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"The Poem of the Cid," the earliest and best of the heroic songs of Spain, is a romance of history in more than three thousand lines, celebrating the achievements of the hero little more than fifty years after his death. Ruy Diaz, or Rodrigo Diaz de Bivar, was born at Burgos about the year 1040, and died in the year 1099. He was called the Cid, because five Moorish Kings acknowledged him in one battle as their Seid, or Lord and Conqueror, and he was Campeador or Champion of his countrymen against the Moors. Thus he was styled The Lord Champion—El Cid Campeador. The Cid died at the end of the eleventh century, and "The Poem of the Cid" was composed before the end of the twelfth. It was written after the year 1135, but before the year 1200.

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