El Cid – About

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El Cid
El Cild film poster.jpg

Directed by Anthony Mann
Produced by Samuel Bronston
Screenplay by
Story by Fredric M. Frank
Starring
Music by Miklós Rózsa
Cinematography Robert Krasker
Edited by Robert Lawrence
Production
company
Distributed by
Release date
  • December 6, 1961 (London)
  • December 14, 1961 (United States)
Running time
184 minutes
Country Italy
United States
Language English
Budget $6,200,000
Box office $30,000,000 (Domestic)

El Cid is a 1961 epic historical drama film that romanticizes the life of the Christian Castilian knight Don Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, called “El Cid” (from the Arabic as-sidi, meaning “The Lord”), who, in the 11th century, fought the North African Almoravides and ultimately contributed to the unification of Spain. The film stars Charlton Heston in the title role and Sophia Loren as Doña Ximena.

Made by Samuel Bronston Productions in association with Dear Film Produzione and released in the United States by Allied Artists, the film was directed by Anthony Mannand produced by Samuel Bronston, with Jaime Prades and Michal Waszynski as associate producers. The screenplay was by Philip YordanBen Barzman, and Fredric M. Frank from a story by Frank. The music score was by Miklós Rózsa, the cinematography by Robert Krasker and the editing by Robert Lawrence. The film had its World Premiere at the Metropole Theatre, Victoria, London on December 6, 1961.

 

Plot

Gen. Ibn (pronounced Ben) Yusuf (Herbert Lom) of the Almoravid dynasty has summoned all the Emirs of Al-Andalus to North Africa. He chastises them for their complacency in dealing with the infidels, then reveals his plan for Islamic world domination.

Don Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar (Charlton Heston), on the way to his wedding with Doña Ximena (Sophia Loren), rescues a Spanish town from an invading Moorish army. Two of the Emirs, Al-Mu’tamin (Douglas Wilmer) of Zaragoza and Al-Kadir (Frank Thring) of Valencia, are captured. After escorting his prisoners to Vivar and seeing that peace will not come from others’ desire for revenge, Rodrigo releases them on condition that they pledge never again to attack King Ferdinand of Castile‘s (Ralph Truman) lands. The Emirs proclaim him “El Cid” (the Castillian Spanish pronunciation of the Arabic for Lord: “Al Sidi“) and swear allegiance to him.

For his act of mercy, Don Rodrigo is accused of treason by Count Ordóñez (Raf Vallone). When the charge is repeated in court, they are supported by Ximena’s father, Count Gormaz (Andrew Cruickshank), the king’s champion. Rodrigo’s aged father, Don Diego (Michael Hordern), angrily calls Gormaz a liar. Gormaz strikes Don Diego, challenging him to a duel. Rodrigo asks Gormaz to meet privately, begging him several times to ask the aged but proud Diego for forgiveness (for accusing Rodrigo of treason). Gormaz refuses, and Rodrigo kills him in a duel. Ximena swears revenge, wishing she were instead her father’s son.

When a rival king demands the city of Calahorra, Rodrigo becomes Ferdinand’s champion, winning the city in single combat. Victorious, he is sent on a mission to collect tribute from Moorish vassals to the Castillian crown. He asks that Ximena be given to him as his wife upon his return, so that he can provide for her. Count Ordóñez, conspiring with Ximena, plots to kill Rodrigo for her hand. Rodrigo and his men are ambushed, but are saved by Al-Mu’tamin, to whom Rodrigo had earlier showed mercy. Returning, he and Ximena are wed, but the marriage is not consummated: Rodrigo will not take her if she does not give herself out of love. Ximena instead removes herself to a convent.

King Ferdinand dies and his younger son, Prince Alfonso (John Fraser) tells the elder son Prince Sancho (Gary Raymond) that Ferdinand divided the kingdom: Castile to Sancho, Asturias and León to Alfonso, and Calahorra to their sister, Princess Urraca (Geneviève Page). Sancho refuses to accept anything but an undivided kingdom as his birthright. After Alfonso instigates a knife fight, Sancho overpowers his brother and sends him to the dungeon Zamora. Rodrigo tells Alfonso’s guards they are violating God’s law, defeats them all, and escorts Alfonso to Calahorra. When Sancho arrives to demand Alfonso, Urraca refuses to hand him over. She and Alfonso beg Rodrigo to join them but he refuses, because his oath was to all of them equally.

Ibn Yusuf arrives at Valencia, planning to land his armada on Spanish shores. He hires Dolfos to kill one of Ferdinand’s sons, making it look like the other’s order, weakening their portion of Spain. Because Ferdinand had trusted Dolfos, Urraca suspects nothing when Dolfos offers to assassinate Sancho. At Alfonso’s coronation, El Cid has him swear upon the Bible that he had no part in the death of his brother. Since he had no part in or any knowledge of it, Alfonso swears truthfully and banishes Rodrigo for his impudence. Ximena secretly listens to the edict, and her love for him is rekindled. On his way out of Spain, Rodrigo finds that Ximena has followed, choosing exile with him.

Rodrigo is called into the service of the king to protect Castille from Yusuf’s North African army. Rodrigo does not join the king but allies himself with the Emirs who fight at Valencia, where Rodrigo relieves the city from the wicked Emir Al-Kadir, who betrayed him.

Count Ordóñez brings Ximena from where the king had imprisoned her and her children after his defeat by the Moors. After patching things up between them, Ordóñez joins Rodrigo in his cause. Valencia falls and Emir Al-Mu’tamin, Rodrigo’s army, and the Valencians offer the crown to Rodrigo, “The Cid”, but he refuses and sends the crown to King Alfonso. Rodrigo then repels the invading army of Ben Yusuf, but in battle is struck by an arrow before the final victory. Yusuf and his men see that Rodrigo is badly wounded. If the arrow is removed, he would be unable to lead his army, but he might recover. El Cid obtains a promise from Ximena to leave the arrow, and so he chooses to ride out, dying or dead. King Alfonso comes to his bedside and asks for his forgiveness.

Rodrigo dies, and his body is secured in a heroic riding pose, wearing his armor and cape, to an iron frame fitted to his saddle. With the resounding battle cry, “For God, the Cid, and Spain!”, his body is sent out at the head of his army, with King Alfonso and Emir Al-Mu’tamin riding on either side to guide his horse. When Yusuf’s soldiers see El Cid with his eyes still open, they believe that he has risen from the dead. The Cid’s horse, Babieca, followed by the column of mounted knights, tramples Ben Yusuf, who is too terrified to fight. The invading North African army is routed and smashed. King Alfonso leads Christians and Moors alike in a prayer for God to receive the soul “of the purest knight of all”.

Cast

Pre-production

Loren was paid $200,000 for ten weeks’ work; producer Samuel Bronston also agreed to pay $200 a week for her hairdresser.

Ramón Menéndez Pidal, a Spanish authority on El Cid and Spain in the Middle Ages, was the historical adviser for the film and for the interpretation of the hero as presented by Charlton Heston.

Production

The Old Town of Peñíscola

Time magazine provided some production details: “Inevitably, the picture is colossal–it runs three hours and 15 minutes (including intermission), cost $6,200,000, employs an extra-wide widescreen, a special color process, 7,000 extras, 10,000 costumes, 35 ships, 50 outsize engines of medieval war and four of the noblest old castles in Spain: Ampudia, Belmonte, Peñíscola and Torrelobatón”.

Ampudia appears as the raided village at the beginning of the film, Torrelobatón as Cid’s hometown Vivar, the Castle of Belmonte appears as Calahorra, and Peñíscola and Bamburgh Castle as Valencia.

El Cid was shot mostly on location in Spain but a few studio scenes were shot in Rome, to achieve co-production status. An Iberian Airlines airplane is allegedly seen in the background during the Valencia battle scenes.

Reception

The movie earned $12 million in North American rentals.

Upon the release of El CidBosley Crowther wrote “it is hard to remember a picture–not excluding Henry VIvanhoeHelen of Troy and, naturally, Ben-Hur–in which scenery and regal rites and warfare have been so magnificently assembled and photographed as they are in this dazzler . . . The pure graphic structure of the pictures, the imposing arrangement of the scenes, the dynamic flow of the action against strong backgrounds, all photographed with the 70mm color camera and projected on the Super-Technirama screen, give a grandeur and eloquence to this production that are worth seeing for themselves”. Crowther also pointed out that while “the spectacle is terrific the human drama is stiff and dull”.

Sophia Loren had a major issue with Bronston’s promotion of the film, an issue important enough to her that Loren sued him for breach of contract in New York Supreme Court. As Time described it:

On a 600-sq.-ft. billboard facing south over Manhattan’s Times Square, Sophia Loren’s name appears in illuminated letters that could be read from an incoming liner, but—Mamma mia!—that name is below Charlton Heston’s. In the language of the complaint: “If the defendants are permitted to place deponent’s name below that of Charlton Heston, then it will appear that deponent’s status is considered to be inferior to that of Charlton Heston… It is impossible to determine or even to estimate the extent of the damages which the plaintiff will suffer.”

The film is a favorite of Martin Scorsese, who called it “one of the greatest epic films ever made.” Scorsese was one of the major forces behind a 1993 restoration and re-release of El Cid.

Awards and nominations

El Cid was nominated for three Academy Awards, for Best Art Direction (Veniero ColasantiJohn Moore), Original Music Score for Miklós Rózsa and Best Song.

It was also nominated for three Golden Globe Awards for Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Motion Picture Director (Anthony Mann), and Best Motion Picture Score (Miklós Rózsa). Samuel Bronston won the 1962 Special Merit Award.

Robert Krasker won the 1961 Best Cinematography Award by the British Society of CinematographersVerna Fields won the 1962 “Golden Reel Award” of the Motion Picture Sound Editors.

Comic book adaptation

See also

References

Specific references:

  1. Jump up to:ab “Cinema: A Round Table of One”Time. December 22, 1961. Retrieved 2009-12-11.
  2. Jump up^ EUGENE ARCHER (19 Oct 1960). “MOVIE PRODUCER CITES STAR POWER: Pasternak Has 2 Scripts Prepared for Doris Day — 3 New Films Today”. New York Times. p. 55.
  3. Jump up to:ab “Egos: Watch My Line”Time. January 5, 1962. Retrieved 2009-12-11.
  4. Jump up^ Richard A. Fletcher (1990). “Chapter 1”. The Quest for El CidISBN0-394-57447-8. Fletcher considers Pidal’s work on El Cid somewhat idealized and “eccentric”.
  5. Jump up to:abc Bosley Crowther (December 15, 1961). “Spectacle of El CidOpens: Epic About a Spanish Hero at the Warner”The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-12-11.
  6. Jump up^ “All-time top film grossers”, Variety 8 January 1964 p 37. Please note this figure is rentals accruing to film distributors not total money earned at the box office.
  7. Jump up^ James Berardinelli (1993). “El Cid”ReelViews.net.
  8. Jump up^ “Miramax to rerelease a restored ’61 ‘El Cid'”Variety. April 16, 1993. Retrieved 2009-12-11.
  9. Jump up^ “NY Times: El Cid”New York Times. Retrieved 2008-12-24.
  10. Jump up^ “Dell Four Color #1259”Grand Comics Database.
  11. Jump up^ Dell Four Color #1259 at the Comic Book DB

General references:

  • Richard Burt (2008). Medieval and Early Modern Film and Media. Palgrave MacMillan. ISBN0-230-60125-1.

External links

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
Reign 1094 – 1099
Coronation 1094
Successor Jimena Díaz
Born Rodrigo Díaz
c. 1043
VivarBurgos
Died 10 July 1099 (aged around 56)
Valencia
Burial Burgos Cathedral
Spouse Jimena Díaz
Issue Diego Rodríguez
Cristina Rodríguez
María Rodríguez
Father Diego Laínez
Signature Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar (El Cid)'s signature

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 ChristiansEl Campeador, which stood for “Outstanding Warrior” or “The one who stands out in the battlefield”. He was born in Vivar, 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.

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 at arm’s length and suspiciously. Finally, in 1081, he was ordered into exile.

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 harbored against El Cid. The terms for the return to the 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.

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.

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 even video games.

Title

First paragraph of the Carmen Campidoctoris, the earliest literary treatment of El Cid’s life, written by a Catalan partisan to celebrate El Cid’s defeat of Berenguer Ramon

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 Çidborrowed 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 RudriqLudriq al-Kanbiyatur or al-Qanbiyatur (Rodrigo el Campeador). 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. The whole combination Cid Campeador is first documented ca. 1195 in the Navarro-AragoneseLinage de Rodric Díaz included in the Liber Regum under the formula mio Cid el Campeador.

Life and career

Origins

El Cid was born Rodrigo Díaz circa AD 1043 in Vivar, 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 courtierbureaucrat, 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.

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 Giráldez de Acosta painting (1864) depicting the “Santa GadeaOath”. 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. 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 swearpublicly 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 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.

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. 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 were taken captive and held for three days before being released.

Exile

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. However, El Cid’s unauthorized expedition into Granada 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 given reason for El Cid’s exile, although several others are plausible and may have been contributing factors: jealous nobles turning Alfonso against El Cid, Alfonso’s own animosity towards El Cid and an accusation of pocketing some of the tribute from Seville.

At first he went to Barcelona, where Ramon Berenguer II (1076–1082) and Berenguer Ramon II (1076–1097) 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.

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 ZaragozaYusuf 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 MuladisBerbersArabs and Malians.

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 Toledoand 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, which took place in 1086, near the Taifa of Badajoz. The Almoravid and Andalusian Taifas, including the armies of BadajozMálagaGranadaTortosa and Seville, defeated a combined army of LeónAragón 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

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. 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 MonroyoTeruel). 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.

Death

Tomb of El Cid and his wife Doña Jimena at the Burgos Cathedral, 9 August 2012

El Cid and his wife Jimena Díaz lived peacefully in Valencia for five years until the Almoravids besieged the city. El Cid died on June 10, 1099. His death was likely a result of the famine and deprivations caused by the siege. 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. Originally buried in Castile in the monastery of San Pedro de Cardeña, his body now lies at the center of Burgos Cathedral.

Defeat

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.

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 fueled his reputation as an outstanding battlefield commander.

Babieca

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. His name is mentioned in several tales and historical documents about El Cid, including The Lay of El Cid.

Swords

A weapon traditionally identified as El Cid’s swordTizona, 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.

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

El Cid also had a sword called Colada.

Marriage and family

El Cid depicted on the title page of a sixteenth-century working of his story

El Cid was married in July 1075 to Jimena Díaz, said to have been a kinswoman of King Alfonso. 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 enamored by 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. Like with his own marriage, El Cid would link his family to the royal families of the Iberian peninsula through the marriages of his two daughters. Cristina Rodríguez 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, 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 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, 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. 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 directed by Anthony Mann, where the character of Doña Ximena is portrayed by Italian actress Sophia Loren.

Theatrical poster of El Cid by Anthony Mann.

Gallery

See also

References

  1. Jump up^ Barton, Simon and Richard Fletcher (2000). The World of El Cid: Chronicles of the Spanish Reconquest. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press. ISBN 9780719052262.
  2. Jump up^ Fee, Christopher R. (2011). Mythology in the Middle Ages: Heroic Tales of Monsters, Magic, and Might. ABC-CLIO. p. 161. ISBN 9780275984069.
  3. Jump up to:a b Fletcher, Richard A. (1989). The Quest for El Cid. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. pp. 166–168, 198. ISBN 9780195069556.
  4. Jump up^ 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. Jump up^ 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. Jump up^ Alberto Montaner Frutos y Ángel Escobar, «El Carmen Campidoctorisy 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. Jump up^ Alberto Montaner Frutos, «Rodrigo el Campeador como princeps en los siglos XI y XII»
  8. Jump up^ 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. Jump up^ 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.
  10. Jump up to:a b Chaytor, Henry John (1933). “Chapter 3: The Reconquest”. A History of Aragon and Catalonia. London: Methuan. pp. 39–40.
  11. Jump up^ 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. Jump up^ El Cid, Battle of Sagrajas
  13. Jump up to:a b c d Perea Rodríguez, Óscar. “Díaz de Vivar, Rodrigo o El Cid (1043–1099)”. Retrieved 23 April 2012.
  14. Jump up^ 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. Jump up^ Daniel Woolf (17 February 2011). A Global History of History. Cambridge University Press. p. 110. ISBN 978-0-521-87575-2.
  16. Jump up^ Gale (2016). A Study Guide for Pierre Corneille’s “Le Cid”. Gale, Cengage Learning. p. 3. ISBN 978-1-4103-5088-6.
  17. Jump up^ Richard A. Fletcher (1991). The Quest for El Cid. Oxford University Press. p. 5. ISBN 978-0-19-506955-6.
  18. Jump up^ 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.
  19. Jump up^ 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

Sources

Primary

Secondary (not cited)

  • Simon Barton and Richard Fletcher. The world of El Cid, Chronicles of the Spanish reconquest. Manchester: University Press, 2000. ISBN 0-7190-5225-4 hardback, ISBN 0-7190-5226-2 paperback.
  • Gonzalo Martínez Díez, “El Cid Histórico: Un Estudio Exhaustivo Sobre el Verdadero Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar”, Editorial Planeta (Spain, June 1999). ISBN 84-08-03161-9
  • C. Melville and A. Ubaydli (ed. and trans.), Christians and Moors in Spain, vol. III, Arabic sources (711–1501). (Warminster, 1992).
  • Joseph F. O’Callaghan. A History of Medieval Spain. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1975
  • Peter Pierson. The History of Spain. Ed. John E. Findling and Frank W. Thacheray. Wesport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1999. 34–36.
  • Bernard F. Reilly. The Kingdom of León-Castilla under King Alfonso VI, 1065–1109 Princeton, New Jersey: University Press, 1988.
  • Steven Thomas. 711–1492: Al-Andalus and the Reconquista.
  • M. J. Trow,El Cid The Making of a Legend, Sutton Publishing Limited, 2007.
  • Henry Edwards Watts. “The Story of El Cid (1026–1099)” in The Christian Recovery of Spain: The Story of Spain from the Moorish Conquest to the Fall of Granada (711–1492 AD). New York: Putnam, 1894. 71–91.
  • T.Y. Henderson. “Conquests Of Valencia”
  • J. I. Garcia Alonso, J. A. Martinez, A. J. Criado, “Origin of El Cid’s sword revealed by ICP-MS metal analysis”, Spectroscopy Europe, 11/4 (1999).

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