de la Catedral de Santiago de Compostela)
Turpini "Libro IV", fol.163
Codex Calixtinus –or Liber Sancti Jacobi / Book
of Saint James –, a jewel in medieval bibliography,
is one of the richest medieval sources for historians,
geographers, musicologists, sociologists, ethnologists,
art historians and linguists. Due to its heterogeneous
and composite character, this codex is believed
to be the work of several authors and compilers.
It is known as Codex Calixtinus not because this
Pope had been one of its authors but on account
of the extraordinary influence that he, his secretary
and the people of Cluny had in the gestation of
his election as Pope in 1119, Calixtus II had been
the Abbot at Cluny; the people of this Burgundian
city had originated and promoted the pilgrimages
to Santiago and, as Pope, Calixtus became the most
impassioned benefactor of these crusades. This Pope
from Cluny, brother of the Count of Galicia, son
in law of King Alfonso VI, raised the status of
the city of Santiago to Archdiocese. It has also
been established that the French cleric Aymeric
Picaud, Secretary of Pope Calixtus, was an important
participator in the writing, or at least, compilation
of the codex. Scholars believe that the codex was
compiled around 1160 and no later than 1173, since
at that time a monk by the name of Arnaldo de Monte,
a pilgrim in Compostela, made a "copy"
of the work for his abbot and brothers of the Ripoll
Cloister (MS Ripoll 99, Barcelona, Archivo de la
Corona de Aragón).
Jesuit historian P. Fidel Fita rediscovered the
codex in 1886; for unknown reasons the book had
been hidden and forgotten. In 1964 the entire codex
was restored in the workshop of the National Library
of Madrid; one of the parts of the codex, Libro
IV (Historia Turpini), which had been removed in
the 17th century was then reincorporated into the
Calixtinus is composed of 5 "libros" or
I (fols.4-139) contains sermons, liturgical texts
and homilies for the liturgy of Saint James (Santiago),
including numerous musical chants and two polyphonic
settings written specifically for the new liturgy
(fols. 101v-139). Book I is preceded by a bizarre
and clearly spurious letter from Pope Calixtus (fols.1-3).
II (fols.140-155), known as the "Book of Miracles,"
is a collection of 22 miracles credited to Saint
James which had occurred in different areas of Europe.
III (fols.156-162) narrates the moving of Saint
James' body from Palestina to Compostela.
IV (fols.163-191), or Historia Turpini, is a history
of Charlemagne and Roland (Historia Karol Magni
et Rotholandi). It has been falsely attributed to
Turpin, Archbishop of Reims. Although this book
was originally a part of the Codex Calixtinus, it
was removed in 1620 and circulated widely as an
independent unit. Luckily, as just mentioned, the
book has now its original place in the codex.
V (fols.192-225) is the very famous "Liber
Peregrinationis" ("Guide of the Medieval
Pilgrim") attributed to Aymeric Picaud. It
is considered the oldest touristic guide of Europe.
Musical settings (including plainsong and polyphonic
conducti, tropes, and organa) follow on fols. 214-222.
The codex ends with an appendix which has several
poems and hymns related to Santiago.
Calixtinus is a marvellous witness to the political,
social, cultural, religious, musical and intellectual
fabric of the medieval world
Guide of the Medieval Pilgrim", offering vivid
descriptions of the different towns and people,
their customs, habitat, character, organization,
lingustic manners, and its unique fusion of franco-hispanic
elements, is a beautiful ethnographic lesson.
music in the codex is a topic in itself and offers
a wonderful snapshot of the state of music composition
in the 12th century: the texts for St. James along
with their accompanying monophonic tropes and sequences
clearly illustrate how the liturgy was expanded
and embellished for a new great feast day. The musical
highpoint is its repertoire of polyphony; it includes
the first known composition for three voices and
serves as a vital bridge for the Notre Dame School.
Without this repertoire our understanding of the
birth and evolution of polyphony in the western
world would be completely distorted.
ŕ Q.Culture Codex
at wanadoo.fr - 01/12/2011