The Cid Captures Alcocer, Making It His Base of Operations Against the Moors

December 2, 2021

The remains of the Castillo de Alcocer, Spain. Photo by Javiercsd.

They rode all that day and the next, taking some spoils on the way, and then came to Alcocer, which the Cid wished to capture. There they pitched their tents upon a great hill, near the river Salon. This was a strong place, with the mountain on one side and the river on the other, and he made his men dig a trench, so that they might not be surprised by day nor by night.When the Moors knew that the Cid had come, they were in great fear, and offered to pay him tribute if he would leave them in peace; but he refused to do this and laid siege to the town. There he stayed for fifteen weeks, and when he saw that the town did not surrender, he ordered his men to break up camp, as if they were about to go away, and they left one tent behind, and went along the river with their banners flying. At this sight the Moors were greatly pleased, thinking that the Cid’s bread and barley had failed, and that he had fled, leaving one of his tents. And the Moors said, “Let us follow them and take their spoil.” So the Moors went out after the Cid, leaving the gates open, and shouting as they went. When the Cid saw them coming, he ordered his men to go faster, as if they were afraid, and he would not let them turn upon the Moors till they were far from the town. Then the Cid ordered his men to turn, and riding fast toward them, he cried, “Lay on, knights, and the spoil will be ours!”

A statue of Álvar Fáñez in Burgos, Spain.

Then his men laid on without mercy, and the Cid and Alvar got between them and the castle, and stood in the gateway, sword in hand, and in an hour many hundreds of Moors were slain, and the Cid won the town, and Pero Bermudez planted his banner on the highest point of the castle. Then the Cid cried to his men: “Hear me; we shall get nothing by killing more of these Moors. Let us capture them, and make them show us their treasures hid in their houses, and we will dwell here, and they shall serve us.” Thus the Cid won Alcocer and took up his abode in it.

Calvin Dill Wilson, The Story of the Cid: For Young People (Boston: Lee and Shepard, 1901), 90–92.

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 806


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