The Song Of The Cid Analysis

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The Song of the Cid was composed during a time of major change and chaos. Christian rulers were compelled to reclaim previous Christian lands in Spain from the Muslims. Through these proceedings, the relationships between Christians, Jews, and Muslims were tested in order to maintain set social boundaries. These social boundaries, however, were not absolute in reality as depicted in The Song of the Cid. Instead, Jews and Muslims present more a of a caricature view in The Song of the Cid. In this essay, I am going to examine how Jews and Muslims were presented in The Song of the Cid, and contrast those views with how Jews and Muslims actually interacted with Christians in this period. While the author of The Song of the Cid included a number …show more content…
For instance, the actual El Cid, Rodrigo de Vivar, selected a Jewish man to govern the city of Valencia. Jews held a number of these positions within the Spanish kingdom, as they were valued for their knowledge of both Latin and Arabic. These individuals acted as royal scribes, and they were rewarded with properties along the fringe. Jews could also act as absentee landlords. Jonathan Ray states that "as they saw to it that their holdings were actively settled and cultivated, they were allowed to collect the profits from these lands just as they did from the mills, vineyards, and urban houses or stores they possessed elsewhere." This array of the different landholdings Jews held in the eleventh century demonstrates the amount of wealth and power Jews were able to possess. These wealthy Jewish courtiers, however, did not always live on the fringe, but stayed in their "seats of power in the north." A number of Jews, however, did take advantage of the economic opportunities along the frontier and formed Jewish quarters. While this Jewish quarters were protected by the king, they also acted as a means to set social boundaries between Christians and Jews. Jews were not supposed to dwell among Christians, but there were always exceptions. For instance, a Jew who converted to Christianity got to keep his …show more content…
In a case akin to how the Moors reacted to wealth at Alcocer, King Fernando 's army at the Conquest of Seville imitates the same language, as the text states that "so a man who saw that army could very well say that he had never seen a city so rich or organized, that there was no army with more people or greater power than this, or one so full of noble and marvelous things." This is a reoccurring theme of wealth among Christian rulers, and it is presented that Muslims would desire this wealth. Brian Catlos suggests that Christians were able to overcome Muslims, because they were militarily weak, because of insecurity in local economies, and as a result the people did not support their leaders. This instance is similar to how the people of Alcocer praised El Cid for being a good ruler. This type of language is repeated with the ruler Yahia. A chronicler for Alfonso X during the Conquest of Toledo states that Yahia "inflicted so much pain and violence on them that everyone longed for his death because they saw that he was an evil and vile man and had no good within him." Muslim kings are presented as being so horrible that their own people would rather have a Christian ruler. This text, however, would have been presented to a Christian audience as a means of propaganda that Muslims wanted to be conquered. Brian Catlos

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