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Alfonso X, the History of Spain, and Medieval Manuscripts

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
Português 2020
A diversion on a very cold day on the Iberian peninsula at a time when none of us can be on camino anyway.

Pilgrims will be familiar with medieval manuscripts that you can sometimes see in museums, monasteries etc on the camino. Indeed, one of the most famous objects related to the camino is a medieval manuscript: the Codex Calixtinus (Wikipedia), a 12th-century guidebook of sorts for the camino.

The following century, King Alfonso X ('The Wise' / 'El Sabio', Wikipedia) of Castile commissioned several books, including the Libro de los Juegos (Book of Games; Wikipedia) with its famous illustrations. You can see the earliest manuscript of this book at El Escorial near Madrid, as I did once.

Another of Alfonso's books is the Estoria de Espanna (Historia de España / History of Spain, Wikipedia). He was very involved personally in this project and it was the first book of its kind to tell the history of Spain in Spanish and not Latin.

In the last few years, the University of Birmingham in the UK has produced a digital version of the Estoria; that is, bringing together the various extant manuscripts into a consolidated digital form. I was fortunate to be involved in transcribing the manuscripts as a volunteer crowdsourcer, including being granted access to the physical 'Q' manuscript of the Estoria at the Biblioteca Nacional de España in Madrid.

I wrote about my experience with this project and have just republished my article here: Estoria de Espanna. I hope you enjoy reading it!

Estoria.png

Meanwhile, if you're interested in exploring medieval manuscripts a bit further, here are some of my recommended courses and twitter follows:

Courses: Digging Deeper (Stanford) | 'The Book' (Harvard, nine separate courses) | Deciphering Secrets (University of Colorado, a series of practical courses generating 'citizen-paleographers', the first of which was my entry into the field)

Twitter: Ainoa Castro (who specialises in 'Visigothic' script in Iberia, and who I did some editing for a few years ago), Erik Kwakkel, Damien Kempf and Sexy Codicology. There are plenty more if you want to go down a medieval rabbit hole!

If anyone else has any experiences or resources related to manuscripts that they would like to share, please do so!
 
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Silver Oxide Camino de Santiago pendent
Camino de Santiago pendant that has a shell on the front, and "Camino de Santiago" engraved on the back. Comes with a black cord. Pendent is slightly larger than a 50 euro cent coin, about 25mm.

Pelegrin

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Primitivo June 2013
SJPP - Logroño June 2014
Ingles July2016
The Estoria of Espanna is the history of the kingdom Astur- Leones and Castile. So, there is nothing about the other kingdoms: Aragon, Navarra and Al- Andalus.
In reality before the Borbons (year 1700) the current concept of Spain didn't exist.
Talking about the cold Spain. The weather forecast today is 30 cms of snow in Madrid for Saturday and -12°C for next week. This could be a hell of ice and we are not prepared for this.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Juegos (Book of Games; Wikipedia) with its famous illustrations. You can see the earliest manuscript of this book at El Escorial

One of the few reasons I can think of to go to the Escorial. :rolleyes: Seriously, what a depressing place. And I’ve just recently given my opinion of Felipe II’s decision to ignore his father’s fervent wish to remain at Yuste.

Thanks to you and this post, I realize that I have been confusing Alfonso X with Alfonso II for years now.

One of my happiest Camino memories is related to an ancient manuscript — the Beatus of San Miguel de la Escalada. Years ago (12 to be precise), as I was trying to get forum help on how to get from León to visit San Miguel de la Escalada, @Rebekah responded and said — meet me in front of the León post office and I’ll take you! She brought a beautiful book dedicated to the Beatus, and I was wowed. Not only did she introduce me to the Beatus, she also introduced me to La Competencia, a small Spanish pizza chain, with many locations in Camino cities in Castilla y León. But most precious of all, of course, was getting to be her friend. awwww......
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
Português 2020
One of the few reasons I can think of to go to the Escorial. :rolleyes: Seriously, what a depressing place.
I loved the library there (where the manuscripts are) and remember it being the highlight. To be honest I don't remember much more.

19640087006_1198b929a4_c.jpg
 
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