Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (29 September 1547--22 April 1616) was a Spanish novelist, poet, and playwright. His magnum opus, Don Quixote, considered the first modern European novel, is a classic of Western literature, and is regarded amongst the best works of fiction ever written. His influence on the Spanish language has been so great that the language is often called la lengua de Cervantes ('the language of Cervantes'). He was dubbed El Prncipe de los Ingenios ('The Prince of Wits'). In 1569, Cervantes moved to Rome, where he served as a valet to Giulio Acquaviva, a wealthy priest who was elevated to cardinal the next year. By then, Cervantes had enlisted as a soldier in a Spanish Navy infantry regiment and continued his military life until 1575, when he was captured by Algerian corsairs. After five years of slavery he was released on ransom from his captors by his parents and the Trinitarians, a Catholic religious order.
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