El Cantar de Myo Çid ( El Poema de Myo Çid or Mio Cid, literally The Song of my Lord), also known in English as The Lay of the Cid and The Poem of the Cid is the oldest preserved Spanish epic poem. Based on a true story, it tells of the Spanish hero El Cid, and takes place during the Reconquista, or reconquest of Spain from the Moors.
The Spanish medievalist Ramón Menéndez Pidal included the "Cantar de Mío Cid" in the popular tradition he termed the mester de juglaría. Mester de juglaría refers to the medieval tradition according to which popular poems were passed down from generation to generation, being changed in the process. These poems were meant to be performed in public by minstrels (or juglares), who each performed the traditional composition differently according to the performance context—sometimes adding their own twists to the epic poems they told, or abbreviating it according to the situation.
Some believe "El Cantar del Mio Cid" was composed by one Per Abbad (in English, Abbot Peter) who signed the only existing manuscript copy, and as such is an example of the learned poetry that was cultivated in the monasteries and other centers of erudition. Per Abbad puts the date 1207 after his name, but the existing copy forms part of a 14th century codex in the Biblioteca Nacional de España (National Library) in Madrid, Spain. It is, however, incomplete, missing the first page and two others in the middle, and is written in medieval Spanish, the ancestor of the modern language.
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