This book has been sitting around my bookshelves for a long time, ever since a friend from college gave it to me on a whim and because of my impending trip to Spain, I finally decided to pick it up It is a quick and light read and I was pleased to find out that this is the oldest extant epic poem in Castilian, and a foundational work of Spanish literature So I ve done my homework The poem tells the story of Rodrigo D az de Vivar 1043 1099 , a medieval Spanish nobleman and military leade This book has been sitting around my bookshelves for a long time, ever since a friend from college gave it to me on a whim and because of my impending trip to Spain, I finally decided to pick it up It is a quick and light read and I was pleased to find out that this is the oldest extant epic poem in Castilian, and a foundational work of Spanish literature So I ve done my homework The poem tells the story of Rodrigo D az de Vivar 1043 1099 , a medieval Spanish nobleman and military leader of great skill By the way, the honorific title Cid is a Spanish loan word from the Arabic s di, meaning lord Perhaps unsurprisingly, the poem has mythologized El Campeador s life considerably Campeador is another honorific for the man, meaning battlefield master I m getting all this from Wikipedia, by the way In this story, after being exiled by King Alfonso, the Cid spends his time conquering and slaying Muslims, bringing glory to his king and to Christendom In reality, the Cid spent this period fighting for Muslim rulers, and even defeated several Christian forces Nevertheless, it is quite true that he was a military leader of great skill and success This poem displays all of the earmarks of an oral poem a repetitive structure, formulaic expressions and epithets, flat and extraverted characters, a simple and straightforward narrative It was committed to paper several generations after the Cid s death and before being written down, it benefitted from being told and retold at public gatherings The first two of the three cantars mainly concern the Cid s heroic deeds, his triumphs in battle over all who opposed him The third departs from this and tells of the mistreatment of the Cid s daughters and the resulting negotiations and trial by combat Although I admit I found the poem a bit dull, it does provide a fascinating glimpse into medieval Spain Quite interesting to me was the heavy value placed on winning booty I mean booty in the pirate, not in the hip hop sense After every one of the Cid s victories, it is emphasized again and again how much money he gained He constantly promises his followers riches and finery and wealth and this martial pursuit of lucre seems to be regarded by all as honorable and right, a fit pursuit for God fearing men Also instructive was the glimpse into the medieval justice system After the Cid s two daughters are literally beaten and left for dead by their husbands, the Cid seemsconcerned with his damaged honor than by the fact that his daughters were almost savagely murdered And even though the perpetrators were obviously guilty and in the wrong, a trial by combat is held during which the Cid doesn t even fight to decide the question of honor and shame To me, the whole proceeding seemed to miss the point, but of course that s neither here not there One of the most powerful and sustained works in all medieval literature, without which no series could be considered complete The Poem of My Cid deals with the exploits of the medieval Castilian warrior, beginning with the sorrow of his departure into exile and focusing on his determination to regain the favour of his king The poem is rich in incident and around the strength of the epic hero is developed the theme of the relationship between the individual and seigneurial society The tribulations of his life and the drama of his battles against both Moors and Christians are presented with unusual directness and force The translation preserves the tone of the original and reflects the vitality of its style while following the facing text closely The full notes and the introduction cover problems of interpretation, style and background From a modern American perspective, The Cid seems an odd choice for a national hero He was a highly successful battle commander, but half his career was spent as a raider He lived off the lands of Moors who had done him no wrong and lived under the protection of christian nobles So in one of The Poem of The Cid s most dramatic moments, the arrogant Count of Barcelona challenges The Cid regarding the injustice of his plundering ways The Cid s response is pure practicality I need it for my From a modern American perspective, The Cid seems an odd choice for a national hero He was a highly successful battle commander, but half his career was spent as a raider He lived off the lands of Moors who had done him no wrong and lived under the protection of christian nobles So in one of The Poem of The Cid s most dramatic moments, the arrogant Count of Barcelona challenges The Cid regarding the injustice of his plundering ways The Cid s response is pure practicality I need it for my men, who share my pauperdom We keep alive by taking from you and from others And while it pleases our heavenly Father, we shall continue thus Now, the reason for The Cid s pauperdom has nothing to do with the Count of Barcelona or his Moorish protectorates The Cid is destitute because he has been denounced by his King at the behest of court schemers schemers jealous of The Cid s honor and battlefield accomplishments This hardly seams fair for the Cid s battlefield victims, but using the logic of his time and place it s his only choice The Cid must feed his loyal soldiers and he will not betray his King, even though his King betrayed him.But for all the Cid s medieval virtues courage in the face of overwhelming odds, unswerving loyalty, practical and clever decision making, his life hangs by a thread throughout the story If he had lost even one of his many battles, he was likely finished since he had no allies to fall back upon Most of history s great military commanders are great conquerors Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, Napoleon, etc, all turned military success into mighty empires The Cid s record in battle could stand up to any of them, yet his great prize was merely to reacquire his King s esteem a curious prize to modern eyes Edited 1 21 2017 This book has it all Swords Dancing And beards All tangled up in an epic historic poem The Cid a gallantly bearded knight banished by his king for crimes he did not commit goes smiting and smashing all over Spain, killing Moors like flies and creating a kingdom of his own by the sweat of his beard And oh what a beard it is The Beard of The Cid manages to become arguably one of the greatest sidekicks of all time I myself am growing my own beard in solidarity with the Beard of the Cid This book has it all Swords Dancing And beards All tangled up in an epic historic poem The Cid a gallantly bearded knight banished by his king for crimes he did not commit goes smiting and smashing all over Spain, killing Moors like flies and creating a kingdom of his own by the sweat of his beard And oh what a beard it is The Beard of The Cid manages to become arguably one of the greatest sidekicks of all time I myself am growing my own beard in solidarity with the Beard of the Cid And, someday I hope to clutch my beard, giving it a dramatic shake, when ere I speak But, until then I must content myself with brushing it three times daily and allowing plenty of rest and sunshine But someday Oh I shall read the whole of the Song of the Cid aloud, beard in hand, and then I shalt know happiness in full Another well, no wonder it s a classic from my project of reading from Philip Ward s A Lifetime s Reading Five Hundred Great Books to be Enjoyed over 50 Years But Poem of the Cid can be two different types of experience I read two translation side by side I started with Paul Blackburn s modern verse translation, when I found it at the library book store I had just read Blackburn s translations of troubadour poetry and liked them very much, so I thought I d continue But then, once in and Another well, no wonder it s a classic from my project of reading from Philip Ward s A Lifetime s Reading Five Hundred Great Books to be Enjoyed over 50 Years But Poem of the Cid can be two different types of experience I read two translation side by side I started with Paul Blackburn s modern verse translation, when I found it at the library book store I had just read Blackburn s translations of troubadour poetry and liked them very much, so I thought I d continue But then, once in and discovering that Blackburn s version no doubt employed his artistry in bringing the poem forward in time, I found that I wanted to see the original medieval Spanish Blackburn being of the it won t help you so we re not printing it school, I plucked the TBR ratty paperback copy of W.S Merwin s translation of the same poem from my shelves It s got the original en face Merwin chose to hewclosely to the original He couldn t hope to reproduce the exact music of the original if he kept the meaning, so he chose the latter However, he did stick to the simple declarative style and line length of the poem, with caesurae indicated by spacing It works well, but leavesto the reader to imagine Originally the poem would have been recited by a jongleur, so the rhythm would have been managed by someone who knew the poem intimately This version preserves the medieval feel of the poem, and is well done.Blackburn chose to imbue his poem withexplicit evocation of the sarcasm, humor, action, and comradely slang It comes to life, albeit a modern American life I don t think he mangles or alters the poem materially, rather he renders it in a way the events would be conveyed by a good storyteller if they happened last week In his forword he is emphatic that it is meant to be read aloud Line lengths vary greatly, with enjambment replacing the caesura as a tool Thus Blackburn s has an onward momentum that theregular original makes up for with traditional rhythm.An example Part One, verse 35 Enbra an los ecudoes delante los cora onesabaxan las lan as abueltas de los pendones,enclinaron las caras de suso de los razones, vanlos ferir de fuertes cora ones.A grandes vozes llama el que en buen ora na i feridlos, cavaliers, por amor del Criador Yo so Roy D az, el id de Bivar Campeador Todos fireman en el az do esta Per Vermudoz.Trezientas lan as son, todas tienan pendores se or moros mataron, todos de se as golpes a la tornada que fazen otros tantos muertos son Merwin They clasp their shields over their hearts,they lower their lances swathed in their pennons,they bowed their faces over their saddletrees,with strong hearts they charged to attack them.He who in good hour was born cried with a great voice Attack them, knights, for the love of the Creator I am Ruy Diaz, the id, the Campeador of Bivar All rushed at the rank where Pedro Bermudez was.They were three hundred spears each with its pennon all struck blows and killed as many Moors on the second charge they killed three hundred.Blackburn They bring their shields in front of their chestslower their lances into position flying their pennons, bendtheir heads low over the fronts of their saddles andcharge to the fight, their hearts bursting with courage.In a great voice, he who was born in a good hour cried Cut them down, gentlemen, for the Creator s love Iam Ruy Diaz de Bivar, the Cid Campeador They charge into the column where Pedro Bermudez is, 300lances, each with its pennon,each struck through its mark,each took a Moor with it.Rode out, turned and charged again,300 m0re were dead nice Moorat the end of both translations note Goodreads makes it really clunky to HTML the mid line caesura in the Spanish and Merwin, so insert it in the logical place.It should be noted here that even though this particular battle is against the Moors, their is no Crusader zeal in evidence This poem is all about booty King Alfonso of Leon has thrown the Cid out of his kingdom, and the guy needs a constant stream of income to feed his entourage It just so happens that all the land to the south, where the Cid can be out of reach, is held by the Moors The land they travel through is pretty barren, so after every victory they need to move on to find a green pasture A pasture that happens to belong to the Moors Thus, many lively battle scenes.Once ownership is settled, he s perfectly happy to make friends, live and let live He s also generous, spreading the captured wealth with the gang, and sending some back to Alfonso in hopes of making peace Finally they take Valencia, and the Cid figures he s rich enough The Cid has Moorish allies, and he doesn t hesitate to attack Christians who offend him Of course the Moors aren t happy and the ruler in Morrocco tries twice to retake Valencia Fifty thousand Moors to four thousand of the Cid s men no problem only 104 Moors escaped Eventually he gives enough to Alfonso to win forgiveness, but he stays in Valencia it probably seems safer to keep an eye on the Moors than risk the politics of the Spanish court And the climate is nice.The second half of the book is quite different, although still, in form, holding to Medieval models There is a romance thread, great swords, long journeys with carefully articulated routes, and a tournament But they are just the structure for wonderful character studies of the brave and clever Cid, the incredibly stupid and cowardly braggart aristocratic brothers who wed his daughters, and the enigmatic Alfonso The highlight is the trial, in which the Cid hornswoggles the brothers and their clan by deceptively feinting his full intentions, step by step.Underlying the whole book, however, is the powerful force of honor Everyone is quick to take offense, and adamant about defending his honor This can become highly ridiculous, to us During the trial scene, for example, the Cid has tied up his long beard so no one can pull it, which would be a great dishonor Through all my reading in subsequent Spanish literature honor stays foremost, a great waste of energy and a dibilitating preoccupation for a country, it seems to me.So, as far as which translation, I come down on the side of Blackburn Plus there are his occasional tongue in cheek notes At one point the Cid s strategy rests on attacking as the enemy comes downhill, with their cinches loose and riding a different form of saddle than the Cid s men use The Cid s men rout them of course Blackburn, in the notes at the end It was those low cantles on the Catalan horses Always use a Galician saddle And finally a line which I bet has become common in Spanish The Cid has set up the cowardly brothers and their dastardly uncle they to have to do combat with three of his trusty knights, over an insult to his family He entreats his men to fight well he won t be at the tournament One of them replies Dixo Mart n Antol nez Por qu lo dezides, se or Preso avemos el debdo e a passar es por nos podedes odir de muertos de vencidos no Mart n Antol nez said, Why do you say this, lord We have accepted the charge, it is for us to carry it out you may hear of dead men but not of vanquished The Song of the Cid, like The Song of Roland, is a story from the Spanish frontier, set amidst the wars between Christians and Moors The opening of the poem has been lost, but by this chance we are dropped straight into the action The Cid, already a legendary warrior in the service of King Alfonso of Castile, has been given nine days to leave the kingdom We find him in tears, leaving his home at Vivar Then it s into the saddle and away into exile in the Moorish borderlands between Toledo and The Song of the Cid, like The Song of Roland, is a story from the Spanish frontier, set amidst the wars between Christians and Moors The opening of the poem has been lost, but by this chance we are dropped straight into the action The Cid, already a legendary warrior in the service of King Alfonso of Castile, has been given nine days to leave the kingdom We find him in tears, leaving his home at Vivar Then it s into the saddle and away into exile in the Moorish borderlands between Toledo and Valencia Forced to part from his beloved wife and daughters, no money to take with him, a following of only a small band of faithful friends, and no chance of finding safety and rest except in whatever towns he can conquer, the Cid faces annihilation.Still, the legend is not for nothing, and bit by bit the Cid fights his way into wealth and a kingdom, even regaining Alfonso s good graces through his loyalty and generosity But it s when a pair of unscrupulous fortune hunters set their eyes on an alliance with his family that the Cid proves his true worth Detailed review available now at Vintage Novels I ve wanted to read The Song of My Cid since the age of 16, when I visited Toledo, Spain, and saw El Cid s alleged sword Tizona on display Our local tour guide told us of Toledo s place in the story, but it was the memory of Tizona that stuck with me, and I told myself that one day I d read the epic I can t believe it has taken me sixteen years literally half my lifetime , but I finally got around to reading it The experience was well worth the wait In fact, I m glad I waited and had a ch I ve wanted to read The Song of My Cid since the age of 16, when I visited Toledo, Spain, and saw El Cid s alleged sword Tizona on display Our local tour guide told us of Toledo s place in the story, but it was the memory of Tizona that stuck with me, and I told myself that one day I d read the epic I can t believe it has taken me sixteen years literally half my lifetime , but I finally got around to reading it The experience was well worth the wait In fact, I m glad I waited and had a chance to read most of the other major medieval epics just so I could realize how great this one is in comparison Also, I m at a point in my life where I m beginning to take an interest in my Spanish heritage My mother s side of the family comes from the Spanish Canary Islands, and before that, the Extremadura region just west of the setting for El Cid While the beginning seems like merely a list of battles and riches won, the middle section soon turns into a surprisingly emotional account of a just, unselfish knight who regains his honor The truly great part of the epic, however, is the final courtroom climax in Toledo It was surprising to me, given that I hadn t read anything remotely like it in medieval literature Granted, my knowledge of medieval lit is limited It added a sense of rising tension and realism to the final duel In those final 30 pages I was as enthralled as if I were reading a modern legal thriller Ultimately, this epic was a wonderful mix of legend, history, political machinations, and bloody battles A great read It is our Odyssey, our Iliad If most English American authors can be traced back to Shakespeare and Homer, ours can be traced back to Cervantes and Mio Cid. This is undoubtedly, one of the great classic poems of Spanish literature of medieval chivalry I read it during my school days but I still remember it as one of the most well designed stories of the medieval society The poem tells the story of a knight who has been banished and all the stories and adventures that he will force to live for it It s a good book to understand much better the Middle Ages, their customs and values, entrenched the concept of honor and the importance of recovering it This is undoubtedly, one of the great classic poems of Spanish literature of medieval chivalry I read it during my school days but I still remember it as one of the most well designed stories of the medieval society The poem tells the story of a knight who has been banished and all the stories and adventures that he will force to live for it It s a good book to understand much better the Middle Ages, their customs and values, entrenched the concept of honor and the importance of recovering it as one of the most precious things I recommend it for all fans of the medieval poetry and tales of chivalry.Spanish version ste es sin lugar a dudas uno de los grandes poemas cl sicos de la literatura Espa ola de caballer a medieval Lo le como lectura obligatoria en mi poca escolar pero a n as lo recuerdo como uno de los relatos m s bien trazados de la poca El poema nos cuenta la historia de un caballero que ha sido desterrado y todas las historias y peripecias que deber vivir por ello Es un buen libro para entender mejor la poca medieval, sus costumbres y sus valores, muy arraigados al concepto de honor y de su recuperaci n como el bien m s preciado Recomendable para todos aquellos aficionados a la poes a medieval y a los relatos de caballer a Although most people tend to like this book, I couldn t help but see through all of the hipocritical characters, which were at the least annoying A good adventure book, but seeped with a strange mix of fiction and nonfiction that I highly disliked I couldn t possibly gift this historical book anystars, sorry.