The making of a legend : Castilian nationalism in the poem of the Cid
Corry, Jennifer M.
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The Poem of the Cid alters certain historical facts and adds completely fictitious elements to the life of the Cid to further the political aspirations of Castile. Although the Cid of history was a military genius, King Alfonso VI of Castile banished him twice. During his first exile, the Cid of history allied himself to the Moorish ruler of Saragosa and aided him in a series of conquests. The second exile saw the Cid capture the city of Valencia. However, the motives for these actions are somewhat questionable. The Poem portrays the Cid as a completely blameless and loyal vassal whose only wish is to win back the love of his king after his banishment. An examination of the facts surrounding the life of the Cid of history, however, reveals that the Cid was not on a mission in the name of King Alfonso VI of Castile. Alfonso banished the Cid under dubious circumstances, after which, the Cid allied himself with a Moor and then conquered territory to enrich himself and his entourage. The Poem further glorifies the Cid through the embellishment of his loyalty to Alfonso, the seeming mercy he shows his enemies, and the submission of the king of the beasts to the Cid. Almost the entire Third Cantar concerns the Cid's sons-in-law, the Infantes de Carridn. All of these episodes are fictional because the Cid's daughters never married them in real life. My thesis is that through the alteration of historical fact and the addition of fictional elements in the Cid's life, the Poem provides an exemplary model and incentive for potential soldiers in the Reconquest of Spain under a Christian banner in the name of Castile.