The Song of the Cid
A Dual-language Edition With Parallel TextBook - 2009
Spain's national epic relates the exploits of the warrior Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar (c. 1040-1099) after Alfonso VI, king of León and Castile, banishes him for reasons unknown. In exile, he gathers an irresistible raiding party that conquers or exacts tribute from cities in its line of march. Because he sends a whopping portion of the proceeds to Alfonso, he gradually mollifies the monarch. Rodrigo's campaigns are commonly represented as part of the Reconquista of Muslim-occupied Spain by Christian forces. But a Muslim lord is among Rodrigo's most ardent supporters; only Muslims who resist are scorned; and Rodrigo's honorific, el Cid, is a Hispanization of the Arabic sayyid leader. The poem's real mission, María Rosa Menocal's invaluable introduction explains, is to portray the ideal Spanish hero: courageous, honest, generous, and unshakably loyal to the king. Raffel, a venerable translator of Western Europe's earliest literary masterpieces, offers a sturdy, engaging version of a work far more fascinating than the Christian triumphalist propaganda piece it commonly has been assumed to be.