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Rodrigo Diaz, the legendary warrior-knight of eleventh-century Castile known as El Cid, is remembered today as the Christian hero of the Spanish crusade who waged wars of re-conquest for the triumph of the Cross over the Crescent. He is still honored in Spain as a national hero for liberating the fatherland from the occupying Moors. Yet, as Richard Fletcher shows in this award-winning book, there are many contradictions between eleventh-century reality and the mythology that developed with the passing years.
By placing El Cid in a fresh, historical context, Fletcher shows us an adventurous soldier of fortune who was of a type, one of a number of “cids,” or “bosses,” who flourished in eleventh-century Spain. But the El Cid of legend—the national hero—was unique in stature even in his lifetime. Before his death El Cid was already celebrated in a poem written in tribute…[more]