This beautiful illuminated manuscript, which was probably created in Spain and more precisely in Santiago de Compostela, is traditionally known as the Calixtinus of Salamanca and is one of the very few, complete copies of the «Liber Sancti Jacobi». Until now, neither the author nor the location of the original is known. The author whose name shall forever remain a secret, must have been a very special personality of the 12th century, most likely a traveller and a scholar as well as a devotee of the apostle St. James.
Seen in its entirety, this anthology is a composite of texts by copyists and poets, musicians, writers and narrators as well as theologians from the first half of the 12th century. Prefaced by a letter signed by Pope Callixtus II (1119-1124), the work is divided into five books: Book I. Book of the Liturgies; Book II. Book of the Miracles; Book III. Transfer of St. James’ body to Santiago; Book IV. History of the Conquests of Charlemagne; Book V. A Pilgrim’s Guide. This is the best known part of the work.
The Liber Sancti Jacobi is not only a well-informed guide describing the various routes through France and Spain towards Santiago, but also contains descriptions of local traditions and customs as well as legends around the apostle.
The jewel of medieval knowledge
The Calixtino of Salamanca contains a number of text passages which are more authentic and correct that the copy that was stolen from the archives at Compostela. The codex Calixtinus of Salamanca is a jewel of medieval bibliography, not just because of its delightful illustrations but also thanks to its initials and capitals which are beautifully decorated.
Its value is greatly enhanced also by the originality of this pilgrim’s guide which over the centuries has remained unequalled. Filled with puzzles and mysteries, this precious compilation is a truly unique work and a rich source of knowledge and insight into medieval life and thought.
We have 1 facsimile edition of the manuscript "Codex Calixtinus of the University of Salamanca": Codex Calixtinus de la Universidad de Salamanca facsimile edition, published by Siloé, arte y bibliofilia, 2012