El Cid

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Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar (c. 1043 – July 10, 1099), known as El Cid Campeador, was a Castilian nobleman, a military leader and diplomat who, after being exiled, conquered and governed the city of Valencia. Rodrigo Díaz was educated in the royal court of Castile and became the alférez, or chief general, of Alfonso VI, and his most valuable asset in the fight against the Moors.

Contents

Title

The name "El Cid" comes from the Spanish article el (meaning "the"), and the dialectal Arabic word سيد sîdi or sayyid, which means "Lord" or "The Master". The title Campeador is the Old Spanish version of the Latin campi doctor or campi doctus; the term can be found in writings of late Latinity (4th – 5th century) and can be found in some inscriptions of that era. After that period it became rare, although still sometimes found in the writings of the less educated writers of the Middle Ages. The literal significance of the expression campi doctor is "master of the military arts", and its use in the period of the late Roman Empire appears to have signified only one who instructed new military recruits. But it was in current usage when El Cid was still alive, and was applied to Rodrigo by a member of his circle in an official document promulgated in his name in 1098. Overall, then, El Cid Campeador translates as "The lord, master of military arts", or more directly, "The Champion."

Life and career

Origins

El Cid was born c. 1044 in Vivar, also known as Castillona de Bivar, a small town about six miles north of Burgos, the capital of Castile. His father, Diego Laínez, was a courtier, bureaucrat, and cavalryman who had fought in several battles. Despite the fact that El Cid's mother's family was aristocratic, in later years the peasants would consider him one of their own. However, his relatives were not major court officials; documents show that El Cid's paternal grandfather, Lain, only confirmed five documents of Ferdinand I's, his maternal grandfather, Rodrigo Alvarez, certified only two of Sancho II's, and the Cid's own father confirmed only one. This seems to indicate that El Cid's family was not composed of major court officials.[original research?]

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