El Cid; The Ultimate Don

On February 2, 2014 by Harper

EL CIDUp to this point in our class discussions, one character from our readings has stood out as the absolute epitome of the spanish title “Don” as we have defined it thus far- Rodrigo de Vivar, or otherwise known as, El Cid.

El Cid’s Don-like qualities of chivalrous honor and integrity, courage in battle, and determination unmatched by any other are clearly evident through the narrative of the epic poem.  However, the history of his title “El Cid” also gives us insight into his noble standing among his peers.

The history of El Cid’s life not recounted in the epic poem is integral to understanding the character.  During the period of Civil War in medieval Spain, El Cid was responsible for collecting King Alfonso’s tribute money from small Moorish settlements for which they expected adequate protection.  El Cid was incredibly fair yet stern in this undertaking, which earned him the title of El Cid.

The title “El Cid” is, in my opinion, a perfect representation of the expectations of a Don during this period.  The word “Cid” is translated from the Moorish “Sayyid”, which means “lord” or “master” in the ancient Moorish language.  Even though he was a Christian and pitted against the Arab culture occupying Spain at the time, the fact that Moors granted Rodrigo this title proves that he was indeed a fair, honest, and noble Don.