The primary source on Lay of the Cid worth analyzing for this paper is R. Selden Rose and Leonard Bacon’s translated version of the text. It was published in Berkeley, California, by the University of California Press in the year 1919 as part of the series entitled Semicentennial Publications of the University of California: 1868-1918. In his review of Michael Harney’s The Epic of the Cid, with Related Texts (2011), Aaron Moreno described Rose and Bacon’s work as the foundation through which other works on Lay of the Cid draw their translations and interpretations of the original text. Similarly, in his review of medieval military history, Francisco Garcia Fitz described Rose and Bacon’s work as an astute description of military practices and strategies employed during the time as described in other works such as engineering manuscripts. In addition, the work highlighted the sociopolitical nature and outcomes of medieval military engagements beyond the subtle significances associated with religious differences between Christian and Islamic kingdoms in Spain. On the other hand, Marjorie Ratcliffe described the translated work as a key resource for understanding gender relations during the medieval era, particularly women’s experiences in marriages. As such, Rose and Bacon’s work not only represents a genuine representation of medieval Spanish literature but also highlights the geopolitical and social relations observed within competing communities in medieval Spain.
Summary of Rose and Bacon’s Work
In their work, Rose and Bacon borrowed significantly from Ramon Menendez Pidal’s work. They argued that Pidal’s work saved the epic poem from being classified as a fictional work because of the numerous alterations and augmentations it suffered through repeated attempts at oral transmission while being performed. Specifically, the classified events in the poem are into eight distinct sections contained within the original three cantars: the banishment of the Cid, the marriage of the Cid’s daughters, and the affront of corpses. In the banishment of the Cid, the work begins by describing the exiling of Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, the Castillian hero who was banished from Castille in 1081 and died in 1099. It highlights the manner in which King Alfonso banished Vivar after noblemen, who were jealous of Vivar’s position in Alfonso’s court, his wealth, and reputation, falsely accused him of stealing some of the taxes paid to the crown by the Moor king of Seville.
The work begins with a description of Vivar’s bitter and hasty departure from his castle and birthplace, the town of Vivar, his journey to Burgos with his few remaining loyal subjects such as Martin Antolinez, a vassal of Burgos, and the mixed, albeit primarily sad, the reaction of the people of Burgos who watched helplessly as Vivar set camp outside of their city. At this time, Vivar and Martin tricked Rachel and Vidas, two usurers, into giving him 600 gold marks in exchange for some chests full of sand that they lied was part of the stolen taxes. Vivar used the money to care for his loyal followers as they traveled to San Pedro de Cardena, the Benedictine monastery where Vivar’s family had taken refuge during his exile. Thereafter, the company traveled to the border near Navapalos where Vivar had a vision in which Archangel Gabriel assured him that everything would turn out all right.