Miracles of St. James and safe conduct of the Catholic Monarchs

Spain — 15th century

Miracles of St. James and safe conduct of the Catholic Monarchs

Miracles of St. James and safe conduct of the Catholic Monarchs

Alternative Titles:
  • Milagros de Santiago Apóstol y Salvoconducto de los Reyes Católicos
  • Wunder von St. James und sicheres Geleit der katholischen Könige
Miracles of St. James and safe conduct of the Catholic Monarchs – 7455|Carpeta nº 9, nº 27 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
Miracles of St. James and safe conduct of the Catholic Monarchs – 7455|Carpeta nº 9, nº 27 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
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  1. Short Description
  2. Codicology

Short Description

A pilgrimage to the tomb of St. James in Spanish Santiago de Compostela is among the greatest experiences in the life of a Christian today. In the 15th century, this pilgrimage to the north-westernmost corner of Spain was a special adventure. Many dangers awaited them on the way to the tomb of St. James. The Safe Conduct of the Catholic Monarch served as a valuable letter of safe conduct for the Christian pilgrims. Further information for the pilgrim’s journey was offered by the famous 12th century Libre Sancti Iacobi (also known as the Codex Calixtinus), which served the pilgrims as a valuable guidebook in a 15th century Spanish translation. This pilgrim’s guide, along with Safe Conduct of the Catholic Monarch, offers a direct glimpse into the charm of a 15th century pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela!

Miracles of St. James and Safe Conduct of the Catholic Monarchs

A pilgrimage to the tomb of St. James in Spanish Santiago de Compostela is among the greatest experiences in the life of a Christian today. In the 15th century, this pilgrimage to the north-westernmost corner of Spain was a special adventure. Many dangers awaited them on the way to the tomb of St. James. The Safe Conduct of the Catholic Monarch served as a valuable letter of safe conduct for the Christian pilgrims. Further information for the pilgrim’s journey was offered by the famous 12th century Libre Sancti Iacobi (also known as the Codex Calixtinus)**, which served the pilgrims as a valuable guidebook in a 15th century Spanish translation. This pilgrim’s guide, along with the Safe Conduct of the Catholic Monarch, offers a direct glimpse into the charm of a 15th century pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela!

A Dangerous Journey

Since at least the 12th century, the pilgrimage to the tomb of St. James in Spanish Santiago de Compostela belonged among the greatest experiences in the life of a Christian. That the way of the pilgrims was not always easy or safe is attested to by the so-called charters of safe conduct. With these letters of safe passage, which identified one as a pilgrim, it was possible to move through foreign territories unmolested. A particularly significant specimen of a letter of safe conduct is stored today in the archives of the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral: Safe Conduct of the Catholic Monarch.

Pilgrims under the Protection of the Kings

This pass or letter of safe conduct, known as Salvoconducto de los Reyes Católicos a todos los cristianos, extranjeros o nacionales, que acudan en peregrinación a Santiago, guaranteed a safe journey to the pilgrims under the protection of the kings through the not-always safe regions along the Way of Saint James. Thus the Christian pilgrims were recognized and treated as such, which also lends the letter of safe passage another function as an important political guide book. The exceedingly valuable document is dated the 16th of January, 1479. In gorgeous, evenly and tightly written script, it represents an important piece of evidence for importance the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela already had in the 15th century. Signed by Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon, the so-called Catholic monarchs, the letter of safe conduct is concurrently an inestimable piece of the history of this important period of the Spanish Kingdom.

A Medieval Travel Guide

This significant certificate of the pilgrimages in the 15th century is accompanied by a wonderful manuscript. A small booklet, inconspicuously bound in vellum, conceals a true treasure within: a Spanish translation of the famous Liber Sancti Iacobi! This significant work from the 12th century is also known as the Calixtinus Codex, because its authorship was falsely attributed to Pope Calixtus II (1119–1124). The Liber Sancti Iacobi represents the most important pilgrim’s guide for a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. Divided into five parts, the manuscript contains inter alia the miracles of St. James, the writing of the so-called Pseudo-Turpin Chronicle – a legend concerning Charlemagne’s campaign against the Moors and the opening of the way to Santiago – and a pilgrim’s guide with explanations concerning the history of the city and its churches as well as the life and legends of the apostle.

A Truly Historic Treasure

This codex became the foundation for the cult of St. James and the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. The unique specimen of this document, which is found today in the Spanish National Library, was translated into the Galician language in the 15th century. The booklet with 64 tightly-written pages could thus serve Spanish pilgrims as a valuable guidebook on their journey. The manuscript, adorned with emphasized headings and initials in brown, red, and blue ink, represents an exceptional 15th century guidebook. Together with the document of The Safe Conduct of the Catholic Monarchs, the manuscript offers the unique opportunity to set oneself back in the 15th century; in this time when a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela represented an unsurpassable adventure – as it still does today.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Milagros de Santiago Apóstol y Salvoconducto de los Reyes Católicos
Wunder von St. James und sicheres Geleit der katholischen Könige
Origin
Spain
Date
15th century
Style
Gothic
Language

1 available facsimile edition(s) of „Miracles of St. James and safe conduct of the Catholic Monarchs“

Milagros de Santiago Apóstol y Salvoconducto de los Reyes Católicos
Miracles of St. James and safe conduct of the Catholic Monarchs – 7455|Carpeta nº 9, nº 27 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
Miracles of St. James and safe conduct of the Catholic Monarchs – 7455|Carpeta nº 9, nº 27 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
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Milagros de Santiago Apóstol y Salvoconducto de los Reyes Católicos

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
Scriptorium – Valencia
Limited Edition
450 copies
Binding
Parchment
Commentary
1 volume by Ramón Lorenzo Vázquez
More Information
Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
Price Category: €€ (1,000€ - 3,000€)
Edition available
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