- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: Italica Press; illustrated edition edition (September 29, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0934977259
- ISBN-13: 978-0934977258
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 16 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #232,223 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Pilgrim's Guide to Santiago de Compostela Paperback – September 29, 2008
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"I heartily recommend this book as a first step with which to begin one's personal journey to Santiago de Compostela. It is chock full of useful information on the Camino, and, like a journey itself, it offers the traveler the opportunity to follow many interesting by-ways (whether geographical or bibliographical) along the way." -- Bryn Mawr Medieval Review, 95.5.7
"In some senses, the whole history of Iberian Catholicism can be recounted from the vantage point of this classical journey, as can much of European spirituality, iconography, and religious architecture. This English volume will be an important contribution to the rich library of Santiago literature." -- Cistercian Studies Quarterly, vol 32, no. 3, 1997
"Melczer's achievement here is to bring experience that is remote from and even alien to the modern temper vividly to life. it is a very pleasant surprise that will involve, instruct, intrigue and, perhaps, inspire." -- Small Press, Winter 1994
"William Melczer's book offers the first complete English translation of Book V of the famous Liber Sancti Jacobi. A very readable translation. is accompanied by a wealth of explanatory information: no fewer than 609 notesoffer the most thorough commentary the Pilgrim's Guide has ever been given. The particular emphasis given to the cult of the saints connected with the road to St. James, which has never been studied so thoroughly before, makes it a valuable addition to the existing literature on the cult of, and the pilgrimage to, St. James." -- Medium Aevum, vol. 64, 1995
From the Publisher
The medieval Christian world knew three major pilgrimage sites - Jerusalem, Rome, and Santiago de Compostela. Between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries Compostela was by far the most popular.
The pilgrimage to Compostela was a once-in-a-lifetime human adventure. Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims came year after year through France and across the Pyrenees to Santiago de Compostela near the Atlantic shores of Galicia in far western Spain. Through the EC designation of the pilgrimage route as a European Cultural Itinerary, it has once again become a major route for cultural and religious pilgrims and travelers.
A related title is "The Miracles of St. James."
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The translated work itself is only a small fraction of the total book. I urge you to go to the effort of reading the Notes to the Codex. Do this at least for the value for money in the experience since the Notes section is almost twice as long as the actual text. Even past that, I found the notes good reading, and only wish that they had been published in situ with the text and not at the back since it would have saved me a lot of really endless flipping back and forth.
The book is also published with a Hagiographical register of the relevant saints and a Gazetteer of the locations. Either of those sections might be of more use to the prospective pilgrim than is the text itself. I have to say that reading the Codex after I completed my trip made it funnier and more illuminating.
This is one of those fabled must-reads if you are interested in the Camino. If you aren't, it still might be interesting as an example of medieval travel writing. Melczer seems to do a good job with the book and the translation. Recommended.
This is a scholarly, extremely well documented book. The entire book is 345 pages. Of this, the actual translated Codex is 50 pages. The introduction and notes demonstrate a through knowledge the medieval pilgrimages. The book includes a haigographical register and gazetteer as well as bibliograpy and index. I had to go to my unabridged dictionary to find out that haigography is the study of saints. The gazetteer contains a short explanation if each place name. Both the haigraphical index and the gazetteer are quite helpful when doing any Camino reading.
This is not a book I would carry with me, but certainly one that is enjoyed after doing the Camino. For those who have time, it supplements any historical reading one may do before the Camino.
The medieval pilgrim's journey to Santiago begins at his doorstep, and continues on foot or horseback across France and Spain, following the routes of St. James. On the way, he stops at various towns to eat and rest, but more importantly to visit their saintly remains. Accordingly, Book V of the Codex Calixtinus details not only the route to Santiago and Santiago itself, but also the towns and the saints one must visit along the way. Chapters VII and VIII read like an ethnography of these towns, as they vividly describe the customs and habits of the townsmen and the narratives surrounding their saints. In a number of towns, monumental basilicas have been built over the relics as hagiographic markers, which attract pilgrims seeking spiritual power on their way to Santiago.
The author of Book V strikes a careful balance between content on the physical pilgrimage and the accompanying relics in order to provide the medieval pilgrim with the most practical advice. Because the Camino de Santiago involves the body and soul, the pilgrimage is not just about the destination, but the journey to the destination. Relics imbue the pilgrim with a steady source of divine power throughout the pilgrimage.