Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela and the Supporting Travel Network


Tetsuyuki Seki

I. Introduction


Santiago de Compostela in Galician region of Spain was one of three major holy places in medieval Europe along Jerusalem and Rome. Of these holy places the newest was Santiago de Compostela devoted to Santo YacobSaint James the Great,one of the Apostles as well as the patron saint of Christians. Santiago de Compostela has attracted many pilgrims from all over Europe from the second half of the eleventh century, when the crusade and the developments of medieval cities began. I would like to consider here how a roman hamlet such as Santiago de Compostela turned into one of  three major holy places in Middle Ages, what historical significance the legends of Santo Jacob had, what motives moved many pilgrims to travel to Santiago de Compostela, what were ages, sexes, jobs and classes of pilgrims, and what communicative means and what travel network were used by medieval pilgrims. I also would like to mention what rituals the pilgrims practiced, when they entered into Cathedral Compostela, what sorts of dangers of travel they were confronted with, what confraternities they organized, and what charities they enjoyed during the pilgrimage. Compared with pilgrimage to Rome and Jerusalem, many more common people, particularly the poor and the sick persons participated in pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, organizing confraternities and enjoying hospitality in hospitals. I think that it was one representative of popular religions in medieval Europe. Moreover it has had intimate relations with travel network, because pilgrimage as religious travel could not hane been realized without travel network such as roads, hospitals and travel information, confraternity, charities. We must also pay attention to the fact that travel network was inseparable from the developments of medieval cities.



II. Legends of Santo Jacob and Origin of Santiago de Compostela


1.Legends of Santo Jacob

 According to legend, Santo Jacob, brother of John the Evangelist was sent to evangelize Spain, but he could not evangelize any Spanish people except nine disciples. After returning to Holy Land with seven of these nine disciples, Santo Jacob converted so many Jews that he was beheaded by Jewish king Herod Agrippa and thus he became the first martyr of the Apostles. His remains were placed in the boat by accompanying disciples and the destination was entrusted to God. The boat with his remains miraculously landed on Iria FlaviaEl Padrónon the coast of Galicia and his remains which occassioned some miracles during the translation from Holy Land, were buried in Santiago de Compostela.

 The tomb of Santo Jacob was discovered in the first half of the ninth century by a hermit Pelayo and by Teodomir, Bishop of Iria Flavia. It was believed that Pelayo discovered the marble tomb of Santo Jacob by a comet as a symbol of God's will. The news of the discovery of the tomb was communicated to Alfonso II of Asturias, Charlesmagne, and to Pope Leo III. They all recognized that the tomb was that of Santo Jacob and Alfonso II constructed a church over the marble tomb. The etymologic origin of Santiago is in the name of Santo Jacob, while that of Compostela may not be sought in latin campus stellaefield of stars but in the latin compositumtomb.

 The history of discovery of tomb is an example of miraculous history mingled with fictions. To understand this better, we must turn our eyes to the religious and political situations of the beginning of the ninth century.  The Kingdom of Asturias was confronted with grave crisis, for Islamic army invaded Oviedo, capital of kingdom. The herecy adoptionism that regarded Christ as Child adopted by God, and the messianic movement which set the final days of the world around the year 800 were expanding in the Kingdom of Asturias. Alfonso II had to place a symbol of political and social integrity in the frontier hamlet of reconquest such as Santiago de Compostela in order to counter such adoptionism and Messianism. It is possible that the discovery of the tomb of Santo Jacob was invented in these critical situations(1).


2. Origin of Santiago de Compostela

 Originally Santiago de Compostela was a place related with Stonehenge, Stone Circle of Neolithic Age. Santiago de Compostela in the Roman Age played a part as a military and transportation center in Galicia, connected by roads with several cities such as La Coruña, Iria Flavia and Braga. When the tomb of Santo Jacob was discovered, Santiago de Compostela was not virgin land, as written in the miraculous history of Santo Jacob, but was a hamlet with wall, a Temple of Jupiter and tombs of roman nobles.

 In the fourth century, the remains of Priscilianus supported fervently by Galician  common people were buried in Santiago de Compostela. Priscilianus was a bishop of Avila executed by Roman Emperor as a heretic, for he not only denied the Trinity, but also recognized clergywomen. After being executed in Trier, German City, his remains were translated to Santiago de Composela by his disciples who used Roman roads the routes of pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in Middle Agesand ships. The legend of translating the remains of Priscilianus to Santiago de Compostela using roads and ships is similar to that of Santo Jacob mentioned above. The legend of Priscilianus can be an archetype of that of Santo Jacob. Santiago de Compostela had been a center of popular religion, a continuous holy place since Neolithic Age. When the history of discovery of tomb was overlapped on the base of popular religion, Santiago de Compostela could secure its religious status as a holy place.

 The geographical conditions of Santiago de Compostela and the miraculous history of Santo Yacob also played an important role. According to mappa mundi in 1085 of Burgo de Osma Church, North Castilian Church, Santiago de Compostela was finis terrae on the west end of daily living sphere, the stage of cosmic life and death  symbolized by sunrise and sunset. At the same time, Santiago de Compostela was a holy center that connected itself with God integrating life and death, body and soul. In other words, Santiago de Compostela was a point of contact with the other world. Yacobus de Voragine, a Genovese bishop of the thirteenth century listed the cures of illness, the spiritual salvation, the resurrection of the dead, the protection of pilgrims, the prevention of dangers, and the destruction of infidels as examples of the miraculous history of Santo Yacob. The most important miracles were the cures of illness, the spiritual salvation, the resurrection of the dead, for these miracles meant the removal of serious disaster, the correction of social injustice and the realization of divine law with which common people sympathized greatly(2).



III. Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela

1. Routes to Santiago de Compostela

 Book V of Liber Sancti Yacobi written in the twelfth century has been known as the Guidebook to Santiago de Compostela. The Guidebook whose author is said to be Aimeric Picaud, a french cleric of the twelfth century has indicated four major routes to Santiago de Compostela: Tours or Paris route: Vézeley route: Le Puy route: Toulouse route. As these four major routes are connected with routes leading to many European cities, Europeans such as the French,German,Italian,and English could have visited Santiago de Compostela using these routes. These four routes were unified at Puente la Reina, a Navarrese city south of the Pyrenean Mountains, as if symbolizing the religious integration by the Catholic Church. Fundamentally, pilgrims had to go on foot over these routes with many dangerous places. To go on foot over these routs signified a long and difficult travel, as the distance from Paris to Santiago de Compostela was over 1600 kilometers. Therefore, some pilgrims from England, Netherlands, Denmark, or Sweden landed at La Coruña, a Galicean port north of Santiago de Compostela using ships. It is needless to say that such pilgrimage was inseparable from the developments of medieval cities such as cities along four major routes and of port cities, whether pilgrims used roads or ships.

The churches and monasteries along routes to Santiago de Compostela have maintained many relics of Santo Jacob, Virgin Mary, Saint Giles, Saint Martin,and Saint Isidore of Seville. That made a pilgrimage a travel of relics that was practiced in holy spaces full of many relics. Pilgrim's routes to follow were predetermined in many cases, consequently, a pilgrimage was transformed into a ritual movement. We can see in this the intention of church to control the popular religious energy taking the popular religionthe cult of relicsinto the religious rites of the Catholic Church(3).


2. Motives of Pilgrimage

 The major motives of pilgrimage were the spiritual salvation, the worldly benefits represented by the cures of illness or the spiritual-worldly interests in which the spiritual salvation and the worldly benefits were mingled. Pilgrimage meant the re-experience by pilgrims of a long and difficult travel of Christ. Therefore people thought that pilgrimage was a good chance for conversion. The converted pilgrims were given not only the graces, spiritual salvation, redemption by God, but also the miracles such as the cures of illness, victory in war. The most important doctrine of Catholicism was the spiritual salvation and realization of miracles not by saints and relics, but by God. The motives of pilgrimage had close relations with this doctrine. However, seen from pilgrim's eyes, above all pilgrims who were common people, the subject of the spiritual salvation and miracles was not God but saints. The cult of saints and relics had the dangerous aspect to be against the fundamental doctrine of Catholicism. The cult of saints for common people has always had a potential power to be transformed into worship of saints. The Catholic Churches recommended pilgrimage as the pious act, next in value to sacraments, in order to control the popular religion and to indoctrinate common people in the social regulations, even if the Catholic Churches was conscious of the perils of the cult of saints.

 We must remember that Medieval Spain was the forefront in the war against Muslims, Santo Jacob was the patron saint of Christian who defended Christians in battlefield. For pilgrims from north of the Pyrenean Mountains, a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela meant the participation in the crusade against Muslims(4).


3Sex, Ages, Jobs and Classes of Pilgrims

 As for sex, ages, jobs and classes of pilgrims, males counted for 70 percent, and females for 30 percent of all pilgrims, as seen from the number of beds for males and females in hospital. Female pilgrims were fewer than male pilgrims, for the dangers of travel and the need for housework restricted the female movement. Consequently, a pilgrimage for females of common people signified the liberation from housework(leisure). The ages of pilgrims in Medieval and Early Modern Spain are not known, but if the ages of pilgrims received in the Hospital Real de Santiago during nineteenth century were comparable to those of medieval pilgrims, the average ages of pilgrims would have been 45 years old, and the majority of pilgrims would have been from 40 years old to 60 years old. The succession of pilgrimage from father to son is also confirmed in the nineteenth century.

The jobs and classes of pilgrims were diverse, for the pilgrims included kings, nobles, clerics, merchants, craftsmen, doctors, lawyers, domestic servants, sick persons, poor people, peasants, soldiers, and compulsory pilgrims. Most of the pilgrims were common people such as merchants, craftsman, peasants, while many sick persons expecting miracles and many poor people seeking charities were included among pilgrims. Many hospitals founded along routes to Santiago de Compostela have proved the participation of many common people, for the rich and influential pilgrims who belonged to dominant class such as kings and nobles, generally used the fee-requiring inns and the castles of nobles instead of the modest hospitals.

The orders of CortesParliamentand hospitals in Medieval and Early Modern Age prescribed the ousting of false pilgrims, false poor people who wanted to live relying on charities of others, although they were healthy. These orders which presupposed the increase of false pilgrims, false poor people testify that the poor people occupied a high ratio among the total number of pilgrims.  

Most of peasants were tied to their native lands, but a part of the peasants who could get money for a pilgrimage participated in the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. If we judge from some historical documents of the nineteenth century in which were written the native villages and cities of pilgrims, most of peasant pilgrims might be from Galicia, Asturias, León (Asturias,León are regions near by Galicia). Compulsory pilgrims were criminals who were ordered to participate in a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela as punishment or penitence by city and church. They had to present the compostellana (certificate of pilgrimage issued by Cathedral Compostela) to city officials and church after returning to their native cities. The institution of compulsory pilgrims which was common in Netherlands, had as one objective to maintain public order in city, ousting assailants from that city for a while, at the same time averting revenge by relatives of the victims(5).


4. Entry Rituals into Pilgrimage

 As for entry rituals into pilgrimage, most of pilgrims usually made wills that represented detachment from the established society and they practiced charities such as poor relief before departing. In addition to these rituals, they attended a mass held in the parish church and they were given the blessing of sticks and sacks, and a  certificate of pilgrims by a cleric. When they departed, the relatives, friends, fellows of their guilds went to the outskirts of city to see them off.

 The clothes of pilgrims were different depending on sex. Male pilgrims wore dark brown mantles, trousers, hats with wide brims, and boots, while female pilgrims wore skirts instead of trousers. The gourds full of water or wine were hung on top of pilgrim sticks, the mouths of sacks were without strings, as if they symbolized pauperes deipoor people of God who accept all and give all.

According to studies of anthropology, the pilgrim sticks have symbolized the male organ, on the other hand the metal scallop shells that pilgrims bought in Santiago de Compostela and carried with themselves, have symbolized the female organ. Many pilgrims bought the metalusually made from lead scallop shells as handy souvenirs, talismans, for people have believed that the metal scallop shells put in front of Major Altar of Cathedral Compostela before sales, have given miraculous effects thanks to the remains of Santo Yacob. The scallop shells that remind us of Oceans and Venus have been used as symbols of birth and rebirth in Mediterranean Society from antiquity.  It is natural that the metal scallop shells were transformed into symbols of rebirth and conversion of pilgrims. We can see some syncretism with pagan customs in the use of metal scallop shells.

Pilgrims with male and female organ as hermaphroditic Androgeus signified the regress to Adam, the first man created by God. Genesis says that God has created Adam, and then Eve by ribs of Adam. Therefore Adam is hermaphroditic. It is needless to say that the determined clothes of pilgrims, the pilgrim sticks and metal scallop shells have had intimate relations with popular religion from antiquity(6).



IV. Confraternity of Pilgrims and Pilgrimage

1. Confraternity of Pilgrims

 Pilgrims usually organized confraternities of pilgrims composed from several to dozens of pilgrims on departing the native places or on the way to avert the dangers of travel and the solitude of long travel. The size of each confraternity changed in accordance with classes of pilgrims, for the dominant classes of feudal society such as kings and nobles traveled with several dozens of servants, physicians and clerics. When pilgrims organized a confraternity on departing their native city, pilgrims from the same city or region who shared language and customs generally organized it. On the other hand, it was not rare that pilgrims from different cities or regions voluntarily organized a confraternity at a crossroads.

 Book II of Liber Sancti Jacobi written in the twelfth century says that thirty knights of North France organized a confraternity promising each other mutual assistance and loyalty on departing their native city, while three knights of North France organized another confraternity accompanying woman pilgrims whom they got to know on the way. The confraternity of pilgrims including families, friends, fellows of guilds and women was the solidarity organized by voluntary wills of pilgrims. After returning to their native city, the confraternity was voluntarily dissolved.

All brothers(official members) of a confraternity united together under the command of a chief elected by brothers and endured a long and difficult pilgrimage using the free hospitals. The pilgrim song that praised Santo Yacob also contributed to strengthen the unity and morale of all the brothers.

 The definition of anthropologist Victor Turner of a confraternity of pilgrims has been well known. It has been the temporary solidarity based on values different from those of established society. It has been a communitas of pilgrims seeking the spiritual purity as well as the detachment from established society. However, this definition is too ideal to comprehend the reality surrounding confraternity of pilgrims in which the opposition, injury and theft among pilgrims took place frequently. The most typical examples were pilgrims who stole foods of citizens or robbed dead brothers of their belongings on the way. Besides, even some pilgrims who killed their brothers were confirmed. In theory, pilgrims should have been pauperes dei separated from established society. In reality, pilgrims and confraternity as solidarity of pilgrims were tied with values of established society. We should not idealize confraternity of pilgrims as utopia composed of pilgrims seeking rebirth or as an equal community in a hierarchic feudal society. On the contrary, we should comprehend confraternity of pilgrims as a solidarity which lived between historical reality and religious idea under the protection of kings, cities and churches(7).


2. Confraternity of Santo Jacob

   Pilgrims who returned to their native cities, participated in masses celebrated in parish church with families, friends, fellows of guilds as a ritual of re-entry into established society. By this ritual, pilgrims returned to being members of established society. Pilgrims were not only respected as the converted, but many common people touched their clothes expecting worldly benefits.

 What these pilgrims organized were confraternities of Santo Jacob known as international confraternities. Confraternities of Santo Jacob were the most representative confraternities of European feudal society. They were organized in major cities of Europe such as Paris, Firenze, Hamburg, Augusburg and Gent. For example, Confraternity of Santo Jacob in Paris had about 800 brothers.

 The principal brothers of confraternity of Santo Jacob were composed of pilgrims who had completed a pilgrimage and the influent citizens. Most of brothers were male citizens, even if a part of the brothers were peasants and females. Therefore the most important characteristic of confraternity of Santo Jacob is in the diversity and openness of class, sex and residence of brothers.

 The confraternity of Santo Jacob as a spiritual family surrounding Santo Jacob was solidarity for mutual assistance and fraternal affection among brothers. The confraternity not only gave the material-spiritual assistances to poor and ill brothers, but also provided foreign pilgrims with the lodging and meal services through its hospitals. The individual brothers of confraternity also had to receive foreign pilgrims in their houses. In addition they had obligations to participate in funerals for dead pilgrims, to see pilgrims off to suburb of city, when brothers decided to start a pilgrimage for Santiago de Compostela. The pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela turned into one of three major pilgrimages of medieval Europe, only when it was based on network of confraternities of Santo Jacob that spread all over Europe.

 All brothers of the confraternity celebrated a general meeting on 25 of July, when Santo Jacob was martyred. Directors of confraternity such as chief and clerks were elected in a general meeting, and then a banquet as a means to express solidarity of brothers was enjoyed. At the same time, all brothers wearing pilgrim clothes with metal scallop shells and pilgrim sticks made a procession though the city. The brothers could strengthen their social status by displaying to fellow citizens their images as converted Christians. The brothers of confraternity of Santo Jacob also contributed to expansion of cult of Santo Jacob by playing religious dramas in relation with miracles of Santo Jacob(8).


3. Dangers of Travel

Pilgrims had to confront many dangers, for pilgrims traveling in foreign countries were exposed to illness, injuries and illegal acts. Pilgrims protected by kings, churches or cities were exempt from tariff, and from arrest by officials and they were guaranteed the right to make wills, when they were dying. Las siete partidas compiled in the thirteenth century have guaranteed these rights saying that pilgrims need not pay tariff. But it has been far from the reality of pilgrimage. In reality these rights were not guaranteed to pilgrims, pilgrims became victims of illegal acts committed in different languages, using odd weights and measures.

Book I of Liber Sancti Jacobi of the twelfth century,  Libro de los fueros de Castiella  of the thirteenth century have made reference to illegal acts against pilgrims : Illegal levy of tariff by officials, theft and violation of weights and measures in inns and bars, embezzlement of belongings of dead pilgrims, robbery of money by criminals who conspired with innkeepers, candle and leather craftsmen who sold goods of poor quality to pilgrims, physicians selling medicines laced with laxatives, and frauds by bankers and merchants. Let's pick up some examples of illegal acts written in Book I of Liber Sancti Jacobi .

An innkeeper who was waiting for pilgrims at the entrance of his city, promised them good receptions in his inn. However, in reality he neglected them. An innkeeper sold  pilgrims wine of poor quality, making them first taste wine of good quality. Another innkeeper made pilgrims ill by serving them meat and fish cooked a few days ago. A vicious barkeeper stole the belongings of pilgrims poisoned by his hands. Another innkeeper sold thirsty pilgrims wine, for thirsty pilgrims who could not find any jar of water in inn, had to buy wine. There were impostors who gave pilgrims false money, prostitutes who were waiting for pilgrims in suburbs of Santiago de Compostela. There were also innkeepers who sold pilgrims very expensive candles, pretending to be honest innkeepers. Pilgrims bought so many candles to offer to Cathedral Compostela, so the demand of candles was quite big. This was the reason why the fraudulent imposition of candles occured frequently.  An impostor wearing the clothes of cleric listened to the confessions of pilgrims and swindled their money. Other impostors who painted blood of rabbits on their arms and made their faces black using plants, pretended to be ill and injured to swindle the money of pilgrims. A servant of inn conspired with the innkeeper to steal the forage of riding pilgrims that was included in the accommodation charge. These illegal acts occurred so many times that Fuero Real of the thirteenth century prescribed the protection of pilgrims prohibiting violence and evil to pilgrims. Pilgrimages would have been impossible without protections of kings, churches and cities(9).


4. Days and Expenses of Travel

 Most of the pilgrims went on pilgrimage departing their native places in April or May. For spring and summer with warmth and longer daylights hours have been comfortable seasons to pass the rivers and dangerous places. Moreover, since the prices of foods and forage have become cheaper, spring and summer have been the best seasons for pilgrims to travel.

 At first the day of translation of remains of Santo Jacob was on 25 of July, the day of funeral was on 30 of December. When Alfonso VI of Castile-León changed the liturgy  from visigothic liturgy to roman liturgy in the end of the eleventh century, the days of translation and funeral were shifted to 30 of December and 25 of July respectively. Cathedral Compostela intended to increase pilgrims by setting the funeralthe day of martyrdom as the most important festival for pilgrims in the summer, when pilgrims could easily to travel. Particularly many pilgrims from the twelfth century have joined the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in a Jubilee Year, when the 25th of July was a Sunday. 

 The time periods necessary for pilgrimage, when pilgrims went and came back on foot from Paris to Santiago de Compostela were over three or four months. As three or four months necessary for pilgrimage were based on the assumption that pilgrims could go on foot from thirty to forty kilometers a day, so it was not rare that some pilgrims needed more than three or four months. For example, a pilgrim on foot in the first half of the fifteenth century went and came back from Antwerp to Santiago de Compostela in three months, while a compulsory pilgrim from Netherlands needed more than six months. Even a noble riding on horseback in the fifteenth century could only go 40 kilometers a day.

The traveling expenses reached over half of the annual income in the case of a pilgrim from Netherlands in the fifteenth century who joined the pilgrimage for more than six months. It was not easy for common people to procure such traveling expenses. Therefore some pilgrims procured the traveling expenses by selling their own lands or borrowing money from relatives.

Bills of exchange as safer means of payments were used from Late Middle Ages. Bills of exchange for pilgrims were issued from international military orders such as Orders of Templars , in the case of that pilgrims supplied movable and immovable properties as mortgages. They changed bills of exchange into cash in cities along routes to Santiago de Compostela. After returning to their native cities, they settled bills of exchange. If there were money left over, pilgrims received the refund, on the other hand if there were deficits, they had to pay the balance to military orders (10).  


5. Entry into Holy Place and Meanings of Return

 Pilgrims who arrived at the suburbs of Santiago de Compostela entered into holy center from Gate of Pilgrims after bathing in the suburban river and passing Monte del Gozo. According to the Guidebook, French pilgrims took off their clothes and washed their bodies in the suburban river of Santiago de Compostela. 

 Pilgrims who secured rooms in hospitals or inns hanged their threadbare clothes on  cross of old clothes near by south portal of Cathedral Compostela. This ritual needed to be done, for most clothes of pilgrims had stored up sweat, dust and odors. Pilgrims bought candles as offerings to Santo Jacob and they entered into Cathedral Compostela through north portal. After praying in front of Major Altar in which remains of Santo Jacob were enshrined, pilgrims went out of south portal of Cathedral Compostelana. This passing order from north portal to south portal via Major Altar symbolized the purification of pilgrims by Santo Yacob, because north portal and south portal represented black and white colors respectively. Pilgrims who transformed from black into white meant the converted.

 Pilgrims who had quasi-feudal relations with Santo Jacob dedicated candles, olive oil, money to Santo Jacob. Pilgrims as vassals of Santo Jacob had to dedicate these things to Santo Jacob in return for his protection. As for pilgrims who desired cures of illness, the dedicated things were normally candles in the shape of affected parts. Candles as symbols of God were representations of a candle civilization that had important religious meanings.

Pilgrims were given the sacraments in Latin and the explanations about relics in Spanish, French, German, English, Italian. After participating in mass in Cathedral Compostela, pilgrims received compostelana. The travel of conversion and relics reached its zenith in Santiago de Compostela..

 Pilgrims who stayed in holy center for days and got the metal scallop shells bought  foods, clothes, shoes necessary for returning travel. Most of pilgrims went to El Padrón to touch the miraculous rock where the relics of Santo Jacob were said to be put temporarily .

 Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela was physically a direct movement, but it was mentally an oval movement, because the route to go and the rout to come back had different meanings.  Pilgrims who visited Cathedral Compostela and prayed in front of Major Altar hurried to their native cities expecting hospitality.  This mentality was no longer that of pilgrims, but of travelers who wanted to reach to their destination as soon as possible. Pilgrims who strengthened their holiness touching holy center recuperated their worldly bodies and minds in returning travel. The returning travel was leisure rather than pilgrimage. It is remarkable that returning travel from West to East is not only worldly travel, but symbolizes travel of rebirth that go from sunsetdeath to sunrisebirth(11).


6. Travel Information

 The guidebooks and travel diaries read for pilgrims by clerics and literates were the main resources of travel information. Pilgrims also used the travel information obtained from experienced pilgrims or exchanged among pilgrims in hospitals or inns. In addition the songs for pilgrimage that pilgrims had learned by heart also played the same role as the guidebookfor these songs included the information such as routes to go, dangers of travel, names of cities, churches, monasteries to visit, relics and miraculous stories. For example, the songs for pilgrimage reprinted in the seventeenth century say as follows.


       In big and beautiful city, Burgos

       We pilgrims

       Visit a beautiful monastery.


       Father came to teach us

       Great miracle

       So-called sweating cross.

       This is true.


       When we departed León,

       With me and my friends,

       We found two roads.

       One was for San Salvador,

       Other was for Santo Jacob(12).


 The important information such as tolls and services of facilities was exchanged among pilgrims in hospitals. For example, an anonymous pilgrim from Firenze who went on pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in the fifteenth century, wrote the practical information about tolls and facilities in his travel diary.

 Pilgrims did not carry maps with themselves, but crosses built along roads, bells of churches, monasteries, hospitals and songs for pilgrimage played the role of maps. Monasteries and hospitals in the Pyrenean Mountains and Galician mountains not only guided pilgrims by ringing bells in seasons of snow and fog, but also obliged the feudal peasants to maintain routes by exempting them from taxation. Being supported by such information and network, pilgrims could go for holy place(13).



V. Pilgrimage and Charities


1.   From Religious Poor Relief to Worldly Poor Relief

 Pilgrims as pauperes dei  included many sick persons physically or mentally, because many pilgrims became ill or injured in pilgrimage, even if they had been healthy on departing their native places. That was the reason why many cities, churches, monasteries along routes, confraternities and royal authority founded hospitals as hospitality facilities for pilgrims. Charities for pilgrims in hospitals meant repeating the biblical practices that identified pilgrims with Christ. At the same time medieval people believed that these charities for pilgrims contributed to encourage spiritual relieves and worldly benefits for subjects of charities. Cities along routes to Santiago de Compostela have maintained a long tradition to relieve pauperes dei and these cities formed the biggest charity space in Spain until the first half of the sixteenth century.

 Pauperes as objects of charities had diverse meanings, for they included pilgrims, poor as well as sick persons, orphans and poor women. The principal facilities to relieve these pauperes were hospitals which pauperes could use gratis.

 As for subjects of charities, churches and monasteries played principal roles until the thirteenth century. From the fourteenth to the sixteenth century, not only churches and monasteries but also royal authority, cities and confraternities participated in charities and founded many hospitals.

 The notion of pauperes also changed gradually. The poor relief until the thirteenth century was ritual relief which aimed at the relief of donator, and its principle was indiscriminative poor relief that accepted all poor, even if they were restricted to a small number of people. But the maintenance of social order and the social regularization of common people were taken seriously from the fourteenth to the sixteenth century, the discriminative poor relief that distinguished shameful poor(false poor) from true poor persons turned into a principle. For shameful poor who lived lazy depending on charities were regarded as people who injured social order and did not deserve to get the grace of God. The gravity of poor relief was transferred from other world to this world and only true poor persons were relieved, while shameful poor persons were excluded(14).


2. The Hospital of San Froilán in León

 I would like to consider here the reality of medieval hospitals through an example of one hospital in León. The Monastery de San Isidore in the city of León has founded the Hospital of San Froilán in front of the gate of the monastery in the twelfth century to relieve the pilgrims and the poor. This was one of many medium-sized hospitals founded along rout to Santiago de Compostela by churches and monasteries.

 We can see the reality of that hospital from the historical documents written in   middle of the sixteenth century. From the second half of the sixteenth century, when the Council of Trent was organized, royal authority, churches and monasteries in Spain reinforced the control on hospitals and confraternities. Thus the Hospital of San Froilán had to receive the periodic inspection by an abbot.

 According to the inspection documents, the Hospital of San Froilán had two floors. There were warehouses, a big room with a lock, a fireplace room in which pilgrims could get warm sitting in benches, a kitchen in first floor. Four beds divided by curtains were put in a big room only for men. Two men usually shared a bed in Middle Ages. There were a big room with a lock, a chimney room and two small rooms in second floor. One bed each was put in a small room, a chimney room, a big room respectively. Of these beds in second floor, beds in a small room and chimney room were only for women, beds in a big room were for clerics or honored poors.

 The sleeping rooms for male and female pilgrims were separated into first and second floor. But it was not rare that a drunken male pilgrim invaded second floor. Beds were equipped with sheets, pillows, blankets, bedcovers, although most of these bedclothes were old and worn out. Poor bedclothes and modest building without chapel were fundamental to the Hospital of San Froilán in middle of the sixteenth century. This poor situation would still be valid to the Hospital of San Froilán in Late Middle Ages.

 The principal charities for pilgrims were lodging service, meal service, fire service all gratis and the medical service was provided to ill or injured pilgrims.

 The lodging day of pilgrims received in hospital was one day in principle. But a hospital could reject to receive the indecent pilgrims. Based on Benedictine Regulation that was taken into service in many hospitals along routes, the meals provided to healthy pilgrims were fundamentally 450 grams of bread and a small bottle of wine each day. The special meals were provided on festivals.

 Most of pilgrims-patients with physical or mental illness were accepted in hospitals, except pilgrims-patients suffering from leprosy and pestilence. Monks with medical knowledge and doctors paid by the Hospital of San Froilán treated them giving medicine gratis. As mentioned above, the staying day of healthy pilgrims was limited to one day. But ill pilgrims were permitted to stay until recuperations and the pilgrims in critical condition were taken care for until their deaths in hospitals. Dead pilgrims were buried in graves attached to the Hospital of San Froilán with clothes, sticks, sacks of pilgrims, because these clothes, sticks and sacks were regarded as favorable testimonials to spiritual salvation by God. The burial costs for dead pilgrims were a burden to that monastery, although the sale of the belongings of dead pilgrims made up a part of burial costs. 

A part of the property of the Monastery of San Isidore and donations provided the principal income of that hospital. According to an inventory written in the first half of the fifteenth century, the Hospital of San Froilán had not only many houses, water mills, orchards, pastures in the city of León, but also vineyards and wheat fields of more than 100 hectares in suburban villages. The income from these tenant houses and lands rented to citizens and feudal peasants provided the financial resources to maintain the charities in hospital.

 A monk appointed by the abbot of the Monastery of San Isidore took responsibility for the administration of the Hospital of San Froilán, though the abbot was nominally the supreme administrator. Meanwhile a monk in charge of the hospital collected the rents from tenant houses and lands in Late Middle Ages. The servants who were paid by the monastery and had intimate relations with the monastery provided the lodging, foods and fire services for pilgrims in hospital. The male servant who lived in hospital with his wife was in charge of the repair of hospital, the preparation of woods as fuel and communicated the emergency details to the Monastery of San Isidore, if pilgrims in the hospital got ill. His wife engaged in the preparation of meals, bed makings and repair of clothes in hospital. Moreover, a male nurse to take care of ill pilgrims and a guard were put in the hospital.

  The abbot as supreme administrator inspected the Hospital of San Froilán every year periodically and maintained the charities in hospital supplying foods or repairing the broken parts. The Hospital de San Froilán administrated by 5 persons including a monk was one of the most popular hospitals in Late Middle Ages. The Hospital of San Froilán had important significance for the Monastery of San Isidore, because the Monastry of San Isidore could maintain the social status in feudal society by practicing charities for pilgrims in the Hospital of San Froilán. For the Monastery of San Isidore, the Hospital of San Froilán was means of getting the grace of God by social redistribution of wealth. This was the reason why kings, nobles, influent citizens and cities also practiced charities for pilgrims by founding hospitals(15).



VI. Conclusion


 Santiago de Compostela in which the Apostle Santo Jacob was said to be buried, attracted many pilgrims from all over Europe from the second half of the eleventh century, when the first crusade and developments of medieval cities began. The popular religion represented by cult of relics, the religious position of Santiago de Compostela from antiquity, and the intention of Catholic Church to control the popular religion, the desire of common people to participate in crusades also contributed to the development of pilgrimages to finis terrae.

 Most of pilgrims who expected the spiritual salvation and the worldly benefits represented by cures of illness went on foot to Santiago de Compostela using four major routes. As many churches and monasteries along the routes maintained many relics of saints, pilgrimage was just like a travel of relics. Pilgrims re-experienced a long and difficult travel of Christ in pilgrimage. Although the ages, sexes, classes and jobs of pilgrims were diverse, most of them were male common people, above all merchants and craftsmen. Many poor and sick persons were also included among pilgrims, because medieval people believed that Santo Jacob as intermediary between God and pilgrims could get rid of the poverty and illness of pious pilgrims by miracles. After doing entry ritual into pilgrimage, pilgrims who were seen off by their relatives and fellows of guilds departed for holy place. Pilgrims who arrived at Santiago de Compostela entered into holy center after doing entry ritual and they dedicated candles, olive oil and money to Major Altar of Cathedral Compostela where Santo Jacob was enshrined. The pilgrimage to Santiago de Compstela whose distance from Paris was over 1600 kilometers reached its zenith in Cathedral Compostela.

  In this paper I have sketched the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela from diverse points of view. Firstly, I would like to stress here the intimate relations between the pilgrimage and the popular religion represented by the cult of relics.

Secondly, we must keep in mind that pilgrimage to finis terrae could not be realized without travel network and developments of medieval cities, even if the pilgrimage was a form of religious travel for conversion of pilgrims. The pilgrims could continue their pilgrimage only if they were supported by road network, travel information, confraternities and charities in hospitals. The massive movement of pilgrims whose majority was composed of common people would have been impossible without travel network and developments of medieval cities. 

At the same time, it is remarkable that confraternity was not the ideal solidarity organized among pious pilgrims, but was a part of established society. The same can be said of charities in hospitals. The dominant classes of feudal society founded many hospitals along routes and practiced charities for pilgrims. Even so, these charities by the dominant classes were not selfless, but were done in expectation of worldly benefits such as the maintenance of social status and power.

 The pilgrimages to Santiago de Compostela were realized on the bases of these historical premises.





(1)                            ?ګ?ȡ˻2006Ҵ80839194ߴڪޡν2002Ҵ109-129

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(2)                            ??9496ߴ?119-120ǫ׫(??)㫴?ͣۮ1992Ҵ335-341䫳֫??髮(?)???2¡1984Ҵ472482

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(8)??144146A.ǫ׫?209-219(ed.)P.Cacci von Saucken,op.cit., p.110.

(9)??136139(ed.)H.Santiago Otero,op.cit.,pp.185-208; (ed.)G.Sánchez, Libro de los fueros de Castiella, Barcelona,1981,pp.7-8,11-17,30-33;(trad.)A.Moralejo, op.cit., pp.205-214; (ed.) R.I.Burns, Las siete partidas, Philadelphia,2001,vol.1,pp.264-266.



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(14)??200202C.López Alonso,op.cit.,pp.409-413,426-430; J.W.Brodman, Charity and Welfare.Hospitals and the Poor in Medieval Catalonia, Philadelphia,1998,pp.3-7.

(15)??203207A.González Bueno,op.cit.,pp.58-72; H.Santiago Otero,op.cit.,pp.63-92.