Fri. Feb 21st, 2020

Did Jimena create the legend of El Cid?

She was neither in a convent nor was she a submissive wife nor did she ever remain in the shadow of her husband. The legend had drawn a portrait of resigned and docile wife, but the reality now throws a very different profile from her. Doña Jimena was a brave woman, with courage, who was never cloistered in a monastery during the exiles and campaigns of her husband, who administered the heritage of the Cid in his prolonged absences and who at the death of Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar was Mrs. of Valencia for three years, until Alfonso VI, with his hosts, went to the city of Turia to accompany her on her return to Castilla and escort the casket of the Campeador. «She is essential for Cid. He is the one who manages his properties when he is not there and we must bear in mind that he spent more time outside of Castilla than within it. It is someone who also deals with the upbringing of children, two girls and a boy. Although we don't have documentary traces of it, they allow us to see an important woman. He would move to Valencia, not immediately, but when his conquest has been consolidated and it was a peaceful space ”, clarifies the historian.

David Porrinas González has published «El Cid. History and myth of a warlord »(Desperta Ferro), an exhaustive monograph that brings new profiles and casts a timely semblance that puts black on white what is known about this warrior, what is unknown and what the legend has taken for granted and it is only invention. “Doña Jimena – insists the researcher – becomes Mrs. of Valencia of full of right. In the letter of earnest, she and Diaz de Vivar also establish a mutual "profiliatio". This implied that, in the event of the death of one of the two, the other became his universal heir and became the owner of his possessions. An instance that only broke down in case of marriage again. That is why it has been the head of Valencia since the middle of 1099, when El Cid dies, until 1102, when they leave and destroy the city, because they cannot keep it in front of the Almoravids »

But Doña Jimena may also have had an influence on another substantial aspect. David Porrinas suggests that she and the Bishop of Valencia, Jerónimo de Perigord, were able to promote the creation of the legend of the Cid. «We do not know the author or the date of composition of the" Roderici History ", one of the main sources to approach that of Vivar. But in its lines we find a lot of everyday life, as it would have been an eyewitness or someone close, or, perhaps, the same Jerome. We have no documentary evidence that they launched a first Cidian legend or tradition, but both would be the main interested in knowing the Cid and knowing that he had conquered Valencia ». But what were those reasons? El Cid's son, Diego, had fallen in the battle of Consuegra a few years before and when Díaz de Vivar died, Doña Jimena realized that all her husband's efforts would be lost. In a document of 1101, she alludes to her heirs, "sons and daughters," when her only male descendant had already been buried. With this provision, she summoned her sons-in-law (Ramiro Sánchez and Count Berenguer Ramón III), to recover and preserve what her husband had earned. «He comes to say: You can win it again. It opened a possibility for the future. That is why I could have tried to preserve the memory of the Cid and its exploits through the dissemination of a legend. The women did not have the facility to govern, but to transmit the memory. It is possible that she encouraged the biography of El Cid and promoted the first steps of what would later be the "Song of Mine Cid."

To support his thesis go to another similar example. «The first of" Mío Cid "appears in the mid-twelfth century. Only half a century had passed since death. It is the minstrels who transmit it, but between that early date and death, who remains? Doña Jimena and Jerónimo de Perigord living 20 more years and that they try to preserve the manor of Valencia by the Campeador. There is a similar example: the Bayeux tapestry. After the conquest of Saxon England by William the Conqueror, this work begins. It is done to exhibit in the cathedral of that city. Those behind this work are Queen Matilda and Guillermo's half-brother, who has taken the habits and is bishop. This tapestry was commissioned by two people who also tried to legitimize a recent conquest. It is a manifestation of who the conqueror has been, so that everyone can internalize it. One is a tapestry and the other a song. Basically, it is to preserve the memory of something to retain possessions. The interesting thing is that Jerome de Perigord shared the same interest. El Cid had tried to take over a manor and put it under the Pope's vassalage (as Roberto Guiscardo or Roger de Hauteville had already done). Jerome was appointed by Rome, not by Toledo. And if Valencia had remained normal it would become a dependent archbishopric of Rome. «It is possible that the first seeds, both historical and epic, were put by these two characters. But the loss of Valencia tricked his dreams, ”explains David Porrinas who, shortly after, adds:“ Jimena breaks the stereotypes of the medieval woman. She is a tenacious ruler, who resists harassment of the Almoravids and fights to maintain what has been achieved.

The author also explains the ability of the Cid to gather men and the origin of their warriors. «The bulk of his allowance was Muslim. From Castile he would leave with a thickness of between 50 or 100 men of Christian weapons. The rest, 80 percent, would be Muslims. Adventurers, hustlers, people who join him to prosper. He articulates this hybrid army in the Taifa of Zaragoza. So the muscle of his army would be Islamic warriors from this city and the surroundings of Valencia. Keep in mind that Muslims are also mercenaries. And that this term did not have the pejorative burden that it carries today. It was a profession. Like El Cid, he was not the only Christian gentleman who joined the troops of an Islamic lord. There are many Christians among Islamic troops ». And then he adds: «You have to investigate more your period in Zaragoza, because this is where this mestizo army arises where the Christian cavalry is the elite and the muslims are the shock body. Keep in mind that El Cid governs Valencia as a taifa. He was the only Christian king of a taifa ».

This Cid is not the cross hero who sold old and stale propaganda. This Cid is a mortal man, husband, warrior, who suffers and suffers, who goes to battles, who is wrong and sometimes derails the peninsular policy of Alfonso VI. "He must have had enough knowledge," says David Porrinas. He lived five years in the Taifa of Zaragoza, with some kings who were considered the best mathematicians and astronomers of the moment. There is even the possibility that he would have known the astrolabe, which was then essential to reach America. That would explain why, unlike his adversaries, he is able to seize the night, advance or plan a battle. He knew how to write and read, because he acted as a judge and it is also possible that he understood Arabic. A Muslim chronicler who brings new news about him, says he was pleased with the reading of wars by ancient Arabs. The historian also comments on his ability to read the terrain and his intelligence to adapt to different ways of fighting: from the pitched battle, in which he demonstrated to develop with special talent, as in personal duels. But, even, he proved to be a great strategist in the sieges, especially when he and his troops depended only on themselves and their cunning.

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