Cantar de Mio Cid: Wikis

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El Cantar de Mio Cid (or El Poema de Mio Cid, literally The Song of My Lord), also known in English as The Lay of the Cid and The Poem of the Cid is the oldest preserved Spanish epic poem (epopeya).[1] The Spanish medievalist Ramón Menéndez Pidal included the "Cantar de Mío Cid" in the popular tradition he termed the mester de juglaría. Mester de juglaría refers to the medieval tradition according to which popular poems were passed down from generation to generation, being changed in the process. These poems were meant to be performed in public by minstrels (or juglares), who each performed the traditional composition differently according to the performance context—sometimes adding their own twists to the epic poems they told, or abbreviating it according to the situation. On the other hand, some critics (known as individualists) believe "El Cantar del Mio Cid" was composed by one Per Abbad (in English, Abbot Peter[2]) who signed the only existing manuscript copy, and as such is an example of the learned poetry that was cultivated in the monasteries and other centers of erudition. Per Abbad puts the date 1207 after his name, but the existing copy forms part of a 14th century codex in the Biblioteca Nacional de España (National Library) in Madrid, Spain. It is, however, incomplete, missing the first page and two others in the middle, and is written in medieval Spanish, the ancestor of the modern language.

Its current title is a modern invention by Ramón Menéndez Pidal; its original title is unknown. Some call it El Poema del Cid on the grounds that it is not a cantar but a poem made up of three cantares. The title has been translated into English as The Lay of the Cid and The Song of the Cid. Mio Cid is literally "My Cid", a term of endearment used by the narrator and by characters in the work.[2]. The word Cid is from Arabic origin, sayyid (سيد‎), an honorific title similar to English Sir (in the medieval, courtly sense). Some English translations include the verse translations of W.S. Merwin and of Paul Blackburn and prose translation of Rita Hamilton and Janet Perry.

Contents

The story

Based on a true story, it tells of the Spanish hero El Cid, and takes place during the Reconquista, or reconquest of Spain from the Moors. El Cid married the cousin of King Alfonso VI, Doña Ximena, but for certain reasons (according to the story, he made the king swear at Santa Gadea he had not ordered the fratricide of his own brother), he fell into the disfavor of the king and had to leave his home country of Castile.

The story begins with the exile of El Cid, whose enemies had unjustly accused him of stealing money from the king, Alfonso VI of Castilla and Leon, leading to his exile. To regain his honor, he participated in the battles against the Moorish armies and conquered Valencia. By these heroic acts he regained the confidence of the king and his honor was restored. The king personally marries El Cid's daughters to the infantes (princes) of Carrión. However, when the princes are humiliated by El Cid's men for their cowardice, the infantes swear revenge. They beat their new wives and leave them for dead. When El Cid learns of this he pleads to the king for justice. The infantes are forced to return El Cid's dowry and are defeated in a duel, stripping them of all honor. El Cid's two daughters then remarry to the infantes of Navarre and Aragon. Through the marriages of his daughters, El Cid began the unification of Spain.

Unlike other European medieval epics, the tone is realist[3]. There is no magic, even the apparition of archangel Gabriel (verses 404–410) happens in a dream. However, it also departs from historic truth: for example, there is no mention of his son, his daughters were not named Elvira and Sol and they did not become queens.

It consists of more than 3700 verses of usually 14 through 16 syllables, each with a caesura between the hemistiches. The rhyme is assonant. Since 1913, and following the work of Ramón Menéndez Pidal, the entire work is conventionally divided into three parts:

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Cantar del Destierro (verses 1-1086)

El Cid is exiled from Castile by King Alfonso VI and fights with the Moorish king of Zaragoza to regain his honor.

Cantar de las bodas de las hijas del Cid (verses 1087–2277)

El Cid defends the city of Valencia, defeating King Yusuf ibn Tashfin of the Almoravids. King Alfonso VI restores his honor and grants his daughters permission to marry the infantes of Carrión.

Cantar de la Afrenta de Corpes (verses 2278–3730)

The infantes of Carrión abuse and abandon their wives at the roadside, tied to trees. Once more, El Cid has to gain his honor back, so he asks the court of Toledo for justice. The infantes are defeated in a duel by El Cid's men, and his daughters remarry to the infantes of Navarre and Aragon.

Authorship and composition date

The whole work is anonymous. There was a theory to which few subscribe that it was composed by two people. That theory is no longer supported.

By virtue of the analysis of numerous aspects of the conserved text, it can be demonstrated that it belongs to a well-informed author, with precise knowledge of the law in effect by the end of the 12th century and beginning of the 13th, and that he knew the zone bordering with Burgos.

The language used is that of a cultured author, a lawyer who worked for some chancellery or at least as a notary of some nobleman or monastery, since he knows accurately the legal and administrative language with technical precision, and he dominates several registries, among them, the proper style of the medieval cantares de gesta.

Only one copy is conserved from Cantar de Mio Cid that was made in the 14th century (deduced from the date of the manuscript), from another copy that was made by a copyist named Per Abbat. The copy made by Per Abbat is dated 1207 «MCC XLV» (for the Hispanic period, that is in the actual date system, from which must be subtracted 38 years). In the medieval forms, the copyist would sign and date at the end of the document after finishing writing the document.

Extract

These are the first two stanzas that we have.[4] The format has been slightly regularized (e.g., "mio" for "myo", "rr" for "R", "ñ" for "nn", "llorando" for "lorando", "v" for "u"):

De los sos oios tan fuertemientre llorando,
Tornava la cabeça e estavalos catando;
Vio puertas abiertas e uços sin cañados,
alcandaras vazias, sin pielles e sin mantos,
e sin falcones e sin adtores mudados.
Sospiro Mio Cid, ca mucho avie grandes cuidados.
Fablo mio Cid bien e tan mesurado:
«¡grado a ti, Señor Padre, que estas en alto!
»Esto me an buelto mios enemigos malos.»
Alli pienssan de aguiiar, alli sueltan las rriendas;
ala exida de Bivar ovieron la corneia diestra
e entrando a Burgos ovieronla siniestra.
Meçio Mio Cid los ombros e engrameo la tiesta:
«¡Albricia, Albar Fañez, ca echados somos de tierra!»
[»Mas a grand ondra tornaremos a Castiella.»]

(The last verse is not in the original transcript by Per Abbat, but it was inserted by Menéndez Pidal because it appears in later chronicles, e.g., "Veinte Reyes de Castilla (1344)".[5])

See also

References

  1. ^ Penguin Classics, "The Poem of the Cid: A Bilingual Edition with Parallel Text", 1975, Translated by Rita Hamilton, "[1]", 1/5/2010
  2. ^ a b Goodrich, Norma Lorre (1961). "The Cid". Medieval Myths. New York: Mentor Books.  
  3. ^ El Cid del Cantar: El héroe literario y el héroe épico, Rafael Beltrán
  4. ^ Transcription of the first page, kept at the National Library in Madrid.
  5. ^ S.G. Armistead, "Cantares de gesta y crónicas alfonsíes: Mas a grand ondra / tornaremos a Castiella, Asociación Internacional de Hispanistas, Actas IX (1986) pp.177-185. Centro virtual Cervantes.

External links


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