Perhaps the most famous Castilian in history, Rodrigo Diaz - also known as 'the Cid' - lived in the second half of the eleventh century, distinguishing himself during the conquest of the Muslim kingdom of Valencia.
The epic poem Las Mocedades de Rodrigo (The Youthful Deeds of Rodrigo), is a fictional account of the young Rodrigo's passage from impetuous initiate to menacing force of nature, and, finally, to ally and servitor of his king.
Written around 1300, the poem garnered a significant reputation in its native Spain and is still widely read today.
Despite its popularity, an English translation has never been published.
This bilingual edition offers both the Old Spanish version of Las Mocedades as well as the first English translation of the epic poem.
In his introduction, Matthew Bailey examines the text as a compilation of oral narratives passed down from speakers to scribes.
Situating it fully within the tradition of Spanish epic poetry, Bailey goes on to review the poem's critical reception, explains the hybrid nature of the narrative, and looks at the origins of the hero himself. The translation includes explanatory notes to help the contemporary English-language reader understand the social and political circumstances surrounding the poem.
For those interested in the poetry of medieval Spain, the epic tradition, or for anyone looking for a good adventure story, Las Mocedades de Rodrigo will be essential reading.