HISTORY OF THE WAY IN ARAGON
MEDIAEVAL RELIGIOUSNESS AND PILGRIMAGES
The pilgrimage to holy places and to the big sanctuaries always was a common prescription to a lot of religions that have awarded to the physical itinerary a sense of way penitencial, of purification and of approach to the divinity. The hope that moved to the pilgrim was to achieve the curing of the soul and of the body, at the end of the way.
The big centres of pilgrimage of the Cristiandad mediaeval were born around Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalén, Rome and Santiago. But other temples of second order attracted pilgrims in each country and region. When they did not exist famous graves, used relics. In the middle ages, the afán for achieving them stimulated big expenses, fights or even dangerous expeditions. All the sanctuaries and cathedrals sought his possession and accumulation, because they multiplied his prestige and attracted to crowd of pilgrims, donations and cuantiosos legated.
The peregrinación was in his origin a spontaneous phenomenon, but with the step of the time it became institutionalising. The religious and military orders by means of the foundation of hospitals or hostels for the assistance of poor and pilgrimms, fixed the big ways of peregrinación and went his more inspired propagandists.
However, the nature of the peregrinación was not only religious. All a variegated mass of merchants, vagrants, thieves, jugglers and prostitutes mixed in the ways with the authentic pilgrims.
In the economic field, the way of peregrinación converted very soon in trade route of prime importance, coinciding with the moment (10th-11th centuries) in that it produces a phase of big economic growth, of urban renaissance and of commercial revolution. Of this form, to his step, the route jacobea attracted the foundation of cities and markets; it did the fortune of the ancient urban cores; it enriched to his regions and opened them to the cultural currents of the period.
The same happened in Aragon and in the cities, villages and markets that populated the step of the Way of Santiago: Canfranc, Jaca, Berdún, Ruesta and Tiermas were the main cores, endowed with hospitals and also with fairs and markets. Other places of step, of lower entity, also infected the diverse influences and contributions jacobeas: spiritual, pious, charitable, mercantile, picaresque, etc.
EMERGENCE OF JACOBEO PILGRIMAGE
The cult to the apostle Santiago in Galicia began in the 9th century, with his altar situated on an ancient roman temple devoted to Jupiter. The likely origin traces back to the bishop Teodomiro (died in the 847), the one who would have adapted the pagan cult of Jupiter (God of the Thunder and of the Lightning) to the Christian worship to Santiago Zebedeo (that the Godspels appoints like Son of the Thunder). As it was usual in the period, the invention of the legend and of the grave of the apostle that never was in Hispania served to the fight of the mediaeval clergy by remove ancient pagan cults, still very rooted.
This apparition was prompt known in the court carolingia, emerging interest by the new cult in the far Galicia, and beginning the pilgrimages. Over time, little by little, they will go fixing the diverse itineraries or ways that has had the Way of Santiago. In the 9th century use the shod roman that transitan north of the Muslim Spain.
THE WAY OF SANTIAGO IN ARAGON
The first Aragonese itinerary crossed the Pyrenees by el puerto del Palo (valle de Echo), went through the monastery of San Pedro of Siresa and headed to Ruesta and to Pamplona. The first stretch of this route followed the shod roman that visited the valley. Achieved the Channel of Berdún, continued by the road Jaca- Pamplona. Saint Eulogio, bishop of Córdoba that visited the zone in 848, signalled that in Siresat pilgrims were exquisitely cared.
In the 11th century, the first kings of Aragon reconstructed and improved the network of communications of his territory, repairing the roman roads still into use, acting other new and building bridges, hostels and bathrooms linked to the main routes. Something like this happened with the way jacobeo, transitado from does time by a lot of pilgrims and travellers that needed of the protection of the kings and bishops.
In those dates the route of the valley in fact yielded the leadership to the way of the port of the Somport, where transited the route of international trade more important of the nascent kingdom, crossed the high valley of the Aragon and went through Jaca. The toll that taxed the mercantile traffic earned in the castle of Candanchú, in Canfranc and in Jaca, and the pilgrims were exempt from the same. Under the look of the castle of Candanchú was situated the Hospital of Santa Cristina of Somport, that was the main and the most famous institution of received of all the kingdom. Governed by a community of canons, possessed delegations, own hospitals and dependent confreries in a lot of cores of the way jacobeo, from the Bearn until Soria.
When arriving to the Field of Jaca or to the Channel of Berdún, the way changed his direction north-south by the one of east-west, following the bank of the Aragon until Tiermas and the border with Navarra. Up to Santiago, this address will not be abandoned.
This way, in reality, was a dense and extensive road network that included hundreds of stretches and of ramifications. Roads came from various points of origin: zone centroeuropea, England, France, Flandes, Italy and of all the corners of the Iberian Peninsula. The majority of these paths jointed in the Pyrenees, to cross his main steps. Others went by sea, achieving ports like Barcelona and Valencia, and afterwards going up until Zaragoza and Astorito, to add to the main route. The pilgrims found, in all the cities, cathedrals that guarding the relics of the great saints, disciples of the apostle, local masters or objects related with Jesús and his Passion. In Jaca´s cathedral was revered Santa Orosia, local patron saint, and other reliquias like an arm of San Pedro and a jawbone with two grind of Saint Andrés.
The proliferation in mediaeval period of big monasteries and sanctuaries proprietary all of them of famous relics, also caused the creation of new routes that forked of the main itineraries to approach to the pilgrims until his churches. We have an example in San Juan de la Peña, until where displaced a lot of pilgrims jacobeos to his go through the Aragonese stretch. There were venerated the bones of Saint Indalecio, bishop of Almería of the 3rd century (to the one who passed off as disciple of the apostle Santiago); the ones of the saint founders of the monastry (Vote and Félix); and the same Santo Grial, that contained the blood of Cristo. And the same happening with the detours that drove until San Pedro of Siresa or until San Salvador de Leire, custodians of other so many reliquias.
This complex road network of pilgrimage had a series of nodules or crosses of ways where converged and branching the distinct stretches; where situated the cities and main markets; and where also multiplied the equipments, hospitals and centres of assistance for poor and pilgrims. In our region, the main nodules jacobeos were Jaca, Astorito and Tiermas, break-points forced.
The Way of Santiago went in in crisis in the 16th century. The Protestant Reform, mainly, went the cause of this decadence. On the one hand the split between the Europe reformed and the Catholic Spain, accompanied by the fortificación and militarisation of the border. By another, the memory on French soil that was kept enToulouse also a body of the apostle Santiago. Which was the authentic?
THE ROUTES OF PILGRIMAGE
In the complicated ftamework of ways employed to travel until Compostela, are established in natural form four main roads by which can pipe these routes of pilgrimage from all Europe through the neighbouring French country, attaining a protection based in forming groups very numerous.
They are known as:
Turonense, or Tours.
It situated his authentic starting point in the square of Santiago of the French capital, Paris, that received the influx of people come of the British Isles and all the European North. They displaced from Poitiers, Burdeos and Orthez.
Lemovicense, or Vezelay.
Way chosen by the north travellers and Centre of Europe, crossing: Strasbourg and Zurich to arrive to Orthez visiting Bourges and Limoges
Podense, or le Puy.
Road chosen for the people centroeuropea that travel from Munich, Zurich and Lyon, way of the called miraculous sanctuary of Our Lady of Rocamadur.
These three Roads joined to the little to arrive to Orthez, in the French location of Ostabar that had a good hospital for pilgrims. Like this, the pilgrims displaced by a traced only in his walk to earths navarras: first, by the valley of the Baztán and the monasteries of Urdáx and Velate. Years later by Roncesvalles and its famous monastery
Tolosana, or Toulouse.
It is the fourth of the most known roads described, amongst other, by the French clergyman Aymeric Picaud, whose work dates of the 12th century. This itinerary, the most meridional in french earths, brought people from Orient and South of Europe, crossing the Languedoc, and to which from le Puy preferred to change his direction to the South to arrive at last in Olorón, city where the pilgrims had to face, after traveling hundreds of miles and a short break, by passing the toughest test of his trip, cross the Somport.