Date of Award

Summer 2021

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Department

Languages, Literatures and Cultures

First Advisor

Francisco J. Sánchez

Abstract

Saint James Apostle has been historically associated with his predications in the Iberian Peninsula. His cult started in the medieval times and has prolonged until the present, where he is considered the patron Saint of Spain. The construction and promotion of this symbol has been possible thanks to a combined set of efforts, whether premeditated or not, coming from the political and ecclesiastical groups in power. These groups made use of one of the most extended and influential literary genres to lecture and indoctrinate the vast majority of illiterate people during medieval times: the miracles.

In this study, I delve into the rich warehouse of the ‘invented traditions’ as described by Eric Hobsbawm, and carry out an interpretative reading of the miracles of St. James, a codex unicus manuscript from the XIV century which is located in the Spanish National Library under the name Ms.10252. This manuscript is a translation into romance Castilian from the famous Codex Calixtinus. Liber Sancti Jacobi, written in Latin in the XII century. The Latin version has attracted most of the academic attention, leaving the Spanish translation mainly unexplored. I envision this translation as a crucial element in achieving a more expansive outreach of the miracles and continuing with its transmission.

In this context, I argue that in the Miracles of Santiago we can find important traits of the construction of an early proto-national imagined community in Castile during the convulsive and uncertain time of the “Reconquest”. Thereafter, Castile will confirm its hegemonic aspirations becoming the leading force in the formation of a Spanish identity and the Castilian traditions will be imposed on the rest of Spain. In this sense, the political and religious construction of Santiago has been an integral part of the ideological substratum on which the conservative nationalist agenda is based in recent times. Therefore, in this dissertation I analyze and portray the diverse and complex significances that this religious icon encapsulates, specifically the political, ethnic, economic and cultural aspects, which will constitute the different chapters of this dissertation.

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