Sunday, April 24, 2011

La Jura de Santa Gadea


Readers who have seen the 1961 film in which Charlton Heston plays the famous Castilian knight, El Cid (1043-1099), will remember the powerful scene where he forces Alfonso VI -- before his coronation as King of Castile and León -- to swear on the holy scriptures at the church of St. Agatha (Santa Gadea) that he had no part in the murder of his brother, Sancho II, who was king of Castile when he was assassinated.

That event is depicted in art in the above painting by Marcos Giráldez de Acosta entitled "La Jura de Santa Gadea" (1864).

El Cid and St. Casilda were born and died at about the same time.  El Cid's birthplace was Bivar, which is 9 kilometers north of Burgos.  After her conversion to Catholicism, St. Casilda lived near Briviesca, which is 43 kilometers northeast of Burgos.

Interestingly, El Cid conquered Valencia only two years after the murder of St. Casilda's nephew, Al Qadir, who was the king of Valencia at the time of his death.

Although I have never read anything stating that St. Casilda and El Cid ever met, their paths certainly must have crossed or come close to crossing. 

King Alfonso's oath at the church of St. Agatha is said to have taken place in 1072. Casilda was in Castile by then. Although she was an anchoress and probably would not have come to the city for the coronation, I like to think she was there.

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