El Cid

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Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar (El Cid)
Prince of Valencia
Solar corona above statue of El Cid SF CA.jpg
Silhouette of San Francisco's edition of Anna Hyatt Huntington's statue
Prince of Valencia
Reign1094 1099
Coronation 1094
Successor Jimena Díaz
BornRodrigo Díaz
c. 1043
Vivar, Burgos
Died(1099-07-10)10 July 1099 (aged around 56)
Spouse Jimena Díaz
Issue Diego Rodríguez
Cristina Rodríguez
María Rodríguez
FatherDiego Laínez
Signature Signature of El Cid.svg

Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar (c.1043  10 July 1099) was a Castilian nobleman and military leader in medieval Spain. The Moors called him El Cid (Spanish pronunciation:  [el̟ˈθið] ), which meant the Lord (probably from the original Arabic al-sayyid, السَّيِّد), and the Christians, El Campeador, which stood for "Outstanding Warrior" or "The one who stands out in the battlefield". He was born in Vivar del Cid, a town near the city of Burgos. After his death, he became Castile's celebrated national hero and the protagonist of the most significant medieval Spanish epic poem, El Cantar de Mio Cid . [1]

Kingdom of Castile Medieval state in the Iberian Peninsula

The Kingdom of Castile was a large and powerful state located on the Iberian Peninsula during the Middle Ages. Its name comes from the host of castles constructed in the region. It began in the 9th century as the County of Castile, an eastern frontier lordship of the Kingdom of León. During the 10th century its counts increased their autonomy, but it was not until 1065 that it was separated from León and became a kingdom in its own right. Between 1072 and 1157 it was again united with León, and after 1230 this union became permanent. Throughout this period the Castilian kings made extensive conquests in southern Iberia at the expense of the Islamic principalities. The Kingdoms of Castile and of León, with their southern acquisitions, came to be known collectively as the Crown of Castile, a term that also came to encompass overseas expansion.

Moors Medieval Muslim inhabitants of the Maghreb, Iberian Peninsula, Sicily, and Malta

The term "Moors" refers primarily to the Muslim inhabitants of the Maghreb, the Iberian Peninsula, Sicily, and Malta during the Middle Ages. The Moors initially were the indigenous Maghrebine Berbers. The name was later also applied to Arabs.

Sayyid honorific title

Sayyid is an honorific title denoting people accepted as descendants of the Islamic prophet Muhammad and his cousin and son-in-law Imam Ali through his grandsons, Hasan ibn Ali and Imam Husayn ibn Ali, sons of Muhammad's daughter Fatimah and Ali.


Born a member of the minor nobility, El Cid was brought up at the court of King Ferdinand the Great and served Ferdinand's son, Sancho II of León and Castile. He rose to become the commander and royal standard-bearer (armiger regis) of Castile upon Sancho's ascension in 1065. Rodrigo went on to lead the Castilian military campaigns against Sancho's brothers, Alfonso VI of León and García II of Galicia, as well as in the Muslim kingdoms in Al-Andalus. He became renowned for his military prowess in these campaigns, which helped expand Castilian territory at the expense of the Muslims and Sancho's brothers' kingdoms. When conspirators murdered Sancho in 1072, Rodrigo found himself in a difficult situation. Since Sancho was childless, the throne passed to his brother Alfonso, the same whom El Cid had helped remove from power. Although Rodrigo continued to serve the Castilian sovereign, he lost his ranking in the new court which treated him suspiciously and kept him at arm's length. Finally, in 1081, he was ordered into exile. [2]

García II, King of Galicia and Portugal, was the youngest of the three sons and heirs of Ferdinand I, King of Castile and León, and Sancha of León, whose Leonese inheritance included the lands García would be given. Garcia first appears in an 11 September 1064 settlement with Suero, Bishop of Mondoñedo, his father confirming the agreement.

Al-Andalus in historiography, the territories of the Iberian Peninsula under moorish rule between 711 and 1492

Al-Andalus, also known as Muslim Spain, Muslim Iberia, or Islamic Iberia, was a medieval Muslim territory and cultural domain that in its early period included most of Iberia, today's Portugal and Spain. At its greatest geographical extent, it occupied the northwest of the Iberian peninsula and a part of present-day southern France, Septimania, and for nearly a century extended its control from Fraxinet over the Alpine passes which connect Italy with the remainder of Western Europe. The name more generally describes the parts of the peninsula governed by Muslims at various times between 711 and 1492, though the boundaries changed constantly as the Christian Reconquista progressed, eventually shrinking to the south around modern-day Andalusia and then to the Emirate of Granada.

El Cid found work fighting for the Muslim rulers of Zaragoza, whom he defended from its traditional enemy, Aragon. While in exile, he regained his reputation as a strategist and formidable military leader. He repeatedly turned out victorious in battle against the Muslim rulers of Lérida and their Christian allies, as well as against a large Christian army under King Sancho Ramírez of Aragon. In 1086, an expeditionary army of North African Almoravids inflicted a severe defeat to Castile, compelling Alfonso to overcome the resentments he harboured against El Cid. The terms for the return to Christian service must have been attractive enough since Rodrigo soon found himself fighting for his former Lord. Over the next several years, however, El Cid set his sights on the kingdom-city of Valencia, operating more or less independently of Alfonso while politically supporting the Banu Hud and other Muslim dynasties opposed to the Almoravids. He gradually increased his control over Valencia; the Islamic ruler, Yahya al-Qadir  [ es ], became his tributary in 1092. When the Almoravids instigated an uprising that resulted in the death of al-Qadir, El Cid responded by laying siege to the city. Valencia finally fell in 1094, and El Cid established an independent principality on the Mediterranean coast of Spain. He ruled over a pluralistic society with the popular support of Christians and Muslims alike. [3]

Taifa of Zaragoza Taifa kingdom

The taifa of Zaragoza was an independent Arab Muslim state in Moorish Al-Andalus, present day eastern Spain, which was established in 1018 as one of the taifa kingdoms, with its capital in the Islamic Saraqusta (Zaragoza) city. Zaragoza's taifa emerged in the 11th century following the destruction of the Caliphate of Córdoba in the Moorish Iberian Peninsula.

Kingdom of Aragon medieval and early modern kingdom in the Iberian Peninsula

The Kingdom of Aragon was a medieval and early modern kingdom on the Iberian Peninsula, corresponding to the modern-day autonomous community of Aragon, in Spain. It should not be confused with the larger Crown of Aragon, that also included other territories — the Principality of Catalonia, the Kingdom of Valencia, the Kingdom of Majorca, and other possessions that are now part of France, Italy, and Greece — that were also under the rule of the King of Aragon, but were administered separately from the Kingdom of Aragon.

Sancho Ramírez King of Aragon and Navarre

Sancho Ramírez was King of Aragon from 1063 until 1094 and King of Pamplona from 1076 under the name of Sancho V. He was the eldest son of Ramiro I and Ermesinda of Bigorre. His father was the first king of Aragon and an illegitimate son of Sancho III of Pamplona. He inherited the Aragonese crown from his father in 1063. Sancho Ramírez was chosen king of Pamplona by Navarrese noblemen after Sancho IV was murdered by his siblings.

El Cid's final years were spent fighting the Almoravid Berbers. He inflicted upon them their first major defeat in 1094, on the plains of Caurte, outside Valencia, and continued resisting them until his death. Although Rodrigo remained undefeated in Valencia, his only son, and heir, Diego Rodríguez died fighting against the Almoravids in the service of Alfonso in 1097. After El Cid's death in 1099, his wife, Jimena Díaz, succeeded him as ruler of Valencia, but she was eventually forced to surrender the principality to the Almoravids in 1102.

Berbers Ethnic group indigenous to North Africa

Berbers, or Amazighs, are an ethnic group of several nations mostly indigenous to North Africa and some northern parts of Western Africa.

Jimena Díaz politician

Doña Jimena Díaz was the wife of El Cid, whom she married between July 1074 and 12 May 1076, and her husband's successor as ruler of Valencia from 1099 to 1102.

To this day, El Cid remains a Spanish popular folk-hero and national icon, with his life and deeds remembered in plays, films, folktales, songs, and video games.


First paragraph of the Carmen Campidoctoris, the earliest literary treatment of El Cid's life, written to celebrate El Cid's defeat of some counts and champions Carmen campidoctoris 1.jpg
First paragraph of the Carmen Campidoctoris , the earliest literary treatment of El Cid's life, written to celebrate El Cid's defeat of some counts and champions

The name El Cid (Spanish:  [el ˈθið] ) is a modern Spanish denomination composed of the article el meaning "the" and Cid, which derives from the Old Castilian loan word Çid borrowed from the dialectal Arabic word سيد sîdi or sayyid, which means "Lord" or "Master". The Mozarabs or the Arabs that served in his ranks may have addressed him in this way, which the Christians may have transliterated and adopted. Historians, however, have not yet found contemporary records referring to Rodrigo as Cid. Arab sources use instead Rudriq, Ludriq al-Kanbiyatur or al-Qanbiyatur (Rodrigo el Campeador). [4] The cognomen Campeador derives from Latin campi doctor, which means "battlefield master". He probably gained it during the campaigns of King Sancho II of Castile against his brothers King Alfonso VI of León and King García II of Galicia. While his contemporaries left no historical sources that would have addressed him as Cid, they left plenty of Christian and Arab records, some even signed documents with his autograph, addressing him as Campeador, which prove that he used the Christian cognomen himself. [5] [6] [7] [8] The whole combination Cid Campeador is first documented ca. 1195 in the Navarro-Aragonese Linage de Rodric Díaz included in the Liber Regum under the formula mio Cid el Campeador.

Sidi or Sayidi, also Sayyidi and Sayeedi, is an Arabic masculine title of respect. It is used often to mean "saint" in Tunisian Arabic or "my master" in Maghrebi and Egyptian Arabic. Without the first person possessive object pronoun (ي-), the word is used similarly in other dialects, in which case it would be the equivalent to modern popular usage of the English Mr. It is also used in dialects such as Eastern Arabic, as well as by Muslims of the Indian subcontinent in the Urdu language where, however, it does not have as much currency as Sayyid, Janab or Sahib.

Alfonso VI of León and Castile 1040-1109, King of Leon, King of Castile, King of Galicia

Alfonso VI, nicknamed the Brave or the Valiant, was king of León (1065–72) and of Galicia, and then king of the reunited Castile and León.

Navarro-Aragonese Romance language once spoken in a large part of the Ebro River basin, south of the middle Pyrenees, although it is only currently spoken in a small portion of its original territory

Navarro-Aragonese is a Romance language once spoken in a large part of the Ebro River basin, south of the middle Pyrenees, although it is only currently spoken in a small portion of its original territory. The areas where it was spoken might have included most of Aragón, southern Navarre, and La Rioja. It was also spoken across several towns of central Navarre in a multilingual environment with Occitan, where Basque was the native language.

Life and career


El Cid was born Rodrigo Díaz circa AD 1043 in Vivar, [9] also known as Castillona de Bivar, a small town about six miles north of Burgos, the capital of Castile. His father, Diego Laínez, was a courtier, bureaucrat, and cavalryman who had fought in several battles. Despite the fact that El Cid's mother's family was aristocratic, in later years the peasants would consider him one of their own. However, his relatives were not major court officials; documents show that El Cid's paternal grandfather, Lain, confirmed only five documents of Ferdinand I's; his maternal grandfather, Rodrigo Álvarez, certified only two of Sancho II's; and El Cid's father confirmed only one.

Vivar del Cid Spanish village

Vivar, or Vivar del Cid, is a village of approximately 260 inhabitants, part of the municipality of Quintanilla Vivar, located 7 kilometres away from Burgos, Spain.

Burgos Municipality in Castile and León, Spain

Burgos is a city in northern Spain and the historic capital of Castile. It is situated on the confluence of the Arlanzón river tributaries, at the edge of the Iberian central plateau. It has about 180,000 inhabitants in the actual city and another 20,000 in the metropolitan area. It is the capital of the province of Burgos, in the autonomous community of Castile and León. Burgos was once the capital of the Crown of Castile, and the Burgos Laws or Leyes de Burgos which first governed the behaviour of Spaniards towards the natives of the Americas were promulgated here in 1512.

Bureaucracy refers to both a body of non-elective government officials and an administrative policy-making group. Historically, a bureaucracy was a government administration managed by departments staffed with non-elected officials. Today, bureaucracy is the administrative system governing any large institution, whether publicly owned or privately owned. The public administration in many countries is an example of a bureaucracy, but so is the centralized hierarchical structure of a business firm.

Service under Sancho II

As a young man in 1057, Rodrigo fought against the Moorish stronghold of Zaragoza, making its emir al-Muqtadir a vassal of Sancho. In the spring of 1063, Rodrigo fought in the Battle of Graus, where Ferdinand's half-brother, Ramiro I of Aragon, was laying siege to the Moorish town of Cinca, which was in Zaragozan lands. Al-Muqtadir, accompanied by Castilian troops including El Cid, fought against the Aragonese. The party slew Ramiro I, setting the Aragonese army on the run, and emerged victorious. One legend has said that during the conflict, El Cid killed an Aragonese knight in single combat, thereby receiving the honorific title "Campeador".

When Ferdinand died, Sancho continued to enlarge his territory, conquering both Christian strongholds and the Moorish cities of Zamora and Badajoz. When Sancho learned that Alfonso was planning on overthrowing him in order to gain his territory, Sancho sent Cid to bring Alfonso back so that Sancho could speak to him.

Service under Alfonso VI

Marcos Giraldez de Acosta painting (1864) depicting the "Santa Gadea Oath". In the middle of the scene, Alfonso VI (with red cape) is swearing with his right hand on the Bible that he did not take part in the murder of his brother Sancho II, while El Cid stands as a witness in front of him. Jura de Santa Gadea.jpg
Marcos Giráldez de Acosta painting (1864) depicting the "Santa Gadea Oath". In the middle of the scene, Alfonso VI (with red cape) is swearing with his right hand on the Bible that he did not take part in the murder of his brother Sancho II, while El Cid stands as a witness in front of him.

Sancho was assassinated in 1072, possibly as the result of a pact between his brother Alfonso and his sister Urraca.[ citation needed ] Since Sancho died unmarried and childless, all of his power passed to his brother Alfonso who, almost immediately, returned from exile in Toledo and took his seat as king of Castile and León. He was, however, deeply suspected of having been involved in Sancho's murder. According to the epic of El Cid, the Castilian nobility led by El Cid and a dozen "oath-helpers" forced Alfonso to swear publicly on holy relics multiple times in front of Santa Gadea (Saint Agatha) Church in Burgos that he did not participate in the plot to kill his brother. This is widely reported[ who? ] as truth, but contemporary documents on the lives of both Rodrigo Diaz and Alfonso VI of Castile and León do not mention any such event. Rodrigo's position as armiger regis was taken away and given to Rodrigo's enemy, Count García Ordóñez.[ citation needed ]

In 1079, Rodrigo was sent by Alfonso VI to Seville to the court of al-Mutamid to collect the parias owed by that taifa to León–Castile. [10] While he was there Granada, assisted by other Castilian knights, attacked Seville, and Rodrigo and his forces repulsed the Christian and Grenadine attackers at the Battle of Cabra, in the (probably mistaken) belief that he was defending the king's tributary. Count García Ordóñez and the other Castilian leaders [11] were taken captive and held for three days before being released. [10]


In the Battle of Cabra (1079), El Cid rallied his troops and turned the battle into a rout of Emir Abdullah of Granada and his ally García Ordóñez. This unauthorized expedition into Granada however, greatly angered Alfonso and May 8, 1080 was the last time El Cid confirmed a document in King Alfonso's court. This is the generally the accepted reason for the exile of El Cid, although it must be noted that several others are plausible and indeed may have been contributing factors to the exile: jealous nobles turning Alfonso against El Cid through court intrigue, Alfonso's own personal animosity towards El Cid, as well as a possible misappropriation of some of the tribute from Seville by El Cid.

At first he went to Barcelona, where Ramon Berenguer II refused his offer of service.

Moorish service

During his service to the Taifa of Zaragoza, he had gained a prominent reputation and the title El Cid (the Lord). He is also known to have developed links with the other Taifas in 1080. Reinos de Taifas 1080.png
During his service to the Taifa of Zaragoza, he had gained a prominent reputation and the title El Cid (the Lord). He is also known to have developed links with the other Taifas in 1080.
Detail of the Aljaferia palace, in the Taifa of Zaragoza La Aljaferia - Palacio taifa 02.JPG
Detail of the Aljaferia palace, in the Taifa of Zaragoza

The exile was not the end of El Cid, either physically or as an important figure. After being rejected by Ramon Berenguer II, El Cid journeyed to the Taifa of Zaragoza where he received a warmer welcome. In 1081, El Cid went on to offer his services to the Moorish king of the northeast Al-Andalus city of Zaragoza, Yusuf al-Mu'taman ibn Hud, and served both him and his successor, Al-Mustain II. He was given the title El Cid (The Master) and served as a leading figure in a diverse Moorish force consisting of Muladis, Berbers, Arabs and Malians.[ citation needed ]

According to Moorish accounts:

Andalusian Knights found El Cid their foe ill, thirsty and exiled from the court of Alfonso, he was presented before the elderly Yusuf al-Mu'taman ibn Hud and accepted command of the forces of the Taifa of Zaragoza as their Master.

In his History of Medieval Spain (Cornell University Press, 1975), Joseph F. O'Callaghan writes:

That kingdom was divided between al-Mutamin (1081–1085) who ruled Zaragoza proper, and his brother al-Mundhir, who ruled Lérida and Tortosa. El Cid entered al-Mutamin's service and successfully defended Zaragoza against the assaults of al-Mundhir, Sancho I of Aragón, and Ramon Berenguer II, whom he held captive briefly in 1082.

In 1084, The Army of the Taifa of Zaragoza under El Cid defeated the Aragonese at the Battle of Morella near Tortosa, but in autumn the Castilians started a loose siege of Toledo and later the next year the Christians captured Salamanca, a stronghold of the Taifa of Toledo.

In 1086, the Almoravid invasion of the Iberian Peninsula through and around Gibraltar began. The Almoravids, Berber residents of present-day North Africa, led by Yusuf ibn Tashfin, were asked to help defend the divided Moors from Alfonso. El Cid commanded a large Moorish force during the Battle of Sagrajas, [12] which took place in 1086, near the Taifa of Badajoz. The Almoravid and Andalusian Taifas, including the armies of Badajoz, Málaga, Granada, Tortosa and Seville, defeated a combined army of León, Aragón and Castile.

In 1087, Raymond of Burgundy and his Christian allies attempted to weaken the Taifa of Zaragoza's northernmost stronghold by initiating the Siege of Tudela and Alfonso captured Aledo, Murcia blocking the route between the Taifas in eastern and western Iberia.

Recall from exile

El Cid ordering the execution of Almoravid allies after his conquest of Valencia in 1094 The Cid ordering the Execution of Ahmed.jpg
El Cid ordering the execution of Almoravid allies after his conquest of Valencia in 1094
Battle of Quart de Poblet (21 October 1094). El Cid's troops are in green, Almoravids troops are in red. Batalla de Cuarte.svg
Battle of Quart de Poblet (21 October 1094). El Cid's troops are in green, Almoravids troops are in red.

Terrified after his crushing defeat, Alfonso recalled El Cid. It has been shown that El Cid was at court on July 1087; however, what happened after that is unclear. El Cid returned to Alfonso, but now he had his own plans. He only stayed a short while and then returned to Zaragoza. El Cid was content to let the Almoravid armies and the armies of Alfonso fight without his help, even when there was a chance that the armies of Almoravid might defeat Alfonso and take over all of Alfonso's lands. El Cid chose not to fight because he was hoping that both armies would become weak. [ citation needed ] That would make it easier for him to carry out his own plan to become ruler of the Kingdom of Valencia.

Conquest of Valencia

Around this time, El Cid, with a combined Christian and Moorish army, began maneuvering in order to create his own fiefdom in the Moorish Mediterranean coastal city of Valencia. Several obstacles lay in his way. First was Berenguer Ramon II, who ruled nearby Barcelona. In May 1090, El Cid defeated and captured Berenguer in the Battle of Tébar (nowadays Pinar de Tévar, near Monroyo, Teruel). Berenguer was later released and his nephew Ramon Berenguer III married El Cid's youngest daughter Maria to ward against future conflicts.

Along the way to Valencia, El Cid also conquered other towns, many of which were near Valencia, such as El Puig and Quart de Poblet.

El Cid gradually came to have more influence on Valencia, then ruled by Yahya al-Qadir  [ es ], of Berber Hawwara Dhunnunid dynasty. In October 1092 an uprising occurred in Valencia inspired by the city's chief judge Ibn Jahhaf and the Almoravids. El Cid began a siege of Valencia. A December 1093 attempt to break the siege failed. By the time the siege ended in May 1094, El Cid had carved out his own principality on the coast of the Mediterranean. Officially El Cid ruled in the name of Alfonso; in reality, El Cid was fully independent. The city was both Christian and Muslim, and both Moors and Christians served in the army and as administrators.


Tomb of El Cid and his wife Dona Jimena at the Burgos Cathedral Burgos - Catedral 069 - Tumba del Cid.jpg
Tomb of El Cid and his wife Doña Jimena at the Burgos Cathedral

El Cid and his wife Jimena Díaz lived peacefully in Valencia for five years until the Almoravids besieged the city. El Cid died on July 10, 1099. [13] His death was likely a result of the famine and deprivations caused by the siege. [13] Valencia was captured by Masdali on May 5, 1102 and it did not become a Christian city again for over 125 years. Jimena fled to Burgos, Castile, in 1101. She rode into the town with her retinue and the body of El Cid. [13] Originally buried in Castile in the monastery of San Pedro de Cardeña  [ es ; ca ], his body now lies at the center of Burgos Cathedral.


After his demise, but still during the siege of Valencia, legend holds that Jimena ordered that the corpse of El Cid be fitted with his armour and set on his horse Babieca, to bolster the morale of his troops. In several variations of the story, the dead Rodrigo and his knights win a thundering charge against Valencia's besiegers, resulting in a war-is-lost-but-battle-is-won catharsis for generations of Christian Spaniards to follow. It is believed that the legend originated shortly after Jimena entered Burgos, and that it is derived from the manner in which Jimena's procession rode into Burgos, i.e., alongside her deceased husband. [13]

Warrior and general

Battle tactics

During his campaigns, El Cid often ordered that books by classic Roman and Greek authors on military themes be read aloud to him and his troops, for both entertainment and inspiration before battle. El Cid's army had a novel approach to planning strategy as well, holding what might be called "brainstorming" sessions before each battle to discuss tactics. They frequently used unexpected strategies, engaging in what modern generals would call psychological warfare — waiting for the enemy to be paralyzed with terror and then attacking them suddenly; distracting the enemy with a small group of soldiers, etc. (El Cid used this distraction in capturing the town of Castejón as depicted in Cantar de Mio Cid (The Song of my Cid). El Cid accepted or included suggestions from his troops. In The Song the man who served him as his closest adviser was his vassal and kinsman Álvar Fáñez "Minaya" (meaning "My brother", a compound word of Spanish possessive Mi (My) and Anaia, the basque word for brother), although the historical Álvar Fáñez remained in Castile with Alfonso VI.

Taken together, these practices imply an educated and intelligent commander who was able to attract and inspire good subordinates, and who would have attracted considerable loyalty from his followers, including those who were not Christian. It is these qualities, coupled with El Cid's legendary martial abilities, which have fuelled his reputation as an outstanding battlefield commander.


Tomb of Babieca at the monastery of San Pedro de Cardena Cardena tumba babieca 03320.jpg
Tomb of Babieca at the monastery of San Pedro de Cardeña

Babieca or Bavieca was El Cid's warhorse. Several stories exist about El Cid and Babieca. One well-known legend about El Cid describes how he acquired the stallion. According to this story, Rodrigo's godfather, Pedro El Grande, was a monk at a Carthusian monastery. Pedro's coming-of-age gift to El Cid was his pick of a horse from an Andalusian herd. El Cid picked a horse that his godfather thought was a weak, poor choice, causing the monk to exclaim "Babieca!" (stupid!) Hence, it became the name of El Cid's horse. Another legend states that in a competition of battle to become King Sancho's "Campeador", or champion, a knight on horseback wished to challenge El Cid. The King wished a fair fight and gave El Cid his finest horse, Babieca, or Bavieca. This version says Babieca was raised in the royal stables of Seville and was a highly trained and loyal war horse, not a foolish stallion. The name in this instance could suggest that the horse came from the Babia region in León, Spain. In the poem Carmen Campidoctoris , Babieca appears as a gift from "a barbarian" to El Cid, so its name could also be derived from "Barbieca", or "horse of the barbarian".

Regardless, Babieca became a great warhorse, famous to the Christians, feared by El Cid's enemies, and loved by El Cid, who allegedly requested that Babieca be buried with him in the monastery of San Pedro de Cardeña. [3] His name is mentioned in several tales and historical documents about El Cid, including The Lay of El Cid.


A weapon traditionally identified as El Cid's sword, Tizona, used to be displayed in the Army Museum (Museo del Ejército) in Toledo. In 1999, a small sample of the blade underwent metallurgical analysis which confirmed that the blade was made in Moorish Córdoba in the eleventh century and contained amounts of Damascus steel. [14]

In 2007, the Autonomous Community of Castile and León bought the sword for 1.6 million Euros, [15] and it is currently on display at the Museum of Burgos. [16]

El Cid also had a sword called Colada. [17]

Marriage and family

El Cid depicted on the title page of a sixteenth-century working of his story Cronica del muy esforcado cauallero el Cid ruy diaz campeador.gif
El Cid depicted on the title page of a sixteenth-century working of his story

El Cid married Jimena Díaz, who was said to be part of an aristocratic family from Asturias, in the mid-1070s. [18] The Historia Roderici calls her a daughter of a Count Diego Fernández de Oviedo. Tradition states that when El Cid first laid eyes on her, he was enamoured of her great beauty. El Cid and Jimena had two daughters and a son. The latter, Diego Rodríguez, was killed while fighting against the invading Muslim Almoravids from North Africa at the Battle of Consuegra in 1097. As both the Poem and Chronicle state, Cristina Rodríguez and María were originally married to the Infantes de Carrión along with the generous wedding gifts of his two famous swords, Tizona and Colada. However, in revenge for an incident that the Infantes blamed El Cid for, they tied their wives to trees and left them to die. El Cid saved their lives and avenged himself upon the Infantes, and found them more favorable husbands. [19] Cristina Rodríguez, (known as Elvira by the Poem and the Chronicle) married Ramiro, Lord of Monzón and grandson of García Sánchez III of Navarre. Her own son, El Cid's grandson, would be elevated to the throne of Navarre as King García Ramírez. The other daughter, María (also known as Sol), is said first to have married a prince of Aragon, presumably the son of Peter I, and she later wed Ramon Berenguer III, count of Barcelona.

El Cid in literature, music, video games and film

The figure of El Cid has been the source for many literary works, beginning with the Cantar del Mio Cid, an epic poem from the 12th century which gives a partly-fictionalized account of his life. This poem, along with similar later works such as the Mocedades de Rodrigo, contributed to portray El Cid as a chivalric hero of the Reconquista, [20] making him a legendary figure in Spain. In the early 17th century the Spanish writer Guillén de Castro wrote a play called "Las Mocedades del Cid", on which French playwright Pierre Corneille based one of his most famous tragicomedies, Le Cid. [21] He was also a popular source of inspiration for Spanish writers of the Romantic period, such as Juan Eugenio Hartzenbusch, who wrote "La Jura de Santa Gadea", or José Zorrilla, who wrote a long poem called "La Leyenda del Cid".

Georges Bizet worked on a Don Rodrigue in 1873 that was set aside and never completed. Jules Massenet wrote an opera, Le Cid , in 1885, based on Corneille's play of the same name. Claude Debussy began work in 1890 on an opera, Rodrigue et Chimène , which he abandoned as unsuitable for his temperament; it was orchestrated for performance by Edison Denisov circa 1993.

El Cid is portrayed by American actor Charlton Heston in a 1961 epic film of the same name [22] directed by Anthony Mann, where the character of Doña Ximena is portrayed by Italian actress Sophia Loren. [23] [24]

In 1980 Ruy, the Little Cid was an anime based on El Cid which was animated series by Nippon Animation.

In the second Age of Empires video game installment, the Age of Kings: The Conquerors expansion pack, there is a campaign starring El Cid Campeador.

In both the first and second Medieval Total War games, El Cid appears as a powerful independent general in the castle of Valencia.

See also

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<i>El Cid</i> (film) 1961 biographic history movie on the Spanish hero of the reconquista, El Cid

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The Battle of Sagrajas, also called Zalaca or Zallaqa, was a battle between the Almoravid army led by the Almoravid king Yusuf ibn Tashfin and an army led by the Castilian King Alfonso VI. The battleground was later called az-Zallaqah because the warriors were slipping all over the ground due to the tremendous amount of blood shed that day, which gave rise to its name in Arabic.

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Taifa of Valencia

The Taifa of Valencia was a medieval Moorish taifa kingdom which existed, in and around Valencia, Spain during four distinct periods: from 1010 to 1065, from 1075 to 1099, from 1145 to 1147 and last from 1229 to 1238 when it was finally conquered by the Aragon.

García Ordóñez, called de Nájera or de Cabra and in the epic literature Crispus or el Crespo de Grañón, was a Castilian magnate who ruled the Rioja, with his seat at Nájera, from 1080 until his death. He is famous in literature as the rival of Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, the Cid, whose high position at court he took over after the Cid's exile in 1080. He was one of the most important military leaders and territorial governors under Alfonso VI, and was entrusted with military tutorship of the king's heir, Sancho Alfónsez, with whom he died on the field of battle at Uclés.

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The Historia Roderici, originally Gesta Roderici Campi Docti and sometimes in Spanish Crónica latina del Cid, is an anonymous Latin prose history of the Castilian folk hero Rodrigo Díaz, better known as El Cid Campeador.

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María Rodríguez (1080-1105) was countess consort of Barcelona.

Taifa of Lérida

The Taifa of Lérida was a factional kingdom (ṭāʾifa) in Muslim Iberia between 1039/1046 and 1102/1110. Based on the city of Lérida, the ṭāʾifa was not an independent state throughout this period but was sometimes a part of the larger ṭāʾifa of Zaragoza ruled by a governor (wālī).

Camino del Cid

The Camino del Cid is a cultural tourist itinerary based on historical personage Rodrigo Díaz and the literary work El Cantar de mio Cid. In both cases they are references of international scope: El Cid, "Castilian hero par excellence, the most exalted knight of medieval Spain" and El Cantar de Mio Cid, "one of the great classics of European literature".


  1. Barton, Simon and Richard Fletcher (2000). The World of El Cid: Chronicles of the Spanish Reconquest. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press. ISBN   9780719052262.
  2. Fee, Christopher R. (2011). Mythology in the Middle Ages: Heroic Tales of Monsters, Magic, and Might. ABC-CLIO. p. 161. ISBN   9780275984069.
  3. 1 2 Fletcher, Richard A. (1989). The Quest for El Cid. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. pp. 166–168, 198. ISBN   9780195069556.
  4. María Jesús Viguera Molins, «El Cid en las fuentes árabes», in César Hernández Alonso (coord.), Actas del Congreso Internacional el Cid, Poema e Historia (12–16 de julio de 1999), Ayuntamiento de Burgos, 2000, págs. 55–92. ISBN   84-87876-41-2
  5. See Ramón Menéndez Pidal, «Autógrafos inéditos del Cid y de Jimena en dos diplomas de 1098 y 1101», Revista de Filología Española, t. 5 (1918), Madrid, Sucesores de Hernando, 1918. Digital copy Valladolid, Junta de Castilla y León. Consejería de Cultura y Turismo. Dirección General de Promociones e Instituciones Culturales, 2009–2010. Original in Archivo de la Catedral de Salamanca, caja 43, legajo 2, n.º 72.
  6. Alberto Montaner Frutos y Ángel Escobar, «El Carmen Campidoctoris y la materia cidiana», in Carmen Campidoctoris o Poema latino del Campeador, Madrid, Sociedad Estatal España Nuevo Milenio, 2001, pág. 73 [lam.]. ISBN   978-84-95486-20-2
  7. Alberto Montaner Frutos, «Rodrigo el Campeador como princeps en los siglos XI y XII»
  8. Georges Martin «El primer testimonio cristiano sobre la toma de Valencia (1098)», en el número monográfico «Rodericus Campidoctor» de la revista electrónica e-Spania, n.º 10 (diciembre de 2010). Online since 22 January 2011. Last time visited November 28th 2011. Complete text (Edition of the Latin text) in José Luis Martín Martín & al., Documentos de los Archivos Catedralicio y Diocesano de Salamanca (siglos XII-XIII), Salamanca, Universidad, 1977, doc. 1, p. 79-81.
  9. Tim Watts (31 May 2012). Frank W. Thackeray, John E. Findling (eds.). Events That Formed the Modern World. ABC-CLIO. p. 19. ISBN   978-1-59884-901-1.CS1 maint: Uses editors parameter (link)
  10. 1 2 Chaytor, Henry John (1933). "Chapter 3: The Reconquest". A History of Aragon and Catalonia. London: Methuan. pp. 39–40.
  11. The Historia Roderici says that the other two Castilian leaders were Diego Pérez and Lope Sánchez. de los Rios, José Amador (1863). "Capitulo 3: Primeros Monumentos Escritos de la Poesía Castellana (Chapter 3:First Written Monuments of Castilian Poetry)". Historia Crítica de la Literatura Española, Tomo III, (II Parte, Subciclo I) (The History and Criticism of Spanish Literature, Volume III, (Second Part, subpart I)) (in Spanish). Madrid, Spain: J. Rodriguez. p.  104.
  12. Giles, Sarah; Giles, Bill (29 December 2014). "Perfect Paradores; The unique hotel chain in Spain... our best of their best hotels!: A Bill and Sarah Giles Travel Guide. Book 8". Yellow Dot Publishing via Google Books.
  13. 1 2 3 4 Perea Rodríguez, Óscar. "Díaz de Vivar, Rodrigo o El Cid (1043–1099)" . Retrieved 23 April 2012.
  14. Alonso, J. I. Garcia; Martinez, J. A.; Criado, A. J. (1999). "Origin of El Cid's sword revealed by ICP-MS metal analysis". Spectroscopy Europe. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. 11 (4).
  15. Tom Hill (26 February 2014). Swords of El Cid: "Rodrigo! May God curse him!". Andrews UK Limited. p. 330. ISBN   978-1-78333-651-7.
  16. Handbook of Medieval Culture. De Gruyter. 31 August 2015. p. 1739. ISBN   978-3-11-037761-3.
  17. Rita Hamilton; Ian Michael (1984). Cantar de mio Cid. Penguin. p. 187. ISBN   978-0-14-044446-9.
  18. Barton, Simon; Fletcher, Richard. The World of El Cid. Manchester University Press. p. 90. ISBN   9781526112637 . Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  19. Southey, Robert (1883). Chronicle of the Cid. New York: Kessinger Publishing, LLC. ISBN   1164438018.
  20. Daniel Woolf (17 February 2011). A Global History of History. Cambridge University Press. p. 110. ISBN   978-0-521-87575-2.
  21. Gale (2016). A Study Guide for Pierre Corneille's "Le Cid". Gale, Cengage Learning. p. 3. ISBN   978-1-4103-5088-6.
  22. Richard A. Fletcher (1991). The Quest for El Cid. Oxford University Press. p. 5. ISBN   978-0-19-506955-6.
  23. Gary Allen Smith (22 January 2009). Epic Films: Casts, Credits and Commentary on More Than 350 Historical Spectacle Movies (2nd ed.). McFarland. p. 76. ISBN   978-1-4766-0418-3.
  24. Gale (2016). A Study Guide for Anonymous's "Cantar de mio Cid (El Cid)". Gale, Cengage Learning. p. 8. ISBN   978-1-4103-4239-3.

Further reading



Secondary (not cited)