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El Cid

El Cid

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Item Number:
50 min.
Closed Caption:
A & E Entertainment
Known as El Cid (The Leader), the 11-century warrior Rodrigo Diaz liberated his fatherland from the Moors. Yet recent scholarship reveals many contradictions between reality and myth about Spain's first national hero. In one contemporary's words he was "the scourge of his time". Was he arrogant and insubordinate, a stern overlord driven by an unquenchable thirst for money? Before his death, he was already celebrated in a poem written in tribute of the conquest of Almeria; posthumously he was immortalized in the great epic Poema de Mio Cid and was the centerpiece for countless other works of literature. Equally at home in the feudal kingdoms of northern Spain and the exotic Moorish-held lands of the south, when he died in Valencia in 1099, he was ruler of an independent principality that he had carved out of eastern Spain. Was Rodrigo a zealous Christian leader or a mercenary that sold his martial skills to Christian and Muslim alike?

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