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Osprey Men-at-Arms 200 : El Cid and the Reconquista 1050-1492

The very name El Cid sums up much of the special character of medieval Spanish warfare. It comes from the Arabic al sayyid, master or chieftain, and seems to have been given to Rodrigo de Vivar by his Muslim foes. But was it given in recognition of El Cid's victories against Islam in the 'Reconquista' - or because this Castilian nobleman was as content to serve beside the Muslims as to fight them? The popular view sees El Cid as a Christian champion whose early victories gave leadership of Spain to Castile rather than Leon, but who was then exiled to Aragon through the machinations of his rivals. El Cid was supposedly obsessed with the idea of a unified Spain and the defeat of the 'Moors', while his capture and government of Muslim Valencia is portrayed as an example of cultural harmony under Christian leadership. Another view, however, comes from those who study the civilisation of al Andalus (Muslim Spain and Portugal), some of whom note his acceptance of Arab-Andalusian culture, and portray him almost as an Andalusian rather than a Spanish hero. Perhaps El Cid was simply an adventurer, one of many seen on the turbulent Christian-Muslim frontier. The story of the Reconquista, or the Christian conquest of the Iberian peninsula which gave rise to the legend of El Cid, is here examined by David Nicolle, who explores the history, tactics, arms and armour of the period in this well illustrated book, which includes eight full page colour plates by Angus McBride.

    Contents
  • Introduction
  • Chronology
  • Christian Armies 1050-1150
  • Taifa and Almoravid Armies
  • Christian Armies 1150-1300
  • Almohades and Andalusians 1120-1270
  • 14th Century Christian Armies
  • The Kingdom of Granada
  • Siege, Fortification and Firearms
  • The Plates

 

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