Rodrigo Diaz, called de Bivar, from the place of his birth, better known by the title given him by the Arabs as the Cid (El Seid, the lord), and El Campeador, the champion par excellence, was of a noble family, one of whose members in a former generation had been elected judge of Castile.
He translated the Cid of Corneille, and wrote a poem on the subject of Psyche, based upon the well-known Greek myth.
Edinburgi, ex ofjicina Andreae Hart Bibliopolae, CID.DC.XIV.
THE CID, the favourite hero of Spain, and the most prominent figure in her literature.
The truth of the matter, however, has been expressed by Cervantes, through the mouth of the Canon in Don Quixote: " There is no doubt there was such a man as the Cid, but much doubt whether he achieved what is attributed to him."
There is a Cid of history and a Cid of romance, differing very materially in character, but each filling a large space in the annals of his country, and exerting a singular influence in the development of the national genius.
The Cid of history, though falling short of the poetical ideal which the patriotism of his countrymen has so long cherished, is still the foremost man of the heroical period of Spain - the greatest warrior produced out of the long struggle between Christian and Moslem, and the perfect type of the Castilian of the 12th century.
The legends which speak of the Cid as accompanying this monarch in his expeditions to France and Italy must be rejected as purely apocryphal.
For a time the Cid, already renowned throughout Spain for his prowess in war, was even advanced by the king's favour and entrusted with high commissions of state.
In 1074 the Cid was wedded to Ximena, daughter of the count of Oviedo, and granddaughter, by the mother's side, of Aiphonso V.
Some time afterwards the Cid was sent on an embassy to collect tribute from Motamid, the king of Seville, whom he found engaged in a war with Abdallah, the king of Granada.
In the battle which ensued under the walls of Seville, Abdallah and his auxiliaries were routed with great slaughter, the Cid returning to Burgos with many prisoners and a rich booty.
Under Moktadir, and his successorsMoutamin and Mostain, the Cid remained for nearly eight years, fighting their battles against Mahommedan and Christian, when not engaged upon his own, and being admitted almost to a share of their royal authority.
Among the enterprises of the Cid the most famous was that against Valencia, then the richest and most flourishing city of the peninsula, and an object of cupidity to both Christian and Moslem.
The Cid appeared before the place at the head of an army of 7000 men, for the greater part Mahommedans.
In defiance of an army which marched to the relief of the beleaguered city under Yusef the Almoravide, the Cid took Valencia after a siege of nine months, on the 15th of June 10 94 - the richest prize which up to that time had been recovered from the Moors.
In other respects the Cid appears to have used his victory mildly, ruling his kingdom, which now embraced nearly the whole of Valencia and Murcia, for four years with vigour and justice.
His widow maintained Valencia for three years longer against the Moors, but was at last compelled to evacuate the city, taking with her the body of the Cid to be buried in the monastery of San Pedro at Cardena, in the neighbourhood of Burgos.
Whatever were his qualities as a fighter, the Cid was but indifferent material out of which to make a saint, - a man who battled against Christian and against Moslem with equal zeal, who burnt churches and mosques with equal zest, who ravaged, plundered and slew as much for a livelihood as for any patriotic or religious purpose, and was in truth almost as much of a Mussulman as a Christian in his habits and his character.
The Cid of romance, the Cid of a thousand battles, legends and dramas, the Cid as apotheosized in literature, the Cid invoked by good Spaniards in every national crisis, whose name is a perpetual and ever-present inspiration to Spanish patriotism, is a very different character from the historical Rodrigo Diaz - the freebooter, the rebel, the consorter with the infidels and the enemies of Spain.
He is the Perfect One, the Born in a Happy Hour, "My Cid," the invincible, the magnanimous, the allpowerful.
In the year 1147, we have the bard testifying to the supereminence of the Cid among his country's heroes: "Ipse Rodericus Mio Cid semper vocatus, De quo cantatur quod ab hostibus haud superatus, Qui domuit Mauros, comites domuit quoque nostros."
Within a hundred years of his death the Cid had become the centre of a whole system of myths.
The Poema del Cid, written in the latter half of the 12th century, has scarcely any trace of a historical character.
The Poem of the Cid is but a fragment of 3744 lines, written in a barbarous style, in rugged assonant rhymes, and a rude Alexandrine measure, but it glows with the pure fire of poetry, and is full of a noble simplicity and a true epical grandeur, invaluable as a living picture of the age.
The ballads relating to the Cid, of which nearly two hundred are extant, are greatly inferior in merit, though some of them are not unworthy to be ranked with the best in this kind.
The last and the worst of the Cid ballads are those which betray by their frigid conceits and feeble mimicry of the antique the false taste and essentially unheroic spirit of the age of Philip II.
The chief sources from which the story of the Cid is to be gathered are, first, the Latin chronicle discovered by Risco in the convent of San Isidro at Leon, proved by internal evidence to have been written before 1258; the Cronica General, composed by Alphonso X.
In the second half of the 13th century, partly (so far as relates to the Cid) from the above, partly from contemporary Arabic histories, and partly from tradition; the Cronica del Cid, first published in 1512, by Juan de Velorado, abbot of the monastery of San Pedro at Cardena, which is a compilation from the last, interlarded with new fictions due to the piety of the compiler; lastly, various Arabic manuscripts, some of contemporary date, which are examined and their claims weighed in the second volume of Professor Dozy's Recherches sur l'histoire politique et litteraire de l'Espagne pendant le moyen dge (Leiden, 1849).
The largest collection of the Cid ballads is that of Durant, in the Romancero general, in two volumes, forming part of Rivadeneyra's Biblioteca de autores espanoles.
The drama that has made Castro's reputation is Las Mocedades del Cid (1 599 ?), to the first part of which Corneille was largely indebted for the materials of his tragedy.
In the next year the singular extravaganza entitled L'Illusion comique followed, and was succeeded about the end of November by the Cid, based on the Mocedades del Cid of Guillem de Castro.
Chapelain's Sentiments de l'Acaddmie francaise sur la tragi-comddie du Cid (1638), when its arbitration was demanded by Richelieu, and not openly repudiated by Corneille, was virtually unimportant; but it is worth remembering that no less a writer than Georges de Scudery, in his Observations sur le Cid (1637), gravely and apparently sincerely asserted and maintained of this great play that the subject was utterly bad, that all the rules of dramatic composition were violated, that the action was badly conducted, the versification constantly faulty, and the beauties as a rule stolen!
The good offices of Madame de Combalet, to whom the Cid had been dedicated, and perhaps the satisfaction of the cardinal's literary jealousy, had healed what breach there may have been, and indeed the poet was in no position to quarrel with his patron.
Therein appeared Polyeucte, the memorable comedy of Le Menteur, which though adapted from the Spanish stood in relation to French comedy very much as Le Cid, which owed less to Spain, stood to French tragedy; its less popular and far less good Suite, - and perhaps La Mort de Pompee.
The cabal or clique which attacked the Cid had no effect whatever on the judgment of the public. All his subsequent masterpieces were received with the same ungrudging applause, and the rising star of Racine, even in conjunction with the manifest inferiority of Corneille's last five or six plays, with difficulty prevailed against the older poet's towering reputation.
- it is obvious that the Cid and Polyeucte, much more Don Sanche d'Aragon and Rodogune, were sealed books to the critic.
We have seen it said of the Cid that it is difficult to understand the enthusiasm it excited.
On the Cid quarrel E.
Fontenelle tells us that his uncle had translations of the Cid in every European tongue but Turkish and Slavonic, and M.
The age is noted for its chronicles, beginning with the anonymous life of the Portuguese Cid, the Holy Constable Nuno Alvares Pereira, told in charming infantile prose, the translated Chronica da fundirao do moesteyro de Sam Vicente, and the Vida Fernao Lopes (q.v.), the father of Portuguese history and author of chronicles of King Pedro, King Ferdinand and King John I., has been called by Southey the best chronicler of any age or nation.
In the cantar de gesta of the Cid he plays the part attributed by medieval poets to the greatest kings, to Charlemagne himself.