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Walking beneath the Milky Way - different languages

KarolMT

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2016)
The name of Compostela comes from the Latin Campus stellae which means field of stars and at the same time has a link to the other name of the Camino de Santiago which is the Milky Way. The reason for this is because when walking el Camino de Santiago at night you can see our galaxy the Milky Way directly over you. In other words, you are walking from East to West in the same direction as the Milky Way.

According to a common medieval legend, the Milky Way was formed from the dust raised by traveling pilgrims. Compostela itself means "field of stars". Another origin for this popular name is Book IV of the Book of Saint James which relates how the saint appeared in a dream to Charlemagne, urging him to liberate his tomb from the Moors and showing him the direction to follow by the route of the Milky Way.

Below is how the Milky Way is called in different languages. How is it called in your mother tongue?



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jeffnd

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
March/April 2014
They say pride is a sin. But after about 500 miles and 35 days of asking people, "what does that mean?" I was filled with pride when I got to finally play translator and tell a group of pilgrims, some of them native Spanish speakers, that Compstela means field of stars!
 

clearskies

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Here and there
The Irish translation is interesting. I wonder where the cow came into "the way of the white cow". You could possibly trace that back to pre-Christian times in Ireland.
 

yaying

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
somehow someday...
@HedaP oh sir! my slow learning(now i realize) we have a place near to my hometown called 'Compostela Valley' i really loved night glancing of their sky there, full of twinkling stars.
Thank you for sharing the link!
 

Monimar

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF (2016),
VF bits (2017),
Primitivo&Muxia (2018),
Le Puy (2019),
KarolMt do you know where I could find a more extensive reference to the Medieval legend being the dust of trialling pilgrims? Highly interesting!
 

Monimar

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF (2016),
VF bits (2017),
Primitivo&Muxia (2018),
Le Puy (2019),
Travelling pilgrims.
 

MinaKamina

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Jacobspad 2017
The name of Compostela is probably derived from Composita Tella meaning cemetery, and not from Campus Stellae. Given the development of the Gallegan language, the transition from Campus Stellae to Compostela is unlikely. The Latin word campus has survived the centuries almost unharmed in many Roman languages: campo in Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and Gallego, champs in French. I can think of no examples where the ca from campus has turned to co.
"Stella' becomes estrella in Spanish. Spaniards use an "e" before the letter "s" if a consonant follows.

All this makes it unlikely that Campus Stellae is the origin of the current Compostela. The good thing is that this will not stop one star from shining.


 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago (a combination of own way, voie de Tours and Camino Frances)
KarolMt do you know where I could find a more extensive reference to the Medieval legend being the dust of trialling pilgrims? Highly interesting!
This is an old thread from 2015 and @KarolMT has not been on the forum since October 2016. If there ever was a medieval legend of the Milky Way being the dust of travelling pilgrims - I doubt it - it was not a widely known one. The more common legends were:
  • the Milky Way is the way that Saint James showed to Charlemagne in a dream to go to Spain to fight the Muslims
  • the Milky Way is the path that the souls of the dead take as Saint James accompanies them to paradise.
 

OLDER threads on this topic


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