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Can anyone recommend me a book on the history of the Camino?

2020 Camino Guides

Sam Hardman

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006, 2007 Camino Francés
2017 SJPdP - Belorado
2018 SJPdP - Fisterra/Muxía
2019 Camino Primitivo
I recently read Jack Hitt's book "Off the Road" which was great and covered some of the history of the Camino. I wonder if there is anything more detailed available? I would like to read something about how the route developed, how it has changed, the history of the places along the route and the people who have walked it.

Any recommendations?
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
For a cultural/historical guide to the places along the camino many pilgrims use
The Pilgrimage Road to Santiago by David M Gitlitz and Linda Kay Davidson which is available on Amazon in both paperback and as an ebook

See also the many cited in this earlier forum post which is still relevant.
https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/books-on-the-camino-frances.802/

Here are some basic camino history books in French which you might also find useful:

Barret, Pierre, et Jean-Noel Gurgand, Priez Pour Nous a Compostelle, Paris, Hachette, 1978;
Gicquel, Bernard, La Legende de Compostelle, Paris, Tallandier, s.d.;
Pericard-Mea, Denise,
Compostelle et Cultes de Saint Jacques au Moyen Age, Paris, PUF, 2000;
Rucquoi, Adeline et al., Saint Jacques et la France, Paris, Editions du Cerf, 2003.

Happy research and Buen camino!
 
Last edited:

Sam Hardman

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006, 2007 Camino Francés
2017 SJPdP - Belorado
2018 SJPdP - Fisterra/Muxía
2019 Camino Primitivo
Ah yes. I probably should've included the title of the book and not just the Amazon link! :) Some days I'm *too* tech savvy :p
Haha! It's ok, it worked!

Thanks also to @mspath :)
 

Sam Hardman

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006, 2007 Camino Francés
2017 SJPdP - Belorado
2018 SJPdP - Fisterra/Muxía
2019 Camino Primitivo

biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19

Kaiur

Member
Camino(s) past & future
North
The most important person in the revitalization of the Camino de Santiago in the twentieth century was Elías Valiña, Parish priest of O´Cebreiro.

He did his doctoral thesis about the Camino


There is a funny story about him.

In the 70s or 80s, he was painting yellow arrows in the Pyrinees, in the frontier. He was stoped by the Guardia Civil and asked him what was doing. He answered "preparing a large invasion form France" so he was invited to visit the Police Station :)
 
Last edited:

mspath

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Like you and many multitudes of pilgrims I have always paid my respects in O Cebreiro to the memory of Don Elias Valiña Sampedro.

Perhaps while you were walking you missed seeing this earlier relevant forum post

Mundicamino today 30/04/2017 reports a most personalized account/memoir by
José Manuel López Valiña,
nephew of Don Elias Valiña Sampedro, the now renown priest from O Cebreiro who painted the first famous yellow arrows along the Camino Frances and did so much more to re-awaken modern interest in the camino. López Valiña researched for and with his uncle and was responsable for the cartography in Don Elias Valiña Sampedro's Guía del Camino de Santiago, published 1984.
See www.mundicamino.com/noticias/8965/galicia-y-el-camino-le-deben-mucho-a-elas-valia/

For basic info re Don Elias Valiña Sampedro's life and publications
see www.igrexa.org/cebreiro/frames.html
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
The Pilgrimage Road to Santiago is full of history but not one you will find yourself carrying in your backpack for reference.
I don't know; I did. :)

Admittedly, I carried the Kindle version (which the posted link went to). In e-book form it adds no weight at all to the backpack, and is easily searchable for reference. It makes handy reading when looking forward to the next day's walk and is a handy reference when walking around a church or cathedral.
 

Tiapatrol

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese Camino (May 2018)
We are reading:
I'll push you : a journey of 500 miles, two best friends, and one wheelchair

It is wonderful, but only a tiny bit of history of the Camino, but they certainly are part of the history! We recommend it.
 

biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
The story is also in video form.
 

alaskadiver

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2017-Camino Primitivo
April 2019-Camino de Invierno
Here is a historical book that I read last year before my first Camino. Available on Amazon.

Walking The Middle Ages On The Camino De Santiago: The History Behind The Way
By Harry Dillon
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
The most important person in the revitalization of the Camino de Santiago in the twentieth century was Elías Valiña, Parish priest of O´Cebreiro.

He did his doctoral thesis about the Camino


There is a funny story about him.

In the 70s or 80s, he was painting yellow arrows in the Pyrinees, in the frontier. He was stoped by the Guardia Civil and asked him what was doing. He answered "preparing a large invasion form France" so he was invited to visit the Police Station :)
I heard another story of him which might be a bit older than the one you posted.
Why was he painted the yellow arrows? As being a priest at O Cebreiro and its notorious winter weather he knew that many pilgrims were lost in the fog and winter storms. He didn't have any money to put markings on the trail so he asked municipality for help. All they offered was some surplus of yellow paint from the highway maintenance. And that's why there are yellow arrows along the Caminos.

That's the story, a legend about Don Elias Valiña and I don't know if it is true but it brings smile to my face nevertheless :)
 

Bala

Veteran member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: SJPdP-Burgos, (2015); Burgos-Sarria (2018); Sarria-Santiago (2018).
Frances (2020)
I don't know; I did. :)

Admittedly, I carried the Kindle version (which the posted link went to). In e-book form it adds no weight at all to the backpack, and is easily searchable for reference. It makes handy reading when looking forward to the next day's walk and is a handy reference when walking around a church or cathedral.
I also had it -- The Pilgrimage Road To Santiago -- on my Kindle. Outstanding source for Camino history, architecture, art, culture. You can't go wrong with this one.
 

marylynn

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2011-2019 CF, Arles/Aragones
2015 & 2017 HærvejenDK
Welcome to the forum, Sam!

Try this one: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0091I0YOE/?tag=casaivar02-20

Buen Camino!
I have downloaded a copy onto my iPad and each night I read the information related to 'tomorrow's walk' to be able to keep in mind all (or some) of the details about the part of the Camino I will be walking through the following day and the town/city where I will spend the following night. It is an excellent resource.
I first learned about this book, when I first walked in the Spring of 2011, from someone I met who was walking his second Camino and was carrying the hard-cover book and is sometimes seen on this Forum. I remember thinking, at the time, Why would anyone walk the Camino a SECOND time--you've already seen it??? If the Corona virus hadn't changed my plans, I would have been walking this spring for the tenth year (and the twelfth time).
 

Stacey Wittig

Stand at the crossroads and look
Camino(s) past & future
Leon-Santiago (2005)
Arles-Toulouse (2006)
St. Jean Pied de Port-Burgos (2008)
Lourdes-Santiago (2015)
Le Puy-Santiago (2016)
Camino Primitivo (2017)
For a cultural/historical guide to the places along the camino many pilgrims use
The Pilgrimage Road to Santiago by David M Gitlitz and Linda Kay Davidson which is available on Amazon in both paperback and as an ebook

See also the many cited in this earlier forum post which is still relevant.
https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/books-on-the-camino-frances.802/

Here are some basic camino history books in French which you might also find useful:

Barret, Pierre, et Jean-Noel Gurgand, Priez Pour Nous a Compostelle, Paris, Hachette, 1978;
Gicquel, Bernard, La Legende de Compostelle, Paris, Tallandier, s.d.;
Pericard-Mea, Denise,
Compostelle et Cultes de Saint Jacques au Moyen Age, Paris, PUF, 2000;
Rucquoi, Adeline et al., Saint Jacques et la France, Paris, Editions du Cerf, 2003.

Happy research and Buen camino!
The Pilgrimage Road to Santiago by David M Gitlitz and Linda Kay Davidson is what I would recommend.
 

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