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Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar (c. 1040 – 1099), better known as El Cid, or simply Rodrigo, was a Castilian nobleman and military leader in medieval Spain. The Moors called him El Cid, which meant the Lord (probably from the original Arabic al-Sayyid, السیِّد), and the Christians, El Campeador, which stood for Outstanding Warrior. He was born in Vivar, a town near the city of Burgos. After his death, he became Castile's celebrated national hero and the protagonist of the most significant medieval Spanish epic poem, El Cantar de Mio Cid.
Born a member of the minor nobility, El Cid was brought up at the court of King Ferdinand the Great and served Ferdinand's son, Sancho II of León and Castile. He rose to become the commander and royal standard-bearer (armiger regis) of Castile upon Sancho's ascension in 1065. Rodrigo went on to lead the Castilian military campaigns against Sancho's brothers, Alfonso VI of León and García II of Galicia, as well as in the Muslim kingdoms in Al-Andalus. He became renowned for his military prowess in these campaigns, which helped expand Castilian territory at the expense of the Muslims and Sancho's brothers' kingdoms. When conspirators murdered Sancho in 1072, Rodrigo found himself in a tight spot. Since Sancho was childless, the throne passed to his brother Alfonso, the same whom El Cid had helped remove from power. Although Rodrigo continued to serve the Castilian sovereign, he lost his ranking in the new court which treated him at arm's length and suspiciously. Finally, in 1081, he was ordered into exile.
El Cid found work fighting for the Muslim rulers of Zaragoza, whom he defended from their traditional enemies, Aragon and Barcelona. While in exile, he regained his reputation as a strategist and formidable military leader. He repeatedly turned out victorious in battle against the Muslim rulers of Lérida and their Christian allies, as well as against a large Christian army under King Sancho Ramírez of Aragon. In 1086, an expeditionary army of North African Almoravids inflicted a severe defeat to Castile, compelling Alfonso to overcome the resentments he harbored against El Cid. The terms for the return to the Christian service must have been attractive enough since Rodrigo soon found himself fighting for his former Lord. Over the next several years, however, El Cid set his sights on the kingdom-city of Valencia, operating more or less independently of Alfonso while politically supporting the Banu Hud and other Muslim dynasties opposed to the Almoravids. He gradually increased his control over Valencia; the Islamic ruler, al-Qadir, became his tributary in 1092. When the Almoravids instigated an uprising that resulted in the death of al-Qadir, El Cid responded by laying siege to the city. Valencia finally fell in 1094, and El Cid established an independent principality on the Mediterranean coast of Spain. He ruled over a pluralistic society with the popular support of Christians and Muslims alike.
El Cid's final years were spent fighting the Almoravid Berbers. He inflicted upon them their first major defeat in 1094, on the plains of Caurte, outside Valencia, and continued resisting them until his death. Although Rodrigo remained undefeated in Valencia, his only son, and heir, Diego Rodríguez died fighting against the Almoravids in the service of Alfonso in 1097. After El Cid's death in 1099, his wife, Jimena Díaz, succeeded him as ruler of Valencia, but she was eventually forced to surrender the principality to the Almoravids in 1102.
To this day, El Cid remains a Spanish popular folk-hero and national icon. Numerous plays, films, folktales, songs, and even video games continue to memorialize the traditions of allegiance that his allegories typify.
Whoever the Trauco chooses who will go to him, even if she is sleeping, and fall enraptured at his feet. No woman can resist his magical attraction; all have sexual intercourse with him. Also, the men of Chiloé fear the Trauco, because his gaze can be deadly for them.
When a single woman is pregnant and no one steps forward as the father, people assume that the Trauco is the father. Because the Trauco is irresistible, the woman is considered blameless.
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William Tell (in the four languages of Switzerland: German: Wilhelm Tell; French: Guillaume Tell; Italian: Guglielmo Tell; Romansh: Guglielm Tell) is a folk hero of Switzerland. His legend is recorded in a late 15th-century Swiss illustrated chronicle. It is set in the time of the original foundation of the Old Swiss Confederacy in the early 14th century. According to the legend, Tell—an expert marksman with the crossbow—assassinated Gessler, a tyrannical reeve of Habsburg Austria positioned in Altdorf, Uri.
Along with Arnold von Winkelried, Tell is a central figure in Swiss patriotism as it was constructed during the Restoration of the Confederacy after the Napoleonic era.
Several accounts of the Tell legend exist. The earliest sources give an account of the apple shot, Tell's escape, and the ensuing rebellion. The assassination of Gessler is not mentioned in the Tellenlied but is already present in the White Book of Sarnen account.
The legend as told by Tschudi (ca. 1570) essentially follows the account in the White Book, but adds further detail, such as Tell's given name Wilhelm, his being from Bürglen, and the precise date of the apple-shot of 18 November 1307.
William Tell was known as a strong man, a mountain climber, and an expert shot with the crossbow. In his time, the Habsburg emperors of Austria were seeking to dominate Uri, and Tell became one of the conspirators of Werner Stauffacher, vowing to resist Habsburg rule. Gessler, the newly appointed Austrian Vogt of Altdorf, raised a pole under the village lindentree, hung his hat on top of it, and demanded that all the townsfolk bow before the hat.
On 18 November 1307, Tell visited Altdorf with his young son and passed by the hat, publicly refusing to bow to it, and was arrested. Gessler—intrigued by Tell's famed marksmanship but resentful of his defiance—devised a cruel punishment. Tell and his son were to be executed. However, he could redeem his life by shooting an apple off the head of his son Robert in a single attempt. Tell split the apple with a bolt from his crossbow. Gessler then noticed that Tell had removed two crossbow bolts from his quiver. Before releasing him, he asked why. Tell was reluctant to answer, but after Gessler promised he would not kill him, he replied that had he killed his son, he would have killed Gessler with the second bolt. Gessler was furious and ordered Tell to be bound, saying that he had promised to spare his life, but instead would imprison him for the remainder of his life.
Tell was brought to Gessler's boat to be taken to the dungeon in the castle at Küssnacht. A storm broke on Lake Lucerne, and the guards were afraid that their boat would sink. They begged Gessler to remove Tell's shackles so he could take the helm and save them. Gessler gave in, but once freed, Tell led the boat to a rocky place and leapt from the boat. The site is already known in the "White Book" as the "Tellsplatte" ("Tell's slab"). Since the 16th century the site has been marked by a memorial chapel.
Tell ran cross-country to Küssnacht. As Gessler arrived, Tell assassinated him, using the second crossbow bolt, along a stretch of the road cut through the rock between Immensee and Küssnacht, now known as the Hohle Gasse. Tell's blow for liberty sparked a rebellion in which he played a leading part, leading to the formation of the Old Swiss Confederacy.
According to Tschudi, Tell fought again against Austria in the 1315 Battle of Morgarten. Tschudi also has an account of Tell's death in 1354, according to which he was killed trying to save a child from drowning in the Schächenbach River in Uri
In Greek and Roman texts, griffins and Arimaspeans were associated with gold. Indeed, in later accounts, "griffins were said to lay eggs in burrows on the grounds and these nests contained gold nuggets." Adrienne Mayor, a classical folklorist, proposes that the griffin was an ancient misconception derived from the fossilized remains of the Protoceratops found in gold mines in the Altai mountains of Scythia, in present-day southeastern Kazakhstan, or in Mongolia, though this hypothesis has been strongly contested as it ignores pre-Mycenaean accounts. In antiquity it was a symbol of divine power and a guardian of the divine.
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