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Cantar de mio Cid
Poem of the Cid
Cantar de mio Cid f. 1r (rep).jpg
Also known as Poema de mio Cid (Poem of mio Cid)
Author(s) Unknown
Language Old Spanish
Date Composed sometime between 1195 and 1207
Manuscript(s) Unique manuscript. National Library of Spain, Ms. Sig. v.7–17.
Genre Chanson de geste
Verse form Anisosyllabic with assonant rhyme
Length 3730 verses

El Cantar de mio Cid (or El Poema de mio Cid, literally "The Song of my Cid"), also known in English as The Poem of the Cid, is the oldest preserved Castilian epic poem (epopeya).[1] Based on a true story, it tells of the Castilian hero El Cid, and takes place during the Reconquista, or reconquest of Spain from the Moors.

The Spanish medievalist Ramón Menéndez Pidal included the Cantar de Mio Cid in the popular tradition he termed the mester de juglaría. Mester de juglaría refers to the medieval tradition according to which popular poems were passed down from generation to generation, being changed in the process. These poems were meant to be performed in public by minstrels (or juglares), who each performed the traditional composition differently according to the performance context—sometimes adding their own twists to the epic poems they told, or abbreviating it according to the situation.

On the other hand, some critics (known as individualists) believe El Cantar de Mio Cid was composed by one Per Abbad (in English, Abbot Peter[2]) who signed the only existing manuscript copy, and as such is an example of the learned poetry that was cultivated in the monasteries and other centers of erudition. Per Abbad puts the date 1207 after his name, but the existing copy forms part of a 14th-century codex in the Biblioteca Nacional de España (National Library) in Madrid, Spain. It is, however, incomplete, missing the first page and two others in the middle, and is written in Old Spanish.

Its current title is a 19th-century proposal by Ramón Menéndez Pidal; its original title is unknown. Some call it El Poema del Cid on the grounds that it is not a cantar but a poem made up of three cantares. The title has been translated into English as The Lay of the Cid and The Song of the Cid. Mio Cid is literally "My Cid", a term of endearment used by the narrator and by characters in the work.[2] The word Cid originates from Arabic sidi or sayyid (سيد), an honorific title similar to English Sir (in the medieval, courtly sense).

The story[edit]

El Cid married the cousin of King Alfonso VI, Doña Ximena, but for certain reasons (according to the story, he made the king swear by Santa Gadea that he had not ordered the fratricide of his own brother), he fell into the disfavor of the king and had to leave his home country of Castile.

The Cid's daughters after being beaten and tied up, work by Ignacio Pinazo (1879).

The story begins with the exile of El Cid, whose enemies had unjustly accused him of stealing money from the king, Alfonso VI of Castile and León, leading to his exile. To regain his honor, he participated in the battles against the Moorish armies and conquered Valencia. By these heroic acts he regained the confidence of the king and his honor was restored. The king personally marries El Cid's daughters to the infantes (princes) of Carrión. However, when the princes are humiliated by El Cid's men for their cowardice, the infantes swear revenge. They beat their new wives and leave them for dead. When El Cid learns of this he pleads to the king for justice. The infantes are forced to return El Cid's dowry and are defeated in a duel, stripping them of all honor. El Cid's two daughters then remarry to the infantes of Navarre and Aragon. Through the marriages of his daughters, El Cid began the unification of Spain.

Unlike other European medieval epics, the tone is realist.[3] There is no magic, even the apparition of archangel Gabriel (verses 404–410) happens in a dream. However, it also departs from historic truth: for example, there is no mention of his son, his daughters were not named Elvira and Sol and they did not become queens.

It consists of more than 3,700 verses of usually 14 through 16 syllables, each with a caesura between the hemistiches. The rhyme is assonant.

Since 1913, and following the work of Ramón Menéndez Pidal, the entire work is conventionally divided into three parts:

Cantar del Destierro (verses 1–1086)[edit]

El Cid is exiled from Castile by King Alfonso VI and fights against the Moors to regain his honor.

Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar, who is called Mío Cid (meaning My Lord) by the Moors. His current task is to collect the tributes from the Moorish territory owed to his king, Alfonso VI of Leon. Cid's enemy accuses him of taking some of these tributes and the king exiles him from Leon and Castilla. Before he leaves, he places his wife, Doña Ximena, and his two daughters, Doña Elvira and Doña Sol, in the Monastery of Cardeña. The canto then gives accounts of raids in the Moorish territory in which Cid and his men get rich off of the spoils.

Cantar de las bodas de las fijas del Cid (verses 1087–2277)[edit]

El Cid defends the city of Valencia, defeating King Yusuf ibn Tashfin of the Almoravids. El Cid restores his honor and grants his daughters permission to marry the infantes of Carrión.

It begins with Cid's capture of the city of Valencia. He brings his family to live with him. It is discovered that the Infantes (princes) de Carrión, the nephews to the king, are the enemies who caused Cid's exile. They plot to marry his daughters to take some of his wealth. The king acts on behalf of his nephews and pardons Cid and allows the marriages. Cid suspects that something bad will happen from the marriages but he allows it anyway.

Cantar de la Afrenta de Corpes (verses 2278–3730)[edit]

The infantes of Carrión were put on shame after being scared of a lion roaming in the court and running away from a campaign to fight against the Moors. So, in revenge, they decide to abuse and abandon their wives at the roadside in Corpes, tied to trees. Once more, El Cid has to gain his honor back, so he asks the court of Toledo for justice. The infantes are defeated in a duel by El Cid's men, and his daughters remarry to the infantes of Navarre and Aragon.

The Cantar shows that the Infantes are cowards in battles with the Moors. They are made fun of and decide to get revenge by attacking their wives. They set out for Carrión with their wives and an escort, Felix Muñoz, the cousin of the daughters. Once on the journey, they send the escort ahead of them, steal their wives' great dowries (including two beautiful swords) and beat them and leave them for dead. Muñoz suspects trouble and returns to his cousins and takes them to receive help. Cid seeks to right the wrongs done to his daughters, and a trial is held. A duel is held between some of Cid's men and the Infantes in which the Infantes lose. In the middle of the trial, a message is sent from the kings of Navarra and Aragon, proposing to marry their sons to Cid's daughters. These marriages take place after the defeat of the Infantes and near the end of the story.

Authorship and composition date[edit]

The linguistic analysis allows the reconstruction of a 12th-century previous text, which Ramón Menéndez Pidal dated circa 1140. Date and authorship are still open to debate.[4] Certain aspects of the conserved text belong to a well-informed author, with precise knowledge of the law in effect by the end of the 12th century and beginning of the 13th, who knew the area bordering with Burgos.


These are the first two known stanzas.[5] The format has been somewhat regularized (e.g., "mio" for "myo", "rr" for "R", "ñ" for "nn", "llorando" for "lorando", "v" for "u", adding modern punctuation and capitalization):

De los sos oios tan fuertemientre llorando,
Tornava la cabeça e estavalos catando;
Vio puertas abiertas e uços sin cañados,
alcandaras vazias, sin pielles e sin mantos,
e sin falcones e sin adtores mudados.
Sospiro Mio Cid, ca mucho avie grandes cuidados.
Fablo mio Cid bien e tan mesurado:
«¡grado a ti, Señor Padre, que estas en alto!
»Esto me an buelto mios enemigos malos.»
Alli pienssan de aguiiar, alli sueltan las rriendas;
ala exida de Bivar ovieron la corneia diestra
e entrando a Burgos ovieronla siniestra.
Meçio Mio Cid los ombros e engrameo la tiesta:
«¡Albricia, Albar Fañez, ca echados somos de tierra!»
[»Mas a grand ondra tornaremos a Castiella.»]

(The last verse is not in the original transcript by Per Abbat, but it was inserted by Menéndez Pidal because it appears in later chronicles, e.g., "Veinte Reyes de Castilla (1344)".[6])

Translations into English[edit]

  • Robert Southey, Chronicle of the Cid, 1808, prose translation with other matter from chronicles and ballads, with an appendix including a partial verse translation by John Hookham Frere.
  • John Ormsby, The Poem of Cid, 1879, with introduction and notes.
  • Archer Milton Huntington, Poem of the Cid, (1897–1903), reprinted from the unique manuscript at Madrid, with translation and notes.
  • Lesley Byrd Simpson, The Poem of the Cid, 1957.
  • W.S. Merwin, The Poem of the Cid, 1959.
  • Paul Blackburn, Poem of the Cid: a modern translation with notes, 1966.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Penguin Classics, "The Poem of the Cid: A Bilingual Edition with Parallel Text", 1975, Translated by Rita Hamilton, "[1]", 1/5/2010
  2. ^ a b Goodrich, Norma Lorre (1961). "The Cid". Medieval Myths. New York: Mentor Books. 
  3. ^ El Cid del Cantar: El héroe literario y el héroe épico, Rafael Beltrán
  4. ^ Francisco A. Marcos-Marín, Cantar de Mio Cid. Edición. (Introducción, Edición Crítica, Versión en Español Moderno y Notas). Madrid: Biblioteca Nueva, 1997.
  5. ^ Transcription of the first page, kept at the National Library in Madrid.
  6. ^ S.G. Armistead, "Cantares de gesta y crónicas alfonsíes: Mas a grand ondra / tornaremos a Castiella, Asociación Internacional de Hispanistas, Actas IX (1986) pp.177–185. Centro virtual Cervantes.

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cantar_de_Mio_Cid — Please support Wikipedia.
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Diario de Burgos
Mon, 20 Oct 2014 21:09:11 -0700

«El Cantar de Mio Cid fue compuesto por un presbítero mozárabe llamado Mair Yahya Ben Gâlib», dice el historiador burgalés José Hernández Pérez (1934) como resumen a «treinta años de investigación». Uno de los misterios seculares de la literatura ...
Diario San Rafael
Mon, 16 Mar 2015 02:03:51 -0700

Parece que el origen literario de la expresión "Cosas veredes" se remonta al Cantar de Mío Cid, un poema épico español que recrea la lucha contra los moros, cuando Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar le dice a Alfonso VI: "Muchos males han venido por los reyes que ...

0223 Diario digital de Mar del Plata

0223 Diario digital de Mar del Plata
Sat, 11 Oct 2014 04:26:15 -0700

A partir de las 20:30 se pondrá en escena "La Noche del Cid Campeador", una versión libre del Cantar de mío Cid, realizada por el escritor Carlos Balmaceda. El obispo de Mar del Plata, monseñor Antonio Marino, dio su permiso para que se realizara la ...
El Periodico de Mexico
Thu, 05 Mar 2015 03:26:15 -0800

La literatura española, desde El Cantar de Mio Cid hasta el Ciprés de Silos de Gerardo Diego (por decir algo) está transida de cristianismo. Por no mencionar a Gonzalo de Berceo, al Arcipreste de Hita, a Jorge Manrique, a San Juan de la Cruz, a Santa ...

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Thu, 09 Oct 2014 07:19:17 -0700

Mar del Plata (AICA): El sábado 11 de octubre se realizará en la catedral de Mar del Plata un homenaje artístico al papa Francisco y a su interés por la literatura castellana: a partir de las 20.30 se pondrá en escena “La Noche del Cid Campeador”, una ...
Huffington Post (blog)
Tue, 16 Sep 2014 06:05:07 -0700

Later that night, he reads to us from the poem, El Cantar de mio Cid, anonymously written about his journey through Spain during the 11th century as he became an active force in the Reconquest of Spain. With over 1,200 miles to conquer, the official ...

Latin Post

Latin Post
Sat, 26 Jul 2014 12:58:54 -0700

... of El Cid in the city of Burgos, Rodrigo Diaz known as El Cid was a Castilian hero who stood out for his bravery in fighting the Muslims in the second half of the eleventh century and his legend was captured in the epic the Cantar de Mio Cid ...


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Valencia, named after the classic Spanish poem El Cantar de Mio Cid, was a battleground for centuries when Romans, Visigoths and Moors fought savage wars against their rivals for control of the fertile land surrounding the town. Citizens today, however ...

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