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Roncesvalles
Roncesvalles
 

RONCESVALLES AND THE WAY

LIBER SANCTI JACOBI


Medieval Codex classified in the Collegiate's Library .

One of the essential elements in the spreading of the worship of James, in the age of the crusades, which could have distracted the attention to other centres of pilgrimage like Rome or Jerusalem, was the famous "Liber Sancti Jacobi", written in 1440, without a doubt, by a French pilgrim.

The Liber constitutes a direct testimony of the medieval pilgrimage and it blends several stories together, related in the Jacobean tradition, in addition to other religious and liturgical texts. At the same time, it includes a famous Medieval Pilgrim Guide, possibly written by Aimerico Picaud. The content of this text, read and sung a thousand times, describes the route with the experience of someone who has covered it more than once. He knows Navarra very well, and we have to admit that he also shows his lack of sympathy for the people who live there, and for the landscape, which is presented as inhospitable and closed.

The "Poema de Roncesvalles" o "Chanson de Roland", included in the codex "La Pretiosa" of the 13th century, are also very famous.These give a very different view of the welcoming conditions in the hostel from Aimerico Picaud. It was said that the door was open for Christians and pagans, rich and poor, with no distinctions at all. The walkers could have a bath and have their shoes repaired. The sick people received the best attention and were treated with best medicine. They could rest in clean and soft beds, attended by pretty and honest women. The hospital offered 5 meals a day, which included bread, wine and meat, and the walkers could stay in the hostel three nights minimum.