The historical rigor of ‘El Cid’ by Prime Video, the best quality of the series

El Cid presents this Thursday, July 15, its second season on Prime Video, Amazon’s streaming platform. The Spanish series produced by Zebra and starring Jaime Lorente. In this second season, to which has had access before the premiere, it can be seen that everything is going to go further: more battles, more palace intrigues and more history. In fact, El Cid’s series has its greatest quality in its historical rigor.

In this second season we find that everything changes. King Ferdinand I dies and, due to the tricks of his daughter Urraca, the kingdom has been divided among his five descendants. Sancho stays with Castilla, Alfonso with León and García with Galicia. Urraca and Elvira, as long as they do not marry, will be the ladies of Zamora and Toro, respectively. But before arriving here, the El Cid series has already shown other things with a certain historical basis. For example, there is part of the truth (and part of artistic license) regarding Rodrigo Díaz’s lineage. Also in his friendship and loyalty towards Sancho. But, What is true in all this that tells the series of Prime Video? Let’s start at the beginning: Rodrigo’s father.

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El Cid’s father

Nothing is known about Rodrigo Díaz’s mother; but we do know certain things about his father. “We have very little data from the early years of Rodrigo Díaz, four data, because we don’t even know who his mother is,” he explains to Hipertextual David porrinas, Professor of History at the University of Extremadura and expert on the figure of El Cid. Your father could be Diego Lainez, descendant of “a secondary branch of a very important family from León, the Flainez“In fact, they were so important that” they were counts of León, “says the expert. What’s more, one of them appears in the series played by Carlos Bardem, which is one of the protagonists of the first season.

It is also known about Rodrigo Díaz’s father that “he would war against the people of Pamplona on the border of the kingdom of Pamplona and in the county of Castilla. That his dominion would not be great. And that his son is sent to the court of Fernando I.” , says Porrinas in videoconference.

In addition, the historian theorizes about why Rodrigo would grow up in court: “I imagine that was sent as a hostage to keep the father under control. Because the Flaínez were leading rebellions against the king and if Rodrigo’s father had participated in any that would justify his being assigned to the border between Pamplona and Castilla. And to have the father controlled the child was sent to court“, explains the historian. In this part, the history of the series and Porrinas’ theory disagree. However, that does not detract from the veracity of the story since in the end the most important thing is that Rodrigo grew up in court.

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From page to gentleman

Once in court, “he would be trained like princes,” says Porrinas. “I would learn the art of war, I would also receive some notions of letters and laws, because we know that he could write. And, later, with King Alfonso VI he would participate as itinerant judge, imparting the king’s justice, “he adds. That is, unlike what the series presents, El Cid had an education beyond training as a warrior.

Another of the small artistic licenses is that the series invents a ladder on the way to being a gentleman. From page to squire and from there to knight. However, that figure of the page is invented, as Porrinas explains. In the first season, Rodrigo is promoted from page to squire of Sancho. After the death of Fernando I, Alfonso VI will offer El Cid to be a knight in exchange for her staying with him. However, Rodrigo’s loyalty is clear and he stays with Sancho.

“In the series the figure of a page appears, which is not documented at the time, it speaks of squires and knights; but that does not mean that something like that did not exist. In the end Rodrigo was a pupil who was learning in the king’s court de León. And that he relates to his children because they train together, live together and establish those relationships of companionship. In this case, due to affinity of characters, he had more relationship with Sancho, who is also reflected in the series. Page to squire. The aspiration of Ruy and his companions is to become a knight, to have a noble title, their own lands and an income with which to be able to maintain not only the knight’s own equipment, which was very expensive, but also that of other who would join the king’s host. ”

Sancho and El Cid, characters from the Prime Video seriesPrime Video

El Cid as a historical figure reflected in the series

El Cid is a historical figure who seems untouchable; but it is very interesting because of the different stages that it lived. Rodrigo was a vassal of Sancho II of Castile and of Alfonso VI of León. But after his first exile he became a mercenary. “For a time in his life, he acts as a mercenary commander in the service of the taifa of Zaragoza. But after those first five years of exile, which begins as a mercenary, he rises in consideration within the taifa itself and becomes a kind of Minister of Wars. He is the head of the military organization and the armies of that taifa. So he has gone from being a mercenary to a war expert. He was a mercenary because, in the end, he fought for someone in exchange for money, and that is what he did in those five years of exile, “says Porrinas.

But he was not always a mercenary. In fact, after his second exile, he even became lord of Valencia. “After the first exile he is forgiven, for which he becomes Alfonso VI’s vassal again and is appointed protector of Valencia, to secure the throne to an unstable figure that I had put there. But he is exiled again and declared a traitor, so the king confiscates his lands and even imprisons Rodrigo’s family for a time; to his wife and children. ”

“From that moment on, Rodrigo becomes an independent warlord, no longer owes loyalty to anyone“says Porrinas.” He ceases to be a warlord to become the only Christian taifa king that exists. For four years, Rodrigo governs as a Muslim would: he respects Islamic law and worship; the weights, measures and coins; the idiosyncrasy is the same. Because what he has is an army and he needs to rule a kingdom, “he adds.

Alfonso, character from the Prime Video series 'El Cid'Prime Video

The figure of ‘El Cid’ in the series is not that of literature

“El Cid in the series is the only one who has been based on the historical side of the character”

On whether the story told in the El Cid series on Amazon Prime Video is historical or not, Porrinas is clear: “The Cid who appears in the series is the only one who has been based on the historical side of the character rather than in the legend that we know from literature. It is true that there are poetic licenses, because this is not a documentary or a history book. It’s a series and you have to have them. For example, it has made-up characters and plots that are not historical, but that could have been, what happens is that we have no records of it being so. And with that the series plays, “he illustrates.

“Definitely, the series shows what we know at the historical level of the character at that time and so far that had not occurred. Movies have been made, but in them you see a mythologized Cid, as in the 1961 film by Anthony Mann, starring Charlton Heston. “

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Meet the historic El Cid

“I believe that people have the right to know the historical El Cid, which is even more interesting than the literary one, which is the one studied in schools. The literary one is a sum of topics, additions and archetypes; but the historical he is a very original and very interesting character“concludes the historian.

Therefore, in addition to the battles, the palace intrigues and even the love stories, Prime Video’s El Cid series is, above all, rigorous with the story. From the facts, the creators and scriptwriters recreate what could have happened on an emotional level between the characters. And that approach to the figure of Rodrigo Díaz is very good. It is time to demystify the literary character to meet the historical.

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