El Cid: The Establishment of a Unified Christian Iberian Peninsula

Chapman, Geoff
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The Lay of the Cid, written anonymously in the early thirteenth century, was a propaganda tool designed to unify the Christian kingdoms in the Iberian peninsula against the Almohads. The fragmentation of the Iberian Christian kingdoms was seen as a danger to Pope Innocent III whose authority was severely diminished by the sack of Constantinople in 1204 by the Crusaders. The lack of faith among Christian knights in Europe to the Papacy led Innocent III to call for the Las Navas crusade of 1212 to restore crusader ideology. However, the crusader ideology of unity that was rooted in the Medieval ideas of order with Pope Innocent III at its apex was challenged by King Alfonso VIII (1158-1214) of Castile who embraced the idea of national Catholicism. El Cid emerged as a political tool for Alfonso VIII to create a local faith on him being the defender of the faith that challenged the papacy in Europe. This led to the fusion of Church and State in Spain in the Las Navas crusade due to the emergence of the military orders in Spain in the twelfth century that emulated the Cid. This created a Spanish identity that was rooted in the belief that Church and State needed each other for Christianity to survive.

The Lay of the Cid, El Cid, Iberian Peninsula, reconquista, propaganda