El Cid, Burgos
I will no repeat who was Rodrigo Díaz. This is just to say that the bronze equestrian statue of El Cid was sculpted by Juan Cristóbal González Quesada who was well known friend of the Soviet Union. Monument itself was raised here in Burgos in 1955 in the presence of Caudilo of Spain General Don Francisco Franco e Bahamonde. Monument is funny because sword, helmet, chainmail hauberk are the fantasy of the sculptor they are not based on real artifacts or iconographic sources. The rump of his horse is anatomically wrong. I believe if El Cid would see this monument then he definitely couldn’t recognize himself.
Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar was educated in the Castilian royal court, served the king Sancho II and fought against the Moorish stronghold of Zaragoza but also against the Aragonese Christians.
After the assassination of Sancho II, the crown of Leon and Castile passed to his brother, Alfonso. Rodrigo Diaz became chief general of King Alfonso VI.
The Cid was an expert on battle tactics and had read classic Roman and Greek authors on military themes. He used unexpected strategies, and engaged in what is now called psychological warfare.
The Cid was married in July 1074 to Alfonso's kinswoman Jimena of Oviedo. They had two daughters; both married high nobility so that El Cid is an ancestor to various monarchies in Europe. Their son Diego Rodriguez was killed while fighting against the invading Muslim Almoravids.
After an unauthorized expedition into Granada which greatly upset King Alfonso, the Cid was exiled.
In 1081, the Cid, now a mercenary, offered his services to the Moorish king of Zaragoza and served both him and his successor.
After a crushing defeat against the Moors of Andalusia, Alfonso recalled the Cid from exile in 1087.
After this the Cid, with a combined Christian and Moorish army, started to create his own fiefdom in the Moorish coastal city of Valencia. In this city both Moors and Christians served in the army and as administrators.
El Cid Campeador was not just a exceptional brave hero, he was also a somewhat opportunistic condotierre. Reality is much more complex than the legend.
The Cid died in Valencia of natural causes in 1099. His wife Jimena continued to rule Valencia untill the town was again captured by the Moors. Jimena fled to Burgos with the Cid's body. Both are now buried in the Cathedral.
Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar (near Burgos around 1044 - Valencia, 10 July 1099), known as El Cid Campeador, was a "hidalgo" nobleman and military leader from Castile who, at the head of his own warriors, served the king(s) of Castile fighting against the Moors in the early Reconquista.
"El Cid" is derived from the arabic word al-sid a title of respect meaning "lord".
A Campeador (the champion) is a knight who has fought and beaten the selected fighting-man of the opposite side in the presence of the two armies.
His life as actor of the "Reconquista", the eight centuries batlle for the liberation of Spain and Portugal, from the domination by the Moors is the base of the most important epic poem of the Spanish literature.
Well-known legends about the Cid describe how he acquired his famous war-horse, the white stallion Babieca and how after his dead in Valencia his widow Jimena had his dead body strapped to his horse and sent into the battle. The ennemy, the Moors, were so afraid of the invincible fighter that they retreated.
Pure legend; El Cid was already dead since three years when this battle at Valencia occurred (1102).
From the midlle ages and the epic poems we know some swords which are legendary. The most famous are "Durandal" the sword of Roland and the "Excalibur" from King Arthur.
The sword of El Cid was named "Tizona" and still exists at the military museum Museo del Ejercito of Madrid. (Will be transferred to the Alcazar of Toledo; see my tip).
The sword is 103 cm long, 4,5 cm wide and weighs 1,1 kg.
Tizona was taken in battle from a Moorish chief named Malik Bucar.
Tizona was supposedly forged in Cordoba, though considerable amounts of Damascus steel can be found in its blade.
The inscriptions are:
IO SOI TISONA FUE FECHA EN LA ERA DE MILDE QUARENTA'
AVE MARIA ~ GRATIA PLENA ~ DOMINUS TECUM
He had a second sword called "Colada".
A number of Spanish manufacturers produce decorative copies of these swords.
I had not the privilege of reading the epic poem "Cantar de mío Cid" (around 1180), or the later "Las Mocedades del Cid" by Guillen de Castro (1618) but at school I read the French tragicomedy "Le Cid" from Pierre Corneille (1636).
I liked the hero fighting for his king (I was unaware of the Reconquista in that time) and I even more liked the love story between Chimène and Rodrigue. The dramatic conflict between love and duty.
"La moitié de ma vie a mis l'autre au tombeau" Chimène
"Ne pouvant quitter ni posséder Chimène." Rodrigue
In French we use the expression "choix cornélien" a choice between duty and love.
I think I was a happy young man, reading at school love stories written in alexandrines such as Rodrigue and Chimène, or Tristan and Iseult, Orphée and Eurydice, Enée and Didon, often in the original text.
I was glad to meet the real Rodrigue and Chimène in Burgos.
Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar "El Cid", is the hero of the city, he was born in Vivar a small village close to Burgos city. El Cid was a brave knight who battled against Moors.
"El ciego sol, la sed y la fatiga.
Por la terrible estepa castellana,
al destierro con doce de los suyos
-polvo, sudor y hierro-, el Cid cabalga"
In the square with his very name (Cid’s square) you can see the sculpture of this importan hero. Don’t miss Puente de Santa Maria (Santa Maria’s bridge), you just have to follow Cid’s sword direction and will arrive right to it. In this bridge you can see some more scultptures of people who was important in the hero’s life.
Located at the Plaza del Cid, this statue commemorates one Spain´s most famous hero´s. Rodrigo Diáz de Vivar or as he was better known El Cid Capeador. He probably had conflicting loyalties sometimes fighting against the Spanish king Alfonso VI, sometimes fighting with him. He was the commander of the army that took Valencia in 1094, but died one year later in 1095. Its said that his body was placed on a horse and taken out of the city so that the Moors would not realise he was dead. His body was returned to Burgos, where his bones became religious relics.
Later poems and stories were written about him of attributing fantastical feats and he became the legend he is today. You may recall the Hollywood Movie `El Cid´, played by Charlton Heston and co starring Sophie Loren.
His bones were finally laid to rest in a tomb in the cathedral in 1921.
When you cross San Pablo bridge, over Arlanzón river, you will find an equestrian staue: Don Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, El Cid, the local hero, rides his horse and poinst outs with his sword. El Cid (from Arabic "sayyid", sir) was born in 1043; he fought against Muslims, that had invaded Iberian Peninsula. It is said he kept on fighting after his death (he died in 1099). His tomb can be visited at the magnificent Cathedral.
His feats are told at Cantar del Mío Cid, a beautiful epic poem.
Al cruzar el puente de San Pablo, sobre el río Arlanzón, se encuentra una estatua ecuestre: Don Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, El Cid, el héroe local que monta su caballo y blande su espada. El Cid (del árabe "sayyid", señor) nació en 1043; luchó contra los musulmanes que invadieron la Península Ibérica; se dice que continuó luchando aún después de muerto (falleció en 1099). Su tumba se encuentra en la magnífica catedral de Burgos.
Sus hazañas están relatadas en el Cantar del Mío Cid, un bellísimo poema épico.
"Mío Cid Ruy Díaz por Burgos entróve,
van en su compañía sesenta pendones;
salen a verlo mujeres y varones,
burgueses y burguesas a las ventanas se ponen,
llorando de los ojos, ¡tan grande era su dolor!
De las sus bocas todos decían una razón
«¡Dios, qué buen vasallo, si tuviese buen señor!»"
the tomb of rodrigo diaz de vivar (el cid) and his wife jimena are in the center of the burgos cathedral.
Burgos is famous for El Cid. So when you are there, you can't miss his huge statue. It looks so powerful with his big sword. Try to read the scripts on the side.