What is it about?

Bernardo del Carpio defends Spain against the French, and in the same fashion do Fierabras and the young Rodrigo Díaz. The recurring role of defender of Spain against French invasion is thus centuries long, it is attributed to different heroes representing distinct moments in history and is ultimately linked to Charlemagne's historical incursion in the eighth century.

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Why is it important?

The essay demonstrates that these epic stories are linked to a specific event in history, but they evolve over time and mutate as society changes. There is no indication that any of the sources are written or that the authors or their audiences ever see the world in wiring. These are oral narratives and as such highly mutable.


These heroes are linked here for the first time. Their stories share elements that are remarkably similar, but that similarity was not noted before, since they come from different periods and their deeds are recorded in very distinctive narrative forms; Latin prose, French epic poetry and Spanish epic poetry.

Matthew Bailey
Washington and Lee University

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This page is a summary of: The Heroic Stand of Bernardo (Fierabras and Rodrigo), Bulletin of Hispanic Studies, November 2019, Liverpool University Press, DOI: 10.3828/bhs.2019.61.
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