Why Belina Lansac was selling medallions of St James in Condom
- Medieval European Pilgrimage by Diana Webb (2002)
- The Roads to Santiago: The Medieval Pilgrimage Routes Through France and Spain to Santiago de Compostela by Derry Brabbs (2008)
- The Way of St James – Le Puy to the Pyrenees by Alison Raju (2018, 2010, 2003)
More information on how to be a pilgrim
The Pilgrims’ Guide
The Pilgrims’ Guide was written in the 12th century, and annexed to the Codex Calixtinus. It was kept in Santiago Cathedral, unknown until 1882 when it was published by Father Fidel Fita following the ‘rediscovery’ of St James’s bones in 1879. This led to the (false) idea that there were four historic routes to Santiago, and maps were produced showing these routes;
Condom is on the pilgrimage route from Le Puy and is about 1000 km from Santiago. It is the preferred route now because it goes through fewer large towns than the other three routes. Each year 20,000 people walk, cycle or ride a horse through Condom on their way to Santiago. Walking is well-known to be therapeutic, good for your health but good for your morale too. It enables you to discard all sorts of worries and preoccupations and concentrate on trudging onwards to a goal of contentment and ease with oneself.
When they reached Santiago pilgrims went into the cathedral to give thanks for their safe journey and to keep watch around the altar of St James. There they would hold burning tapers in their hands and sing, some of them lamenting their sins, others reciting psalms. The 12th century Pilgrims’ Guide contained much of the music which was sung in the cathedral at that time. It also listed the musical instruments which the pilgrims used: citharas, lyres, timpanis, pipes, trumpets, harps, viols, psalteries.
King Alfonso X The Wise (1221-1284) wrote pilgrimage songs (cantigas) which are still sung by pilgrims on their way to Santiago. So are the songs by Ramon Llull (1232-1316) who composed vocal and instrumental music inspired by his own pilgrimages to Jerusalem and to Africa. And the pilgrims from Einsiedeln in A Mystery of Blood and Dust sang hymns inspired by St Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153).