1. CASTILIAN LITERATURE By the time of the Muslim invasion (7i I) the Latin spoken in the peninsula was already in process of transformation into a Romance patois which, from the few words that have come down to us (some of them preserved in jest by the Arabic-speaking conquerors), seems to have resembled the modern dialect of Galicia rather than that of Castile. The earliest documents date from the loth century; while the revival of the study of Latin in northern Spain in the uth century led to the neglect of the vulgar tongue by the learned, and the complete separation between the spoken and the written language. Castilian, romance castel lano, became the official language for public documents under Ferdinand III. (1217-52) and Alfonso X. (1252-84)• Heroic Poetry, 1050-1250.—Castilian literature begins with the poem of the Cid (Cantor de mio Cid), an historical character named Rodrigo Diaz de Bivar (d. 1o99) and usually known by his Arabic title, Sid (lord). The poem, as the brilliant re searches of Menendez Pidal have abundantly proved (see bibli ography), dates from 114o, the only existing ms. is an imperfect copy made in 1307. It was first printed in 1779. The Cantar de mio Cid is a work of noble inspiration. Apart from all questions of originality—whether it owes more to French or to Germanic models, the poem is intensely Castilian in its directness of expression and unflinching realism. The assonant metre seems to be on the same principle as that of the other early Spanish epics which have partly survived—Los siete infantes de Lara, reconstructed by Menendez Pidal from a prose chronicle in which it had been incorporated, and the Roncesvalles fragment, recently discovered in the cathedral at Pamplona. It is versification irregu lar; that is, it depends not on the number of syllables (1 1-20) in the line, but on a system of "pointing," a regular number of accents or beats such as would naturally be made by a minstrel in the process of chanting. The frequent allusions in the chron icles to the narratives of the minstrels, or juglares, suggest that Castilian heroic poetry was far richer than the scarcity of mss.
would lead us to believe. These poems were composed not only by minstrels, but also in monasteries in which a hero happened to be buried—a distinction which was considered worthy of advertisement. Thus the Poona de Fertan Gonzalez (the first independent Count of Castile) is the work of a learned Bene dictine in the monastery of San Pedro de Arlanza.
1253) ; an Adoration of the Magi (Libro de los tres reyes de oriente) of Provençal origin, and a fragment of a Debate be tween the Soul and the Body (Disputa del alma y cuerpo), closely related to an Anglo-Norman version of one of the me diaeval Latin poems, entitled Rixa animi et corporis.