Santiago de Compostela

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A city in NW Spain, capital in Galicia, named after St James the Great (Spanish Sant Iago), whose remains, according to Spanish tradition, were brought there after his death. According to later accounts, the relics were rediscovered in 813, when a hermit named Pelayo noticed a star hovering above the previously hidden tomb. The story gave rise to a popular folk etymology, in which Compostela was seen to mean campus stellae ‘field of the star’, rather than being related to compostum ‘burial place’.

From the 9th century, when the relics were discovered, the city became the centre of a national and Christian movement against the Moors and an important place of pilgrimage.

Subjects: Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500) — Archaeology.

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