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Coat of arms of the House of Mendoza.


Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar y Mendoza, (c. 1466, Guadalajara – February 22, 1523, Valencia) was a Spanish noble of the House of Mendoza. He was the firstborn son of the powerful Cardinal Pedro González de Mendoza and went on to become the 1st Conde del Cid and the 1st Marquis of Cenete, a title he held from 1491 until his death.

Family origins

He was the firstborn son of Cardinal Pedro González de Mendoza and Mencía de Lemos and a member of the powerful House of Mendoza family. He was schooled by his father and his uncle Diego Hurtado de Mendoza y Quiñones. He was the brother of Diego Hurtado de Mendoza, 1st Count of Melito.


Rodrigo began his military career in the Granada War under the command of his uncle, Íñigo López de Mendoza y Quiñones, the 2nd Count of Tendilla.

In 1492, Rodrigo married Leonor de le Cerda in a secret wedding. They would go on to live in the Castle of Jadraque which belonged to her family. After her death in 1497, he went to Italy where he became familiar with the architecture of the Italian Renaissance.

After he returned to Spain, he married a second time with María de Fonseca y Toledo, ignoring the express wishes of the Isabella I of Castile who forbade the marriage. As punishment, he was incarcerated until the death of the queen in 1504.

Upon his release from prison, he commissioned Lorenzo Vázquez de Segovia to build his wife the magnificent Castillo de La Calahorra in the Province of Granada. Before long, he left the palace for his dominions in Ayora in the Province of Valencia due to a confrontation between him and his uncle, Íñigo López de Mendoza y Quiñones. Rodrigo was favored in the dispute by Philip I of Castile and Íñigo by Ferdinand II of Aragon. Rodrigo moved permanently to Valencia after his brother was named Viceroy. He played an active political and military role in the quelling of the Revolt of the Brotherhoods. He there displayed great diplomatic skill which in turn kept him in Valencia even after the death of his brother.

Marriage and Descendancy

With his second wife, María de Fonseca y Toledo:

  • Mencía de Mendoza, (1508–1554), campaigned for women's rights, renowned for her great sensibility and cultural prowess.
  • María de Mendoza, who inherited the titles of Marquis of Cenete and Conde del Cid, married Diego Hurtado de Mendoza, 4th Count of Saldaña, first-born son of Íñigo López de Mendoza, the Duke of the Infantado. The aforementioned titles would pass onto the Dukes of the Infantado.
Preceded by
Marquis of Cenete
Succeeded by
Diego Hurtado de Mendoza, 4th Count of Saldaña


  • Most of the information on this page was translated from its Spanish equivalent.
  • Nader, Helen (1985). Los Mendoza y el Renacimiento Español. Instituto Provincial de Cultura «Marqués de Santillana», Excma. Diputación de Guadalajara, Guadalajara.. ISBN 84-505-3156-X. 

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