Today's Featured Biography
The narratives concerning the life and exploits of the Cid are, to a great extent, merely poetic. Yet it has been wisely said, that much which must be rejected as not fact may still be accepted as truth; that is, there is often to be found under the husks of legend and myth, a sound kernel of historical reality. This may be the case with respect to the Cid, who probably was a warrior so remarkable for genius or bravery above his fellows that he gathered up in a single fame the reputation of many others, with whose deeds he was credited, and whom, as a class, he accordingly represents in history.
Spain, long one of the most flourishing provinces of the Roman Empire, was among the first to fall under the sway of the Visigoths, a warlike but enlightened race, which soon embraced Christianity. For three centuries the country remained under Gothic rule, but fell, in 712, by the invasion of the Arabian conquerors of Africa--a remnant of Christians only preserving an independent monarchy in the mountains of Asturia. This little seed of freedom grew and bore fruit. France proved a formidable barrier against further invasion; and in Spain itself internal jealousies among the Arab families weakened the Moslem and strengthened the Christian power. In the eleventh century there were several states in Spain wholly unfettered by a foreign yoke. The enmity between the two races and creeds was bitter, and war raged perpetually. Yet it often happened that, at the prompting of private reven...
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