El Cid Campeador (Eng. The 'Lord Champion' ca.1040-1099) He was the foremost man of the historical period of Spain and the greatest warrior of the long struggle between Christian and Muslim. Born Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar to a Castillian Noble family, he is the favorite hero of Spain and the most preeminent figure in her literature. The Cid was a diplomat, a great military leader and a soldier of fortune. Rodrigo began his career around 1057and fought against the Moorish stronghold of Saragossa in the service of Sancho II. In the spring of 1063 he served in the battle of Graus where legends say El Cid killed the enemy's champion knight in single combat and received the honorific title of Campeador.
King Sancho II continued to expand his territory, conquering both Moorish and Christian cities and was assassinated in 1072 and his enemy Alfonso VI seized the vacant throne as King of León and Castile. According to the epic of El Cid, [Poema del Cid ca.1250-1300] the Castilian nobility led by the Cid and a dozen "oath-helpers" forced Alfonso to swear on holy relics he was not responsible. His list of victories and heroic deeds was extensive. In the Battle of Cabra (1079), El Cid heroically rallied his troops and turned the battle into a rout but his unauthorized expedition into Granada outraged King Alfonso, and May 8, 1080, El Cid was sent into exile, due to the jealousy of the King other nobles of his popularity, citing as their reason he had skimmed some of the tribute money.
El Cid held both Christian and Muslim military and political Alliances.
Exile only added to El Cid’s riches, popularity, fame and power. In 1081 as a mercenary he offered his services to the Moorish king of the northeast city of Saragossa and served both him and his heir, and was awarded almost royal authority. He commanded a combined Christian and Muslim army and was well loved for his brainstorming sessions as well as his success on the battlefield and conquered Valencia - the richest prize to be recovered from the Moors where he ruled in Alphonso’s name until his death. The Cid of romance is not the historical rebel, the consorter with infidels and the enemies of Spain, but the paragon of knightly virtue, patriotic duty and the flower of all Christian Grace, the "King Arthur of Spain", even his warhorse Babieca was legendary and had fables and songs all his own. [from the Chronica General composed by Alphonse X in 1284]
"We do not rise to the level of our expectations. We fall to the level of our training"