If you love history and legend and stories of conquering heroes, you would love the story of El Cid, or "The Lord." El Cid was a man named Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar who battled against invading Moors or Muslims in Spain in the 11th century. El Cid was so legendary in his battles and his rulership that two of his weapons, the Tizona and the Colada sword of El Cid, both are revered to this day. They are two of the best-known swords in all of history, and to this day it is believed that their craftsmanship and quality is unmatched by any other swords ever made. Tizona stays at the Royal Armory Museum in Madrid, while the Colada sword of El Cid is said to be at the Royal Palace.
History of El Cid The History of El Cid is contained in what is called El Cantar del Mio Cid, which was an oral history originally until it was put to paper in 1207. In this story, the Spaniard El Cid was legendary in battle against the Moors and so was offered the hand of the king's cousin in marriage. However, he somehow offended the king and had to move from his home country of Castile. To regain his honor and his place, he continued to battle the Moors and eventually conquered the area of Valencia. The legends of his swords, the Tizona and the Colada sword of El Cid, became interwoven in these parts of the stories, making them (and his horse) as much a part of the legend as the man himself. It is said that El Cid assisted with the reunification of Spain by having his daughters marry the princes of Navarre and Aragon.
He is revered to this day throughout much of Spain and other parts of the world as well for being a military genius, a fierce fighter, and a true leader. But what about his two weapons, the Tizona and the Colada sword of El Cid? Legend Versus Reality Much of what is contained in this story is no doubt legend, although based on reality. The Tizona and Colada sword of El Cid are not said to possess any magic powers or were given divine blessing, as one normally finds in other legendary stories of warriors and conquerors. There are certain details of the legend that are somewhat inaccurate, for example, his daughters never in reality became queens and there is no mention of his son in the legend. As for the Tizona and Colada sword of El Cid, there are conflicting stories of what actually happened to them throughout the course of battles.
It is believed by some that when El Cid won them from the Count of Barcelona because of his skills in combat, he gave them to his sons-in-law but then eventually asked for them back. Legend also has it that a Moorish general, Malik Bucar, won the swords in battle and gave both the Tizona and Colada sword of El Cid to his son-in-law, but then he himself demanded the gifts back when he realized how poorly the man was treating his daughter. Difference Between the Swords It is said that popular culture and legend as well have misrepresented the swords used by El Cid, showing them to be identical. In reality, the Tizona was a one-handed sword but the Colada sword of El Cid is longer in length and was a two-handed sword.
Both swords are said to be of the finest craftsmanship that was available at the time and are still unmatched today. They contain an amount of Damascus steel, which was purposely forged to create some of the sharpest and strongest swords ever created in history. If you are interested in history or legend, or have a love for ancient swords, you do well to learn about the Tizona and the Colada sword of El Cid. Better yet, it is worth a trip to Spain to see these beautiful works of art and really feel yourself being connected to history and the legendary El Cid.
Peter Vermeeren is the owner and webmaster of: Medieval Swords and Knives and Medieval Swords | Navajas