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Very bad pilgrims (Renaissance edition)

MichaelC

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
August 2017: Le Puy to Santiago
July 2019: Cammino di Assisi (La Verna to Assisi)
#1
Well this is something to think of next time any of us are bothered by crowds, commercialism, turigrinos, and party pilgrims - it looks like the 16th and 17th centuries had their own share of problems on the road to Compostelle.

This is all from an article by Denise Péricard-Méa (citation at the end) which tries to separate factual history from modern and medieval myths. I don't know enough to judge the scholarship of the article, but I definitely enjoyed a lot of the stories she shared.

(Note: the article is in French. Any mistakes in translation are mine)

Here goes: The "golden age" of European pilgrimages peaked in the 13th or 14th centuries. In the late 1500's there was an increase in the numbers of pilgrims to the various Catholic sanctuaries, and it was promoted as an act of penitence.

Not all pilgrims were properly penitent.

In Don Quixote, Sancho Panza meets a friend who has disguised himself as a Frenchman and "joined with those peregrinos who have the the custom of coming into Spain every year to visit her sanctuaries, which they treat like the Indies, certain of profit and gain." (Volume II, Chapter LIV)

(juntéme con estos peregrinos, que tienen por costumbre de venir a España muchos dellos, cada año, a visitar los santuarios della, que los tienen por sus Indias, y por certísima granjería y conocida ganancia).

The "pilgrims' beg alms from Sancho, then go off-trail, take off their begging clothes, and set out a picnic of olives, caviar, ham, cheese, and lots of wine.

Péricard-Méa also quotes Don Cristobal Perez de Herrera, who wrote in 1598: "Every year at the hospice in Burgos we provide two to three days of free food and shelter to 8000 to 10,000 French and Gascons, who come to our kingdom for pilgrimage ... in France, they say, they promise to bring back a dowry to their daughters, which they will amass on their voyage to and from Saint-Jacques as if it were the Indies, coming into Spain with all their cheap trinkets."

(On voit passer et on héberge chaque année à l’hospice de Burgos, où on leur donne à manger gratis deux ou trois jours, huit à dix mille Français et Gascons qui viennent dans nos royaumes à l’occasion du pèlerinage … En France, dit-on, ils promettent pour dot à leurs filles ce qu’ils auront amassé au cours d’un voyage aller et retour à Saint-Jacques, comme si c’était aux Indes, en venant en Espagne avec des pacotilles).

She mentions that the court at Castille tried to limit the number of foreigners allowed in its cities in 1523, 1525, and 1528; that Philip II required that all foreigners carried proof of their status from a religious authority; and that Louis XIV of France complained that "many of these so-called pilgrims leave for Saint-Jacques in Galicia, Notre-Dame de Lorette, and other holy sites outside the kingdom and quit their families, wives, and children, or leave their apprenticeships ... all in a spirit of libertinism."

(plusieurs soi-disant pèlerins partent à Saint-Jacques en Galice, Notre-Dame de Lorette et autres lieux saints hors du royaume en quittant parents, femmes et enfants, en laissant leur apprentissage, tout cela dans un esprit de libertinage)

Péricard-Méa provides one figure that suggests that the number of pilgrims who were actually heading towards Compostelle in this period was 15% of the total number of "pilgrims," and that most of these traveled in small groups and were reduced to begging.

- There's lots more in the main article! Brigands, thieves, and bad men who took new wives in Galicia ... those must have been fun times ...

[Denise Péricard-Méa et Louis Mollaret. «Le triomphe de Compostelle», SaintJacquesInfo [En ligne], Histoire du pèlerinage à Compostelle, mis à jour le 04/02/2016]
 

Kitsambler

Jakobsweg Junkie
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy 2010-11, Prague 2012, Nuremberg 2013, Einsiedeln 2015, Geneva 2017-18
#7
what the pilgrims of the future will be complaining about???
What pilgrims from time immemorial have done: feet hurting, uncomfortable shoes, not enough companions, too many companions, noisy companions, smelly companions, not enough food, bad food, unfamiliar food, not enough wine, bad wine, high prices, no money, wrong money, local authorities, not enough lodging, uncomfortable beds, gouging innkeepers, sloppy cooks, mean priests, ungrateful locals, thieving locals, and in general, anyone/anything that's not entirely devoted to easing the pilgrim's way.
 

spagirl

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
frances(Sept 2018)
#8
What pilgrims from time immemorial have done: feet hurting, uncomfortable shoes, not enough companions, too many companions, noisy companions, smelly companions, not enough food, bad food, unfamiliar food, not enough wine, bad wine, high prices, no money, wrong money, local authorities, not enough lodging, uncomfortable beds, gouging innkeepers, sloppy cooks, mean priests, ungrateful locals, thieving locals, and in general, anyone/anything that's not entirely devoted to easing the pilgrim's way.
True enough!!!
I found letters from an elderly family member written back and forth to his wife while he was stationed overseas. The 'complaints' about kids today having no manners, the technology ( sitting around doing nothing but listening to the wireless) was ruing their social skills, the price of groceries.....
its just the human condition I guess
 

Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
09 CFrancés, CFisterra 10 VPodiensis 11 CNorte 12 VPlata 13 VPlata, CSanabrés 14 CLevante, CSanabrés 15 CSureste, CInvierno, CMuxia 16 CMadrid, CSalvador, CPrimitivo (17 RLana, CInterior)
#10
Well this is something to think of next time any of us are bothered by crowds, commercialism, turigrinos, and party pilgrims - it looks like the 16th and 17th centuries had their own share of problems on the road to Compostelle.

This is all from an article by Denise Péricard-Méa (citation at the end) which tries to separate factual history from modern and medieval myths. I don't know enough to judge the scholarship of the article, but I definitely enjoyed a lot of the stories she shared.

(Note: the article is in French. Any mistakes in translation are mine)

Here goes: The "golden age" of European pilgrimages peaked in the 13th or 14th centuries. In the late 1500's there was an increase in the numbers of pilgrims to the various Catholic sanctuaries, and it was promoted as an act of penitence.

Not all pilgrims were properly penitent.

In Don Quixote, Sancho Panza meets a friend who has disguised himself as a Frenchman and "joined with those peregrinos who have the the custom of coming into Spain every year to visit her sanctuaries, which they treat like the Indies, certain of profit and gain." (Volume II, Chapter LIV)

(juntéme con estos peregrinos, que tienen por costumbre de venir a España muchos dellos, cada año, a visitar los santuarios della, que los tienen por sus Indias, y por certísima granjería y conocida ganancia).

The "pilgrims' beg alms from Sancho, then go off-trail, take off their begging clothes, and set out a picnic of olives, caviar, ham, cheese, and lots of wine.

Péricard-Méa also quotes Don Cristobal Perez de Herrera, who wrote in 1598: "Every year at the hospice in Burgos we provide two to three days of free food and shelter to 8000 to 10,000 French and Gascons, who come to our kingdom for pilgrimage ... in France, they say, they promise to bring back a dowry to their daughters, which they will amass on their voyage to and from Saint-Jacques as if it were the Indies, coming into Spain with all their cheap trinkets."

(On voit passer et on héberge chaque année à l’hospice de Burgos, où on leur donne à manger gratis deux ou trois jours, huit à dix mille Français et Gascons qui viennent dans nos royaumes à l’occasion du pèlerinage … En France, dit-on, ils promettent pour dot à leurs filles ce qu’ils auront amassé au cours d’un voyage aller et retour à Saint-Jacques, comme si c’était aux Indes, en venant en Espagne avec des pacotilles).

She mentions that the court at Castille tried to limit the number of foreigners allowed in its cities in 1523, 1525, and 1528; that Philip II required that all foreigners carried proof of their status from a religious authority; and that Louis XIV of France complained that "many of these so-called pilgrims leave for Saint-Jacques in Galicia, Notre-Dame de Lorette, and other holy sites outside the kingdom and quit their families, wives, and children, or leave their apprenticeships ... all in a spirit of libertinism."

(plusieurs soi-disant pèlerins partent à Saint-Jacques en Galice, Notre-Dame de Lorette et autres lieux saints hors du royaume en quittant parents, femmes et enfants, en laissant leur apprentissage, tout cela dans un esprit de libertinage)

Péricard-Méa provides one figure that suggests that the number of pilgrims who were actually heading towards Compostelle in this period was 15% of the total number of "pilgrims," and that most of these traveled in small groups and were reduced to begging.

- There's lots more in the main article! Brigands, thieves, and bad men who took new wives in Galicia ... those must have been fun times ...

[Denise Péricard-Méa et Louis Mollaret. «Le triomphe de Compostelle», SaintJacquesInfo [En ligne], Histoire du pèlerinage à Compostelle, mis à jour le 04/02/2016]
I am glad I am just a Bad Pilgrim... Not a Very bad one...! :0o
 
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
#11
In "The Great Westward Walk," the author quotes another Renaissance French camino memoir, in which a young man sleeps in a Castilian pigpen, with each pilgrim paying for a piece of board to either lie upon out of the mire, or to burn to keep warm. He almost died in a squalid hospital in Leon, his shoes were stolen, he was infested with lice, and his friends abandoned him in Viana. When he finally got home he swore to God he'd never do the Camino again!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Fall 2018
#18
I agree Rebekah, The Great Weatward Walk by Bolix is one of the best "Way books" I've read. Filled with both darkness and light. A wonderful read. Also, Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes, by Robert Louis Stevenson is a fun "walk book".
 
Camino(s) past & future
frances 2017
#19
I recently read a satire by Christopher Buckley--The Relic Master--about the business of buying and selling relics, often to create pilgrimage destinations during this same period. Fiction, but based on history, and a lot of fun.
 

AbbyDee

Court Jester
Camino(s) past & future
In celebration of the 35th anniversary of my 25th year, I will begin my Camino in September 2017
#20
Well this is something to think of next time any of us are bothered by crowds, commercialism, turigrinos, and party pilgrims - it looks like the 16th and 17th centuries had their own share of problems on the road to Compostelle.

This is all from an article by Denise Péricard-Méa (citation at the end) which tries to separate factual history from modern and medieval myths. I don't know enough to judge the scholarship of the article, but I definitely enjoyed a lot of the stories she shared.

(Note: the article is in French. Any mistakes in translation are mine)

Here goes: The "golden age" of European pilgrimages peaked in the 13th or 14th centuries. In the late 1500's there was an increase in the numbers of pilgrims to the various Catholic sanctuaries, and it was promoted as an act of penitence.

Not all pilgrims were properly penitent.

In Don Quixote, Sancho Panza meets a friend who has disguised himself as a Frenchman and "joined with those peregrinos who have the the custom of coming into Spain every year to visit her sanctuaries, which they treat like the Indies, certain of profit and gain." (Volume II, Chapter LIV)

(juntéme con estos peregrinos, que tienen por costumbre de venir a España muchos dellos, cada año, a visitar los santuarios della, que los tienen por sus Indias, y por certísima granjería y conocida ganancia).

The "pilgrims' beg alms from Sancho, then go off-trail, take off their begging clothes, and set out a picnic of olives, caviar, ham, cheese, and lots of wine.

Péricard-Méa also quotes Don Cristobal Perez de Herrera, who wrote in 1598: "Every year at the hospice in Burgos we provide two to three days of free food and shelter to 8000 to 10,000 French and Gascons, who come to our kingdom for pilgrimage ... in France, they say, they promise to bring back a dowry to their daughters, which they will amass on their voyage to and from Saint-Jacques as if it were the Indies, coming into Spain with all their cheap trinkets."

What a wonderful read! In short, the more things change the more things stay the same!

Thank you for sharing.
 


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