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The Epic of the Cid records the deeds of Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, the “Cid” of history and legend. A powerful warrior in the Christian reconquest of medieval Spain, a formidable strategist, and a charismatic leader, the Cid deeply impressed his contemporaries, both Christian and Muslim. Already, in his lifetime, songs, stories, and chronicles were devoted to his exploits.
In offering both a highly readable, colloquial prose translation of El Cantar de Mio Cid and selections from a wide variety of those contemporary accounts, this volume brings the historical figure back to life for modern readers.
Harney’s substantial Introduction and annotation provide the historical, military, and literary background necessary for an informed reading of the texts; also included are maps, a compendium of proper names, a bibliography, and an index.
“Harney’s translation and literary panorama will become a standard reference for students and scholars throughout the English-speaking world for decades to come. Harney’s profound knowledge of the cultural and creative ferment that surrounded the birth of this masterpiece is unchallenged. . . . The complementary medieval texts that Harney assembles—all the bright fragments that make up this mosaic of a ferocious warrior, clan chieftain, family man, and hero—have never before been brought together in one place with reliable translations from the Arabic, Latin, and Spanish.”
—George Greenia, College of William & Mary
“Many a student of medieval history or romance literature have had the pleasure of reading El Cid, but few have been given the opportunity to engage other sources which complement and, at times, contradict the story found in this epic. Michael Harney, an expert in medieval and Renaissance Spanish literature, seeks to rectify such an imbalance with a volume comprising an excellent prose translation of not only the lay of El Cid but also excerpts taken from seven additional texts redacted from as early as the late eleventh century to as late as the early sixteenth century.
"Harney has succeeded in crafting remarkably engaging and accessible prose translations of the aforementioned romance works—more so than any other translations which this reviewer has encountered to date.
"Thanks to Harney's gift for translation, this volume will also allow the reader to better understand how the included stories could have riveted their premodern audiences.”
"A great translation. Harney's prose translation would be a great source for undergraduate courses, especially those on the Middle Ages or Spain. The positive features of Harney's translation are clear, precise translations of key terms and words, making it easier to follow the verse translations; a glossary of key terms; and a set of related texts to the El Cid Epic. Harney's introduction in addition to these related texts provides students with a fuller view of the historical Cid, not the one-dimensional character of the Epic. Harney also does a good job of framing the context of the Cid story. Highly recommended for undergraduate courses."
—John Hunt, Department of History, Utah Valley University
Michael Harney is Associate Professor of Spanish and Portuguese, University of Texas at Austin.
The Epic of the Cid
A. Treasury of the Excellencies of the Spaniards.
Ibn Bassam (Abu l’Hassan Ali ibn Bassam).
Chronicle composed in Arabic in the early
B. The History of Rodrigo (Historia Roderici).
Anonymous. Chronicle composed in Latin,
sometime between 1102 and 1238 but
probably after 1144.
C. The Song of the Campeador (Carmen Campidoctoris).
Anonymous. Ode composed in Latin verse,
sometime between the early 1080s and 1190.
D. First General Chronicle (Primera Crónica General).
Alfonso X of Castile. Chronicle composed in
Old Castilian, late thirteenth century.
E. The Chronicle of Twenty Kings (Crónica de
veinte reyes). Anonymous. Chronicle composed
in Old Castilian, late thirteenth century.
F. The Youthful Deeds of Rodrigo (Mocedades de
Rodrigo). Anonymous. Epic poem composed
in Castilian, latter half of the fourteenth century.
G. “The Cid and the Moorish King.” Anonymous.
Romance (“ballad”) composed in Castilian verse,
late fifteenth or early sixteenth century.
Compendium of Proper Names