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How did it begin? Request for book info, Camino history

#1
I understand that this walk existed before the pilgrimage of St James.
I have been looking for information about the Camino that pre-dates his walk, and have been unable to find anything.
Does anyone know of a book which tells all, as far back in time as is known, about this walk?
It must have been already considered important, for St James to have chosen it.
Can anyone give me information about how it began? [/b]
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
#2
Before St James

Really interesting question and I hope you get input from people far more knowledable and qualified than me.
1) James the greater did not choose the camino - the camino evolved because of him whether or not one believes that those are his bones in the silver casket in the crypt in Santiago Cathedral. (The arm of St James was reported to be the main relic in Venetia and then Toulouse up until the 7th C and the hand of St James was the main relic in Reading Cathedral from the 12thC. However, Aimery Picaud insists that the whole body of the 'blessed saint' lies in Santiago de Compostela.)
2) Shirley Maclaine wrote about the Ley Lines of the Camino starting in France, crossing the Pyrenees and ending up in Santiago. Apparently, pagans had been following these lines for centuries before Christendom to visit the 'the end of the world" and the pagan Queen, Lupa, who had a temple there (Aris Solis) in the time that James arrived to evangelise in Spain.
3) Some historians (including author Ramon Chao who wrote a book by the same name) say that Santiago de Compostela should really be called "Prisciliano de Compostela" because the body of the martyr buried there was that of a nobleman of the 1V century who became bishop of Ávila and who was beheaded in the 385 by the instigatión of the church and by order of the emperor Maximum.
Prisciliano's preaching in the south of the Galicia was seen as a challenge to the early church officials and to Rome. (He preached against slavery, equality for women, that priests should grow their hair - amongst other avant guard things!) After he was killed he was taken back to Galicia where, for almost 200 years, many pilgrims travelled to visit his tomb. This was an embarrasment to the church and the "invention" of the tomb of the apostle finally rid the church of the memory of Pricilliano.

Hope this is a start for your research into the pre-James 'camino'.

Sil
 
#3
it's a common misconception that the various roads to Santiago were created by pilgrims. For the most part, pilgrims used the existing road network which, then as now, was based largely on the network built by the Romans. Look at a map of the Roman roads in Europe and you see the basic framework that still exists today. Pilgrims used these, whether they were coming from Lisbon or Seville, Valencia or Barcelona, Roncesvalles or the Somport. Or going to Rome and on to Jerusalem, or, for example, from London to Canterbury as Chaucer's pilgrims did.

Many of the main towns date from Roman times too, with the notable exception of Santiago, which grew up around the shrine of St James.

There are some excellent pages (some in English) on the use of Roman roads by the Camino Frances on the Traianus site http://traianus.rediris.es/
And see my pages for a potted history of the roads to Santiago.
http://www.peterrobins.co.uk/camino/his ... round.html

It's not possible to go much further back than the Romans as there is no documentation, on roads or anything else. You get into the realm of myth and legend rather than history.
 
#4
Re: Before St James

sillydoll said:
The arm of St James was reported to be the main relic in Venetia and then Toulouse up until the 7th C
Toulouse (along with everyone else) claimed to have numerous relics, including the entire body of St James. However, it was persuaded to relinquish this claim in favour of Santiago.

sillydoll said:
and the hand of St James was the main relic in Reading Cathedral from the 12thC.
abbey, not cathedral, one of the wealthiest in England. http://www.readingmuseum.org.uk/collections/Abbey.htm
This hand is still venerated in the neighbouring town of Marlow. http://www.strangebritain.co.uk/allthingsodd/hand.html

The most important relic of St James is arguably the head in the Armenian Cathedral of St James in Jerusalem, supposedly on the very spot where he was executed http://www.armenian-patriarchate.org/page9.html
though St James is generally not regarded as very important by the Eastern Church

sillydoll said:
2) Shirley Maclaine wrote about the Ley Lines of the Camino
I think most historians regard leylines in much the same way as astronomers regard horoscopes :)

More on Priscillian at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Priscillian
It's one of several theories as to whose relics those in Santiago actually are. It would of course be hugely ironic if they were in fact those of the first person put to death as a heretic :lol:
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
#5
Before St James

Of course he was a heretic.

Equality for women! What next?

Free slaves! Scandalous!

Allow priets to dance in the church! Horrors of horrors!

And, question the divinity of Christ! Well - OFF WITH HIS HEAD!!!
 

Priscillian

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 1999, Aragones 2000, Desde Le Puy 2002, Portuguese 2009, hoping RDLP 2014
#6
Hola Wildflower, sillydoll, and Peter...
You asked for a book...?
See
http://www.pilgrimagetoheresy.com, and the Pilgrim Books page.
Buen Camino
TS
Peter Robbins, I'm just about to check your links
 

Arn

Moderator
Staff member
#7
Well, that tears it...questions about the past, verification of old bones, history...herstory!

The human is a being dogged by the question: Why!

From birth that one word "Why" is only eclipsed by the word "Ouch".

"Mommy, why is the stove hot!" Because it IS says, Mom. "Ouch", says the child.

Sometimes "Because" isn't the right answer. What you've seen and done are the truest realities for you. When you can't, or won't personally experience something, you seek out your answers by observing other and asking "Why".

Standing number three in line to jump off a bridge will provide the answer as to "why" some people are followers. If by the time number two has jumped and fallen 200 feet into the gorge, you haven't figured out this is a bad thing...there's no hope for you. Natural selection of the fittest wins!

But, if the question is "Why" believe in any religion, or a Christ, or the box of bones belonging to this person or that...it comes down to Faith. And, Faith is a natural outgrowth of Trust.

The little child that asked about the stove being hot, who trusted Mom's word and accepted "because" as the final word...probably didn't touch the stove to make sure. Mom's word was enough and, would remain so until such a time as Mom's answers don't jive with personal experiences or, can't compete with the child's desires.

When I came back from overseas, my family was up at the lake house. I hadn't been there in several years so I walked the neighborhood and came upon a vision of loveliness that knocked me off my feet. There was the usual small talk, the question would you like to go to a movie and the welcomed response of, "well yes I would" Bingo! Life was good! As I entered the house, Mom was in the kitchen and asked why I appeared so happy. As I explained about my upcoming date, Mom's eyes began to darken and she said, "That girl is common and I don't want you to go out with her!" I'm here to tell you that "because" didn't work, even from Mom. My trust in Mom on many things was overcome by my faith in my own judgment. It WAS a great date!

Whether you believe in any God, Jesus Christ, or that the bones in the Cathedral at Santiago are indeed those of St James and your belief is not based on Faith, then it's down to "because". God love you if you can generate that kind of trust without asking the question "Why"!

Buen Camino,

Arn
 
#8
Re: Before St James

Hi Wildflower,
Have you seen the light yet? Not trying to look more knowledgeable and qualified than others I’m glad to mention http://king-early-days.blogspot.com. Georgiana Goddard King writes in The Way of Saint James (Volume III, p488) that S. James is also 'psychopompous, patron of wayfarers and a chtonian power'.* That last force all pilgrims feel in their legs in the end of the day. Pilgrimage is as old as man and he has always wanted to go west, to the end of the world where the sun sets. In Priez pour nous à Compostelle Barret & Gurgand compare it with bird migration and Alfred Watkins has in The Old Straight Track re-opened our eyes to leys of which many go west, especially in France as Louis Charpentier [Ps2] confirmes. Please let us know what you have experienced yourself! Did you discover that it is more comfortable to walk west than east and why lost animals make anti-clockwise circles?
Good luck!
Geert

* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychopompos : escort newly-deceased souls to the afterlife
* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chthonian_planet : Chthonia means "of the Earth" in Greek

Ps1: Ms King writes in The Way of Saint James on Priscillian in Volume I-59, III-334, 345 and on Priscillianism in II-222, 237, III-237, 264, 316.
Go to the Flip Book version for easy reading or TXT for quick browsing:
http://www.archive.org/details/wayofsai ... 01kinguoft ; Volume I
http://www.archive.org/details/wayofsai ... 02kinguoft ; Volume II
http://www.archive.org/details/wayofsai ... 03kinguoft ; Volume III

Ps2: Louis Charpentier (1905) http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Charpentier:
Les Géants et le Mystère des origines ; J'ai lu, n° A325, coll. « L'Aventure mystérieuse »
Les Mystères de la Cathédrale de Chartres, 1966
Le Mystère Basque, 1975
'Les Mystères Templiers, 1971 ; J'ai lu, n° A364, coll. « L'Aventure mystérieuse »
Les Jacques et le Mystère de Compostelle ; J'ai lu, n° A367, coll. « L'Aventure mystérieuse »
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
#9
Geert, this could be a new topic but I just wanted to add to your comments about walking West - East or East - West.
In his book Coast to Coast by Alfred Wainright (a well known English fell walker and author of maps and guides) he suggests walking West to East is the correct way because that is the way we read and, on the Coast to Coast walk, you have the weather at your back for most of the way rather than in your face. I felt that I was walking 'in tune' with the rotation of the earth. Of course, on some of the caminos pilgrims had to walk both ways!
 
#10
sillydoll said:
...a new topic... the way we read ... I felt that I was walking 'in tune' with the rotation of the earth ... to walk both ways...
Hi Sil, So many topics, so little time... I'm not an expert in all these fields but as a professional walker I noticed after a while that making walking routes clockwise just doesn't feel right. [Cycle routes should be made clockwise because in countries where Napoleon has been turning right on wheels is much safer.]

There is the reassuring fact that lost camels make anti-clockwise circles so their herds can sit in their tents in sand blizzards and await quietly their safe return without fear of loosing them.

Perhaps this could help: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jet_lag#Di ... _of_Travel : "There seems to be some evidence that traveling west to east is the more disruptive." Of course everybody knows from experience that it makes quite a difference setting out or coming home on atlantic flights.

Right this moment I was mailing with the editor of Vruchtbare Aarde [ http://www.vruchtbareaarde.nl - the most beautiful magazine I know] who wrote about the labyrinth in Chartres and we both believe that the real meaning is that man has no choice [real and clear like Master Matthew's message in de Pórtico]! http://www.diocesechartres.com > Cathédrale 2x > Labyrinthe. See how the little red dot cursor (= pilgrim > Cursor Mundi) cheats by crossing lines to get out in its last shortcut from the centre upwards! Could that be a hidden message from the big webmaster too?

Herman Vuijsje wrote "Pelgrim zonder God" (zonder = without) after his return pilgrimage from God-fearing Santiago to sinful Amsterdam ( http://www.boekenwebsite.nl/boeken/pock ... zonder-god ) noticing that of his body the right side had tanned more than the left side of everybody else he encountered [this must be crummy English]. - Geert
 

Priscillian

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 1999, Aragones 2000, Desde Le Puy 2002, Portuguese 2009, hoping RDLP 2014
#11
The term "Widdershins" comes from Cornwall in England (though many Cornish would shudder to hear such a thing!). What it means is walking anti-clockwise and it has long been associated with the occult. The idea was to walk anti-clockwise around the sacred stone circles in order to become aware of their secrets.
I only know that I am almost incapable of returning the way I came whether walking or driving.
Just weird, I guess!
Tracy Saunders
http://pilgrimagetoheresy.com
 
#12
Priscillian said:
There's nothing weird about it! ('weird' is that nobody has seen my Enigma yet - nearly 4.000 hits now!) Making walking routes anti-clockwise rather then the other way around was just a matter of experience. So is finding your way (back).

When you ask your fellow walkers after an hour in the woods in what direction the car is you'll see that hardly anyone knows. The Inuit (Eskimo) loose that capacity of finding their way in snow blizzards very quickly after moving into a city. Also there is a relevant gender difference in our making of mental maps.

Thank you for giving me a very nice new word (after smorgasbordian)! I believe the French call it à rebours meaning something else (?) too; at least Huysmans did in his novel by that name. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Widdershins
 
Camino(s) past & future
Home to Reims 2007
Reims to Limoges 2008
Camino Ingles 2009
Limoges to Gernica 2009
Gernica to San Vicente de la Barquera 2010
San Vicente to La Isla 2012
La Isla to Santiago Sept/Oct 2014
#13
Re: Before St James

PILGRIMSPLAZA said:
Georgiana Goddard King writes in The Way of Saint James (Volume III, p488) that S. James is also 'psychopompous, patron of wayfarers and a chtonian power'.
Ah-ha - at long last I've found the word 'chtonian' used elsewhere - in a book about Chalk Hill figures (like the Cerbe Abbas Giant or the Long Man of Wilmington or various white horses). Even here the meaning of the word is explained in the same sentence (of the underworld).

Now to look out for 'psychopompous' !
 
#14
psychopomp

Now to look out for 'psychopompous'!
Hi Bridget and Peter,
The Way of Saint James is on religious ànd secular aspects like guiding souls to the afterlife beyond Finis Terrae. A good subject for a next Georgiana's Gems!? I'll try to keep it short!
Geert

Ps: A quicky: see Georgiana's Gems #6 Santiago as guide of dead souls by PILGRIMSPLAZA on September 7th, 2008, 10:20 pm on post26044.html#p26044
 
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