The “Codex Calixtinus”
María X. Rodríguez Valcárcel
The Codex Calixtinus
The Codex Calixtinus or Códice Calixtino, which is kept in the archives of the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, is a manuscript in Carolingian letter written in Latin in the first part of the 12th century. It is a kind of guide for the pilgrims who made the Way of St. James with advices, descriptions of the route, of the works of art that existed and of the customs of the people they could come across. It also contains sermons, miracles and liturgical texts related to the apostle. Although sometimes it is called “Liber Sancti Iacobi” we should distinguish both concepts. Liber Sancti Iacobi represents the content of the book, from which several manuscripts were created, the most remarkable of which is the Codex Calixtinus.
The Codex Calixtinus is made up of five books and two appendices with a total of 225 pages of parchment written on both sides with a size of 295 x 214 mm. With some exceptions, the text is always a column with 34 lines by page. The first book is of liturgical character, the second hagiographic, the third and fourth are of historical nature and the fifth, the most popular one, is a kind of guide for the pilgrims that presents the places they have to visit along the route and warns the travellers against the dangers they can encounter on their way. It also describes the city of Santiago and the cathedral in detail.
In the year 2010 Xosé López Díaz presented the first complete translation of the work into Galician language. There are also translations into Spanish (1951), French (2003) and Italian (2008), and translations of partial texts in other languages, like English.