The Codice Calixtino or Codex Calixtinus, also known as “Liber Sancti Iacobi”.


Work of the XII century, it is attributed to Pope Callisto XII although, probably, he is not the author of it.


We are before the first and most important guide of the Camino de Santiago, and of great relevance and importance for Christianity.

It is about the compilation of several manuscripts, of heterogeneous and variable content, that were drafted between the years 1120 and 1170, independently. It is made up of 5 sections or books and some musical appendices with a total of 225 pages, which are kept in the Archive of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. The final version of the Codice would be made between 1160 and 1170.               

The codex is dedicated entirely to glossing the devotion to the apostle and to the pilgrimage to his tomb since the XNUMXth century.


It is the most extensive of all the books that make up the Codice Calixtino and includes homilies and fragments related to the liturgy of the Apostle Santiago.


It includes 22 miracles attributed or by intersection of the Apostle Santiago, performed in different regions of Europe, the most famous of which occurred in Santo Domingo de la Calzada, in what we know with the “Miracle of the Rooster and the Hen


Book III tells us about the transfer of the Apostle’s body, from Palestine to Santiago de Compostela, in the year 44 of our era and about the custom of the first pilgrims to collect scallops, as a symbol of their pilgrimage. 


Also known as “Turpin” or “Pseudo Turpin”, having been attributed to the Archbishop of Reims, or “legend of Charlemagne”, because the Apostle appeared to the Germanic Emperor, so that he freed his tomb from the Muslims.

Pilgrimages to the Camino de Santiago


Pilgrimage Guide“, Or” Liber Peregrinationis “, the most famous of all the books of the Codice Calixtino, by constituting the “first guide of the pilgrim” and of Europe, written in almost all probability, by the French clergyman Aymeric Picaud, in the year 1139.

Aymeric, in addition to being the editor of this book, it is very likely that he was in charge of compiling the entire set of the work, of which we go on to make a broad description of it: 


In Chapter I, we describe the “four itineraries from France to Santiago de Compostela“, In which three of them converge in Roncesvalles and the fourth that enters Spain through the port of Somport, joining in the Navarrese town of Puente la Reina, itineraries from Roncesvalles to converge in a single path to Santiago de Compostela. Nowadays do the Camino de Santiago from Sarria It has become the usual option, with a route of 111 km it is the shortest section to reach the Cathedral of Santiago, with fairly flat stages, and in turn being able to obtain the Certificate of La Compostela.


The “13 days of march”, From Saint Michel, near the Port of Cize, to Santiago, some routes of the Camino de Santiago on foot and others on horseback. In the Middle Ages and in the modern age it is very important to be a good pilgrim, we invite you to know our Manual of the Good Pilgrim.


All the cities and towns on the Camino stating, in some author’s notes, its most important characteristics as well as a list of some of the bridges and more significant rivers. The author points out that the detailed list of all the localities is made so “that the pilgrims worry about providing for travel expenses when they leave for Santiago”


It refers to the “three pilgrim hospitals in the world”, Which were created for the assistance, accommodation, maintenance and relief for the pilgrims who made the different historical pilgrimages: Rome, with the“ Hospital de Mont Joux ”, located at the foot of the Alps founded by Saint Bernard, to Jerusalem, with the “Jerusalem Hospital” and the “Santa Cristina Hospital”, located in the Port of Somport or Summo Portu, for pilgrims heading to Santiago de Compostela.

Codex Calixtinus


The names of some of the restorers and promoters of the Camino de Santiago (kings, emperors, popes, etc.), who favored the pilgrimage to people who were going to visit the tomb of the apostle.


The “good and bad rivers on the Camino”, From the ports of Cize and Somport to Santiago, among which are, to name a few of them:

The Salado river that passes through the place called Lorca, “be careful not to drink from it, neither you nor your horse, it is a deadly river”

The river Ega, which passes through Estella “of fresh, healthy and extraordinary water”

The Ebro river, which passes through Logroño “with healthy water and rich in fish”

The rivers of fresh and healthy water to drink, that from the Pisuerga, which passes through Itero, to the Sar river, which runs between Monte del Gozo and Santiago de Compostela exist, and having as a curiosity the so-called Dishwasher, because “in a leafy area through which it passes, two miles from Santiago, the pilgrims of French nationality who were going to Santiago, took off their clothes and, out of love for the Apostle, they used to wash not only their parts, but also the dirt from whole body”.

Aymeryc Picaud made this extensive description so that “the pilgrims who go to Santiago try to avoid drinking in the rivers that are deadly and can choose healthy ones for themselves and their horses”


It reflects “the names of the regions and characteristics of the people that are found along the Camino de Santiago ”. This chapter is very precise and detailed that relates the peculiarities, idiosyncrasies and ways of life of the different inhabitants of each of the areas, towns or villages that pilgrims travel to Santiago de Compostela, as well as customs, foods, crops , etc., the most relevant of them, as well as the precautions that must be taken into account, in each of them, when we go through them.


Detailed, in great detail, the Bodies of the saints who rest on the Camino de Santiago and that pilgrims have to visit, as well as the vicissitudes of their life and death, miracles, and graves.

pilgrimage to the road to Santiago


It describes the characteristics of the city of Santiago de Compostela and its cathedral. It is quoted that “the city of Compostela is located between two rivers called Sar and Sarela”, in addition to the names of the gates that give access to the city.

The number of churches in the city are also mentioned (10), among which “located in the center, the most important one shines gloriously, that of the glorious Apostle Santiago, the son of Zebedee.”

The following describes, in great detail, the Basilica of Santiago, both internally and externally.


“The number of canons of Santiago” is cited.


He tells us “about the welcome that must be given to the pilgrims of Santiago”, quoting verbatim: “Everyone should receive with charity and respect the pilgrims, rich or poor… ..because everyone who receives and hosts them with care , will have as a guest, not only Santiago, but also the Lord himself …… ”

The Codex Calixtino was an effective propaganda instrument of the first Archbishop of Santiago, Diego de Gelmírez, who used it to promote the Camino de Santiago and, consequently, raise the prestige of the city of Santiago de Compostela, for which it has been considered the most important character of the Jacobean pilgrimage. In ancient times, pilgrims stayed where they could, they even slept on the street. The pilgrims traveled on a very limited budget and with the few belongings they had. Today it is also possible to make a Camino de Santiago organized and cheap with Mundiplus Travel.


As an anecdotal fact, on Wednesday June 11, 2011, the Codice Calixtino was stolen while it was kept in the safe of the Cathedral Archive, revealing the insecurity in its custody.

After a year of investigations, the author of the robbery was arrested, in the person of an electrician who had worked in the maintenance of the Cathedral for 25 years. Fortunately, the Codex was found in good condition and, for everyone’s enjoyment, it returned to where it should have been, in the Cathedral of Santiago.