Cid, the

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(c. 1030–99),

the favourite hero of Spain in whose story history and myth are difficult to disentangle. Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, el Cid Campeador, of a noble Castilian family, rose to fame by his prowess in the war between Sancho of Castile and Sancho of Navarre, and in conflicts with the Moors. Having incurred the jealousy of Alphonso, king of Castile, he was banished and became a soldier of fortune, fighting at times for the Christians, at others for the Moors. His principal feat was the capture of Valencia from the Moors after a siege of nine months. He died of grief at the defeat of his force.

In myth, his character has been glorified into a type of knightly and Christian virtue and patriotic zeal. His achievements are narrated in the Poema de mio Cid of the 12th cent., in the Spanish Chronicle of the 14th cent., and in numerous ballads. The chronicles relating to him were translated by R. Southey (1808). The Cid is the subject of the most famous drama of Corneille, Le Cid (1637).

Subjects: Literature.

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Pierre Corneille (1606—1684) French dramatist