The politician Joaquín Costa (1846-1911) —the most prominent representative of the movement regeneracionista that emerged after the Disaster of the 98— he wrote in his work the political Crisis in Spain that is to take “double ” key to the tomb of the Cid” as a way to look to the future and leave it in the drawer past glories. But if Costa had wanted to implement its proposal, it would have been found with a big problem: the bones of Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar are scattered across half of Europe and, in addition, no one knows if in reality all that saved the cathedral of Burgos correspond, because they can be mixed with those of his wife, doña Jimena. The publication of the book, Sidi, Arturo Pérez-Reverte, and the recent study of The relics cidianas, of the philologist and historian Alberto Montaner, have got that the figure of the Cid again to get out of his (its) tomb.

Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar died in Valencia in 1099 a natural death —“something rare at that time for a warrior to be as active,” says Montaner. His body was buried in the cathedral of valencia (the old mosque), but the pressure almoravid did that Jimena ordered the evacuation of the city in 1102. Valencia was then burned down by the christians and the remains of the hero taken to the monastery of San Pedro de Cardeña, approximately ten kilometers from Burgos.


The knight lost that bought a ‘Citizen Kane’

And there, the embalmed body remained in the tomb which he ordered to carve Alfonso X, in 1272, on which we could read some verses of praise to the warrior. At his side lay his wife, but the skeletons of both were stumbling around in the monastery and its church during the following centuries, until the council of Burgos protested before the emperor. In 1541, Charles I was determined that both were placed in the center of the church and that “agora or at any time to move out of place”, according to the work of Ana Fernandez Beobide and Leyre Barriocanal the bones of The Cid and Jimena: Plundered and exile, but eventually the two graves were eventually replaced in a new building, the chapel of San Sisebuto, more commonly known as the Chapel of the Cid, in 1735.

In fact, and to the multiple movements of bodies, the benedictine monk and chronicler regio fray Prudencio de Sandoval, bishop of Pamplona, had shown their doubts about the remains of doña Jimena and left written in his History of the five kings (1634): “In Cardeña shows not only the burial, but the bones of this lady, although they are so large that they scare them, and they seem more of a man than of a woman”.

Signature of Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar.

Signature of the Cid that reads “Ego Ruderico,” “I, Rodrigo”.

But there followed until the War of Independence, the mausoleum was completely sacked by the troops of Napoleon, because the figure of the warrior was well-known in France, thanks to the tragedy, The Cid, by Pierre Corneille. It was assumed that in the interior of the coffin are stored great riches. Numerous French military took everything of value that they found inside (there is an engraving of Benjamin Zix recreating how they destroyed) and into the bones: femurs, pieces of skulls, pasterns… however, the general Thiebault had pity for the remains of the hero and tried to recompose the body, but a good part of the skeleton had already departed towards France and the other had been completely shattered. There are remains of the Cid in France (Museum of Bertrand in Châteauroux), Germany, Poland (Palace of Pulawy), Russia… Some ended up in the Czech Republic, in the Cabinet of Curiosities of the statesman Klemens von Metternich, in the castle of Launch Kynzvart.

The remains that were left in Spain from the corpse after the departure of the French were exposed in a mausoleum in the paseo del Espolón in Burgos, but in 1826 returned to the monastery of San Pedro de Cardeña, not without before, to be the authorities the radius of an arm and place it on the Arch of Santa María, where he still continues. The Disentailment of Mendizábal of 1836, and the consequent abandonment of the abbey made the bones again is to transfer his wards to the city Council.

In 1882, it was discovered that the German prince Charles Anthony of Hohenzollern possessed a sternum, part of the skull, a femur of Jimena… The king Alfonso XII asked him for them back and so they returned to the city Council a year later, where they were received by the monarch himself. In 1921 all recoveries are led in a definitive way to the cathedral burgalense. However, in 1968, the Nobel prize laureate Camilo José Cela recovered a fragment of the skull that had traveled half of Europe, and has since exhibited at the Royal Academy of Spain, in Madrid.

“For what we know,” says Montaner, “especially after the study Beobide and Barriocanal, it is certain that a part of the bones that are there in the cathedral correspond to the Cid. However, it can be said that neither are all who are, or being all that you are, as you are missing, at least, of the hands and feet and pieces of the skull of both. In addition, probably, in the tomb of the cathedral has bones that are not in the Cid. We don’t even have the absolute certainty that the two bodies that there is to be a man and a woman. Already said the father Sandoval that doña Jimena seemed too big.”


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