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The cult of St. James has been linked with the town of Compostela in north-west Spain since the 8th century. This tradition extended far beyond Spain’s borders. Traces of its religious and cultural allure can be found in all European countries. It is a remarkable phenomenon that the attraction of the Way of St. James has endured to this day and is currently experiencing something of a renaissance.

This volume offers an insight into the varied facets of the cult of St. James. It is not limited to any particular aspects of pilgrimages but puts them in broad historic and cultural contexts and familiarizes readers with new scientific findings. For both connoisseurs and those with inquiring minds, the result is a balanced picture of a major European tradition that places greater emphasis on present-day perspectives.


Jakobus –
der Heilige

by Klaus Herbers






21 x 27 cm

81/2 x 105/8 in.

192 pages

richly illustrated

150 g mat coated, wood-free paper


Chapter I

“Holy year” in Santiago de Compostela


Chapter II

From Palestine to Spain


Chapter III

“Clash of Cultures”?


Chapter IV

A city for the Apostle: from a diocese to the seat of the Apostle


Chapter V

Pilgrims and pilgrims’ routes, or: How to shorten the route to the ‘end of the world’?


Chapter VI

An Apostle and a Holy Emperor, or: What links St. James to Charlemagne?


Chapter VII

Battle against the Muslims: battle assistance, politics and economy


Chapter VIII

Europe goes on pilgrimages: routes, lodgings und churches – reports and songs


Chapter IX

European pilgrims return home: looking for tracks from the Baltic to the Mediterranean


Chapter X

No success without competition: knight and pilgrim patron saints


Chapter XI

Criticism and crisis, or: Did the Reformation destroy the pilgrimages to Compostela?


Chapter XII

What remains of the cult of St. James – re-awakenings in our times


Klaus Herbers, born 1951 in Wuppertal, has been the Professor
of Medieval History at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg
since 1998.

He has become well-known for his numerous scientific publications on the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.
In addition, he is a leading representative of the German St. Jacob Society and an eye-witness of the latest development in the Santiago