Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, known as El Cid or El Cid Campeador (1040s – July 10, 1099), was a Castilian knight and warlord in Medieval Spain. He reclaimed the city of Valencia from Moorish control for a brief period during the Reconquista. After his death, El Cid was mythologized into an embodiment of Honor and Chivalry, similar to King Arthur, Charlemagne, or Saladin. This legendary version from epics like the 12th century Cantar de Mío Cid is the basis of the El Cid campaign in Age of Empires II: The Conquerors, rather than El Cid's historical career proper.
In Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings, El Cid appears as an infantry hero in the Scenario Editor with the image of a Champion. As a hero, he cannot be converted and regenerates health at a rate of 0.5 HP per second (since The Conquerors). In The Age of Kings, El Cid has the Champion's icon but in The Conquerors he receives a face portrait shared with Erik the Red and Harald Hardraade.
El Cid appears briefly in the beginning of the first and third scenarios of the El Cid campaign in The Conquerors. In both cases, El Cid is substitued by a mounted knight with a lance (similar to other campaign-only hero units), El Cid Campeador, after he comes near his horse, Babieca. Both El Cid and El Cid Campeador are key, must-survive units in the campaign.
|“||Spain is divided between Christian kingdoms to the north and Moorish kingdoms to the south. In the barren borderlands of Castille, Rodrigo Díaz, called El Cid, gains notoriety as a brilliant general and heroic crusader. The Cid is so popular among soldiers and peasant alike that the distrustful king of Castille sends him into exile. The Cid must join forces with his former enemies, the Moors, and fight against his beloved Castille. But an even greater threat waits across the sea in Africa, where fanatical Berber horsemen are eager to seize what the Moors could not.||”|
|—In-game campaign description|
- Brother against Brother (Spanish)
- The Enemy of my Enemy (Spanish)
- The Exile of the Cid (Saracens)
- Black Guards (Saracens)
- King of Valencia (Spanish)
- Reconquista (Spanish)
The campaign's story is narrated by El Cid's widow and successor as ruler of Valencia, Jimena of Asturias, a short time after his death.
- El Cid is the second hero in Age of Empires II who has two character models, after Joan of Arc. They are followed by Prithviraj in The Forgotten, Yodit in The African Kingdoms, and Le Loi in Rise of the Rajas.
- El Cid is the only non-anthology campaign in The Conquerors that actually takes place in the Middle Ages. Attila the Hun takes place in Late Antiquity, and Montezuma in the Modern Age.
- This is the first campaign to be narrated by a woman. The others are Alaric (in The Forgotten) and Ivaylo. All are narrated by the wives of the main subjects.
- This is also the first where the player changes civilizations between scenarios. The others are Dracula and El Dorado.
- Many characters in the original cutscenes resemble their versions in the 1961 movie El Cid, which was re-released a few years before Age of Empires II was produced.
- The campaign menu and cutscenes use oranges as motif, whose agriculture is associated with the Valencia region.
- The story of El Cid was a factor in Ensemble Studios's decision to include the Spanish as a playable civilization in The Conquerors, along with the possibility of using them in a campaign against the Aztecs. Their second option for a Western European civilization was the Italians.
- This campaign also made Ensemble consider the Moors as a civilization with a new Mediterranean building style shared with the Spanish and Italians, but it was dropped in favor of creating a Mesoamerican set. The Moors were then considered as a civilization with the Middle Eastern set, but were abandoned due to having four civilizations already, and the Saracens and Turks stood for them in the campaigns. Later on, The African Kingdoms introduced the Berbers as a Middle Eastern civilization, partly covering the Moors.
- "Cid" derives from the Arabic word Sidi, meaning "Lord" or "Master", while "Campeador" is from Medieval Latin Campidoctor, "Master of the Field" or roughly "Outstanding Warrior". El Cid's actual nickname in life was "El Campeador" (which he was given around the Battle of Golpejera), while Cid was a more generic term for battlefield commanders at the time.
- The campaign features gunpowder units extensively (notably Conquistadors and Cannon Galleons) due to the Spanish being a gunpowder-reliant civilization in the game, yet the campaign takes place before the use of gunpowder in Europe.
- Conquistadors are further referenced in the campaign icon, which features a Kettle hat similar to theirs, but this helmet was not popularized until about 100 years after El Cid. In Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition, both are changed to Spanish Morions, which are even more anachronistic.
- The campaign icon's shield is based on the arms of Castile and Leon, but with six quarters instead of four and the lions facing each other instead of being both to the left. They are corrected in the Definitive Edition, which also uses the arms of Castile and Leon as the Spanish civilization icon.
- It should be noted that heraldry didn't reach Spain until just after El Cid, although it obviously influenced the player color choices: El Cid uses Red (main color of the Castile banner), Sancho uses Yellow (second color of Castile), and Alfonso uses Blue (because of Leon's dark purple lion). Amusingly, later literary tradition claimed that El Cid's arms were mostly Yellow.
- Traditionally, El Cid was thought to be a 'self-made' Man-at-Arms from the lowest Castilian nobility because of how epics pitch him against the high Leonese nobility, perhaps with a recent illegitimate ancestor even. But genealogical and documentary research in the 21st century showed that he descended from the high Leonese nobility on both sides of his family. Thus while it is possible that he was born in Castile (according to tradition, in the village of Vivar), it is also possible that he ended up there as a result of his service to Sancho II.
- All contemporary historical sources (Christian, Muslim, pro-Cid, and anti-Cid) agree that he never lost a battle.