Tizona, El Cid’s legendary sword

Tizona is the name of one of two swords wielded by the 11th century Spanish warrior Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar, known as El Cid. His second sword was named Colada. While the exploits of El Cid and Tizona are detailed in the epic poem, Mocedades de Rodrigo, the historical record is less complete.

For example, there is more than one sword that bears the name Tizona, which means burning stick or firebrand. One sword was ceremonial, with Castilian adornment; this sword is in the Army Museum in Madrid. Another was given by Fernando II of Aragon to the Marqueses de Falces; this sword is on display in the Museum of Burgos. The sword has two inscriptions, Medieval Castilian for “I am Tizona, made in the year 1040,” and Latin for “Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee.” A sample of the blade underwent metallurgical analysis confirming it was made in Moorish Cordoba in the 11th century and contained amounts of Damascus steel. However, the style of this second sword is that of other 15th century swords, bringing its 11th century origins into question. Some believe the sword is not Tizona, but Colada. To add to the confusion, the chain of custody of both swords is incomplete.

Where is the real Tizona? No one knows for sure, perhaps leaving open the possibility it could have been aboard a Spanish galleon overtaken by British pirates in 1531, and lost to the Outside World when it became the sword of the first King of Shalemar.

Tizona appears in Poetry of Days and Wonder of Days, books 2 and 3 of the Shalemar Trilogy.

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