III: Historia Roderici
in The world of El Cid
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The chapter provides an annotated translation of the anonymous Latin work known to historians of Spain as the Historia Roderici or 'History of Rodrigo' (HR). It has a claim to be regarded as one of the earliest biographies of a layman who was not a king to have been composed in medieval Christendom. The Rodrigo Díaz whom it commemorates was an eleventh-century Castilian nobleman who enjoyed a strikingly successful career as a military adventurer. He is better known to posterity as El Cid. Rodrigo's truly remarkable career was made possible by the distinctive circumstances of his age: the instability of the Taifa principalities; the acceptability of tribute-taking as the primary mode of Christian-Islamic relationship in Spain; and the availability of mercenary knights. Skilful exploitation by diplomacy and force of the fractious Taifa principalities enabled him to become a tribute-taker on a princely scale.

The world of El Cid

Chronicles of the Spanish Reconquest

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