Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar (1040? – July 1099), was a Castilian military and political leader in medieval Spain. Born of the Spanish nobility and also nicknamed El Cid Campeador, Rodrigo Díaz was educated in the royal court the the Kingdom that Castile and became an important general and administrator, fighting versus the Moors in the at an early stage Reconquista. Later exiled by Afonso VI, El Cid left service in Castile and also worked together a mercenary-general for other rulers, both Moor and also Christian. Late in life, El Cid caught the Mediterranean seaside city the Valencia, ruling it till his death in 1099. Fletcher (2003) defines him as the “most well known Spaniard of every time” (72).

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The nickname "El Cid Campeador" is a link of two separate sobriquets. "El Cid" is acquired from words al-sidi in the Andalusian language (from the Arabic sayyid, "sir" or "lord," a location of respect), while the title el campeador (the champion) was granted by his Christian admirers. It is additionally a not so typical fact that he has actually been described by part Andalucians together "El Raffi." these titles reflect the good esteem El Cid had amongst both Moors and also Christians, as well as his fighting ability; Henry Edwards Watts created that el campeador "eans in Spanish something an ext special than ‘champion’ ... A campeador was a guy who had actually fought and beaten the pick fighting-man that the opposite next in the existence of the two armies" (1894, 71).

He continues to be as iconic figure that lived an adventurous life in rough times and also gained the respect the his enemies and his friends. His life reflects that it is possible to cross barriers and even to work-related with civilization who one"s own culture usually demonize and also stereotype as various from ourselves. His honorific title, El Cid, through which he remains known, was offered him by the Moors—who to be hated and despised through Christian Europe. In ~ a time that hostility in between Christians and Muslims, El Cid faced both together equally human. The rights and also wrongs the conquest and also reconquest aside, this can be pertained to as a positive quality in period when too numerous peoplethought it a duty to slaughter the religious and cultural Other without any type of attempt to know their faith, or also to guide them to convert.

Early life

"El Cid" to be pronounced /el tsið/ in medieval Castilian, however /el θið/ in contemporary standard Spanish (the c choose the th in "thin" and also the d prefer the th in "then"). The exact day of El Cid"s bear is unknown. Based upon his joining in 1063 in ~ the fight of Graus, however, most historians think that El Cid to be born eighteen to twenty years earlier between 1043 and also 1045, in Vivar (Bivar), a small town around six mile north the Burgos, the resources of Castile. Historical records show that El Cid"s father to be Diego Laínez, who was part minor the aristocracy (infanzones) the Castile. Diego Laínez was a courtier, bureaucrat, and cavalryman who had combated in several battles. Regardless of the truth in later on years the peasants would consider him among their own, El Cid"s mother"s household was aristocratic. However, his relatives were not significant court officials: documents present that El Cid"s paternal grandfather, go Nuñez, only confirmed five files of Ferdinand i of Leon"s; his maternal grandfather, Rodrigo Alvarez, certified only two that Sancho II that Castile"s; the Cid"s own father confirmed only one. This seems to indicate that El Cid"s family was not comprised of major court officials.

One famous legend around the Cid explains how he obtained his famous war-horse, the white stallion Babieca. 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 to be his pick of a steed from an Andalusian herd. El Cid choose a steed that his godfather believed was a weak, poor choice causing the monk come exclaim "Babieca!" (stupid). Hence, it became the surname of El Cid"s horse. Today, Babieca appears in lot of works around El Cid.

El Cid was educated in the Castilian imperial court, serving the prince and also future king Sancho II, the kid of Ferdinand ns of León (the Great). When Ferdinand passed away in 1065, he had ongoing his father"s goal of enlarging his territory, conquering the Christian and the Moorish urban of Zamora and Badajoz.

By this time, the Cid was an adult. That had dealt with alongside Sancho versus the Moorish stronghold of Zaragoza (Saragossa) in 1067, do its emir, al-Muqtadir, a vassal of Sancho. In the feather of 1063 he combated in the battle of Graus, whereby Ferdinand"s half-brother, Ramiro ns of Aragon, had actually laid siege come the Moorish town of Graus which was in Zaragozan lands. Al-Muqtadir, add by Castilian troops including the Cid, fought versus the Aragonese. The party would emerge victorious; Ramiro i was killed, and also the Aragonese fled the field. One legend has actually said that throughout the problem El Cid eliminated an Aragonese items in single combat, offering him the honorific location of "El Cid Campeador."

Service under Sancho

Early army victories

As a residents of Castile, the Cid was currently a vassal of Sancho. Sancho believed that he, together Ferdinand"s eldest son, to be entitled to inherit every one of his father"s lands. Once he dominated Leon and Galicia, he started making war on his brothers and also sisters. Right now some say that the Cid, having actually proved self a loyal and brave knight against the Aragonese, to be appointed as the armiger regis, or alferez (standard-bearer). This place entailed commanding the militaries of Castile.

Victories over Afonso and Sancho"s death

After defeating Sancho"s brother Afonso at Llantada on the Leonese-Castillian border in 1068 and also Golpejera end the Carrión river in 1072, Sancho and the Cid compelled Afonso come flee come his Moorish city the Toledo under Al-Ma"mun. Toro, the city of Sancho"s elder sister Elvira, dropped easily, and for a while it appeared as despite Sancho and also the Cid were unbeatable. However during the siege the Zamora, the city rule by Sancho"s younger sisters Urraca the Zamora, Bellido Dolfos assassinated Sancho with a spear on October 7, 1072.

Service under Afonso

Much speculation abounds around Sancho"s death. Many say the the assassination to be a result of a pact in between Afonso and Urraca; some even say they had an incestuous relationship. In any kind of case, due to the fact that Sancho passed away unmarried and also childless, every one of his strength passed come his brother, Afonso—the an extremely person the had dealt with against.Almost immediately, Afonso was recalled indigenous exile in Toledo and took his seat as king the Leon and also Castile. When he was deeply doubt in Castile (probably correctly) for being associated in Sancho"s murder, according to the epos of El Cid the Castilian nobility, led by the Cid and a dozen "oath-helpers", compelled Afonso come swear publicly in front of St. Gadea"s Church in Burgos on divine relics many times the he go not get involved in the plot to death his brother. This is commonly reported together truth, but modern-day documents ~ above the resides of both Afonso using of Castile and also Leon and Rodrigo Diaz carry out not mention any such event. This legend is believed because it add to to account of El Cid"s bravery yet there is no proof the it took place. El Cid"s place as armiger regis to be taken away, however, and it was provided to El Cid"s enemy, counting García Ordóñez. Later on in the year, Afonso"s younger brother, García, went back to Galicia under the false pretenses of a conference.

Battle tactics

During his campaigns, El Cid frequently ordered that publications by standard Roman and also Greek authors on military themes be review in according to voices come him and his troops, both for entertainment and also inspiration during battle. El Cid"s military had a novel technique to plan strategy together well, holding what could be referred to as brainstorming sessions before each fight to comment on tactics. They commonly used unanticipated strategies, engaging in what modern-day generals would speak to psychological warfare; wait for the opponent to be paralyzed through terror and also then attacking them suddenly, distracting the enemy with a tiny group of soldiers. El Cid had a humble personality and frequently embraced or consisted of suggestions indigenous his troops. That remained open up to input native his soldiers and also to the possibility that he himself was qualified of error. The man who served him together his closest adviser was his nephew, Alvar Fáñez de Minaya.

Marriage and family life

The Cid was married in July 1074 to Afonso"s kinswoman Jimena de Gormaz (spelled Ximena in Old Castilian), the daughter of the count of Oviedo. This was most likely on Afonso"s suggestion; a move that he more than likely hoped would improve relations between him and also El Cid. Together El Cid and also Ximena had three children. Their daughters, Cristina and also María, both married high nobility; Cristina, to Ramiro, lord of Monzón and also bastard descendant of emperors of Navarre; María, very first to Infante that Aragon and 2nd to Ramón Berenguer III, count of Barcelona. El Cid"s son, Diego Rodríguez, was eliminated while fighting versus the invading Muslim Almoravids from phibìc Africa in ~ the battle of Consuegra (1097). His very own marriage and that of his daughters enhanced his status by connecting El Cid come royalty; even today, living monarchs descend indigenous El Cid, v the currently of Navarre and Foix.

Service together administrator

El Cid to be a grew man, having served Afonso together a judge. He maintained in life a an individual archive with duplicates of the letters he mailed and also important diplomas the signed as part of his cooperation in the king"s administration.


In the fight of Cabra (1079), El Cid rallied his troops and also turned the battle into a rout that Emir Abd Allah the Granada and also his ally García Ordóñez. However, El Cid"s unauthorized exploration into Granada significantly angered Afonso, and also May 8, 1080 to be the critical time El Cid shown a document in King Afonso"s court. This is the usually given factor for El Cid"s exile, although several others room plausible and also may have been contributing factors: jealousy nobles transforming Afonso against El Cid, Afonso"s very own animosity in the direction of El Cid, an accusation of pocketing few of the tribute from Seville, and what one resource describes as El Cid"s "penchant" towards insulting an effective men.

However, the exile was not the finish of El Cid, either physically or as crucial figure. In 1081, now a mercenary, he available his services to the Moorish king the the northeast Spanish city the Zaragosa, Yusuf al-Mutamin, and also served both him and his successor, Al-Mustain II. El Cid readily available his services to the rulers that Barcelona, Ramón Berenguer II (1076-1082) and Berenguer Ramón II, counting of Barcelona (1076-1097), yet they turned him down. He then journeyed come Zaragoza, where uncovered himself an ext welcome. This was Muslim territory jointly rule by Yusuf al-Mutamin (1081-1085) that ruled Zaragoza proper, and his brother al-Mundhir, who ruled Lérida and also Tortosa. El Cid entered the organization of al-Mutamin"s and also successfully safeguarded Zaragoza against the assaults of al-Mutamdhir, Sancho i of Aragón, and Ramón Berenguer II. In 1082, that briefly organized the latter captive.

In 1086 the an excellent Almoravid intrusion of Spain through and also around Gibraltar began. The Almoravids, Berber inhabitants of contemporary Morocco and also Algeria, led through Yusef I, additionally called Yusef ibn Tushafin or Yusef ibn Tashfin, to be asked to aid defend the Moors indigenous Afonso. A good battle took location on October 23, 1086 at Sagrajas (in Arabic, Zallaqa). The Moorish Andalusians, consisting of the armies of Badajoz, Málaga, Granada, and also Seville, beat a linked army the León, Aragón, and Castile. At first, the Christians seemed to be acquiring the top hand until Ibn Tashufin outflanked them. The christians then started to retreat. Soon, the retreat became a rout. Afonso, together with five hundreds knights, had the ability to escape.

This loss actually offered El Cid well. Terrified ~ this crushing defeat, Afonso recalled El Cid from exile, considering his services important once again. It has actually been shown that El Cid was at court ~ above July 1087. However, what occurred after that is unclear.

Conquest of Valencia

Around this time, with a an unified Christian and also Moorish army, El Cid began maneuvering in order to produce his own fiefdom in the Moorish Mediterranean seaside city the Valencia. Several obstacles place in his way. First was Ramón Berenguer II, that ruled nearby Barcelona. In may 1090, that defeated and captured Berenguer in the battle of Tébar. Berenguer was later ransomed, and his son, Ramón Berenguer III, married El Cid"s youngest daughter Maria to ward versus future conflicts.

El Cid gradually came to have more influence ~ above Valencia, climate ruled by al-Qadir. In October 1092 an uprising occurred in Valencia motivated by the city"s cook judge, Ibn Jahhaf, and the Almoravids. El Cid started a siege the Valencia. The siege lasted numerous years; in December 1093 an attempt to break had actually failed. In might 1094, the siege ended, and El Cid had carved out his very own kingdom ~ above the shore of the Mediterranean Sea.

Officially El Cid rule in the surname of Afonso; in reality, the was completely independent. The city was both Christian and Muslim, and also both Moors and Christians offered in the army and as administrators. In 1096 Valencia"s nine employee were "Christianized"; Jérôme, a French bishop, to be appointed archbishop of the city.

On July 10, 1099, El Cid passed away in his home. Despite his mam Jimena would proceed to dominion for two more years, an Almoravid siege forced Jimena come seek help from Afonso. They might not hold the city yet both controlled to escape. Afonso notified the city melted to prevent it native falling right into the hand of the Moors. Valencia was caught by Masdali on might 5, 1109, and also would not end up being a Christian city again because that over 125 years. Jimena fled to Burgos through El Cid"s body. Originally hidden in Castile in the monastery of mountain Pedro de Cardeña, his body now lies at the facility of the exceptional cathedral that Burgos.


Legend has it that after El Cid passed away he to be strapped ~ above his horse and also ridden into battle. The foe was so fear of the invincible rider the they all went earlier to your boats and also El Cid won the fight dead ~ above a horse. The legend likewise tells that just his mam knew since she realized that if the men realized their beloved leader was dead, they would surely lose.


El Cid"s sword, "Tizona," can still be checked out in the military Museum (Museo del Ejército) in Madrid. Soon after his fatality it came to be one the the most precious possessions that the Castilian royal family. In 1999 a small sample that the tongue underwent metallurgical analysis that partially shown that it to be made in Moorish Córdoba in the eleventh century, return the report does no specify whether the larger-scale composition of the blade identify it together Damascus steel.


The renowned Spanish epic, Poema de Mio Cid “presented its hero,” comments Fletcher (2003), in one “entirely various light.” All reference to his having actually served Muslims is now edited the end from his biography. Now, that is “exclusively a Christian, crusading, Castilian patriot” (86). The crusading zeal introduced by city II additionally had Spain firmly in mind; “It is no surprising the Urban"s eye should likewise have to be on Spain…since the start of his pontificate he had enthusiastically supported…a drive to reoccupy Tarragona, a ghost town in no man"s soil fift miles down the Spanish shore from Barcelona” (Riley-Smith, 7). The crusaders take it vows. Applying the term come El Cid is anachronistic, because the campaigns started after ~ his death—but it likewise inaccurate due to the fact that he never took a vow.

El Cid was living prove that the Christian-Muslim frontier might be crossed, yet as hostility in the direction of Islam intensified, that frontier-crossing ended up being “unacceptable,” therefore El Cid"s photo was adjusted appropriately (Fletcher 2003, 89). Fletcher argues that the ethos of El Cid"s very own time had actually been closer to one of “live and let live” (92). Later, the dominant mindset was among hostility and outright “fanaticism,” yet the earlier period shows that “human moral relationships usually have fuzzy outlines” (92). Europe got much native the often-tolerant dominance of the Muslims in Spain, under whose patronage finding out flourished. Christian, Jewish and also Muslim scholars interacted and also many an useful texts were interpreted from Arabic into Latin, including Aristotle, whose thought had actually been lost to Europe. The good Catholic theologian, thomas Aquinas, to be in numerous respects a product that this period of religious pluralism, since he attracted both ~ above Aristotle and also on Muslim philosophy as well.


El Cid delighted in the inexplicable honor of being respected through Christians and Muslims alike, an honor that couple of others can case with the exemption of such men as Saladin and also Richard the Lionheart. In ~ the time, Christians thought Muslims to it is in servants the Satan, and when the recovery of the totality of Spain was pertained to as Christian duty. Success in winning back parts the Spain was a contributing variable in launching the Crusades, as success emboldened the pope to think that the holy Land could also be recovered. However, once the Crusaders had developed a foothold in Palestine, and also had recovered Jerusalem, the Christians who then cleared up there adopted a much much more pragmatic attitude towards the Muslims. They quite often entered truces through them, and some, like El Cid, discovered themselves sustaining some Muslims against others or versus a common enemy.

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El Cid might not have actually been a version character, yet he might see his opponent as equally human. Possibly iconic figures that tempt respect from both political parties of traditionally opposed peoples deserve to unite a civilization that is regularly divided. It to be a liquid time, which, states Pierson (1999), allowed “a personality choose El Cid to flourish” (34). The poem, El Cid, would certainly serve as among the founding discourses of modern Spain, although it lay for countless years “in a far monastery near Burgos.” It to be a time as soon as some civilization at least thought the motto “live and also let live” was an excellent advice. Border zones, such as Moorish Spain, could be imagined and also constructed either together a obstacle or together a bridge. For El Cid, the frontier in between Islam and also Christianity to be a bridge; he can deal honorably v either side. His frontier-crossing example, though, has largely been obscured through the myth and also legend the his life the high adventure generated.