'The Legend of El Cid': Who is Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar? The real knight who inspired the Spanish Amazon series

Amazon's new Spanish original is based on the real-life figure Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar and here's a look at his life, struggles, and legacy


                            'The Legend of El Cid': Who is Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar? The real knight who inspired the Spanish Amazon series
(Amazon Prime Video)

El Cid, born of a minor noble family was active between 1043 to July 10, 1099, and he started off by serving Sancho II of León and Castile, who was the son of Ferdinand the Great, in whose court El Cid was born. His actual name is Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, a Castilian knight who is well known for his war battle victories that have been immortalized in the form of folk tales and poems, and the most famous of poems is 'El Cantar de Mio Cid'. After Sanchos' ascension in 1065, El Cid who was also referred to as El Campeador (meaning the champion) by people in Spain also led the army against battles with Sanchos' siblings Alfonso VI of León and García II of Galicia. 

Now, this historical figure happens to the inspiration behind the upcoming Amazon Originals Spanish show 'Legend of El Cid'. The titular role is played by 'Elite' and 'Money Heist' actor Jaime Lorente and he is expected to portray the rise and fall of El Cid in the show that spans five episodes. The show also portrays certain battles that El Cid had fought and won, and we cannot wait to see which ones will make it to the screen. After his success in battles against Sanchos' siblings, El Cid also waged war against Muslim kingdoms in Al-Andalus and it was his victories in these battles that set him apart. In 1072, El Cid's benefactor Sancho was murdered by conspirators and this left him in a tough spot because the one who took over the throne was none other than Sancho's brother Alfonso. He happened to be one of the siblings that El Cid had removed from the race to the throne and helped Sancho. 

He lost his position at the court after this and a few years later, he was also exiled. Despite being exiled, El Cid's talent in waging war and defending from invaders helped him regain his reputation as an analyst and in this period he worked with Muslim leaders Zaragoza, and this was a fight against Aragon. In 1086, El Cid's home country Castile was under immense pressure after North African Almoravids's attack and that was when El Cid was welcomed back by Alfonso. However, this was only after Aragon had inflicted extreme damage upon Castile. So Alfonso and El Cid buried the hatchet to fight against Aragon. However, El Cid did not work for Alfonso but instead worked outside of his lord's purview after setting his sights on the Kingdom of Valencia. He helped dynasties in and around that were opposed to Almoravids and began to gain control and power.

After he was able to invade and take control of the Kingdom of Valencia in 1094, El Cid set up an independent principality. He reportedly built a pluralistic world and ruled over its people. While El Cid himself had won the Kingdom of Valencia over, he did not have an heir to take over the spot. His son lost his life after he enlisted in the army and fought against the Almoravids in the service of Alfonso in 1097. 

All episodes of 'Legend of El Cid' can be streamed on Amazon Prime Video on December 18.

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