The Way of St. James ends in Santiago de Compostela. However, there is the city of Jaca in the Pyrenees, which has been systematically underestimated from ancient times as a part of the Way. The causes lie in the far-off pagan origin of this way and in the common root of the words Santiago and Jaca. Although they seem different, they come from the same source and meaning: Iacchus / Bacchus, the Roman God that followed the Greek God Dionysus.

Text: Jaume Cluet
Pictures: Josep Mª Roselló

The Christian tradition points out the apostle James the Greater as the evangelist of the Iberian peninsula. However, the primitive historical sources made clear that were the first communities of the North African church, found in the Roman Empire, who made that task by means of its emissaries or preachers. The myth of the apostle, his arrival at Galician coasts and thousands of heroic deeds told in many other legends are part of a myth driven by Christianity. There are other reasons why enclaves like Jaca, Santiago de Compostela and other confines of St. James Way exist. The origins of all them were lost in the past when Christianity burst into the ancient Hispania.

What meaning is hidden behind the archetype of James the Apostle? The first thing we have to answer to this question is that if there is something hidden is because it is advisable to remain hidden. In any case, that part or fragment that is visible (in this case the legend of St. James) is shown properly adapted by fulfilling the principle of syncretism or assimilation. These strategies were very much used by all religions throughout the history to adapt them to new religious, theological approaches.

Go to chapter:  Next