Babieca, the horse, and the Cid
Very rarely in life when someone gives a gift to another person, gives them the option to choose. Well, most of the time it’s a surprise. However, in this case, the opposite happened. This is how the narrative of the History of the Babieca Horse begins.
Babieca a unique gift
Babieca was a gift that the godfather of El Cid, a religious named Peyre Pringos or Pedro el Gordo, made his godson. In fact, it happened that one day, Pedro El Gordo took a boy named Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar to the monastery where he lived.
The religious said to his godson: “Choose the colt that you like the most”. This is how Rodrigo chose a particularly ugly specimen, so his godfather, disappointed, exclaimed: “that’s a Babieca”. Put another way, a horse of scant presence, weak and clumsy. However, with the passage of time it would become a historical horse.
Babieca was the legendary horse that the literary sources, from the Cantar de mio Cid (written around 1200), and the later tradition, attributed to the Castilian noble Rodrigo Díaz known as El Cid Campeador, who came to dominate practically all the east of the Iberian Peninsula at the end of the 11th century.
Before being nominated in Cantar de mio Cid, the mare of the Castilian hero was characterized without name in the Carmen Campidoctoris (composed c. 1190) as a North African horse bought for a thousand dinars, of great agility and speed, something especially valued in the war horses, which were sturdy, heavy and relatively slow.
However, in the same Song to Babieca is presented, after the capture of Valencia and when the Cid will receive his wife and daughters, as a trophy of war that the subsequent chronological proscriptions of the poem. They specifically attribute to the victory over the king of the Taifa of Seville.
Meaning of Babieca name
- The best hypothesis was founded by Martin de Riquer in 1953 and he maintained that the name “Babieca” was taken by analogy with Guillermo de Orange’s horse, from the French epic cycle, which was called Bauçan, since in medieval Castilian “bausán” it meant ‘silly’ or ‘fool’, as well as ‘babieca’.
- Finally, it has been proposed that the name comes from the use of some Aragonese speech. In which the term babieca (or babueca) means ‘owl’ or ‘owl’.
- Don José González published in 1958 in “Archivos Leoneses” a work on the horse of Cidiano. He describes it as originating from the Asturcón horses; of those that were in the mountains of León.
- Don José believes that Babieca was a gift that the Cid made his wife Doña Jimena as a wedding present. She makes him descend from the Babia area, by name. Babieca would come from Almuzara, in the high Torío, where the Leon Sails had a stop to come back and hatchery. Don Jose considered that the name of Babieca means the meaning “almuzara”, or of the valleys of Burón and Maraña, valleys of Pinzón and Fascasio, where the monks of Sahagún had studs.
Babieca and the last time it was mounted.
According to the Legend of Cardeña, elaborated around the Monastery of San Pedro de Cardeña around 1270. It was the horse on which the wife of El Cid mounted his corpse. Making his enemies believe he was still alive. Afterwards, nobody rode on Babieca again. He died two years later at the unusual age of forty. They buried the horse somewhere in the Monastery of San Pedro de Cardeña. Ten kilometers from Burgos, in the municipality of Castrillo del Val and next to the towns of Cardeñajimeno.
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