24 March 2010



Myth and reality on the Camino de Santiago

D. Fermín Miranda.
Autonomous University of Madrid

The Way of St. James has been, over the centuries, the preferred object of historiography, not only in its religious aspects but, above all, in relation to numerous political, social, ideological or economic issues. In such a way that it is now commonplace for historical programs of study to consider the phenomenon of the pilgrimage to Santiago as one of the main elements in the various processes of political, social, economic and artistic articulation of the Hispanic kingdoms in the Middle Ages average, and especially in its central centuries.

The purpose of this study is, precisely, to reflect on the existing reality behind this attribution, and to consider, from our current knowledge about these various issues, to what extent they were not consubstantial to the transformation of Western society itself, and largely independent of the pilgrimage, even if it had, occasionally or in certain places, a particular weight worthy of consideration. Neither the construction of the road and urban network , nor the commercial impulse, nor the deployment of the great artistic styles, such as Romanesque or Gothic, and perhaps not even the development of a more than powerful welfare network throughout the West would have had in the Way of St. James, understood as a pilgrimage route, and from that point of view, a protagonist base of its development; in any case, very secondary and occasional.

Contemplating at what moment in medieval chronicles this link between one and other fields begins to be established, and contemplating the causes that motivated it and contributed to its continuity constitutes a special analysis goal , in order to understand its durability until today.