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The Cid   By: (1606-1684)

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[Transcriber's note: This text is no longer copyrighted; original copyright note preserved for accuracy.]

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Cid Campeador is the name given in histories, traditions and songs to the most celebrated of Spain's national heroes.

His real name was Rodrigo or Ruy Diaz (i.e. "son of Diego"), a Castilian noble by birth. He was born at Burgos about the year 1040.

There is so much of the mythical in the history of this personage that hypercritical writers, such as Masdeu, have doubted his existence; but recent researches have succeeded in separating the historical from the romantic.

Under Sancho II, son of Ferdinand, he served as commander of the royal troops. In a war between the two brothers, Sancho II. and Alfonso VI. of Leon, due to some dishonorable stratagem on the part of Rodrigo, Sancho was victorious and his brother was forced to seek refuge with the Moorish King of Toledo.

In 1072 Sancho was assassinated at the siege of Zamora, and as he left no heir the Castilians had to acknowledge Alfonso as King. Although Alfonso never forgave the Cid for having, as leader of the Castilians, compelled him to swear that he (the Cid) had no hand in the murder of his brother Sancho, as a conciliatory measure, he gave his cousin Ximena, daughter of the Count of Oviedo, to the Cid in marriage, but afterwards, in 1081, when he found himself firmly seated on the throne, yielding to his own feelings of resentment and incited by the Leonese nobles, he banished him from the kingdom.

At the head of a large body of followers, the Cid joined the Moorish King of Saragossa, in whose service he fought against both Moslems and Christians. It was probably during this exile that he was first called the Cid, an Arabic title, which means the lord . He was very successful in all his battles.

In conjunction with Mostain, grandson of Moctadir, he invaded Valencia in 1088, but afterwards carried on operations alone, and finally, after a long siege, made himself master of the city in June, 1094. He retained possession of Valencia for five years and reigned like an independent sovereign over one of the richest territories in the Peninsula, but died suddenly in 1099 of anger and grief on hearing that his relative, Alvar Fañez, had been vanquished and the army which he had sent to his assistance had been defeated.

After the Cid's death his wife held Valencia till 1102, when she was obliged to yield to the Almoravides and fly to Castile, where she died in 1104. Her remains were placed by those of her lord in the monastery of San Pedro de Cardeña.




Chimène. Elvira, have you given me a really true report? Do you conceal nothing that my father has said?

Elvira. All my feelings within me are still delighted with it. He esteems Rodrigo as much as you love him; and if I do not misread his mind, he will command you to respond to his passion.

Chimène. Tell me then, I beseech you, a second time, what makes you believe that he approves of my choice; tell me anew what hope I ought to entertain from it. A discourse so charming cannot be too often heard; you cannot too forcibly promise to the fervor of our love the sweet liberty of manifesting itself to the light of day. What answer has he given regarding the secret suit which Don Sancho and Don Rodrigo are paying to you? Have you not too clearly shown the disparity between the two lovers which inclines me to the one side?

Elvira. No; I have depicted your heart as filled with an indifference which elates not either of them nor destroys hope, and, without regarding them with too stern or too gentle an aspect, awaits the commands of a father to choose a spouse... Continue reading book >>

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