The Codex Calixtinus and the Cancionero da Vaticana will be exhibited for the first time together in Galicia thanks to an agreement between the Xunta and the Vatican

The conselleiro for Culture and Tourism, Román Rodríguez, signed an agreement today in Rome with the Vatican Apostolic Library which would allow, for the very first time together in Galicia, the exhibition of two pieces of high symbolic value for Galician culture: the Liber Sancti Iacobi, one of the three illuminated Calixtine codices which, in addition to the original one in Santiago, are still preserved today; and the Cancionero da Vaticana, an essential piece of the Galician-Portuguese lyric tradition, that will be the first time you can visit in our community.

The works will be part of Galicia, un relato no mundo, the first major international exhibition of the Xacobeo 21 programme, which will open next November at the Museo Centro Gaiás de la Cidade da Cultura de Galicia.

The Vatican’s Liber Sancti Iacobi is, along with Santiago’s original, one of only three illuminated Calixtine codices; it allows us to see graphic details lost in the original Compostelan document, such as the face of Emperor Charlemagne himself.

In the Middle Ages, several reproductions of the Codex Calixtinus were made in Compostela with the aim of spreading the cult and pilgrimage to Santiago throughout Europe, helping it reach the important intellectual centres of worship of the time. The Liber Sancti Iacobi itself was written with the desire to connect Compostela and Galicia with the rest of Europe, it created the legend of Santiago’s appearance to the Emperor Charlemagne, the most prestigious figure in medieval Europe, and his arrival in Compostela.

The Cancionero da Vaticana is, together with the Cancionero de Ajuda (Ajuda Songbook) and the Cancionero de la Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal (Songbook of the National Library of Portugal), one of the corpora in which the medieval Galician Portuguese lyric is kept. It is a work with an exceptional symbolic value for Galicia, but also central to Europe’s literary tradition, since the Portuguese Galician lyric, together with poetry in Occitan (south of France) and Oïl (north of France), were the continent’s first literary expressions in the Romance language.

This is a monumental collection of 1,200 cantigas which were copied in Italy at the end of the 15th and beginning of the 16th centuries by order of the Italian humanist Angelo Colocci; unfortunately, the original documents were lost. It contains pieces by the most emblematic names of medieval Galician literary tradition: the kings Alfonso X El Sabio and Don Dinís, Paio Gomes Chariño, Afonso Eanes do Cotón, Pero da Ponte, Meendinho or Airas Nunes, among many others.

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