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eleventh century feminism

In the eleventh century the word feminism did not exist. But that does not mean that there were no women who fought for their rights. Or, at least, that they try to change their situation even if the laws of the moment did not allow it yet. In order to Magpie, eldest daughter of Fernando I and Sancha de León, it was not fair that her brother Sancho inherited the throne. So he used his tricks to get him to divide the kingdom before he died. And that can be seen in the second season of El Cid, the Spanish series produced by Zebra and broadcast by Prime Video that premiered on July 15. But, was that feminism real or is it an invention of the series? Did Urraca get what he wanted?

At the beginning of the new batch of episodes, we know that the kingdom has been divided between the five descendants of King Fernando I. Sancho remains 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 y Toro, respectively. But Urraca always longed for the throne, so she won’t be content with just being the lady of Zamora.

She will manipulate her favorite brother, Alfonso, in order to be the power in the shadows. And for a time it is. In fact, they become so close that it was “rumored” that there was an incestuous relationship between the two, as José Velasco, creator of the series, explains to CVBJ.biz. All this is embodied in the series from Prime Video, in both the first and second seasons. In fact, in this new batch of episodes we will see a scene related to those rumors.

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The throne, for the firstborn?

By inheritance, being the first-born, the throne should have been for Urraca. However, the law ordered that the male should inherit. That is why she yearns for the throne with all her soul. Because for her it is not fair that being a woman prevents her from being queen. And this really happened. “In the El Cid series some reflections on female power, because Urraca, not being a male, cannot have the right to be queen. In addition, Urraca urges his mother to seize power. But is that all this was happening

“All those reflections on female power were happening at the time; but as those who leave you the testimony of what is happening are mainly ecclesiastical authors and they don’t want a woman to rule“, he explains to CVBJ.biz David porrinas, Professor of History at the University of Extremadura and an expert on El Cid.

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The war in the ‘El Cid’ series

What’s more, in the El Cid series we see that Sancha also tries to take over the throne in the first season and that, for this, he needs the consent of the Pope. “In the end it is the Pope who legitimizes the kingdoms. To give an example, let’s say that the Pope in those moments is like the UN; If you do not have papal legitimacy, your territory will never be able to be a kingdom. “In addition, that implied being threatened by other territories that wanted to invade you.

In fact, the Pope’s approval prevented Christians from killing each other. “That is why there are no great conquests from some Christians to others; it is also that they have Muslims on the border. We do not know what would have happened if the Muslim enemy had not existed, which was a kind of escape valve from all that violence and war generated by the feudal system“Moreover, in the end the Crusades end up happening as a way to” channel the aristocracy’s desire for war and territorial expansion. Because in the end the war and the conquest of new territories is what sustained the feudal system, explains Porrinas.

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Female power in the ‘El Cid’ series

In short, unfortunately for Urraca, played by Alicia Sanz, he will not get the throne on Prime Video’s El Cid series. Although he will at least manage to keep Zamora away from the clutches of his brother Sancho. On the other hand, all their struggle is not in vain. Although she does not get to enjoy the throne, Sancha’s granddaughter and Urraca’s niece will. Urraca I de León, who is the daughter of Alfonso VI, will be the “first exclusive queen of Medieval Europe”, says the historian.

But female power goes beyond Magpie or from Sancha (Elia Galera). All the women in the El Cid series are, in one way or another, very fighters. Be they historical or fictional characters. Jimena (Lucía Guerrero) will fight to avoid an arranged marriage; Amine (Sarah Perles) will try to get her lover at all costs and the queen Alberta (Amparo Alcaraz) will fight alongside her husband. And in contrast to her older sister, Elvira will find a way to stop being Mrs. de Toro and to be able to marry. Because feminism defends the freedom of each woman to be able to make her own decisions.

Queen Alberta (right) and Amina (left), two female characters from 'El Cid', Prime Video series Prime Video

Lady of Valencia

Beyond the story of Urraca, which is reflected in the Prime Video series, another of the protagonists will become the lady of Valencia. Although this part of the story it’s still a bit far to the events that we see in this second season. But it is interesting to talk about it due to the reflections on feminine power that are made in the El Cid series. The lady of Valencia will be Jimena, the wife of Rodrigo Díaz.

After the death of her only son and the death of her husband, Jimena tries to maintain the dominion of Valencia at all costs. “Jimena acts like a good lady from Valencia, trying to keep that manor for at least three years. When Rodrigo Díaz dies in July 1099 and until the spring of 1102, when the city has to be evicted because they can no longer defend it, more than two years have passed. And there Jimena has acted as the lady of the city. Because in the marriage agreement, which is still preserved, declare themselves universal heirs of each other, with the only condition that if they remarry, the assets would pass to the children. Since Jimena does not remarry, she is a lady from Valencia, “says Porrinas.” In addition, she is an example of female governance, one of the very few that we know at this time. ”

Jimena, “good ruler”

Since the death of Rodrigo and Jimena’s son, he has changed his politics and stopped behaving like a Muslim ruler, explains the historian. This is because “he needs the backing of the Pope” so that, in case of need, the husbands of his daughters will regain the throne after his death. But that never happens even though Maria and Cristina have very advantageous marriages. “From the marriage of one of the daughters a son will be born who will be king of Navarre. And the other married one of the greatest counts of Barcelona, ​​Ramón Berenguer III. They were looking for a husband who could recover what they know is going to lose when Rodrigo dies“.

“In fact, in a document by Jimena that is still preserved, in which he expands the income to the Christian bishopric that has been created, refers to his sons-in-law as sons. And she says it three times to make it clear, “he says.” We know enough about her to understand that it was a good ruler, who did what she could to maintain her husband’s principality; but that circumstances forced him to have to abandon it, “concludes Porrinas.

Ultimately, neither Urraca nor Sancha saw the crowns on their heads despite the fact that, if they had been men, they would have been the legitimate heirs. But that does not mean that they did not fight to change it; Why did they do it. And thanks to his fight, Urraca I de León was able to reign.

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