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Cantar de Mio Cid

  • 'Song of El Mio Cid'. Madrid © Biblioteca Nacional de España

    'Song of El Mio Cid'. Madrid © Biblioteca Nacional de España

  

Category

Literature

Date

around 1195-1207

Original title

Cantar de Mio Cid

This is the longest and oldest example of the cantar de gesta epic poetry genre in Castilian Spanish. It narrates the real and legendary exploits of the last stage of the life of ‘El Cid Campeador’.

It is conserved in a single manuscript, copied in the pages of a 14th century codex by the Abbot Peter from an earlier manuscript - now lost -, dating from before 1207. It is the first narrative work in a Romance language, specifically in medieval Castilian Spanish. It has 3,735 verses, normally divided into three parts: the Cantar del Destierro, Cantar de las Bodas, and Cantar de la Afrenta de Corpes.

The three Cantares interweave two main story lines, incorporating the classic argument of a fall from grace followed by an exaltation: the first story concerns the unjust exile of El Cid and his gradual reinstatement, while the second narrates his fall from grace and how he subsequently regains his honour, after the affront suffered by his daughters at the hands of the princes of Carrión.

  

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