- Also Known by the Nicknames: The Spaniards called him Campeador or Champion. The Saracens called him "El Cid" meaning chief or lord. His real name was Rodrigo Diaz de Bivar
- Lifespan: c. 1044 – 1099
- Date of Birth: He was born at Burgos, Spain in 1044 – his exact date of birth is unknown
- Family connections : He was the son of Diego Laínez
- Married: El Cid was married in July 1074 to Jimena de Gormaz, a kinswoman of Aphonso
- Date of Death: El Cid died in July 1099
- Accomplishments or why El Cid was famous: One of the greatest heroes of Spain
- Movie: A movie called 'El Cid' charted the life of the hero and starred Charlton Heston and Sophia Loren
The story and biography of El Cid which contains interesting information, facts & the history about the life of this Medieval person of historical importance. The Spaniards called him Campeador or Champion. The Saracens called him "El Cid," or Lord. His real name was Rodrigo Diaz de Bivar, but he is usually spoken of as "El Cid."
El Cid - Spain and the Moors
The Goths, after the death of Alaric, had taken Spain away from the Romans. The Saracens, or, as they were usually called, the Moors, had crossed the sea from Africa and in turn had taken Spain from the Goths. In the time of Charles Martel the Goths had lost all Spain except the small mountain district in the northern part. In the time of El Cid the Goths, now called Spaniards, had driven the Moors down to about the middle of Spain. War went on all the time between the two races, and many men spent their lives in fighting. The Spanish part of the country then comprised the kingdoms of Castile, Leon, Aragon and others. El Cid was a subject of Fernando of Castile.
El Cid is banished from Spain
Fernando had a dispute with the king of Aragon about a city which each claimed. They agreed to decide the matter by a combat. Each was to choose a champion. The champions were to fight, and the king whose champion won was to have the city. Fernando chose El Cid, and though the other champion was called the bravest knight in Spain, the youthful warrior vanquished him. When Alfonzo, a son of Fernando, succeeded to the throne, he became angry with El Cid without just cause and banished him from Christian Spain.
El Cid - the Battle of Alcocer
Three hundred of his knights went into banishment with El Cid. They crossed the mountains and entered the land of the Moors. Soon they reached the town of Alcocer, and after a siege captured it and lived in it. Then the Moorish king of Valencia ordered two chiefs to take three thousand horsemen, recapture the town and bring El Cid alive to him. So El Cid and his men were shut up in Alcocer and besieged. Famine threatened them and they determined to cut their way through the army of the Moors. Suddenly and swiftly they poured from the gate of Alcocer, and a terrible battle was fought. The two Moorish chiefs were taken prisoners and thirteen hundred of their men were killed in the battle. El Cid then became a vassal of the Moorish king of Saragossa.
Alphonso recalls El Cid
After a while Alfonzo recalled El Cid from banishment and gave him seven castles and the lands adjoining them. He needed El Cid's help in the greatest of all his plans against the Moors. He was determined to capture Toledo. He attacked it with a large army in which there were soldiers from many foreign lands. El Cid is said to have been the commander. After a long siege the city fell and the victorious army marched across the great bridge built by the Moors.
El Cid the Prince of Valencia
Valencia was one of the largest and richest cities in Moorish Spain. It was strongly fortified, but El Cid determined to attack it. The plain about the city was irrigated by streams that came down from the neighboring hills. To prevent the Cid's army from coming near the city the Saracens flooded the plain. But the Cid camped on high ground above the plain and from that point besieged the city. Food became very scarce in Valencia. Wheat, barley and cheese were all so dear that none but the rich could buy them. People ate horses, dogs, cats and mice, until in the whole city only three horses and a mule were left alive. Then on the fifteenth of June, 1094, the governor went to the camp of El Cid and delivered to him the keys of the city. El Cid placed his men in all the forts and took the citadel as his own dwelling. His banner floated from the towers. He called himself the Prince of Valencia.
The Death of El Cid
When the king of Morocco heard of this he raised an army of fifty thousand men. They crossed from Africa to Spain and laid siege to Valencia. But El Cid with his men made a sudden sally and routed them and pursued them for miles. It is said that fifteen thousand soldiers were drowned in the river Guadalquivir which they tried to cross. El Cid was now at the height of his power and lived in great magnificence. He was kind and just to the Saracens who had become his subjects. They were allowed to have their mosques and to worship God as they thought right. In time El Cid's health began to fail. He could lead his men forth to battle no more. He sent an army against the Moors, but it was so completely routed that few of his men came back to tell the tale.
The Legend of El Cid
There is a legend that shortly before he died he saw a vision of St. Peter, who told him that he should gain a victory over the Saracens after his death. So El Cid gave orders that his body should be embalmed. It was so well preserved that it seemed alive. It was clothed in a coat of mail, and the sword that had won so many battles was placed in the hand. Then it was mounted upon El Cid's favorite horse and fastened into the saddle, and at midnight was borne out of the gate of Valencia with a guard of a thousand knights. All silently they marched to a spot where the Moorish king, with thirty-six chieftains, lay encamped, and at daylight the knights of El Cid made a sudden attack. The king awoke. It seemed to him that there were coming against him full seventy thousand knights, all dressed in robes as white as snow, and before them rode a knight, taller than all the rest, holding in his left hand a snow-white banner and in the other a sword which seemed of fire. So afraid were the Moorish chief and his men that they fled to the sea, and twenty thousand of them were drowned as they tried to reach their ships. There is a Latin inscription near the tomb of El Cid which may be translated: *Brave and unconquered, famous in triumphs of war, Enclosed in this tomb lies Roderick the Great of Bivar.