The Legend of Bernardo del Carpio 16: Modern Adaptations

Section 1

Sobrabre y Aragon

According to the history of Sobrarbe (an utterly fictitious history of Aragon fabricated in the early Renaissance), after Charlemagne destroyed Pamplona, the Navarrese rebelled. King Fortunio of Sobarbe (r. 803-815), married the daughter of Galindo Aznar, allied with Alfonso against Charlemagne and Marsil, and fought in the Battle of Roncesvalles in 809, when Roland and the Peers were slain.1

1Franklin, Albert B. “A Study of the Origins of the Legend of Bernardo Del Carpio.” Hispanic Review 5, no. 4 (1937): 286-303. doi:10.2307/469961. p. 294-295.

Section 2:

History

1500’s historians took Bernardo as factual, except Ambrosio de Morales. Even he, however, though denying the bulk of the legends around him, admitted he was probably a real person. Pedro Mantuano, in 1611, was the first to deny all reality to the hero, though a few Spanish patriots held out for him until the end of the eighteenth century.

Section 3:

Chapbooks

Historia fiel y verdadera del valienta Bernardo del Carpio was the name of a chapbook circulating through the 1800s, by Manuel José Martín

The Portuguese Alejandro Caetano Gomes Flaviense wrote the Verdadeira Terciera Parte da Historia de Carlos-Magno em que se esvreven as gloriosas açoes e victorias de Bernardo del Carpio. É de como venceo em batallha os Doze Pares de França, con algunas particularidades dos Principes de Hispanha, seus povoadores è Reis preimeiros, in 1745, “for diversion during winter nights.” The book begins with the Creation of the World, the Deluge, the Tower of Babel, and the kings of Spain from the oldest legends down to Don Ramiro of Leon and his children Alfonso and Jimena. Bernardo is dubbed a knight by Sultan Orimandro of Persia, and has many extravagant adventures of Gomes’ own invention. After defeating Roldan in a duel, he returns to Spain, but is summoned therefrom to save the Pope from the invading Lombards. After his victory at Roncesvalles, he conquers the Moors of Catalonia and Aragon and kills Don Bueso (who in this book is Duke of Guyana, for some reason). Bernardo is buried at Aguilar de Camóo, and Gomes identifies him with Bernard of Septimania.2

Pelayo Ch. XXXI. He explains that Part One was the Portuguese translation of Nicolas de Piamonte’s Fierabras, by Jerónimo Moreira de Carvalho, who added Part Two out of his own head.

Section 4

Miscellaneous Adaptations, Literary

Lope de Vega’s Mocedades de Roldan includes a scene at the end when the Spanish ambassador to Charles’ court, admiring the young Roland, says that he will be a worthy rival to Alfonso’s nephew Bernardo del Carpio someday.

Alvaro Cubillo, El Conde de Saldaña, 1660. A reworking of Lope’s Mocedades, tightens the play up slightly, and omits such scenes as the lying-in of the Princess. Cubillo also wrote a sequel, Hechos de Bernardo, about Roncesvalles, which is devoid of merit.

Joaquín Francisco Pacheco, Bernardo, 1848. Spanish play. Based on Cubillo, with random changes of his own, and makes Bernardo the hero of the entirely unrelated legend that the Christians were obliged to pay a hundred damsels a year in tribute to the Moors until a hero put a stop to it.

Ventura Ruiz Aguilera and Francisco Zea, Bernardo de Saldaña, also 1848. “A historical drama.”

Henry F. Harrington: Bernardo del Carpio. An Historical Tragedy in Five Acts. English.

John Finnamore, Carpio: A Tragedy in Five Acts, 1875, English play.

George Washington Montgomery: Bernardo del Carpio: Novela Histórica, Caballeresca Original. Spanish novel.

Javier González Zaldumbide: El Señor del Carpio. 2008. Spanish historical fiction novel.

Section 5

Miscellaneous Adaptations, Popular

In San Lucas de Colán, Piura, Peru, the festivities of Our Lady of Mercy in early October feature a pageant in which Bernardo del Carpio fights the Moors. See here.

In the Philippines, Bernardo Carpio (who is either the same as the Spanish hero or else simply named after him) ends his career of extraordinary feats by being trapped between two mountains. His story has been retold in countless ballads, songs, and comic books, in innumerable versions. He is a giant, or simply an ordinary man with extraordinary strength. He is the son of Sancho and Jimena, or simply named after him. At any rate, he is the hero and protector of the Filipinos, until the Spanish hire a wizard to trap him in the mountains of Montalban (in the Philippines, now called Rodriguez, Rizal), where his attempts to escape cause earthquakes.

Let thus much suffice for the legend of Bernardo del Carpio.

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The Legend of Bernardo del Carpio 15: Siglo d’Oro Plays

SIGLO D’ORO PLAYS

There are four Siglo d’Oro plays about Bernardo del Carpio, full summaries of which follow.

Juan de la Cueva: Comedia de la Libertad de España por Bernardo del Carpio (1579-1581, printed 1583).

First edition: Comedias y tragedias 1583.

Reprinted 1917 by Icaza for the Sociedad de Bibliófilos Españoles.

Printed alone 1974, edited by Anthony Watson, Exeter Hispanic Texts, No. 8.

ACT I: King Alfonso broods on his wrongs and sends Count Tibalte to summon Doña Ximena. He has misgivings, but goes. Ximena is lamenting to her confidante, Doña Oliva, when Tibalte arrives. King Alfonso, meanwhile, is brooding on the weight of the crown when Ximena arrives. He accuses her of disgracing herself and her family, and tells her she will be sent to a nunnery. She asks him to take care of Bernardo, who is just a babe in Asturias. He agrees, and sends her away. The king next sends Count Tibalte to summon the Count of Saldaña.

ACT II: Count Tibalte is a friend of Saldaña’s, and wavers between the king and his friend, before deciding to follow the king’s orders. He and Doña Oliva love each other, and he does not tell her where he is going. Count Tibalte is greeted warmly by Saldaña, and they go to Alfonso’s court. Saldaña denies the king’s accusations of treason, but he never mentions Ximena or Bernardo during this entire scene. The king has him blinded and sent to the Castle of Luna. He then sends Count Tibalte to Asturias to fetch Bernardo, who will be reared at the king’s court as his bastard son. Continue reading

The Legend of Bernardo del Carpio 14: Wanderings and Death of Bernardo

WANDERINGS OF BERNARDO

PCG Chapter 655: Year 11 of Alfonso III’s reign (876). They say in cantares that Bernaldo went to France, where King Charles [presumably the Bald] welcomed him, but Timbor’s son rejected him. Despairing, Bernaldo left the court. Charles gave him horses and arms, but Bernaldo still ravaged the land as he returned to Spain, where he founds Canal de Jaca, marries Doña Galiana, daughter of Count Alardos de Latre, and begets on her Galín Galíndez, who grew up to be a fine knight in his own right. Bernardo fought three great battles against the Moors before his death. Some say that it was Alfonso III who fought at Ronçasvalles, but this is an error.

Chapter 656. Year 21 (887). Bernardo del Carpio died in France, as Don Lucas says [he says no such thing]. Perhaps he returned there after his time in Spain which we have already recorded.

The legend of the Carolingian Bernardo has been awkwardly made into a tacked-on sequel to the Carpian story. This account makes no sense where it is placed in the PCG. In the original Carolingian legend, these adventures likely took place immediately after Roncesvalles, as in Lucas; the king was likely Charlemagne; and the story of Count Sancho did not feature.

Estevan de Garibay (1628) in his Compendio historial de España claims that Bernardo wandered errant throughout France and Navarre until his death, after which his body was taken to Spain and buried in Aguilar de Campo.

The Legend of Bernardo del Carpio 13: Bernardo Frees His Father

BERNARDO FREES HIS FATHER

Section 1: Chronicles

Lucas never tells us what became of Count Sancho.

Rodrigo. Bernardo rebels against King Alfonso III after the battle of Toledo. To make peace, Alfonso releases the Count, alive and well, and Bernardo is reconciled with the king.

PCG: Year 11 of Alfonso the Great’s reign [876]. Alfonso’s men at last prevail upon him to release San Diaz. Bernaldo agrees to this, and hands over Orios Godos, Count Tiobalte, and his castle of El Carpio. Alfonso sends Orios and Tiobalte to fetch Count San Diaz, but they arrive three days after his death. They say in their songs that Alfonso ordered the corpse to be cleaned, mounted on a horse, and paraded before Saldaña. Bernardo surrendered the city and went forth to meet his father. When he realized he had been deceived, he rounded on the king with fury, and the king banished him again.

The Cuarta follows Rodrigo in sparing the Count’s life.

Section 2: Ballads

Burguillos Pidal Eruditos 10. “Los altos hombres del reino.”

Alfonso the Great’s men, seeing the damage done to their country, prevail upon him to make peace with Bernardo. Alfonso agrees, if Bernardo will render up El Carpio. He agrees, and Alfonso sends Don Tibalte and Arias Godos to Luna, where they find that the Count is dead. They wash his body, dress it up, and return to El Carpio with the body mounted on horseback. Bernardo kisses his father’s hand, discovers the trick, and laments. Alfonso banishes Bernardo from Spain, but gives him rich gifts and recommends that he go to his [Bernardo’s] kinsman King Charles of France, which he does.

The absurdity of Alfonso banishing Bernardo in one breath and showering him with good advice and gifts in the next is considered to be evidence that two stories have been combined here, one about Bernardo del Carpio, and one about Bernardo the Carolingian.

Lorenzo de Sepúlveda Durán 658, Class IV; Pidal Eruditos 15. “En Leon y las Asturias”

Alfonso III the Great reigns in Leon and Asturias. Bernardo asks for his father’s liberty. Alfonso refuses, and Bernardo revolts. The barons persuade Alfonso to release Count Sancho Diaz. Alfonso agrees, if Bernardo will render up El Carpio. He agrees, and Alfonso sends Don Tibalte and Don Arias to Luna, where they find that the Count is dead. They wash his body, dress it up, and invite Bernardo to the palace to see him. Bernardo kisses his father’s hand, discovers the trick, and laments.

Durán 656, Class VIII; Pidal Artificiosos 28a-b. “Antes que barbas tuviese”

28a=Durán 656, printed in the Romancero General de 1600.

28b is from Colombia, 1907. A fragment that only contains part of Bernardo’s rebuke.

Bernardo rebukes Alfonso for not releasing his father. Alfonso swears to release him before Mass is sung tomorrow in the Lateran. He does so, but first he blinds him.

Count Sancho is also blinded in the theater of Cueva, Lope, and Cubillo. Durán changes the ending to make Alfonso blind and kill the Count.1

1 Pidal, Rom. Trad. I, 258-259.

Durán 625, Class VIII; Pidal Artificiosos 20a-c. “Bañando están las prisiones”

Count Sancho Diaz, in prison, laments. “When I entered this castle, I had no beard; now it is long and white. My son, why do you not come save me? Are you a bad son, or am I a bad father? Have I done something to offend you? Oh, forgive me!”

Lockhart has translated Durán 625.

Pidal 20b and c are from oral tradition, where this ballad is combined with Con cartas y mensajeros (Pidal Primitivos 1i, 1j).

B, from Seville, 1916 [=Cartas I].

After Bernardo tells the king that he knew he was only joking, he departs for the castle of Luna. Inside the castle, the prisoner sings a version of Mes de mayo, mes de mayo. “In May, all are happy and joyful, save for myself, who lie here in prison, and know not whether it is night or day save by a bird that sings outside my window. But for three days I have not heard him. Tell me, what happened to him? The guards tell me I have a son called Bernardo, who has done mighty feats. My son, why do you not come free me?”

The singer had forgotten the rest of the verses, but Bernardo arrived at the castle, heard his father’s laments, and set him free.

C, from Seville, 1916 [=Cartas J].

When I came into this castle, I had no beard, but now it is long and white. I have a son, Bernardo, who has done great deeds, and conquered Alto Silverio, but why does he not come save me?” [The story then transitions to Con Cartas, in a version which ends ambiguously].

Lope de Vega adapts the ballad for his Mocedades de Bernardo. Alvaro Cubillo de Aragon, whose Conde de Saldaña is a reworking of Lope, transforms it almost beyond recognition. Lope returns to the theme, though this time without quoting the ballad, in his Casamiento en la Muerte.

Lope’s Mocedades has passed into Spanish folklore, with the tragic ending restored. In an oral prose version from Seville, 1920, Bernardo enters the Count of Saldaña’s prison cell to free him. The Count embraces his son, but dies of the emotion.

Gabriel Lasso de la Vega Durán 657, Class VIII; Pidal Artificiosos 29a-b. “Hincado está de rodillas”

Bernardo kneels before his father to kiss his hand, since Alfonso has mercifully freed him, but the hand is icy cold A, B. He laments A; he calls himself a bad son, and swears to avenge his father’s death, and leaves, trembling with anger, to seek Alfonso B.

Durán prints only B, which seems to be an expanded version of Gabriel Lasso’s original A.

Durán 659, Class VIII; Pidal Artifciosos 30. “Mal mis servicios pagaste” Printed in a broadsheet from 1595, and in the Romancero de 1600.

Bernardo laments, and storms out of the palace to raise a revolt, calling to his aid all his friends, both Christians and Moors.

Durán again alters the text, which is not quite clear in the original whether the Count is dead, or merely blinded.3

3 Pidal, Rom. Trad. I, 261.

Gabriel Lobo Laso de la Vega Durán 662, Class VIII; Pidal Artificiosos 32. “Aspero llanto hacia” The version in Gabriel’s MS of 1578 is longer than that which was published. We italicize the omitted parts.

Bernardo, safe at Carpio, plots vengeance on King Alfonso the Chaste. He wanders into a room where he finds an old and dusty harness that once was his father’s, and laments, in quatrains. This finished, he sallies forth with a fine helmet and sword, upon a light-brown steed with black caparison and all dressed in black armor. His lance is black, and his shield is black with a red heart on it. Three hundred noblemen follow him from El Carpio.

Durán 660, Class VIII; Pidal Artificiosos 33a-c. “Retraido en su aposento” Manuscripts only, earliest 1578.

Bernardo, in his own castle, arms himself, sighs, weeps, and laments. He begs his father’s pardon, says that if he had been a good son the Count would be avenged already, and swears vengeance on the king. He then puts mourning garb over his white armor. (He leaps to the saddle without need of stirrup C)

Durán 661, Class VIII; Pidal Artificiosos 36. “¡Inhumano rey Alfonso!” First printed in the Romancero General de 1605.

Bernardo rebukes his uncle King Alfonso of Leon and announces his intent to go to France and seek to serve King Charles, though they have been enemies before. He says that killing his father was an ill reward for all the times he had saved Alfonso, including giving him his horse at the Romeral, and killing the Paladins at Roncesvalles.

This ballad is interesting both for an allusion to Con cartas y mensajeros, and for being one of the few [only?] Siglo d’Oro retellings to acknowledge the Bernardo in France episodes in the PCG.

Combined with Durán 655 by Lockhart.

Durán 663, Class VIII; Pidal Artificiosos 35. “Las obsequias funerales” First printed in the Romancero General de 1600.

Bernardo, at the funeral, weeps by his father’s side, and laments, cursing King Alfonso.

This romance is very artificial and full of playing with conceits.

Durán 664, Class VIII; Pidal Artificiosos 34. “Al pie de un túmulo negro.” First printed in the Romancero General de 1600.

Bernardo, his kin and friends kneel by a black tomb in a church. It is that of Count Sancho. Bernardo laments. At last he rises, turns around, and, heedless of the holy place, rebukes King Alfonso the Chaste, in ottava rima. He says that he is the same Bernardo who single-handedly broke the power of Charlemagne (by killing the Peers) and he will avenge his father.

This seems to be the ballad translated by Lockhart, but he takes even more liberties than usual.

Section 3: Siglo d’Oro Plays

Vega Mocedades: After Bernardo returns in triumph from capturing El Carpio from the Moors, Alfonso tells him that his father is still alive, and that he will be freed if Bernardo does him one last favor: investigate the haunted castle of Luna. Bernardo is unable to persuade his superstitious squire to accompany him, and sets off alone. He hears Count Sancho lamenting and at first thinks he is a ghost. The prisoner explains that he is no ghost, however, but the Count of Saldaña, and tells his story. Bernardo realizes this must be his father, and offers to break him out, but the Count insists on obedience to the king, so Bernardo promises to get the king’s permission.

The king and his court are celebrating Saint John’s Day when Bernardo arrives with an army to demand his father’s freedom. Alfonso grants it, and Bernardo announces that this is a fitting end to THE YOUTH OF BERNARDO.

Vega Casamiento: At the castle, the jailer draws back a curtain to reveal the Count seated on a chair. Bernardo kneels and kisses his hand, only to find that he is dead. Bernardo, after he has lamented and somewhat recovered, asks where his mother is. She is immured in a nunnery that is attached to the castle. Bernardo forces the nuns to open the door and let him in, and he brings his mother, still unprofessed, out. He brings her to where the count is seated and joins their hands together. He asks his mother if she weds this man, and she says yes. He then asks his father if he weds this woman, and moves the corpse’s head up and down, “yes.” He announces that he is no longer a bastard, now that there has been A MARRIAGE IN DEATH.

According to Menéndez y Pelayo, this scene is as great as anything in Shakespeare, and deserves to be known to everyone by heart.

Section 4: Modern Adaptations

Felicia Hemans’ poem Bernardo Del Carpio is not a translation of any Spanish ballad.

The Legend of Bernardo del Carpio 12: Bernardo’s War Against Alfonso

CHAPTER XII

BERNARDO’S WAR AGAINST ALFONSO

Section 1: Chronicles

Lucas: After the battle of Toledo, Bernaldus built the castle of Carpio near Salamanca, and rebelled against King Alfonso, on account of his father’s imprisonment in the Castle of Luna. The Saracens seized this opportunity to attack Asturias and Leon and lay them waste with fire and sword. King Alfonso promised Bernaldus his father’s liberty if he would make peace, which he did, and they fought the battle of Polvoroso together [we are not told if the Count was actually freed.]

Rodrigo After the battle of Toledo, Berinaldus built the castle of Carpio in the land of Salamanca, and allied with the Saracens to harry Alfonso’s borders. [Some other?] Saracens seized this opportunity to attack Asturias and Leon and lay them waste with fire and sword. King Alfonso promised Berinaldus his father’s liberty if he would make peace. So it was done, and the Count was freed. Alfonso and Berinaldus fought the battle of Polvoroso.

PCG For two years after the Pentecost Court, Bernardo strengthens his position, joined by men from Benavente, Toro, and Zamora. In the 10th year of Alfonso III’s reign [875], Bernaldo marches on Salamanca. He advances with a small division, and then retreats, luring Alfonso’s troops into an ambush, where Orios Godos and Count Tiobalte are captured. Bernaldo then founds El Carpio near Salamanca. He makes alliance with the Muslims and raids Asturias and Leon, prompting Alfonso to lay siege to El Carpio. Bernaldo proposes to trade Orios Godos and Count Tiobalte for his father, but Alfonso refuses. Bernaldo, in revenge, raids Salamanca, but cautions his men not to go overboard plundering it, lest there be nothing left to take in the future.

Section 2: Ballads

Burguillos Pidal Eruditos 9. “De Salamanca partía” Only the first four lines survive.

Bernardo del Carpio leaves Salamanca, cursing King Alfonso the Great.

Burguillos was the only Siglo d’Oro writer to think this part of the story worth adapting, unless Pidal’s theory that By the Rivers of Arlanza is a very free retelling thereof is correct.

The Legend of Bernardo del Carpio 11: The Pentecost Court and Bernardo’s Banishment

CHAPTER XI

THE PENTECOST COURT AND BERNARDO’S BANISHMENT

Section 1: Chronicles

Lucas and Rodrigo: Give no details, only saying that Bernardo rebelled after the Battle of Toledo, and that he made peace before the battle of Polvorosa.

PCG: Year 8 of Alfonso the Great’s reign [873]. King Alfonso held court at Pentecost, to which came, among others, Orios Godos and Tiobalt. But Bernaldo did not come, until the Queen promised him that she would ask for his father’s liberty. He came, and she asked, but Alfonso refused, and Bernaldo denounced and insulted him in front of the whole court, reminding him of all his faithful service, prompting Alfonso to banish him. His kinsmen Blasco Meléndez, Suero Velásquez, and Nuño de Leon leave with him. They retreat to Saldaña, where they make war against Alfonso for two years.

Ocampo: Year 36 of Alfonso the Chaste’s reign, the fifth of Louis the Pious, AD 815 [really 818]. Continue reading

Bernardo del Carpio 9: Battles of Bernardo

CHAPTER IX

THE BATTLES OF BERNARDO

Lucas, Rodrigo, and the PCG insert Bernardo del Carpio into various historical battles fought by King Alfonso III, though it is impossible to reconcile their chronologies.

LUCAS

RODRIGO

PCG

Toledo

Toledo

Toledo

Benevento and Zamora

Bernardo’s Rebellion

Bernardo’s Rebellion

Saracens raid Asturias and Leon

Bernardo and Saracens raid Ast. and L.

Polvorosa and Valdemoro

Polvorosa and Valdemoro

Polvorosa and Valdemoro

Zamora

Zamora

Ymundar and Alcatenel

Bernardo’s Rebellion

Bernardo and Saracens raid Ast. and L.

SECTION I

BATTLE OF TOLEDO

Lucas and Rodrigo copy their accounts of this battle from their sources, and only add a sentence about Bernardo at the end. Quite possibly that sentence is not meant to refer to Toledo specifically, but to all Alfonso’s previously related battles.1 The PCG adds no information. The Tercera, while attributing many of the Great’s battles to the Chaste, keeps this one in its proper place, dating it to Alfonso III’s 4th year, AD 840, (869).

Katherine P. Oswald, “The Formation and Transmission of the Legend of Bernardo del Carpio” (PhD diss., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2015), pp. 100-101.

SECTION II

BATTLES OF POLVOROSA AND VALDEMORA

Subsection 1: Chronicles

Chronica Albeldense: Also called the Epitome Ovediense, written 881. Almundar, son of King Mohamat, leads an army from Cordova to Astorga and Leon. Part of his army is attacked at Polvorosa on the Órbigo by King Alfonso III, who killed almost 13,000 Moors. When the news reached Almundar, he retreated.

Chronicon de Sampiro: (c. 1000). One army leaves Cordova, followed shortly by another from other cities. Alfonso, after praying, kills 12,000 men of this second army, at Polvorosa on the Órbigo. The first army, hearing the news, flees toward Valdemora, but Alfonso kills all save ten of them. No Muslim names are given.

Historia Silense: Copied directly from Sampiro, only making the Muslims flee from Valdemora instead of towards it.

Lucas: Based on Silense. One army divides itself. Alfonso slaughters one division of 12,000 Moors at Polvorosa, killing all but ten, while Bernardo makes the others flee from Valdemora.

Rodrigo: One army divides itself. Bernardo slaughters the Moors at Valdemora, while Alfonso meets 12,000 at Polvorosa, by the banks of the Órbigo, and kills all but ten.

PCG: Bernardo defeats the Moors at Valdemoro in Polvorosa, while Alfonso slaughters 12,000 by the Órbigo.2

2 Oswald, pp.104-106.

Alfonso’s men appear to have garbled their sources. The Tercera moves this battle from the reign of Alfonso the Great to that of the Chaste, his 34th year, AD 813 (815). The Cuarta duplicates it, faithfully copying the Tercera’s account for King Alfonso the Chaste, and then following Rodrigo’s account (Bernardo kills them in Valdemora, while Alfonso kills them in Polvorosa) in the reign of Alfonso the Great.

In Lucas, these battles come about because of the Saracen raid into Asturias and Leon which they do to take advantage of the chaos caused by Bernardo’s rebellion.

In Rodrigo (and hence the Cuarta), Bernardo allies with the Saracens and invites them in, after which Alfonso frees his father. Bernardo then turns on his former allies, leading to these two battles.

In the PCG and the TCG, these battles just happen, as part of the endless back-and-forth between the Christians and the Infidels.

Subsection 2: Ballads

Burguillos Durán 631, Class V; Pidal Eruditos 5. “No cesando el Casto Alfonso”

Alfonso continues fighting against the Moors, and a great host of them enters his kingdom. One goes to Polvoreda, the other to King Alfonso. Alfonso splits his army in two, and sends one under Bernardo to Polvoreda, where they slaughter them all in Val de Moro, on the border with Portugal. King Alfonso slaughters 12,000 of the other band by the river Duero, then returns to Oviedo.

SECTION III

BATTLE OF ZAMORA

Subsection 1: Chronicles

Chronicon de Sampiro: (c.1000). A Muslim army besieges Zamora. Alfonso gathers his army, but they quarrel among themselves. Nonetheless, by God’s mercy, Alfonso kills Alchaman, and the Christians are reunited. No treaty is mentioned.

Historia Silense: Copied directly from Sampiro.

Lucas: A Muslim army besieges Zamora. Alfonso gathers his troops, attacks, and wins, in large part due to Bernardo. Alchaman the prophet dies. Alfonso signs a treaty with the Muslims afterwards.

Rodrigo: A Muslim army besieges Zamora. Alfonso sends word to his vassals, who join him for the battle, including Bernardo. Alchaman the prophet dies. Alfonso signs a treaty with the Muslims afterwards.

PCG: Alchaman’s army besieges Zamora. Alfonso sends to his vassals for aid, but can only bring a few soldiers himself, as the rest were gone home after Benavente. Bernardo comes with a great army, and personally kills Alchaman the prophet. Alfonso signs a treaty with the Muslims afterwards.3

3 Oswald, pp. 108 seq.

Subsection 2: Ballads

Burguillos Durán 629; Class IV; Pidal Eruditos 4 (part 2) “Ya pasados pocos dias” King Almaza of Badajoz lays siege to Zamora. Alfonso rides to raise the siege, is nearly captured, but is saved by Bernardo, who asks for his father’s liberty. Alfonso refuses.

Burguillos’ ballad tells of both the battle of Benavente and the battle of Zamora. Timoneda divided it in two for his Rosa Española.

SECTION IV

BATTLE AGAINST YMUNDAR AND ALCATENETEL

In Lucas, this battle follows that of Zamora. In Silense and Rodrigo, it precedes that of Toledo, Bernardo does not appear, and the Muslim leaders escape the battle.4 As it is not in the PCG, no ballads were ever made about it (to my knowledge. At least Durán includes none, even in his section on non-Bernardine ballads of Alfonso II).

4 Oswald, p. 113.

SECTION V

THE BATTLE OF BENAVENTE

Is found only in the PCG. Lucas and Rodrigo know nothing of it.

Burguillos Durán 628, Class IV; Pidal Eruditos 4 (part 1). “Hueste saca el rey Ores”

King Ores of Mérida besieges Benavente. Alfonso rides to raise the siege, but is surrounded, until Bernardo arrives and rescues him. Bernardo kills King Ores and routes the Moors, but Alfonso will not free his father.

Burguillos’ ballad tells of both the battle of Benavente and the battle of Zamora. Timoneda divided it in two for his Rosa Española.

The Legend of Bernardo del Carpio 10: Adventures of Bernardo

SECTION I

BERNARDO AND DON BUESO

Subsection 1: Chronicles

PCG Chapter 651: Year 7 of Alfonso III’s reign [872]. Don Bueso of France invades Spain. King Alfonso meets him in battle by Ordeion in Castile, near castle Amaya. Some say in their cantares segund cuenta la estoria that Buseo was Bernaldo’s cousin. Bernaldo killed Bueso in the fray. After the battle, Bernaldo kissed Alfonso’s hand and asked for the liberty of his father, and called to mind all the times he had helped him against the Moors. But Alfonso refused, and Bernaldo renounced his service for a year.

Ocampo places the story in the 35th year of Alfonso the Chaste’s reign, the fourth of Louis the Pious, AD 814 [really 817].

Subsection 2: Ballads

Burgillos Durán 630, Class IV; Pidal Eruditos 6. “Estando en paz y sosiego”

Don Bueso of France invades Alfonso the Chaste’s lands. Bernardo leads the Spanish army to fight the French near Osejo in Castile. Bernardo kills Bueso in the battle, and the French flee. Alfonso, in gratitude, promises to free Bernardo’s father, but when he is back in safety, changes his mind. Bernardo, sorrowful, refuses to serve at court any longer.

Those scholars who believe that Bernardo was formed from two or three legends disagree as to which included the story of Don Bueso. Horrent ascribes it to the Carpian story; most others to the Carolingian.

SECTION II

OTHER ADVENTURES

Bernardo and Urgel “En la cortes de León.” Wolf 14, Class II. Pidal Romances Viejos 3. First printed in a broadside c. 1560-1565.

King Alfonso holds court in Leon, and the knights are making merry with various games, when a stranger rides into the hall, and issues a challenge. Let anyone ride with him to the forest, and he will prove that he is a better knight and serves a better king. By his discourteous words, they know him to be Don Urgel el Esforzado [literally: The Striving], one of the Twelve Peers. None dare to challenge him, and their cowardice makes Alfonso fume and the ladies weep. At last Alfonso goes to look for Bernardo, and finds him in the great church, praying to Saint James. King Alfonso explains the situation. Bernardo asks for his father’s liberty, which Alfonso promises. Bernardo dons his armor and jousts against Urgel. Their combat continues for three hours. Bernardo invites the Frank to surrender, but Urgel answers that while he can die in battle, he cannot live with dishonor, and expires from loss of blood. Bernardo thus humiliated France, as he would later do at Roncesvalles.

This romance was doubtless written to be printed as a broadside. Pidal thinks it inspired by Bernardo’s combat with Don Bueso and the legend of El Reto de Zamora [The vows of Zamora].1 This Urgel may be supposed to be Ogier the Dane, though that knight is usually known as Urgel de las Marchas in Spanish, and, of course, Ogier did not die but was taken by Morgan le Fay to Avalon.

1 Pidal. Romancero Tradicional vol. I. p. 194.

Perhaps this ballad was the inspiration for Durán 422, wherein a Moor named Urgel is slain by Bradamante.2

2 Milá y Fontanals, Manuel. De La Poesia Heroico-Popular Castellana. Barcelona, 1959. “Obras de Manuel Milá y Fontanals I. [orig. pub. 1874]. p. 585.

Lucas Rodriguez: Bernardo and Estela Durán 632, Class VIII; Pidal Artificiosos 1. “Con ansia extrema y lloroso” Printed 1584.

The Moors lay siege to Bernardo’s castle of El Carpio, where his beloved Estela is. He arrives, and learns the current situation from his friend Ascanio. He proceeds to save the day.

This is an invention of Rodriguez’ from beginning to end. Estela and Ascanio are completely unknown outside of this ballad.

Bernardo and His Nurse Pidal Artificiosos 27. “¡Altas y soberbias torres” From a Chilean manuscript dated 1605.

Bernardo curses the high and proud towers on the borders of France, with the cypress trees under their walls, where his lady Doña Blanca is imprisoned, she who raised him at her breast to make him a son of Spain. The towers and walls guard her unjustly, for she is without guilt. He swears that he will never forgive them, and they only way they can prevent him from avenging and freeing her is for them to kill him and her both.

Lucas Rodriguez: Bernardo and Lepolemo Durán 644, Class VIII; Pidal Artificiosos 1. “Cuando el padre Faeton” or “La mañana de San Juan”. First printed in a broadside c. 1570.

On Saint John’s Day [June 24] in the morning, three damsels ride, weeping, through the forest, with four squires before them. They meet Bernardo, and tell him their woe: Lepolemo has killed their brother and occupied their castle. Bernardo kills him and restores their castle.

There is no traditional basis for this ballad. It is merely the sort of adventure that happens to Amadis or Lancelot every day.

SECTION III

LA CASA DE CELOS

This insipid play by Miguel de Cervantes is generally regarded as one of his worst works, and I see no reason to challenge that opinion. Full title, Comedia Famosa de la Casa de los Celos y Selvas de Ardenia [“Famous Comedy of the House of Jealousy and the Forest of Arden”]

ACT I: Reinaldos complains to Malgesi that Roldan and Galalon were making fun of his poverty. Roldan and Galalon enter, and Reinaldos confronts them. Galalon slips away, leaving Roldan to deny the accusations. Galalon returns with Charlemagne, but explanations are interrupted by a page announcing the arrival of Angelia. Charlemagne bids Malgesi scry her motivations, and Malgesi summons a demon who presents, in phantasm, Angelica, two savages in grass skirts who guard her, and her duenna. Malgesi admits he does not know who they are, and the phantasms vanish. Then the visitors enter in the flesh, and Angelica tells her sad story, how she, King Galafrone’s daughter and heir, has been exiled, and how her brother Argalía will be waiting by Merlin’s Postilion for challengers, and any he can conquer must help them reclaim their kingdom. The train leaves, and Roldan and Reinaldos immediately begin quarreling over Angelica. Malgesi informs the court that Angelica intends to kidnap the Peers with help of her brother’s magic lance, but the love-besotted court ignore him.

Bernardo del Carpio and his Biscayan squire rest in the Forest of Arden where they are seeking the tomb of the demon-born wizard Merlin. As the squire departs in search of Ferraguto, Bernardo’s friend from whom they have been separated, Bernardo unwittingly falls asleep beside Merlin’s Postilion, which is also his tomb. Argalía enters, monologues, and exits. Angelica and her train arrive, Argalía reenters, and all retire to their pavilion. Merlin’s ghost arises, predicts Bernardo’s future glory, and bids him enter his tomb under the postilion. Bernardo does so. Reinaldos arrives and lays down to sleep. Roldan arrives and falls asleep, too. Reinaldos awakes, listens to Roldan sleeptalk about Angelica, awakens him and challenges him to a duel. As they draw their swords, fire erupts between them. Roldan accuses Reinaldos of relying on Malgesi’s magic, but Reinaldos denies it. Merlin speaks, bidding Bernardo make peace between the cousins. Bernardo tries but fails, and Roldan calls him a marrano [crypto-Jew]. Bernardo now wants to fight them both, but at this juncture Marfisa enters on the hilltop at the back of the stage, sees the fight, and wishes to join. She exits to make her way down the mountain, and Angelica and the Biscayan enter on the ground, Angelica lamenting that Ferraguto has slain her brother. Roldan now wishes to fight Bernardo for being Ferraguto’s friend. Marfisa’s arrival distracts the men and lets Angelica run away. The cousins pursue her, leaving Marfisa to introduce herself to Bernardo.

ACT II: Shepherds exposit their romantic problems and extol country life, until Angelica arrives among them seeking shelter, which they grant.

Elsewhere, Reinaldos comes to a horrible cave, out of which Malgesi comes, disguised as Horror. He shows Reinaldos a pageant of Fear, Suspicion, Curiosity, Despair, and Jealousy. This fails to cure Reinaldos’ love, at which Malgesi professes bafflement, but Merlin’s voice tells him that he needs the grass which grows by the banks of his spring, the one which cures love. Malgesi dismisses the spirits and heads to Merlin’s tomb to get the grass. However, Venus arrives at this juncture, riding in a fiery chariot drawn by two lions. She has heard of Reinaldos’ condition and summons Cupid, who tells her about the nearby spring that cures love. Reinaldos (it is unclear if he can see the deities) leaves, and the shepherds (whom Angelica has now joined) arrive. They can definitely see them, and do them homage. Venus resolves their romantic problems, and all exeunt content.

Bernardo and his squire find Roldan. Bernardo challenges him, but Roldan has gone mad and doesn’t remember him. A vision of Angelica appears, which Roldan pursues, only for her to turn into Ill Fame, who threatens him in a long monologue which cures his madness. Roldan now recognizes Bernardo, but Marfisa’s entrance at this point somehow causes Roldan to relapse. He chases another vision of Angelica, which turns into Good Fame, whose long monologue effects a longer-lasting cure. All depart, heading for Paris.

ACT III: The shepherds prate of country things until Reinaldos stumbles upon them, causing Angelica to flee. However, Reinaldos soon hears her cries for help, as she has been captured by two satyrs. He is too late to save her, and they kill her. Luckily, Malgesi reveals it was all one of his illusions, and Reinaldos is cured. At Paris, Galalon and Charles receive Marfisa and Bernardo, who announce that Marfisa will be challenging all comers at Merlin’s Postilion.

Meanwhile, in Arden, Roldan and Ferraguto enter, quarreling over Ferraguto’s killing of Argalía. Ferraguto leaves, swearing to settle the issue later. Roldan sees a vision of Angelica and throws himself at her feet. But it is Malgesi’s illusion, and Malgesi now cures Roldan’s love, and they depart for Paris. Bernardo and Marfisa arrive at Merlin’s Postilion and set up camp, and Galalon arrives to challenge the woman. However, Malgesi sends the satyrs to carry him off. Marfisa and Bernardo marvel at this turn of events, then Bernardo goes to sleep. The Spirit of Castile arrives to prophecy Bernardo’s glory and to carry him away, leaving Marfisa more baffled than ever. She resolves to get out of this enchanted forest and seek Agramonte’s camp.

Elsewhere, Angelica proposes to Corinte, one of the shepherds, and they make their plans to return to Cathay and reign thereover. Unfortunately, Roldan and Reinaldos find them, and immediately begin fighting over her, which causes Corinte to flee in a panic. Malgesi sends a magic cloud to envelop the three remaining figures, and the scene changes.

Galalon, with his arm in a sling, tells Charles that he has conquered Marfisa. Malgesi arrives with Galalon’s battered shield, and Galalon slinks away before Malgesi can reveal the truth. Roldan, Reinaldos, and Angelica arrive in the cloud. Angelica is furious about being separated from her lover, but Malgesi summons the spirit of Paris, who proclaims the imminent war, which finally convinces the cousins to forget Angelica and get ready for battle. The play ends here.

The Legend of Bernardo del Carpio 8: Bernardo Learns His True Identity

Section I: Chronicles

Lucas: Says nothing.

Rodrigo: Ditto

PCG: In the 28th year of Alfonso’s reign, the 13th of Charlemagne’s, AD 808, [813] two of Bernardo’s kinsmen, Blasco Meléndez and Suero Velásquez, having sworn an oath to Alfonso not to tell Bernardo about Count Sancho, make a plan with two of their kinswomen, Maria Meléndez and Urraca Sánchez. The women play at tablas [prob. backgammon] with Bernardo, let him win, and then inform him how his father languishes in durance vile. Benardo asked Alfonso for his father’s liberty, which was refused, but Bernardo swore he would nonetheless stay faithful to his king.

Ocampo: Omits the game of tables, and makes the women tell Bernardo directly.

Section II: Ballads

Burguillos “En corte del casto Alfonso” Durán 626, Class I; Wolf 9, Class I; Pidal Eruditos 3a-3b. Found in the Cancionero sin año, Cancionero de 1550, Silva I.
3a is the printed version.
3b is from a MS.

Bernardo, living at Alfonso’s court, does not know his father is imprisoned, though everyone else does. Two courtiers, Vasco Melendez and Suero Velazquez, tell two noblewomen, Urraca Sanchez and Maria Melendez, to tell Bernardo the truth. Bernardo storms to the throne room, so angrily that Alfonso thinks he has come to kill him. But Bernardo merely asks humbly for the release of his father. Alfonso swears it will never be done while he [Alfonso] lives. Bernardo swears to serve the king loyally until he earns his father’s pardon. But King Alfonso had always loved Bernardo, who thought he was his son.

Pidal’s 3b omits the last few lines of exposition about Alfonso and Bernardo’s relationship.

Lorenzo de Sepúlveda Durán 6, Class IV; Pidal Eruditos 13. “En Luna está preso el Conde.”

The Count has long been imprisoned in Luna. Bernardo knows nothing of this. Two damsels break King Alfonso’s orders and tell Bernardo the truth. He laments, then goes before the king. Alfonso thinks Bernardo has come to kill him, but he merely asks for his father’s liberty. Alfonso swears it will never be done while he [Alfonso] lives. Bernardo swears to serve the king loyally until he earns his father’s pardon.

Gabriel Lobo Lasso de la Vega (perhaps) Durán 624, Class VIII. Pidal Artificiosos 21. “Contándole estaba un dia.” Printed in the Romancero general de 1600, in broadsides from 1638, 1677.

Elvira Sanchez, Bernardo’s nurse, tells him that he is not really King Alfonso’s bastard son. He is the son of the lawfully married Count Sancho Diaz of Saldaña and the king’s sister Jimena. The Count is imprisoned in the castle of Luna, and the princess in a nunnery. Bernardo is the rightful heir to the throne, though Alfonso wishes to leave it to the French. Bernardo rebukes her for not telling him sooner, and swears to set them free. Elvira says she was afraid of the tyrant Alfonso. Bernardo looks to heaven and weeps, and swears mighty oaths to free his father.

This ballad has no author given in the old copies, but it was printed alongside four other works of Gabriel Lobo. Whoever the author was, he was likely responsible for the unique details of this version.

Section III: Plays

De la Cueva.

Before the battle of Roncesvalles, Suero Velazquez and Velasco Melendez tell Bernardo that Alfonso is planning to give the kingdom to Charlemagne, and then Maria Melendez and Urraca Sanchez, (who are both nuns in this play) tell him of his father’s true identity, without a backgammon game. Bernardo is shocked, but swears to foil Charlemagne’s plans and free his parents. He enters Alfonso’s presence with a great retinue, enough to unnerve Alfonso. Bernardo explains that he intends to stop Charles. Alfonso is at last persuaded to retract his offer to Charles and promised to free Count Sancho. The play ends, however, without us ever learning if he keeps his promise

Lope de Vega’s Mocedades de Bernardo goes completely off the rails of the traditional story. Bernardo, having been raised by Don Rubio, is a holy terror, and exasperates his foster father to the point that he calls him a bastard. Bernardo is taken in by King Alfonso, who reveals that he is his nephew, but no more, and dubs him a knight. At the festivities, Bernardo chases away a Moorish ambassador and insults his cousin Don Ramiro, who claimed a higher seat at the table than him. Bernardo flees the court to El Carpio, currently held by the Moors, and offers them his sword. They, remembering his conduct to their ambassador, welcome him with a smile while plotting to kill him. Bernardo foils their plans and drags them captive back to Alfonso, who reveals that his father is alive, and then asks Bernardo to do him a favor and investigate the haunted castle of Luna, which Bernardo sets off to do.

Lope’s Casamiento opens with Bernardo already aware (before Roncesvalles) of his heritage.

Origins and Influence

Galien li Restore learns his true parentage under similar circumstances to Bernardo; his uncle calls Galien a bastard after losing to him at chess. In the Crónica de 1344, Mudarra, half-brother to the Seven Sons of Lara, learns his true parentage after beating the King of Segura at backgammon.1

Katherine P. Oswald, “The Formation and Transmission of the Legend of Bernardo del Carpio” (PhD diss., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2015), p. 177.

The Legend of Bernardo del Carpio 7: Bernardo at Roncesvalles

Section 1: Chronicles

Lucas While Bernardo was making ready for war, Charles was besieging Tudela, which he would have captured if not for Galalon’s treason. Charles did, however, take Nájera and Monte Jardín, and then prepared to return to France.

The barbarian King Marsil of Saragossa rallied an army of Saracens and allied with Bernardo and his Navarrese, and fell on the Frankish rear as they passed through Rocidevallis, killing Prefect Rodlandus of Brittany, Count Anselm, Egiardus the Steward, and many more. King Charles later had his revenge on the Saracens, killing a great number of them, [it is not clear if this is the second battle in the Song of Roland or an entirely new expedition]. After his revenge Charles went on pilgrimage to Saint James, made peace with King Alfonso, rebuilt the city of Iria, and obtained from Pope Leo III for Compostela to be elevated to a metropolitan [archbishopric]. He then returned to Germany with Bernaldus and died soon after, at Aix, where he was buried. Bernaldus served in the imperial household even after Charlemagne’s death, under Louis the Pious (814-840) and Lothair I (840-855).

Emperor Charles III (the Fat, not the Simple, r. 881-888) invaded Spain, attacking Christians and Muslims alike [this never happened], but Bernaldus raised an army of Christians and allied with King Muza of Saragossa, and turned back Charles’ army before they had even crossed the Pyrenees. Charles made alliance with Alfonso, who restored the Mozarabic rite in the churches of Spain. Charles went on pilgrimage to Santiago and San Salvador, and obtained from Pope John Metropolitan [archepiscopal] privileges for those two sites. Bernaldus returned to his fatherland, laden with spoils. Lucas explains that there were three Emperors named Charles: Charles the Great, who lived in the days of Pope Leo and Alfonso the Chaste; another Charles who lived in the days of Pope John, and Charles the Hammer, who succeeded him. Continue reading