poet can recount or sing about things not as they were, but as they should have been, and the historian must write about them not as they should have been, but as they were, without adding or subtracting anything from the truth.”
– Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra,