Paladins & Princes
Knighthood in Flower ·
El Cid Campeador ·
Aucassin & Nicolette
Song of the Cid (Poema del Cid or Cantar del
Mio Cid) is the great epic of medieval Spain. It chronicles the life of
Rodrigo (or Ruy) Diáz de Vivar, a commander under King
Alfonso VI of Castile in the eleventh century.
Diáz de Vivar fought for Alfonso against the Moors,
fought for the Moors against Alfonso, and conquered
the Kingdom of Valencia for himself;
he ruled there until his death. Even his title, El Cid
Campeador, reflects his conflicting loyalities: "El Cid" is a
Moorish title of respect, from Arabic al sayyid "Lord"; "Campeador"
is Spanish for "Champion".
Like other historical tales whose heroes become the stuff of legends, poems, and ballads,
the story of the Cid accreted fantastical details over the centuries.
The film El Cid (1961), starring Charlton Heston
and Sophia Loren, won three Academy Awards.
There are several sources for the story of the Cid; Robert Southey's
1637 edition entitled The Chronicle of the Cid is based
on the Chronica del Famoso Cavallero Cid Ruydiez Campeador
(1552 and 1593), La Cronic de Espña, and
what he calls Poema del Cid, an anonymous poem (c. 1207)
preserved at Vivar; of the latter he
The poem is
to be considered as metrical history, not metrical romance. It was
written before those fictions were invented which have been added to
the history of the Cid, and which have made some authors discredit
what there is not the slightest reason to doubt. I have preferred it
to the Chronicles sometimes in point of fact, and always in point of
costume; for as the historian of manners, this poet, whose name
unfortunately has perished, is the Homer of Spain.
Texts and Contexts
El Cid, a brief biography
at the website of Dr. Barbara E. Kurtz, Professor of Spanish, Illinois State University.
The Song of The
Cid, an introductory essay to the poem and its setting,
at the University of Kansas. New URL.
on The Song of the Cid, a contextual essay by Lynn
Harry Nelson of Department of History at the University of Kansas. New URL.
El Cantar de Mio Cid,
in Spanish with parallel English prose translation, at Orbis Latinus.
of the Cid, translated by Robert Southey, with extensive notes on the source texts,
at the University of Michigan.
of the Cid, the 1919 translation by R. Selden Rose
and Leonard Bacon, at the Online Medieval and Classical
Library at Berkeley.
The Story of the Poem of the Cid
with annotations, from National Epics By Kate Milner Rabb, 1896, at Authorama.
Cid (1637), the play by Pierre Corneille (in French), and
another version of Le Cid
at ABU: la Bibliothèque Universelle.
How my Cid the Campeador
won the Favour of his King, from Heroic Legends by
Agnes Grozier Herbertson , illustrated by Helen Stratton, at
the Kellscraft Studio.
The Library of Iberian Resources Online (LIBRO),
a joint project of the American Academy of Research Historians of Medieval Spain
and the University of Central Arkansas, presents full-text electronic editions of
recent but out-of-print university press monographs on medieval Iberia. These are works in
copyright but generously made available over the Web by permission of the copyright
Chronology of Medieval
Spain at Princeton.
The History of
Moorish Spain (1035-1139), with a map, part of the
site at CalPoly San Luis Obispo.
Notes on the Illustrations ·
13 March 2004