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Isabel of Lucerne

Bert45

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(2003) Francés, (2014) Francés, (2016) Portugués , (2016) Aragonés, (2018) del Norte to Primitivo,
The installation at the entrance to Santiago called Porta Itineris Sancti Jacobi by Cándido Pazos López has 20 figures in high relief. Actually, that should be 21, as one of the plaques has two figures on it. The names of the figures given at the base of the column tells us that one of these figures is Isabel de Lucerna (Elizabeth of Lucerne). Which one is Isabel: the child or the woman? And who is the other figure?


1-Santiago 2018 1171.JPG
 
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Camino Chrissy

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Hi Bert,
I'm not very knowledgeable, nor do I research much history, but my guess is it is the name of the woman, as in general children were normally "seen and not heard".
 

Bert45

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(2003) Francés, (2014) Francés, (2016) Portugués , (2016) Aragonés, (2018) del Norte to Primitivo,
Sheer speculation, but perhaps the smaller figure is the child who lived a few hours after being removed from the deceased pilgrim's womb--Isabel being the deceased Swiss pilgrim.

That's plausible, Blue Tang, though the small figure looks rather large for a new-born baby and is wearing the clothes of a child.
 

Kathar1na

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To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
Sheer speculation, but perhaps the smaller figure is the child who lived a few hours after being removed from the deceased pilgrim's womb--Isabel being the deceased Swiss pilgrim.
The family, from Switzerland, consisted of three persons: Cristobal and Maria Isabel Mulier and their son, aged 2 years and 4 months. They were in Bezantos on the way to Santiago or on the way back home, staying at the Bezantos hospital’s peregrinaria section. The husband died in November 1738, and Isabel died two months later. After her death, a C-section was performed. The baby lived long enough - one and a half hours - for an emergency baptism, the main reason for the surgical procedure. The two year old orphan was adopted by a local family.

The family are but one example of the suffering of pilgrims in those days.
 
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Bert45

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Year of past OR future Camino
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Sheer genius, Kathar1na! Many thanks also to whoever transcribed the almost illegible script. The document says that she was ill 'de un <<accidente alfarético>>'. I asked GT to translate for me. I thought, naturally (!), that I knew what 'accidente' meant, so I just entered 'alfaretico'. GT gave me 'pottery'! So I tried 'alfarético' and got 'alpharetic', which was no help at all. So I looked in my real Spanish dictionary and found that 'alfarería' means pottery, but, two words down, 'alferecía' which means 'epilepsy'. Note that my dictionary has an 'e' where the document has an 'a' (twice, once in the main text and once in the footnote). An epileptic accident seemed as awkward as a pottery accident, so I checked on 'accidente'. Yes, it means 'accident', but also 'fit, seizure'. Sorted!
 
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Kathar1na

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For alfarético, see footnote 5 in the text. See also related common life-threatening pregnancy complications, many of them treatable or preventable these days, such as pre-eclampsia and eclampsia. Eclampsia is the onset of seizures, mostly during the second half of pregnancy and it can be followed by coma, cerebral haemorrhage and other fatal outcomes for a pregnant woman.

It is not possible to know what exactly led to the sudden severe illness and death of the pregnant peregrina registered in the books of the hospital/hostel in Bezantos in 1739 as widow Isabel from the town of Lucerne (Luzern) in the German-speaking part of Switzerland.

PS: 1739 ... that's over 200 years after the Reformation and a time when the pilgrimage from Europe to Saint James in Galicia was long past its heydays, partly because large parts of Europe that had become Protestant would no longer send people on pilgrimage, and when you think Switzerland, you think of the reformer Calvin. It was interesting to read on Wikipedia that during the Reformation Lucerne remained attached to Roman Catholicism, of which ever since it has been the great stronghold in Switzerland.
 
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Bert45

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
(2003) Francés, (2014) Francés, (2016) Portugués , (2016) Aragonés, (2018) del Norte to Primitivo,
For alfarético, see footnote 5 in the text. See also related common life-threatening pregnancy complications, many of them treatable or preventable these days, such as pre-eclampsia and eclampsia. Eclampsia is the onset of seizures, mostly during the second half of pregnancy and it can be followed by coma, cerebral haemorrhage and other fatal outcomes for a pregnant woman.

It is not possible to know what exactly led to the sudden severe illness and death of the pregnant peregrina registered in the books of the hospital/hostel in Bezantos in 1739 as widow Isabel from the town of Lucerne (Luzern) in the German-speaking part of Switzerland.

PS: 1739 ... that's over 200 years after the Reformation and a time when the pilgrimage from Europe to Saint James in Galicia was long past its heydays, partly because large parts of Europe that had become Protestant would no longer send people on pilgrimage, and when you think Switzerland, you think of the reformer Calvin. It was interesting to read on Wikipedia that during the Reformation Lucerne remained attached to Roman Catholicism, of which ever since it has been the great stronghold in Switzerland.
I got the gist of the meaning from the footnote, but alfarético is not much like epilepsy (epilepsia), so I needed to get the meaning of the word. Several people on that installation I'd never heard of: Jan van Eyck, I'd heard of, but not in connection with Santiago.
 

Kathar1na

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Year of past OR future Camino
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I was trying to explain that the text doesn't say that the peregrina died of epilepsy, nor that she had that disease.

In the course of half an afternoon, I've learnt more about the fate of pregnant women in the 18th and early 19th century than I care to know. I've learnt the terms post-mortem and peri-mortem Cesarean section. I've leant that Cesar did not see the light of the world thanks to a c-section - it's myth and mythology. I've learnt that in December 1818, the 21 year old Queen Mary of Spain, nine months pregnant with her second child, was at 9 am still in good health, sitting up in her bed with servants attending to her, when she was suddenly struck by a convulsive attack and dead within less than half an hour. Within minutes, the King gave permission for her body to be cut into and the child was baptised before being extracted from her body; it was too weak and died within minutes. We don't know, says the medical history author from whom I quote, whether she was really dead after several attempts to reanimate her [...] but there is no doubt that this hasty Cesarean section was prompted primarily by theological beliefs rather than by medical necessities.

Why is this important to know? Well, if Isabel/Elisabeth from Lucerna/Luzern must serve as a model for a pane on a giant contemporary sculpture at the entry to Santiago de Compostela, she also deserves that we know how and why she died and what happened to her children.
 
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