The Legend of King Roderick
and Florinda La Cava

Julian, a trusted Count of the Visigoths, held the fortress of Ceuta (the mountain opposite Gibraltar) in 711. His beautiful daughter, Florinda, or "La Cava", lived at court in Toledo. The legend is that Florinda was bathing in the rio Tajo near Toledo with her maidens, while King Roderick watched from a hiding place in dense ivy (or behind a trellis), where "love, with beating wings, inflamed him"*.

He "seduced" Florinda. In revenge, Count Julian secretly invited the Muslim Arabs to invade Spain.

Roderick led his army to meet the Moors in a royal state, wearing his gold crown and silken-embroidered robe, on a litter pulled by two white mules. When Count Julian defected the Muslims routed the Visigoths.

Alone upon the battle ground, beneath a dying star,

Rodrigo stood in bleak despair, his hosts were scattered far;

The King leapt onto his horse Orelia and fled the disastrous battlefield. 

Alone, he laments:

Last night I was the King of Spain, today no fief command,

Last night fair castles held my train, today bereft I stand,

The sun shall set forever on my kingdom and my reign,

The dawn will find no trace of me throughout this vast domain.

His jewels and robes were found on the bank of a blood-filled river, along with Orelia, but his body was never found.

Contact WebMaster