The Pilgrim’s Guide
to Santiago de Compostela

by William Melczer

A READER from United Kingdom, July 11, 1999: “The best book available about Santiago De Compostela. Melczer’s book is a masterpiece. Anyone with an interest in Spain, the Middle Ages, or Santiago De Compostela simply must read this book! It is lively and highly readable, but it is underpinned by impeccable scholarship. It opens numerous windows on a forgotten world, and deserves the widest possible readership.” ( website)

In 1993William Melczer published The Pilgrim’s Guide to Santiago de Compostela, an outstanding translation of the fifth book of the Codex accompanied by copious ancillary materials (an extensive introduction, detailed commentaries, a hagiographical register, a gazetteer).... [A] major contribution to Codex complimented by the translations of Davidson, Dunn, and Coffey. (La corónica)

Melczer’s achievement here is to bring experience that is remote from and even alien to the modern temper vividly to life..... it is a very pleasant surprise that will involve, instruct, intrigue and, perhaps, inspire. (Small Press)

I heartily recommend this book as a first step with which to begin one’s personal journey to Santiago de Compostela. It is chock full of useful information on the Camino, and, like a journey itself, it offers the traveler the opportunity to follow many interesting by-ways (whether geographical or bibliographical) along the way. (Bryn Mawr Medieval Review)

In some senses, the whole history of Iberian Catholicism can be recounted from the vantage point of this classical journey, as can much of European spirituality, iconography, and religious architecture. This English volume will be an important contribution to the rich library of Santiago literature. (Cistercian Studies Quarterly)

William Melczer’s book offers the first complete English translation of Book V of the famous Liber Sancti Jacobi.... A very readable accompanied by a wealth of explanatory information: no fewer than 609 notes...offer the most thorough commentary the Pilgrim’s Guide has ever been given. The particular emphasis given to the cult of the saints connected with the road to St. James, which has never been studied so thoroughly before, makes it a valuable addition to the existing literature on the cult of, and the pilgrimage to, St. James.... (Medium Aevum)

A readable translation with copious notes and background. Melczer offers an academic work that is a very readable translation of the twelfth century Book Five of the Codex Calixtinus, together with substantial backgound notes and explanatory material. This, in spite of its academic overtones, is not a difficult read. I found it to be a very useful starting point and historical information base for our proposed pilgrimage. ( reader’s review)

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