The last and the worst of the Cid ballads are those which betray by their frigid conceits and feeble mimicry of the antique the false taste and essentially unheroic spirit of the age of Philip II.
The legends which speak of the Cid as accompanying this monarch in his expeditions to France and Italy must be rejected as purely apocryphal.
Rodrigo Diaz, called de Bivar, from the place of his birth, better known by the title given him by the Arabs as the Cid (El Seid, the lord), and El Campeador, the champion par excellence, was of a noble family, one of whose members in a former generation had been elected judge of Castile.
His widow maintained Valencia for three years longer against the Moors, but was at last compelled to evacuate the city, taking with her the body of the Cid to be buried in the monastery of San Pedro at Cardena, in the neighbourhood of Burgos.
Whatever were his qualities as a fighter, the Cid was but indifferent material out of which to make a saint, - a man who battled against Christian and against Moslem with equal zeal, who burnt churches and mosques with equal zest, who ravaged, plundered and slew as much for a livelihood as for any patriotic or religious purpose, and was in truth almost as much of a Mussulman as a Christian in his habits and his character.
We have seen it said of the Cid that it is difficult to understand the enthusiasm it excited.
In the battle which ensued under the walls of Seville, Abdallah and his auxiliaries were routed with great slaughter, the Cid returning to Burgos with many prisoners and a rich booty.
In the cantar de gesta of the Cid he plays the part attributed by medieval poets to the greatest kings, to Charlemagne himself.
Among the enterprises of the Cid the most famous was that against Valencia, then the richest and most flourishing city of the peninsula, and an object of cupidity to both Christian and Moslem.
While much that Herder produced after settling in Weimar has little value, he wrote also some of his best works, among others his collection of popular poetry on which he had been engaged for many years, Stimmen der Volker in Liedern (1778-1779); his translation of the Spanish romances of the Cid (1805); his celebrated work on Hebrew poetry, Vom Geist der hebrdischen Poesie (1782-1783); and his opus magnum, the Ideen zur Philosophie der Geschichte der Menschheit (1784-1791).