Simon Barton (University of Exeter)
English Historical Review: Vol. CXXVI No. 520 (2011)
Rodrigo Díaz, better known by his title El Cid, has traditionally been portrayed as one of the great heroes of Spanish history, perhaps the Spanish national hero par excellence. Our ‘vision’ of this Castilian nobleman, whose main claim to fame was his conquest of the Muslim city of Valencia in 1094, is drawn principally from the testimony of a clutch of sources composed between fifty to a hundred years after his death and it is on these texts, on the posthumous portrayal of El Cid, that most scholars have concentrated their efforts. There is, however, one precious source that has not yet received the attention it deserves as the only document drawn up in El Cid’s name in Valencia that has survived to this day.
The text in question is the charter of endowment which Rodrigo Díaz granted to Bishop Jerome and the cathedral church of that city some time in 1098. The charter is now held in the archive of Salamanca cathedral, where it was probably deposited by Jerome after the Christian evacuation of Valencia in the spring of 1102 and his subsequent elevation to the sees of Salamanca and Zamora in June of that same year.