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PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION OF THE ICONOGRAPHY OF THE WOMAN
WITH THE SKULL FROM THE PUERTA DE LAS PLATERIAS OF SANTIAGO DE
KAREN FAYE WEBB
A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF ARTS
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
Karen Faye Webb
To Dan and Judy Webb
I am indebted to many individuals for their support and guidance in my physical
and conceptual pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. I would most like to thank Dr.
David Stanley who has been my constant supporter as my toughest critic and my most
caring mentor. Dr. Carolyn Watson's medieval art class at Furman University introduced
me to the complex beauty of the south transept portal. My parents indulged my awe of
this portal and physically and metaphorically climbed the steps leading to the Puerta de
las Platerias with me to pay homage to the Woman with the Skull. Without them, this
study would not have been possible. I would like to thank my reader, Dr. John Scott, for
his insightful comments, and Jeremy Culler, Sarah Webb and Sandra Goodrich for their
support, friendship, and unwavering faith in me. Finally, I would like to thank the
Woman with the Skull, who brought me on this pilgrimage and has given me a new
awareness about art and myself.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
ACKNOWLEDGMENT S .............. .................... iv
LI ST OF FIGURE S .............. .................... vi
AB S TRAC T ..... ._ ................. ............_........x
1 INTRODUCTION ................. ...............1.......... ......
2 HISTORICAL FOUNDATION OF THE CATHEDRAL AND DATING OF THE
SOUTH PORTAL .............. ...............3.....
3 SCULPTURAL ORGANIZATION, DESCRIPTION OF THE ICONOGRAPHY,
AND THE ICONOGRAPHIC PROGRAM ................. ...............................18
4 THE SOCIAL, POLITIC, AND RELIGIOUS CONTEXT OF LATE ELEVENTH
CENTURY SPAIN ................. ...............49.................
5 THE ICONOGRAPHY OF THE WOMAN WITH THE SKULL ............................61
6 CONCLU SION............... ...............7
LIST OF REFERENCES ......_ .................. ................. ......... ........ .....112
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH..................... ................11
LIST OF FIGURES
1. Puerta de las Platerias, Santiago de Compostela, (Gaillard, Les Dibuts de la
Sculpture Romane Espagnole: Leo~n-Jaca-Compostelle, pl. LXXXIX). .................83
2. Left Tympanum, Puerta de las Platerias, (Photo: Karen Webb). ............. .................84
3. Diagram superimposed over the Left Tympanum, Puerta de las Platerias,
(Photo: Karen W ebb). ............. ...............84.....
4. Right Tympanum, Puerta de las Platerias, Santiago de Compostela (Photo:
Karen W ebb). ............. ...............85.....
5. Diagram superimposed on Right Tympanum, Puerta de las Platerias, Santiago
de Compostela (Photo: Karen Webb)............... ...............85.
6. Woman with the Skull, Left Tympanum, Puerta de las Platerias, Santiago de
Compostela, (Gaillard, Les Dibuts de la Sculpture Romane Espagnole: Leon-Jaca-
Compostelle, pl. CI). ............. ...............86.....
7. Plan of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, (Conant, The Early
Architectural History of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela).
[Black=Romanesque; Green=Romanico-Gothic; Red= Gothic;
Yellow=Renaissance, Baroque; White=Modern] .............. ....................8
8. Plan of Santiago de Compostela, (Stokstad, Santiago de Compostela:1In the Age
of the Great Pilgrimages, pp.2-3). ................ ............... ......... ........ ..88
9. Left portion of Left Tympanum, Puerta de las Platerias, Santiago de
Compostela (Photo: Karen Webb). ............. ...............89.....
10. Right portion of Left Tympanum, Puerta de las Platerias, Santiago de
Compostela (Photo: Karen Webb). ............. ...............89.....
11. Christ with Spolia Crown, Left Tympanum, Puerta de las Platerias, Santiago
de Compostela, (Naaesgaard, Saint-Jacques de Compostelle et les debuts de la
grande sculptures vers 1100, p. 50). ............. ...............90.....
12. Blessing Apostle, Left Tympanum, Puerta de las Platerias, Santiago de
Compostela, (Gaillard, Les Dibuts de la Sculpture Romane Espagnole: Ledn-Jaca-
Compostelle, pl. C) ................. ...............90................
13. Theotokos, Right Tympanum, Puerta de las Platerias, Santiago de Compostela,
(Naesgaard, Saint-Jacques de Compostelle et les debuts de la grande sculptures
vers 1100, p.59) ............... ...............91....
14. Flagellation panel, Right Tympanum, Puerta de las Platerias, Santiago de
Compostela, (Gaillard, Les Dibuts de la Sculpture Romane Espagnole: Ledn-Jaca-
Compostelle, pl. CIII) ................. ...............92................
15. Male bust, Left Tympanum, Puerta de las Platerias, Santiago de Compostela,
(Gaillard, Les Dibuts de la Sculpture Romane Espagnole: Led~n-Jaca-Compostelle,
pl. C )............... ...............92...
16. Healing of the Blind, Right Tympanum, Puerta de las Platerias, Santiago de
Compostela, (Gaillard, Les Dibuts de la Sculpture Romane Espagnole: Ledn-Jaca-
Compostelle, pl. CIV)............... ...............93..
17. Crowning of Christ and the Betrayal of Christ, Right Tympanum, Puerta de las
Platerias, Santiago de Compostela, (Gaillard, Les Dibuts de la Sculpture Romane
Espagnole: Led~n-Jaca-Compostelle, pl. CV). ............. ...............94.....
18. Last Judgment, west tympanum of Saint-Lazare, 1120-1135, marble, Autun,
France (Gardner 's Art through the Ages. Eleventh edition, Fig. 17-25). ...............94
19. Diagram of the Puerta de las Platerias, Santiago de Compostela (Durliat, La
sculpture romane de la route de Saint-Jacques: de Conques a Compostelle, p.327).95
20. Arch of Constantine, 312-315, Rome, Italy (south side) (Gardner 's Art
through the Ages, Eleventh Edition, Fig. 10-76) ......... ................. ...............96
21. Jews wearing the round cap, BM Cotton Claudius B. iv, detail of Folio 121r,
1025-1050 (Mellinkoff, "The Round, cap-shaped hats depicted on Jews in BM
Cotton Claudius B. iv," Fig. Id). ............. ...............96.....
22. St. Andrew, Left jamb of the right door, Puerta de las Platerias, Santiago de
Compostela (Gaillard, Les Dibuts de la Sculpture Romane Espagnole: Ledn-Jaca-
Compostelle, pl. CVII). ............. ...............97.....
23. Spanish Coat of Arms (Maclagan, Lines of Succession: Heraldry of the Royal
Families of Europe, p.84) ................. ...............98........... ...
24. Trumeau, South Portal, Monastery Church of St. Pierre, Moissac, France
(Porter, Romanesque Sculpture of the Pilgrimage Roads, Vol. II, Fig. 3 62)...........98
25. Sarcophagus of San Ramon, twelfth century, Roda de Isabena, Spain (Costa,
Roda de Isabena: histoira y arte, p. 109). ....__................. ................ ...9
26. Theotokos, Apse mosaic of Hagia Sophia, c.867, Istanbul, Turkey (Lowden,
EarlyE~~~~EEEEE~~~~EEEE Christian and Byzantine Art, Fig. 99). ............. ...............99.....
27. Narbonne Ivory, c.820, the cathedral of Saint-Just de Narbonne, France
(Sepiere, L 'Inzage d'un Dieu souf~fant, p.216). .................. ...............10
28. Initial D with the Three Marys at the Tomb, Drogo Sacra~nentaly, Folio 58r,
c.850 (The Utrecht Psalter in M~edieval Art, p. 197, Fig. 11Ib). ........._.... .............101
29. Capital of Salome, Santa Marta de Tera, Zamora, Spain (Moralejo, "The
Codex Calixtinus as an art historical source," Fig. 6, p. 225) ............... ...............102
30. Titian, The Penitent Ma'~gdalen, 1560s, oil on canvas, Hermitage, St.
Petersburg (Pedrocco, Titian, Fig. 241). ............. ...............102....
31. Georges de la Tour, The Penitent Magdalen, c. 163 8-1643, oil on canvas, the
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (Cuzin and Rosenberg, Georges de la
Tour, p. 202, Fig. 39). ............. ...............103....
32. Book cover ofPericopes ofHenry II (cod. Lat. 4452, cim. 57), c.870, ivory,
precious stones, niello, and enamels, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Munich (Sepiere,
L 'intage d 'un Dieu sou~ffra~nt (Ixe-Xe siecle): Aux origins du crucify ix, PL. XXIa). 104
33. Book cover of the Pericopes ofHenry II, c. 870, ivory, Codex Latinus 4452,
Staatsbibliothek, Miinich (Seiferth, Synagogue and Church in the M~iddle Ages:
Two Symbols in Art and Literature, Fi g. 5)................... ............... 105
34. Detail of Synagogue and King Charles the Bald, Pericopes ofHenry II, c.870,
ivory, Codex Latinus 4452, Staatsbibliothek, Miinich (Seiferth, Synagogue and
Church in the M~iddle Ages: Two Symbols in Art and Literature, Fig. 5). .........._..106
35. Codex Aureus of Charles the Bald, Miinich, SB, Throne of Charles the Bald,
f.5v, c. 870 (The Utrecht Psalter in 2edievalArt, p. 18, Fig. 22). ........._.............107
36. Detail of Roma between Oceanus and Gaia, Pericopes ofHenry II, c.870,
ivory, Codex Latinus 4452, Staatsbibliothek, Miinich, (Seiferth, Synagogue and
Church in the M~iddle Ages: Two Symbols in Art and Literature, Fig. 5). .........._..108
37. Apotheosis of Antoninus Pius and Faustina, pedestal of the Column of
Antoninus Pius, c. 161 A.D., marble, Rome, Italy (Gardner 's Art through the Ages.
Eleventh edition, Fig. 10-57)............... ...............109
38. Detail of Shield with She-Wolf Suckling Romulus and Remus from the
Apotheosis of Antoninus Pius and Faustina, pedestal of the Column of Antoninus
Pius, c. 161 A.D., marble, Rome, Italy (Gardner 's Art through the Ages. Eleventh
edition, Fig. 10-57) ................. ...............109...............
39. Crucifixion from the diptych of Rambona, 900, Rome, Vatican Museum,
(Sepiere, L 'image d 'un Dieu sou~ffrant (Ixe-Xe siecle): Aux origins du crucify ix,
Fig. 56, p. 216). ................ ...............110..............
40. The Crucifixion from the Rabula Gospels, c.586, Florence, Biblioteca
Laurentiana (Beckwith, EarlyE~~~~EEEEE~~~~EEEE Christian and Byzantine Art, Fig. 45). ................... 111
Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts
PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION OF THE ICONOGRAPHY OF THE WOMAN
WITH THE SKULL FROM THE PUERTA DE LAS PLATERIAS OF SANTIAGO DE
Karen Faye Webb
Chair: David Stanley
Major Department: Art and Art History
Walter Cahn labels the Woman with the Skull on the south portal of Santiago de
Compostela as one of the most enigmatic figures in Romanesque sculpture. This study
will endeavor to alleviate some of her mysterious anonymity by showing her importance
as a metaphor of conversion relevant to the liturgical changes in Spain in the 1070s and
1080s. The present position of this spolia figure resulted from the religious controversy
between King Alfonso VI of Le6n-Castile and Pope Gregory VII. Through letters and
personal envoys, Gregory VII demanded that Alfonso VI abandon the Mozarabic Liturgy
with its inherent Arian heretical elements that denied the dual nature of Christ and that it
be replaced with the orthodox Roman rite. Alfonso VI conceded to Gregory VII's
demands and in 1080 at the Council of Burgos, the Mozarabic liturgy was officially
condemned and replaced with the orthodox Roman rite. The south transept sculptural
program, which is composed entirely of sculptural spolia, is designed to emphasize the
orthodox doctrine of the dual nature of Christ. The Woman with the Skull will be
explored as part of this papal propaganda.
First, the Woman with the Skull will be described and the various identities that
scholars have attempted to assign as the piece's iconography will be discussed. Second,
this study will propose an iconographic tradition for the piece revealing the woman's
identity as an adaptation Carolingian iconography and Roman iconography from the Late
Imperial Period. Finally, this study proposes a composite identity for the Woman with
the Skull. This composite identity can be understood by combining the iconographic
reference of the figure to earlier Roma figures, the almost cultic eleventh century
identification of the figure as the "Adulterous Woman," and the figure' s relationship to
Biblical characters. This composite identity will be shown to include a fusion of the
figures of Eve, Mary Magdalene, and the Virgin Mary.
Ultimately, these conclusions about Cahn's enigmatic woman will be related to
Pope Gregory VII's campaign to reform the Spanish Mozarabic liturgy tainted by
Arianism to the Roman rite. In his campaign, the Woman with the Skull embodies the
message of the south portal intended to act as a self-reflective image of the Spanish
people and which is integral to their relationship to the south portal.
The obj ective of this thesis is to examine the south portal or Puerta de las Platerias
on the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela and to analyze its two tympana in order to
decipher the programmatic theme intended for its medieval audience (Fig. 1). Strangely,
most previous studies of the portal have been limited to the iconographic identification of
individual pieces of sculpture, but few scholars have engaged in a search for the
tympana' s overall meaning. Few have even suggested a cohesive intent for what this
thesis will suggest is a collection of thematically interrelated pieces of sculptural spolia
that appears on the tympana (Fig. 2 and Fig. 4).
Because of the diversity of spolia pieces, scholars are often presented with the
difficult task of analyzing the different individual stones and then relating them to their
position within the entire portal, which deceptively seem to be a conglomeration of
unrelated pieces. Because this thesis is only dealing with the sculpture in the two
tympana, the figure numbers of the sculpture will be organized according to an initial
number, which will guide the reader in most cases to an image that is a detail of the
tympana or of the individual piece. The second figure number will direct the reader to a
diagram of either the entire left tympanum (Fig. 3) or the entire right tympanum (Fig. 5)
that outlines each spolia piece and identifies it with a letter. Thus, in conjunction with
this second number is also a capital letter, which will identify the individual stone panels
within the context of their position in either tympanum. For example, one of the most
famous sculptural pieces on the two tympana is the Woman with the Skull. References to
her within the thesis text will be as follows: (Fig. 6 [Fig. 3, Stone G]). Figure 6 is a detail
of the sculptural piece and Figure 3 is the left tympanum with the Woman with the
Skull's position being identified by the letter G.
In fact, the present study began as an inquiry into the meaning of that enigmatic
Woman with the Skull. In order to attempt to discern the meaning of the Woman with
the Skull and to understand her significance within the iconographic program of the
Puerta de las Platerias, this thesis will investigate the following topics: Chapter 1 will
explain the history of the site of the cathedral and the dating of the cathedral and portal.
Chapter 2 will discuss the evidence for the use of spolia in the portal and it will contain a
description of the iconography and an explication of its programmatic content. Chapter 3
will discuss the social context of the portal program and the symbolism and meaning of
the portals, while Chapter 4 will explore the relationship between the portal and the
Woman with the Skull. This chapter will also attempt to reveal iconographic prototypes
for the Woman with the Skull predating it from the Imperial period of Rome and the
Carolingian period. Chapter 5 will recapitulate the conclusions of the previous chapters
and discuss the future implications of the portal's iconography and of the figure of the
Woman with the Skull.
HISTORICAL FOUNDATION OF THE CATHEDRAL AND DATING OF THE
What is known of the medieval city of Santiago de Compostela remains ensconced
in the foundations of its cathedral. Beyond these foundations, limited evidence exists
about the medieval town, which Kenneth Conant calls "irrevocably lost."l Despite this
loss, Conant provides some clues that recreate a radius of buildings around the pre-
Romanesque church before its Romanesque renovations. In this chapter, Conant's study
of the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela will be used to investigate the structures that
were moved or destroyed to transform the pre-Romanesque church into the Romanesque
pilgrimage church. Marilyn Stokstad's study of the medieval city will help create some
descriptive parameters for the areas surrounding the cathedral. Once familiarity has been
established with the site, the controversial dates in which changes began to be applied to
the site will be discussed in terms of these dates' various documentation. From letters to
inscriptions to manuscript citations, social and religious motivations aligned with the
renovation dates will be proposed to strengthen this study's choice of a terminus
postquent and a terminus antequent for the cathedral's south portal.
Santiago de Compostela's cathedral evolved from its beginnings as a small ninth
century tomb to St. James the Great, an apostle of Christ who the Christian inhabitants of
SKenneth Conant, The Early architectural History of the Cathedral of L aner, ;. de Compostela
(Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1925), p. 3.
the Iberian Peninsula claim to be the evangelist of their homeland.2 James the Great was
the first apostle to be martyred and was beheaded by King Herod in Judea. The Iberian
tradition maintains that the followers of James placed his relics in a boat and that the boat
was miraculously guided to the northwest coast of the Iberian Peninsula. It is
hypothesized that the tomb to the apostle was lost over time and was rediscovered by a
hermit named Pelayo. As legend maintains, in 813 he had a vision of lights emanating
from the tomb's earliest known incarnation, a small cella-like room. The foundations of
this small tomb of likely Classical date are of granite and brick and are approximately
oriented.3 Soon after its discovery and the increase in pilgrim visits, King Alfonso II of
Asturias (791-842) built a simple nave for Saint James' s tomb, converting it into a small
church that Stokstad describes as no more than a shed attached to the shrine's west wall.4
Alfonso II also embellished this first church of Santiago de Compostela with a baptistry
on its north side.' The king continued his expansion of the site by building the church of
San Salvador that was closely aligned, if not contiguous, with the sepulcher on the east
side.6 The church of Santa Maria was another addition made by the king and it was
possibly located to the northeast of the church of Santiago de Compostela.7 Alfonso III
2 There were three different men of prominence with the name James in the New Testament. St. James the
Great was an apostle who was the son of Zebedee and Salome. St. James the Less was also an apostle who
was possibly shorter in stature. The third James is James the Brother of Jesus.
3 Ibid. 4-5.
4 COnant, The Early Architectural History of the Cathedral of Le t,,;.. de Compostela, p. 6; Marilyn
Stokstad, Le Ire Is. de Compostela: In the Age of the Great Pilgrimages (Norman: University of Oklahoma
Press, 1978), p. 12.
SConant, The Early Architectural History of the Cathedral of Le t,,;.. de Compostela, p. 6.
6 Ibid. 6.
of Asturias and Galicia (866-910) altered this first church of Santiago de Compostela
with the intention to renovate Alfonso II' s prosaic structure into an Asturian style church.
This proj ect was completed in 896.8
In the late eleventh or early twelfth centuries (controversial dating that will be
discussed below), King Alfonso VI of Le6n-Castile (1065-1 109) instituted the third
renovation of the structure, the pre-Romanesque church of Santiago de Compostela.
Conant lists three possible reasons that inspired Alfonso VI to undertake the third and
most significant renovation of Santiago de Compostela: 1) the importance of fireproofing,
2) the economic concerns attached to Santiago' s status as the culmination of the
pilgrimage roads, 3) the reproduction of the pilgrimage church plan.9 A fundamental and
obvious reason for the renovation is the shift of the technology into the Romanesque era
with its emphasis on vaulting to fireproof the church.
Conant sees the emulation of the pilgrimage church type as a function of
competition among pilgrimage churches and the need to promote Santiago de
Compostela as the culmination of the pilgrimage.10 Satisfying the expectations of
pilgrims for their ultimate destination and the economic desire to keep the pilgrims in the
city to generate profits from tourism made the renovation of the church essential. This
conclusion should never be disregarded or overlooked for it certainly was a substantial
motivation; however, other evidence builds upon this thesis to further motivations.
9 Ibid. 16-18, 21.
' Ibid. 17-18.
Though Conant mentions this motivation, his argument emphasizes the sudden
appearance of the pilgrimage church plan."l The plan that emerged has a regular
modularized grid within a cruciform plan that includes a nave and single side aisles. The
side aisles continue around the apse in the innovative ambulatory with radiating chapels
that allows the pilgrims to venerate the relics without interrupting the services conducted
in the church. Though Santiago de Compostela is a pilgrimage church, the relics of St.
James are not on the periphery, but are the immovable center around which the cathedral
was constructed. The basic pilgrimage church plan was featured in five maj or churches:
St. Sernin in Toulouse, St. Martin at Tours, St. Martial at Limoges, St. Foy at Conques,
and Santiago de Compostela. St. Martin at Tours and St. Martial at Limoges no longer
exist and the church that served as the prototype for this popular plan is unknown.12
Conant remains diplomatic as to which church gave rise to other structural duplications.
He sees Santiago de Compostela as a candidate for the original idea's gestation, but he
ultimately supports St. Martial of Limoges as the most likely source of the innovation.13
However, Conant changes his choice for the prototypical pilgrimage church to St. Martin
at Tours in later publications.14 COnant also maintains that the geographical
disproportion in which a greater number of cathedrals of this type are represented in
France, makes the Spanish church an unlikely prototype. The uncertainty with which
11 Ibid. 13.
13 Ibid. 21.
14 Kenneth Conant, Carolingian and Romanesque architecture 800-1200 (New York: Penguin Books, 1987
[Reprint of 2"d ed. published in 1966]), p. 161.
Conant makes this ultimate conclusion and his constant reference to the insufficiency of
the evidence makes further speculation on its origins untenable."
Marilyn Stokstad and Kenneth Conant both devote some of their studies to the
various epithets given to the portals on Santiago de Compostela, but most of this
information is presented in a plan made by Conant and in Stokstad' s schematic of the
medieval city. Conant's plan traces the additions to the cathedral through the pre-
Romanesque to the Renaissance (Fig. 7). In the plan, he refers to the north portal's three
different designations. The earliest is the Francigena, next the Paradiso, and third, the
Azabacheria while Conant labels the plaza that the north portal faces the Plaza de la
Innzaculad. The west portal was and is known as the Obradoiro, just as the south portal
is known as the Puerta de la~s Plateria~s. In Stokstad's schematic (Fig. 8), the square and
marketplace on the north is known as the Paraiso and the south plaza is the Plateria~s.
The significance of these names will be discussed in Chapter 3.
While Conant and Stokstad agree in general on the nomenclature and regions of the
portals, the exact dating of the eleventh century building of the cathedral and the portals
is more controversial. To narrow the terminus postquent of the cathedral requires an
investigation of the archaeological and documentary evidence for the cathedral's
construction. Conant's conclusions are made more from excavated evidence than
information available in letters, charters, manuscripts, and inscriptions. First, Conant's
deductions based on extant information regarding the revision of the buildings in the
vicinity of the cathedral will be taken into consideration. Next, events that occurred
during the period in which Conant projects the construction's execution will be assessed
'5 Conant, The Early architectural History of the Cathedral of L aner, ;. de Compostela, pp. 13, 20, 22.
in terms of their importance for the idea to renovate. Finally, the maj or manuscripts from
the Middle Ages that deal specifically with Santiago de Compostela will be considered.
Conant reports that in August of 1077, the intrusion of the cathedral into the
precinct of the Antealtares monastery was approved.16 This monastery was likely
affiliated with the Church of San Salvador, which no longer exists and was to the east of
the pre-Romanesque church of Santiago de Compostela. 17 What is known of the
monastery is that it was dismantled, moved, and rebuilt.l Based on this site-related
evidence, Kenneth Conant believes that the plan of the church was formulated in the
1070s.19 COnant estimates the beginning of cathedral construction to the year 1078 while
he deduces that the plans were in the process of being formulated in 1075.20
More mystery surrounds another building that is pertinent to the understanding of
the medieval layout of the site of the new cathedral. The history of the small church of
Sta. Maria is enigmatic because of Conant' s muddled discussion of the church. Early in
his architectural history of Santiago de Compostela, Conant mentions a church of Santa
Maria as being built under the jurisdiction of King Alfonso II.21 However, when Conant
takes up the topic again, this earlier reference is forgotten and he discusses a church of
Sta. Maria built by Bishop Diego Pelaez (deposed in 1088) probably at the beginning of
16 Ibid. 21.
17 Ibid. 6.
1s Ibid. 39.
19 Ibid. 21.
2 Ibid. 18.
the eleventh century, which he calls the "original Sta. Maria."22 As best as I can decipher
Conant' s text, Pelaez's church supposedly lay to the northeast of the relics of Saint James
and was likely demolished to make room for the new Romanesque renovations of the
cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.23 Evidence indicates that this "original" church
was removed and that an Asturian style church also called Sta. Maria and possibly dated
in part to the thirteenth or fourteenth century was relocated further east of the north
transept in the present area of the Chapel of Corticela.24 Whether Alfonso II' s church or
Pelaez's church of Sta. Maria, which both predate the Romanesque cathedral, were
restored in another location or a new one was built is unknown. According to Conant,
most archaeologists refuse to associate the church of Sta. Maria that was built under
Bishop Diego Pelaez with the Asturian style church located to the east of the north
transept. Whether these archaeologists have any assumptions about the church's
relationship with Alfonso II's church is unknown and Conant does not cite who these
anonymous archaeologists are.25 COnant' s skepticism about these archaeologists'
conclusions is founded in the highly suspect use of an Asturian style in a church with
thirteenth or fourteenth century properties. 26 Though Conant does not verbally assert a
Romanesque dating for this controversial Asturian style church of Sta. Maria (located
east of the north transept), he indicates on his plan that he supports a Romanesque dating
22 Ibid. 39.
26 Ibid. The question becomes could the church be associated with Alfonso II, the ruler of Visigothic
Spain? The Asturian style was at the height of architectural fashion during the Visigothic period.
for this structure.27 Like the other structures on the plan, the black coloration indicates a
Romanesque time period of construction. The Historia Compostell anall~~~~1111~~~~ briefly mentions
the church of Sta. Maria as a place in which Archbishop Diego Gelmirez (1100-1140)
took refuge during one of the riots in Santiago de Compostela around 1116.28 The church
must have been reassembled by this time to exist as an independent entity and to make
room for the cathedral's northern transept, which must have been complete or in
construction at this time. Because of the church's existence in the twelfth century, it
seems likely that Conant is correct about a Romanesque date for the church. Conant
vaguely remarks that the sculpture on the reassembled Sta. Maria "put[s] it late."29
Whether this means that the sculpture is considered pre or post thirteenth or fourteenth
century is unknown. Ultimately, whether the church is Alfonso II's or Bishop Pelaez's
church, it was likely relocated in the late eleventh century and possibly retrofit in the
thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.30 I Support Conant' s Romanesque dating for the
relocation of the church and the conclusion that the church was retrofit.
Despite the obstacles created by the lack of definitive evidence related to the city
plan of Santiago de Compostela, Conant develops what he considers the most probable
layout. With the Antealtares monastery possibly on the southeast, the church of Sta.
27On his plan, Conant labels the location of the Church of Sta. Maria as the Chapel of the Corticela because
Sta. Maria became associated with a complex of chapels to the east of the north transept.
28 Barbara Abou-el-haj, "Santiago de Compostela in the Time of Diego Gelmirez," Gesta XXXV (1997),
pp. 167-168. Bishop Diego Gelmirez was wearing the pallium in 1104, but Santiago de Compostela did
not become an archdiocese until after 1120. See Karen Mathews, ""They wished to destroy the temple of
God": Responses to Diego Gelmirez's Cathedral Construction in Santiago de Compostela, 1100-1140"
(PhD-University of Chicago, 1995), pp. 61, 66.
29 COnant, The Early architectural History of the Cathedral of L aner, ;. de Compostela, p. 3 9.
"0 Ibid. 39.
Maria on the northeast, and the church of San Salvador on the east, Conant derives a
larger picture of the lost medieval city. Essentially, the reason for this loss of evidence
involves the elaborate renovations that occurred in the city as can be seen in Conant' s
plan. Though Conant is confronted with many unknowns, he still is able to draw
conclusions about the location and dating of these buildings.
However, Conant's scholarship in reaching these conclusions omits the socio-
religious influences that shaped the site of the Romanesque cathedral. One of the
documents from the 1070s that seems to relate to the importance of the cathedral's
renovation is a letter that Pope Gregory VII (1073-1085) wrote in 1074 to Alfonso VI.
This letter does not address a renovation of the physical church, but states the need to
renovate the spiritual and ritualistic church. Specifically, Gregory explains the heretical
nature of the Mozarabic or Hispanic liturgy derived from its Visigothic implementers
who were tainted by Arian heresy. Gregory advocates a return to Spain's pre-Vrisigothic
roots, the Roman liturgy.31
When Serafin Moralej o discusses the letter' s possible influence on the cathedral's
construction, he does so within a chronology of King Alfonso VI' s activities that postdate
the letter' s arrival. The receipt of the letter of 1074 was followed by Alfonso VI' s trip to
the Kingdom of Granada and a council in January of 1075. The trip to Granada was to
solicit money and future payments of tribute.32 A charter from a council of Alfonso VI
dates his subsequent council to approximately six months after the receipt of Pope
31 Serafin Moralejo, "On the Road, the Camino to Santiago" in Art ofi~edieval Spain (New York:
Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1993), p. 175.
32 Ibid. 211-212.
Gregory VII's ultimatum.33 Implying that Alfonso VI felt rushed into some act that
would demonstrate his desire to address and proclaim the Pope's wishes, Moralejo
considers the 30,000 dinars that the king acquired immediately prior to the council as
seed money for the cathedral's construction. Moralejo neglects to mention that the king
was engaged in countrywide campaigns to solicit financial and political support.3
Among his agendas could have been the collection of funds for the church and the
presentation of the pope's religious demands. A religious agenda was already an issue in
Alfonso VI' s attempt to unite the country against Muslim influence.35 These religious
issues that included Pope Gregory's reform might have found corporeal expression in the
plans to renovate the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. In support of this thesis is the
fact that within three months after the council, which Moralejo considers the genesis of
the new cathedral, the Spanish equivalent of the ark of the covenant, the Arca Santa, was
discovered in Oviedo.36 Though Moralejo does not mention the countrywide campaign
of Alfonso VI, he sees this obj ect, which in its very dimensions and name evoke the ark,
as a discovery signifying that the cathedral's construction was in medians res by this
time.37 The discovery of the ark would be an orchestrated occurrence inspired by
Alfonso VI's campaign and it would serve to demonstrate Oviedo's preeminence as the
site of pilgrimage. It is likely that this discovery was intended to coerce pilgrims to
33 Serafin Moralejo, "The Codex Calixtinus as an Art Historical Source" in The Codex Calixtinus and the
Shrine ofSt. James. Ed. John Williams and Alison Stones (Tubingen: Gunter NarrVerlag, 1992), p. 211.
34 B. F. Reilly, The Kingdom ofLion-Castille under King Alfonso VI (Princeton: Princeton University
Press, 1988), p. 84.
35 Ibid. 83-84.
36 MOralejo, "On the Road, the Camino to Santiago," p.178.
37 Ibid. 179.
choose Oviedo as a pilgrimage destination instead of Santiago. Thus, Moralejo
concludes that the letter from Pope Gregory VII, the council that convened following a
substantial financial acquisition, and the "discovery" of the relics at Oviedo are events
that are causally interrelated and not coincidental.
Moralejo's terminus postquem has been discussed in terms of socio-religious
evidence. However, he and Georges Gaillard also consider the evidence available from
the extant medieval manuscripts related to Santiago de Compostela and inscriptions
found on the cathedral to arrive at their conclusions. The important manuscripts include
the Codex Calixtinus and the Historia Compostell ana.38~111~~~111~~
Gaillard examines a folio from the Codex Calixtinus, which outright states the date
of the commencement of construction on the cathedral as 1078.39 However, this date is
contradicted in another folio of the same manuscript that dates the cathedral according to
the number of years that the construction began after the death of three maj or kings:
Alfonso I, Henry I, and Louis the Fat. The codex states:
Ab anno vero quo incoepta fuit usque ad lethum Adefonsi fortissimi et famosi
Regis Aragonenesis habentur anni LIX; et ad necem Henrici Regis Anglormm LXII;
et ad mortem Ludovii pinguissimi Regis Francorum LXIII.40
Accordingly, the cathedral's constr-uction is reported to have begun fifty-nine years
before the death of Alfonso I of Aragon, sixty-two years before the death of Henry of
England, and sixty-three years before the death of Louis the Fat of France. The date of
Alfonso I' s death is 1 134, making the Codex Calixtinus' s date for the beginning of the
38 The Codex Calixtinus was associated with Pope Calixtus II (1119-1124) and the Historia Compostellana
was a panegyric created for and under Diego Gelmirez (1100-1140).
39 Georges Gaillard, Les Ddbuts de la Sculpture Romane Espagnole: Ledn-Jaca-Compostelle (Paris, 1938),
40 Ibid. 158.
cathedral 1075. Though this date concurs with Gaillard's conclusions, the rest of the
information provided in the passage conflicts with this date. Henry I died in 1135 and
sixty-two years prior to this date would be 1073. Finally, Louis the Fat died in 1137,
making the cathedral's beginning, which is supposed to be sixty-three years before this
date, 1074. Upon examination of the original manuscript page from which copies of this
manuscript were taken, the text containing these dates shows sign of wear and erasure.41
Based on this evidence, Gaillard concludes that the information has the least probability
of accuracy among the available sources. 1078 is also the terminus postquem given in the
Historia Compostell ana.l~~~~1111~~~~ However, Gaillard concludes that this date was obtained from
one of the folios of the Codex Calixtinus or the date of 1078 found on the south portal of
All of these dates, the one in the Historia Compostell anal~~~~1111~~~~ the date in the Codex
Calixtinus, and the date on the portal are written ERA I C XVI. V IDUS ILII.43 The day
that the inscription indicates is the fifth of the ides of July or July 11th 44 The readings of
the year have been done according to the medieval dating called the Spanish era.45 This
dating adds thirty-eight years on to traditional dating.46 Scholars have thus read the
inscription to represent 1116 of the Spanish era or 1078 A.D. However, debates about
41 Ibid. 158.
45Moralejo, "The Codex Calixtinus as an Art Historical Source," p.211.
46 Herbert Thurston, "Dates and Dating," Catholic Encyclopedia,
1lutp un \ \\.newadvent. org/cathen/0463 6c.htm,
the inscription have been whether to read XVI or XLI. The Spanish were known to put a
V shaped tail on a preceding X to indicate the numeral L. The conclusion has been
drawn that the inscription could read ERA 1141 or 1103 A.D.47 This latter choice of
dating has been rej ected by Moralej o and Gaillard who see this as too late for the
cathedral. Moralejo's assessment of socio-religious events and a terminus postquem of
1075 lead him to conclude that the portal commemorates some other event while Gaillard
turns to the evidence in other inscriptions on the cathedrals to reach his conclusion.
Gaillard regards the portal as being a victim of negligence because of the condition of its
sculptural pieces.48 For this reason, he concludes that the portal sculpture dates from
1 112-1 117, prior to the 1 117 riots of Santiago de Compostela. The condition of the
sculptural pieces will be addressed in Chapter 2. According to B. F. Reilly, Pope
Gregory VII sent Cardinal Richard to Spain in 1078 and the papal legate may have
arrived in Spain as early as June 8, 1078.49 Cardinal Richard could have been in Santiago
by the eleventh of July to enforce the pope's liturgical reform. It is my opinion that the
portal program was finalized in July of 1078 under the jurisdiction of the cardinal with
the intent to reform the heretical Mozarabic liturgy.
In addition to the Platerias inscription, the Capilla del Salvador in the ambulatory
of the cathedral has a capital with an inscription that states: "Consecra(la mense .. )
nonasque trigeno anno (post dominice incarnationis milleno se)ptuageno qunito t(empre
quo domus est fun)data iacobi,"50 This inscription indicates that the chapel was
47 MOralejo, "The Codex Calixtinus as an Art Historical Source," p. 211.
48 Gaillard, Les Ddbuts de la Sculpture Romane Espagnole: Ledn -Jaca-Compostelle, p. 202.
49 Reilly, The Kingdom ofLedn -Castille under King Alfonso VI, 1065-1109, p. 105.
so Gaillard, Les Ddbuts de la Sculpture Romane Espagnole: Ledn -Jaca-Compostelle, p. 161.
consecrated "thirty years after the commencement of the works."" The Historia
Compostell anall~~~~1111~~~~ gives the date of the chapel's consecration as 1105. Thus, thirty years
prior to this consecration date would be 1075. Like Conant, Gaillard concludes the first
stone was laid in 1078, but that the cathedral was being conceived in 1075.52 In this
conclusion, Gaillard is able to reconcile the discrepancies related to the 1075 date and the
1078 date. However, Moralejo uses the inscription on the Capilla del Salvador to support
his terminus postquem for the entire cathedral of 1075.53
The urgency to fulfill the pope's wishes seems like a powerful reason to begin the
cathedral as soon as possible. To recap, 1075 is only six months after the pope's
demands to reform the liturgy were made. Its place within the sequence of chronological
events explains Alfonso VI's council, and after the council, it is less than three months
before the discovery of the Arca Santa, which seems to be a less than serendipitous event.
Thus, the terminus postquem of 1075 is considered accurate by this study for the
cathedral. In explanation of the July 11, 1078 date on the Puerta de las Platerias,
Cardinal Richard's arrival in Spain makes 1078 a likely candidate for the finalization of
the south portal's program.
The manuscript of the Codex Calixtinus is the primary source that can be used to
isolate a terminus antequem for the cathedral's south portal. The cathedral itself was in a
constant state of evolution until the end of the Renaissance. However, the completion of
the south portal, which is the only portal that retains most of its original sculptural
51 Moralejo, "The Codex Calixtinus as an Art Historical Source," p.211.
52 Gaillard, Les Ddbuts de la Sculpture Romane Espagnole: Ledn -Jaca-Compostelle, p. 161.
53 MOralejo, "The Codex Calixtinus as an Art Historical Source," p. 211.
organization, can be concluded to have occurred by 1135. This is the latest possible date
for the Codex Calixtinus' s completion.54 In the fifth book or Pilgrim's Guide of the
Codex Calixtinus, Aymery Picaud describes the sculpture on the facades of the cathedral.
Unfortunately, his descriptions are relatively abstract; however, he does identify some
key sculptures, especially those in the portal's two tympana. The vague descriptions of
the sculpture have been attributed to the possibility that scaffolding was obstructing
Picaud's view of the portals." Thus, the description of the iconography indicates that the
portal's sculpture must have been in place as early as 1135.
An iconographic and programmatic examination of the two tympana will be
discussed next in Chapter 2. However, before this examination could be undertaken it
was necessary to create a larger picture of the medieval city as it could be reconstructed
with the studies of Kenneth Conant and Marilyn Stokstad. Conant's conclusions about
the importance of vaulting, economic concerns, and architectural competition through the
pilgrimage church plan provide the foundation for determining the motivations of the
cathedral. However, ultimately it is the work of Serafin Moralejo that seems the most
accurate in its considerations of socio-religious motivations for the cathedral's
construction through Pope Gregory VII's letter, the council of Alfonso VI, the discovery
of the Arca Santa, and the inscription in the Capilla del Salvador. B. F. Reilly's social
history of the reign of King Alfonso VI provides a clue to the most probable event that
concluded the programmatic gestation of the Puerta de las Platerias, the arrival of the
54 Ibid. 207.
55 Conant, The Early architectural History of the Cathedral of L aner, ;. de Compostela, p. 28.
SCULPTURAL ORGANIZATION, DESCRIPTION OF THE ICONOGRAPHY, AND
THE ICONOGRAPHIC PROGRAM
As Figure 1 illustrates, there is hardly an inch of surface on the Puerta de las
Platerias that is not covered with sculptural decoration. Although there are certainly
plenty of sculptural pieces on the side walls, door j ambs, the spandrel, and the upper wall,
the exploration of this thesis has been limited to the sculpture within the two tympana.
Two intersecting interpretations of this sculptural organization of the south portal will be
considered: 1) the emulation of the art of Emperor Constantine (306-337 A.D.) and 2) an
attempt at visual intimidation. Both of these agendas will be understood as participating
in a common statement about Spain's relationship to Rome. The abundant and violently
cut sculptural pieces make an understanding of spolia or the reuse of materials from
previous structures in a new context essential to an understanding of the iconography and
program of this portal. In this new context, the sculpture of the Puerta de las Platerias
bears meaning through its aesthetic presence.
First, this chapter will discuss the visible signs and examples of spolia used in the
portal. Second, the economic and ideological reasons for this sculptural reuse will be
discussed. Finally, third, the iconographic significance of the sculptural pieces in the two
tympana will be analyzed in order to identify the larger programmatic goals of the
Because the focus of this study is on iconography, the stylistic differences in the
figures will not be addressed.l However, it should be noted that the stylistic differences
do provide evidence of spolia use. Nevertheless, any specific discussion of examples will
be deferred to future studies of the Puerta de las Platerias or the cathedral of Santiago de
Without scientific testing to aid in the identification of different stone materials, the
physical evidence provided by the stones' appearance reveals that the pieces are not
homogenous in their material. This is evidenced by their diversity of coloration as well
as in the truncation of parts of the sculptural pieces and the overlapping of stones that
disrupts the unity of the original sculpted forms. The pieces in the tympana will be
categorized according to five different groupings. The first four groups relate to stones
with common coloration and the last group includes the visibly altered stones that betray
their reuse by the violence done to the sculptural form. Even within the restrictions of the
two tympana, there is indisputable evidence of spolia.
The first four groups are composed of (1) blue tinged stone, (2) speckled stone, (3)
white stone, and (4) cream colored stone. These differences can be seen in color
photographs of the portal provided within this study. There are six stones in the first blue
toned group, with three of these stones found in the left tympanum and three found in the
right tympanum. The left tympanum pieces include a heavily mutilated piece that may
represent two combattant beasts (Fig. 9 [Fig. 3, Stone K]), a boy riding a lion (Fig. 10
SGeorges Durliat's and Georges Gaillard's studies take style into consideration and for information on this
area of investigation, their studies or the comprehensive investigation of style along the pilgrimage roads
by Arthur Kingsley Porter should be consulted. See Georges Gaillard, Les Ddbuts de la Sculpture Romane
Espagnole: Ledn -Jaca-Compostelle (Paris, 1938) and Georges Durliat, La sculpture romane de la route de
Saint-Jacques de Conques 6 Compostelle (Mlont-de-Marsan:: Comit6 d'6tudes sur l'histoire, 1990).
[Fig. 3, Stone M]), and beasts beneath a trilobed arched arcade (Fig. 10 [Fig. 3, Stone F]).
The right tympanum includes a twisting angel (Fig. 5, Stone P), the three magi (Fig. 5,
Stones Q and R), and a farm animal (Fig. 5, Stone O). The examples of speckled stone
are all found in the left tympanum: the angel with the censer in a doorway (Fig. 9 [Fig. 3,
Stone A]), Christ with a stone in his hand (Fig. 11 [Fig. 3, Stone B]), an angel with a
censer hovering over a tree inhabited by a serpent (Fig. 9 [Fig. 3, Stone D]), and the
demons outside the city walls (Fig. 9 [Fig. 3, Stone E]). The white stone appears in three
pieces, one from the left tympanum, the blessing apostle (Fig. 12 [Fig. 3, Stone J]), and
two from the right tympanum, the enthroned Virgin (Fig. 13 [Fig. 5, Stone S]) and the
extensive flagellation panel (Fig. 14 [Fig. 5, Stone V]). Finally, the cream colored stone
appears in two pieces in the left tympanum, a disembodied bust (Fig. 15 [Fig. 3, Stone
I]), and the Woman with the Skull (Fig. 6 [Fig. 3, Stone G]), and two pieces in the right
tympanum, the healing of the blind (Fig. 16 [Fig. 5, Stone U]) and the betrayal (Fig. 17
[Fig. 5, Stone X]).
The fifth group is the stones that have been cut to fit into the portal composition,
hence removing portions of the anatomy or form of the figures. These include the angel
in the doorway (Fig. 3, Stone A), the disembodied bust (Fig. 3, Stonel), the blessing
apostle (Fig. 3, Stone J), the hovering angel with the censer (Fig. 3, Stone D), the boy
riding the lion (Fig. 3, Stone M), and the Woman with the Skull (Fig. 3, Stone G) on the
left tympanum and the right tympanum's magi (Fig. 5, Stones Q and R), wolf (Fig. 5,
Stone N), and enthroned Virgin (Fig. 5, Stone S). The sculptural figures also present
such a radical diversity of scale that they could not have been carved by the same sculptor
or with an intention to create a single ensemble. Scale diversity was often employed to
imply hierarchy as in the Last Judgment tympanum from St. Lazare in Autun (Fig. 18).
However, on the left tympanum of the Puerta de las Platerias (Fig. 2), the Woman with
the Skull is the largest piece and is larger in scale than the figure of Christ who would
obviously be more important.
The left tympanum contains a number of pieces that show signs of reuse and
manipulation to fit them in a new context. The angel in the doorway (Fig. 9 [Fig. 3,
Stone A]) has its halo cut off.2 The disembodied bust (Fig. 15 [Fig. 3, Stone I]) has been
visibly severed from the rest of its torso as can be seen in the chewed border of the stone
where it is cropped at the upper chest. Next to the bust is the figure of the blessing
apostle (Fig. 12 [Fig.3, Stone J]). This figure has been modified by the removal of its
lower portions in a curving line at the waist, which has been done to fit it above the
curving wing of the hovering angel. The hovering angel emerges from a lobed mass of
clouds that may be cut off (Fig. 9 [Fig. 3, StoneD]). The serpent's tree above which the
angel is suspended has branches whose leaves are only partially represented due to a cut
that removes the leaves off the entire left side of the plant. The boy riding the lion is
mounted on an animal (Fig. 10 [Fig. 3, Stone M]) whose right hind paw has been cut off
to fit this piece horizontally in the upper curve of the tympanum. Another indication of
spolia is the fact that the boy riding the lion seems to be a piece that should be vertical
instead of horizontal. Finally, the Woman with the Skull (Fig. 6 [Fig. 3, Stone G]) who
dominates the right periphery of the tympanum has been cut so that her mass of hair on
the left side of her head and her left shoulder have been completely removed.
2 Gaillard, Les Debuts de la Sculpture Romane Espagnole: Leon -Jaca-Compostelle, p. 194.
The right tympanum also contains sculptural pieces that have been broken in ways
that compromise the integrity of their original form. In the tympanum's configuration of
the three magi, the magus closest to Christ has the top of his head cut off (Fig. 5, Stone
R]). Within the same piece, the star of Bethlehem is depicted, but its upper rays of light
have been sacrificed to fit a flying angel above the magi. All three magi have had their
lower bodies cut off at the waist, while the enthroned Virgin's halo is cut off at the top
(Fig. 13 [Fig. 5, Stone S]).
There is only one example of an overlapping stone that disrupts the visual logic of
the relief sculpture. This is the spolia crown that has been fitted over Christ holding a
stone (Fig. 11 [Fig. 3, Stone C]).3 The crown has been fit awkwardly over the halo of
Christ in such a way that it compromises the visual continuity of the upper portion of the
halo's rounded edge. The fact that the crown was not carved on the image of Christ and
had to be added through another stone is another indication that spolia is being used in
According to Kenneth Conant and Georges Durliat, the portal was renovated after
the twelfth century.4 The north and west portals of the cathedral were dismantled and
sculptural pieces from these portals were integrated into the wall area above the south
portal. As Durliat's diagram illustrates (Fig. 19), the pieces added from the north and
west portals do not alter the original organization and content of the two tympana of the
SOle Naesgaard, Saint-Jacques de Contpostelle et les debuts de la grande sculptures vers 1100 (Aarhus,
1962), p. 49.
SKenneth Conant, The Early architectural History of the Cathedral of L aner, ;. de Compostela
(Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1925), plan in back of volume: Durliat, La sculpture roniane de la
route de Saint-Jacques: de Conques a Contpostelle, p. 327, pl. 348.
As explored in the previous chapter, there are several possible sources from which
spolia could have been acquired for the portal. The relocation of the Antealtares
Monastery and the church of Santa Maria, and the destruction of the Church of San
Salvador may have resulted in some sources for sculptural pieces. George Zarnecki
credits much of the sculptural use on the exterior of churches in Spain to a revival among
French artisans in the Romanesque period.' However, there is documentary evidence that
external sculptural pieces were used at least on the west facade prior to the Romanesque
period and that these sculptural pieces used in Alfonso III of Asturias' s church were
spolia. Alfonso III is recorded as stating at the church's consecration:
We brought from the city of Eabeca what we chose of the marble-building stones
which our forefathers carried by ship across the Pontus, and that out of which they
builded (sic) beautiful dwellings that were destroyed by our enemies. From these,
indeed, of these very marbles, the principle portal of the west facade is composed;
in truth we discovered the marvelously sculptured lintel of the cathedral just as it
was in former times. We set up the portal at the left hand [north] adj oining the
oratory of the Baptist and Martyr John (which likewise we founded and built of cut
stone, and the six other sculptured columns, brought from Oporto in ships, on
which the porch rests; we brought the squared stones and lime of which the
eighteen columns are built, with other smaller columns of marble, by ship in a
Though the term spolia did not exist for Alfonso III, this is precisely the material that he
5 Georges Zarnecki, 4rt of the Medieval World (Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1975), p. 218.
b Conant, The Early architectural History of the Cathedral of Le Ir .;.. de Compostela, p. 8 Conant fails to
cite his source. It would seem that the indication of a west and north facade in the quotation would
correspond to the Romanesque church or the current church of Santiago de Compostela. Unfortunately, the
west facade and north facade that are mentioned in the quotation cannot be related to the Romanesque
facade on the west of the cathedral, the Obradoiro or the Romanesque facade on the north of the cathedral,
the Inmaculada. This is because the Romanesque church was much larger than the pre-Romanesque
church. In fact, the Romanesque structure was built over Alfonso III's church and as the Romanesque
building approached completion, the latter was eventually dismantled and removed from the interior of the
Although John Onians does not take up the specific topic of spolia, his study that
features the column, advocates a subconscious message relayed between architecture and
its audience. Understanding architecture becomes like the information gained through a
reading of body language or gesture.' The question becomes what information a portal
so openly declarative of its composition of spolia would have relayed to the twelfth
century viewer? Was the use of spolia due to a lack of monetary funds to complete the
cathedral? Did the use of spolia communicate anything ideologically? First, the possible
economic reasons for the use of spolia will be discussed. Next, the ideological
implications of spolia use will be explored.
Spolia first entered the art historical vocabulary in relationship to Roman art and
particularly within the art and architecture of the emperor Constantine, who admired the
successful emperors of Rome like Traj an (98-1 17 AD), Hadrian (1 17-13 8 AD), and
Marcus Aurelius (161-180 AD). Constantine intended to use art to create an association
with these emperors' greatness and thus, he reused sculpture from the eras of these
emperors in his own monuments.8 Some scholars consider that Constantine's use of
spolia in the church of Old St. Peter' s and on the Arch of Constantine (Fig. 20) was
determined by economic necessity.9 The use of spolia has also been considered an
aesthetic throwback that attempts to recapture the spirit of Classical antiquity. Richard
Krautheimer considers the incorporation of spolia in Roman churches as an enthusiastic
nod to the Classical world or even an emulation of the Classical world in an effort to
SJohn Onians, Bearers of M.004;-,,~ The Classical Orders in 4ntiquity, the Middle 4ges, and the
Renaissance (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1988), pp. 4-5.
SBeat Brenk, "Spolia from Constantine to Charlemagne: Aesthetics versus Ideology," Dwnharton Oaks
Papers 41 (1987), pp. 104-105
9 Ibid 105.
revive it.'0 The economic reasons for spolia use and the connection of spolia with
Constantine are important in relationship to the scope of this study.
Spolia use in medieval Spain is a topic that has not received much attention.
Moralejo states that the sculptural pieces used for the portals are likely reused material.
He comes to this conclusion in his research of the observations of a seventeenth century
Spaniard at Santiago de Compostela, but he does not consider the issue of spolia
further." As stated previously, Durliat discusses spolia in terms of pieces moved from
the north portal to the south portal. However, as Figure 19 illustrates through the use of
different tonalities in Durliat' s diagram, the two tympana of this study were not altered
by additions of spolia moved from the north portal of the Romanesque church. This is
also evidenced by the description of the tympana in Picaud's Pilgrim' s Guide, which
dates from 1 13 5 and whose description remains true of the current organization of the
south portal tympana.
King Alfonso VI' s proj ect to complete the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela
was not realized during his reign. In fact, Alfonso VI was exporting around 200,000
talons of gold per year to Cluny in return for their support in helping squelch the Moorish
invasions on Toledo and also to solicit religious support in the form of ambassadorial
clerics to institute the orthodoxy of the Roman liturgy in Spain. This would certainly
have presented some economic stress on the funds for the cathedral proj ect and may help
to explain the reuse of materials.
'0 Richard Krautheimer, "The Architecture of Sixtus III: A Fifth Century Renascence?" in Studies in Early
Christian, Medieval and Renaissance Art (New York, 1969), pp. 181-96.
11 Serafin Moralejo, "The Codex Calixtinus as an Art Historical Source" in The Codex Calixtinus and the
Shrine ofSt. James. Ed. John Williams and Alison Stones (Tubingen: Gunter NarrVerlag, 1992), p. 219.
Sculptural reuse often related to an obligation not to desecrate the holy. Thus, the
sculpture and its representations retained a power that destruction or discarding of the
pieces would risk offending God and wasting the spiritual power of the art. However, it
is interesting that churches like San Isidoro in Le6n, built in the 1060s, have sculptural
decoration that may recreate the aesthetic of spolia in its facades. This hypothesis is
generated because of the awkwardly cut stones of the church resemble the strange cutting
of the stones at Santiago de Compostela. However, the stones at San Isidoro are
stylistically homogenous. San Isidoro and its facades were completed in the second
quarter of the twelfth century.12 The building of the church, begun in the 1060s and the
completion of its facades in the twelfth century, seem to indicate that the church was
begun before Santiago de Compostela's Romanesque church. However, the facades were
not completed until after Santiago de Compostela. If this church does attempt to simulate
the use of spolia, it would reinforce the idea of a message relayed through the integration
of spolia on the facades of Spanish churches in the Romanesque period. If San Isidoro
was trying to create an aesthetic that resembled spolia without the actual use of spolia,
there must have been an underlying meaning relayed by the appearance of spolia, or
strangely cut stones. Though this conclusion is contestable, it may have some credence
supposing that Zarnecki is correct in his theory of few sculptural facades in Spain or
Europe with large-scale exterior sculpture before the French revival of this sculptural
form around 1000 AD. The widespread and lavish use of sculpture over entire walls and
portals seems to have few spolia sources, which were perhaps exhausted after the
completion of Santiago de Compostela.
'2 Gaillard, Les Debuts de la Sculpture Romane Espagnole: Leon-Jaca-Compostelle, p. 67.
Whatever the source of the spolia, its use is obvious in the two tympana of the
south portal of Santiago de Compostela. This conclusion is evident when observing the
different stones used for the various sculptures on the two tympana, the different scale of
the pieces and their mutilation to be fit into the composition of the tympana.
The use of spolia in medieval Spain or even the attempt to emulate an aesthetic that
evokes spolia may have been done to connect the Spanish churches with Gregory VII's
reform and its orthodoxy. San Isidoro, which is in Le6n at the heart of Alfonso VI's
locus of power, would definitely have required a visual testimony to its support of the
pope's cause. This may indicate that spolia use in medieval Spain not only acted as a
reference to the iconography and past structures from which the art was taken, but that it
was also intended to act as a declarative statement of orthodox liturgical practice. This
orthodoxy becomes aesthetically connected to the first emperor openly supportive of
Christianity, Constantine. Pope Gregory VII, who in 1073 was making a papal claim on
Spain, is believed to have based this claim on the forged medieval document, the
Donation of Constantine.13 Though scholars of medieval Spain dispute the outcome of
this claim, the use of spolia seems to create a declarative statement of Roman control
over the Iberian peninsula at this time.
From the information provided earlier in the quotation from King Alfonso III and
the dismantling of buildings for the purposes of making room for the Romanesque
13 H. E. J. Cowdrey, The Cluniacs and the Gregorian Reform (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1970), p. 220. In a
recent study that traces the manuscript changes related to the conversion of medieval Spain from the
Mozarabic to the Roman liturgy, H616ne Toubert describes the attempts of Pope Gregory VII's renovatio to
evoke either the early Christian era or more specifically the era of Constantine. See H616ne Toubert, Un art
dirige: Reforme gregorienne et iconographie (Paris: Les editions du cerf, 1990); Ernst Kitzinger takes up
this subject favoring Constantinian prototypes in Gregory's reform. See Ernst Kitzinger, "The Gregorian
Reform and the Visual Arts: A Problem of Method (The Prothero Lecture)," Transactions of the Royal
Historical Society, Fifth Series, vol. 22 (London: University College London, 1972), pp. 87-102.
cathedral, some of the spolia on the south portal of Santiago de Compostela could have
been taken from pre-existent Spanish structures. This could have been as original
sculpture converted into first time spolia or even recycled spolia from other locales like
Eabeca. Whether the spolia was from Eabeca or elsewhere, it had been integrated into a
Spanish identity. This would have made the spolia use an intermingling of solace and
discomfort for its Spanish audience. The message of the portal would be that the Spanish
were still the people they had been before the suppression of the Mozarabic liturgy in
favor of the Roman liturgy. However, the pieces had been reordered like their heretical
liturgy and in turn, the violence done to the pieces may have evoked a feeling of
resentment in the forced conversion to the Roman liturgy. This may explain the damaged
pieces of spolia like the two combattant beasts (Fig. 9 [Fig. 3, Stone K]) that may
represent the portal's patron and will be discussed in the next section of this chapter that
addresses the topic of iconography.14
There is evidence within this time period of resistance to the liturgical change,
which can be seen in history, legend, and through the Spaniards' most consistent weapon,
manuscripts. Historically, this resistance is manifested in the reversion back to the
Mozarabic liturgy by one of the Cluniac monks named Robert who was to be an abbot at
the monastery of Sahagu~n that resulted in his removal from Spain and return to Cluny.l
14 As in the use of spolia by Constantine to connect himself with the successful and powerful emperors of
Rome, there is always the possibility that some of the sculptural pieces were obtained from Rome and
Jerusalem as well as from Alfonso III's church. In this way, Santiago would be associating itself with the
pilgrimages of Rome and Jerusalem as well as its own tradition.
15 Rose Walker, Filews of Transition: Liturgy and Illwnination in Adedieval Spain (London: British Library,
1998), p. 31; Joseph F. O'Callaghan, "The Integration of Christian Spain into Europe: The Role of Alfonso
VI pf Le6n-Castile," inl La use,,.;.. Saint-Denis, and Saint Peter: The Reception of the Roman Liturgy in
Leon-Castile in 1080 (New York: Fordham University Press, 1985), pp. 110-111.
If the most vocal advocates of the Mozarabic liturgy were monks, as the incident with
Robert illustrates, manuscripts were likely their strongest weapon.
There are legends surrounding manuscripts, and there are also actual manuscripts
that refute the liturgical conversion. The legends from the manuscripts of the Chronicon
Burgense, Annales Compostellani, and the twelfth century Chronicon Najera, tell of a
duel between a Toledan knight (Toledo as the hub of Mozarabic practice) and a Castilian
knight on Palm Sunday or April 9, 1077. This duel was to determine which rite was
orthodox. The Castilian wins in the Chronicon Burgense and the Chronicon Najera
while the winner remains undetermined in the Annales Compostell ani.l~~~~1111~~~~ The Chronicon
Najera also discusses a test for orthodoxy in which a copy of the Roman liturgy was
kicked into a fire along with a copy of the Mozarabic liturgy. The Mozarabic text is said
to have leapt out of the flames unscathed, proving its orthodoxy. The legend concludes
with the Mozarabic text' s ultimate demise when King Alfonso VI kicked it back into the
fire.16 Thus, there appears to have been some negative public opinion of the king and his
There is a text, the Codex Aemilianensis, now in the library of the Escorial with a
history of the Mozarabic liturgy inserted into it. Its history is believed to be a fabrication
that supports the institution of the Mozarabic liturgy by the seven apostles who
encouraged some local enrichment of the rites. The text also states that Pope John X
(914-928) approved the rites when they were presented to him by Zanello, a priest of
Santiago de Compostela. Even more contemporary, the work states that despite the
disapproval of the liturgy by the papal legate, Hugh Candidus, even Pope Alexander II
16 Walker, Views of Transition: Liturgy and Illumination in M~edieval Spain, p. 3 1; O'Callaghan, "The
Integration of Christian Spain into Europe: The Role of Alfonso VI pf Le6n-Castile," p. 107.
(1061-1073), who was said to have been presented with the liturgy, approved it as
Finally, there is the text written on the back of the Liber Comicus. This Spanish
lectionary became a soapbox for an anonymous monk from San Millan who rej ected the
Roman liturgy and the pope's insistence of the Pauline evangelizing of Spain. By
criticizing St. Paul's statement to test all things and to keep the good as an advocacy of
change or novitate, the monk sees the Roman liturgy's institution in Spain as innovation
and thus, heretical.ls This active disagreement concerning the heretical nature of the
Mozarabic liturgy shows that the monks could fight their cause through the use of
manuscripts. They had less control over the cathedral facades. The use of spolia seems
to challenge the manuscript' s accusation of innovation. Spolia use is a return to
Christianity's origins and traditions and a return to orthodoxy that reordered the Spanish
identity but did not sacrifice it. Thus, the use of spolia not only referenced Constantine
and the forged assertion of Roman authority over the Iberian peninsula, it actively,
combatted the assertion in manuscripts that the instigation of the Roman liturgy was an
act of innovation.
While manuscripts aided in the Spanish defense of their liturgy, there was also a
monastic manuscript contemporaneous with the cathedral that directly impacts current
knowledge of the pilgrimage in the early twelfth century. This manuscript also provides
vital information for the next section of this chapter, a discussion of the south portal
iconography. Interestingly, the most useful information about this Spanish cathedral
"7 Walker, Views of Transition: Liturgy and Illumination in M~edieval Spain, pp. 3 1-32.
'8 Ibid. 32-33.
comes from the quill of a French monk, Aymery Picaud. Aymery Picaud's Pilgrim's
Guide is the sixth book of the Codex Calixtinus. This guide is important to this study
because it gives a partial description of the Puerta de las Platerias and the sculpture on the
In meridiana porta apostolice basilice duo introitus, ut diximus, habentur et quatuor
valve. In dextrali vero introitu ejus, de foris scilicet, in primo ordine super portas,
dominica Tradicio miro modo sculpitur; ibi Dominus ligatur minibus Judeorum ad
pilarem; ibi verberatur corrigiis; ibi sedet Pilatus in cathedra, quasi judicans eum.
Desuper vero in alio ordine beata Maria, mater Domini, cum filio suo in Bethleem
sculpitur, et tres reges qui veniunt ad visitandum puerum cum matre, trinum munus
ei offerentes et stella, et angelus eos ammonens ne redeant ad Herodem. In
liminaribus ejusdem introitus sunt duo apostolic, quasi valvarum custodies, unus ad
dexteram et alius ad levam. Similiter in alio introitu sinistrali, in liminaribus
scilicet, alii duo apostolic habentur et in primo ordine ejusdem introitus super
portas scilicet dominica Temptacio sculpitur. Sunt enim ante Dominum tetri angeli
quasi larve statuentes eum supra pinnaculum Templi; et alii offerunt ei lapides
ammonentes ut faciat ex illis panem, et alii ostendunt ei regna mundi, fingentes se
si daturos ea, si cadens adoraverit cos, quod absit. Sed alii angeli candidi videlicet
boni, post tergum ejus et alii etiam desuper turibulis ei ministrants habentur.19
[The South Portal has two entrances, as we have said, with four door-valves. In the
right-hand arch (on the exterior, that is, in the first band above the doors), the
Betrayal of Our Lord is wonderfully carved. There He is bound to the pillar by the
hands of the Jews; there the whips play; there Pilate sits enthroned, as if judging
Him. And above, on the other band is sculptured the Blessed Mary, Mother of Our
Lord, with the Child, in Bethlehem, and the three Kings who are come to visit and
the angel warning the Kings not to return to Herod. .. at the other doorway, to the
left; on that is, is carved the Temptation of Our Lord. There are before the Lord
hideous angels like spectres setting Him upon the pinnacle of the Temple; others
offer Him stones, urging Him to make bread of them; others spread out before Him
the kingdoms of the world, pretending that they will give them to Him if He will
fall down and worship them--thus may it not be! But there are also others, white
or good angels behind His back, and still other angels above with censers,
ministering unto Him. .. Nor ought we to forget the female figure set near the
Temptation of Our Lord: she holds in her hands the rotting head of her lover, cut
off by her husband who forces her to kiss it twice each day. What a great and
19 Jeanne Vielliard, Le Guide du Pelerin de Saint-Jacques de Compostelle (Macon: Imprimerie Protat
Frbres, 1969), pp. 98, 100.
admirable judgment upon an adulterous woman, which should be recounted to
Picaud, Gaillard, and Durliat all agree on a cohesive iconographic grouping of
Stone A thru Stone E. Stone A, which begins this grouping on the far left of the left
tympanum, is described by Gaillard, Knowlton, and Durliat as an angel holding the chain
of a censer (Fig. 9 [Fig. 3, Stone A]).21 His left hand extends over his head while his
right hand supports the underside of the pendulous bowl of the censer. Gaillard mentions
the cropping of the angel's halo to fit beneath the archivolt.22 The angel has massive
wings that extend above the figure's shoulders to its feet. Gaillard and Knowlton
mention that the sculptural piece has moulding in a right angle at its edges.23 None of the
other scholars mention the border, but it seems likely to me that instead of a moulded
edge on the piece, the edges represent a threshold within which the angel stands.
To the right and adjacent to the angel is a stone panel B. This figure appears with a
cruciform halo whose arms are splayed at the ends. The symbols for alpha and omega
appear between the arms inscribed in the halo while another alpha appears on the vertical
member of the cross and a chi appears on the right arm of the cross (Fig. 11 [Fig. 3, Stone
B]). Ole Naesgaard comments upon a feature of the piece that is often overlooked, the
addition of a separate spolia piece in the form of a crown that is used to top the halo and
"0 The above translation of Picaud's Guide was taken from Conant, The Early architectural History of the
Cathedral of ~l,,n, ;. de Compostela, p. 53-54.
21Gaillard, Les Ddbuts de la Sculpture Romane Espagnole: Ledn-Jaca-Contpostelle, p. 194: John Howard
Barnes Knowlton, "The Romanesque Sculpture of the Platerias Portal of the Cathedral of Santiago de
Compostela" (Thesis-M.A., New York University, 1939), p.37; Georges Durliat, La sculpture roniane de la
route de Saint-Jacque: de Conques a Contpostelle (Mont-de-Marsan: Comit6 d'6tudes sur l'histoire, 1990),
22Gaillard, Les Ddbuts de la Sculpture Romane Espagnole: Ledn-Jaca-Contpostelle, p. 194.
23Gaillard, Les Ddbuts de la Sculpture Romane Espagnole: Ledn-Jaca-Contpostelle, p. 194: Knowlton,
"The Romanesque Sculpture of the Platerias Portal of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela," p. 37.
obstr-ucts its natural shape (Fig. 11 [Fig. 3, Stone C]).24 The crowned figure is male who
stands in profile with his bearded face slightly lowered, and seems to clutch a stone in his
left hand while his right arm is bent across his body. Draped over his right arm is a long
cloth. This may refer to the purification ritual that occurs at the beginning of the Roman
Catholic mass. This may also connect with the censers that the angels are holding which
were used to consecrate the altar at the opening of the mass. Beneath the feet of the
figure is the inscription DVCTVS EST IHESVS IN DESERT[VM]. This inscription
seems to allude to Matthew 4: 1 which reads Tunc Jesus ductus est in desertum [a spirit
ut tentaretur a diabolo].25 From the use of the cruciform halo, the bearded visage, and the
inscription, the iconography points to the identity of the figure as Christ.
Stone B, which is Christ, faces Stone D that illustrates an angel, a plant, and a
serpent (Fig. 9 [Fig. 3, Stone D]). A profile angel faces Christ and emerges from a cloud.
Compared to the angel in panel A, the wings of the hovering angel extend only the length
of its visible torso. The angel suspends an intricate censer that is inscribed with a foliate
design that includes the abstracted face of a grotesque. It is unclear whether the clouds or
any visible portions of the angel's body have been severed to situate the piece within the
area available for it within the tympanum. Beneath the angel is a cluster of plants within
which is the depiction of a serpent. Karen Mathews and Serafin Moralej o connect this
iconography with the figure of Christ that precedes it. Christ' s downward glance is
24See note 2: Knowlton, "The Romanesque Sculpture of the Platerias Portal of the Cathedral of Santiago de
Compostela," p. 38.
25Durliat, La sculpture romane de la route de Saint-Jacques: de Conques a Compostelle, p. 329
thought to imply his connection with the tree and serpent illustrating his role as the
Second Adam.26 This theme seems important and will be further discussed in Chapter 3.
In Stone E, two figures appear on the exterior of what looks like a fortification (Fig.
5 [Fig.3, Stone E]). Picaud calls the figures angels and differentiates between these
creatures and the angels with the censers in the use of color distinctions. The angels with
censers are called "white," which may be a symbolic reference to these angels as helpers
of Christ or perhaps it indicates the color paint that was used on the pieces. The "angels"
in Stone E are referred to as black by Picaud. Rather than calling these creatures angels,
Durliat describes them as composite creatures created through the intermingling of the
features of a monkey, human, and angel.27 Both creatures wear Greek or Roman style
waist dressings with pteryges or long tongue-shaped lappets while the rest of their bodies
are bare. One of the figures kneels with hands folded on its raised right knee, its face in
three-quarters view. The other creature is hovering above the first creature. This second
creature has a more ape-like face and seems to hold a stone in its joined open palms. The
kneeling demon has an inscription beneath it that reads: IN MONTEM EXCELS[VM].
The city wall that is behind the two demons reads H[IERV]S[AL]EM CIVITA.28
The general tendency in the reading of this portal is to group these four pieces into
one narrative unit. The theme of the entire section is the First Temptation of Christ, or
26 Karen Mathews, ""They wished to destroy the temple of God": Responses to Diego Gelmirez's
Cathedral Construction in Santiago de Compostela, 1100-1140" (PhD-University of Chicago, 1995), p.
202; Serafin Moralejo inl Inoses;. de Compostela: 1000 ans de pelerinage europeen: Europalia 85 Espaila
(Gand: Centrum voor Kunst en Cultuur, 1985), p. 49
27 Durliat, La sculpture romane de la route de Saint-Jacques: de Conques a Compostelle, p. 330.
Matthew 4: 1, which is the probable source for the inscription at the base of Stone B.29
The First Temptation in which Christ is tempted to turn stones into bread by the hovering
demon, explains the stone in Christ's own hand.30 The angels with the censers are
considered the angels that helped Christ during his time in the desert. The composite
creatures are interpreted as demons or "black angels" that aid in Satan's temptation of
Christ. Interestingly, Picaud describes the tympanum as depicting all three temptations.31
However, the second temptation, Christ' s temptation on the pinnacle of the temple, and
the third temptation in which Christ is asked to bow before the devil is not overtly
Stone F is often connected with the temptation grouping (Fig. 10 [Fig. 3, Stone F]).
Though Knowlton describes the creatures in this panel as three lions, the three figures are
not depicted as quadrupeds but they are depicted as bipeds. 32 This upright position
creates connections with the composite figures with human and animal qualities that are
also bipeds on Stone E. These similarities result in the tendency to associate these figures
with demons from the temptation of Christ as Durliat does.33 The three figures are
walking along an arcade with trilobed arches. The first figure, in profile with a dog-like
29 Picaud as translated by Conant, The Early Architectural Histo; v of the Cathedral of Lon Ir, ;. de
Compostela, p. 53; Durliat, La sculpture roinane de la route de Saint-Jacques: de Conques &i Contpostelle,
pp. 329-330: Gaillard, Les Debuts de la Sculpture Romane Espagnole: Leon-Jaca-Contpostelle, p. 194-196:
Knowlton, "The Romanesque Sculpture of the Platerias Portal of the Cathedral of Santiago de
Compostela," p. 37; Naesgaard, Saint-Jacques de Contpostelle et les debuts de la grande sculptures vers
1100, pp. 50-52.
"0 Durliat, La sculpture roniane de la route de Saint-Jacques: de Conques 6 Contpostelle, p. 330.
31 Picaud as translated by Conant, The Early~rchitectural Histo; v of the Cathedral of Lon Ir, ;. de
Compostela, p. 53.
32Knowlton, "The Romanesque Sculpture of the Platerias Portal of the Cathedral of Santiago de
Compostela," p. 39.
33Durliat, La sculpture roniane de la route de Saint-Jacques: de Conques 6 Contpostelle, p. 330.
head, faces Stone E. The second figure has its back to the first figure but with its head
turned toward Stone E. The third figure is badly damaged and the orientation of the head
and body is difficult to decipher. This beast may hold a club or it may be clutching one
of the columns of the colonnade.
Stone G is the piece on the tympanum depicted in the largest scale and it is a
partially clothed, seated woman holding a skull on her lap (Fig. 6 [Fig. 3, Stone G]). She
is seated on a cross-legged chair known to the Romans as a sella curulis and known in the
Romanesque period as a faldestorium. Though she is referred to as "Woman with the
Skull," her earliest description by Aymery Picaud is the "Adulterous Woman."34 The
identification of the iconography of this enigmatic figure will be fully discussed in
Picaud, Gaillard, and Durliat seem to devote most of their attention to the six
panels of the tympanum that are directly above the lintel. However, as Durliat' s
tympanum diagram indicates, there are five more pieces below the tympanum's archivolt
and a sixth piece, Stone M, that is sandwiched between the unofficial registers of the
upper and lower portions of the left tympanum (Fig. 10 [Fig. 3, Stone M]). Stone H and
Stone K are severely damaged (Fig. 9 [Fig. 3, Stone H and K]), and it is impossible to
determine their specific iconographic significance. Close examination of Stone H
indicates that there are limbs intertwined with vines, but little else can be discerned.
Beside this piece is Stone I, which represents a head severed from its body at the
upper chest (Fig. 15 [Fig. 3, Stone I]). The figure has short hair that is tucked behind its
ears while a round cloth hat covers the man's head from forehead to crown. The hat has
34 Picaud as cited by Conant, The Early architectural History of the Cathedral of L aner, ;. de Compostela,
a rounded roll of fabric at its periphery. This hat looks like the Jewish round cap
discussed by Ruth Mellinkoff in an article on an Anglo-Saxon manuscript, the BM
Cotton Claudius B from 1025-1050 (Fig. 21) where the hat is believed to first appear.
She connects the hat with the influx of French people into England around the Norman
Conquest and it is also featured in a cycle of English Frescoes in Spain. 35 This may also
be the cap that found its way to Algeria from the Spanish Jews that moved there in the
thirteenth century, and many of these Jews were silversmiths.36
Stone J is a figure with a scallop-shaped collar with his right hand raised in blessing
(Fig. 12 [Fig. 3, Stone J]). In the right door jamb of the left door is another figure (Fig.
22) with this same collar and there is an inscription identifying the piece as St. Andrew.
Thus, the figure in Stone J may be understood to represent an unknown apostle.
As stated earlier, Stone K is severely damaged (Fig. 9 [Fig. 3, Stone K]).37 Two
beasts seem to be represented and they appear to be combattant or facing one another as
mirror images that would appear in coats of arms. By the late eleventh and early twelfth
century, no coat of arms existed in Spain. The first official coat of arms of Spain
appeared in the fifteenth century under King Ferdinand V of Spain (1474-1516) and
Queen Isabella of Spain (1474-1504) (Fig. 23).38 However, there were coins of Alfonso
VII of Le6n-Castile (1 126-1 157) that featured two lions' heads representing the province
35Ruth Mellinkoff, "The Round, Cap-Shaped Hats Depicted on Jews in BM Cotton Claudius B. iv." in
4nglo-Saxon England 2 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1973), p. 161.
36 Alfred Rubens, 4 History ofJewish Costwne (New York: Funk and Wagnalls, 1967), pp. 65-66.
37Knowlton's title for the piece is "Two Confronted Lions." Knowlton, "The Romanesque Sculpture of the
Platerias Portal of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela," p. 36
38See de Alfonso Carlos, "El Escudo de Espafia en las obras de arte del Patrimonio Nacional." Reales
sitios XIX/73 (1982).
of Le6n facing one another.39 The left corner of the piece still has a paw of the creature
intact that seems to represent a lion paw. There are two wings that appear in the
background. However, their position does not logically fit on the animals represented so
they may be part of the original sculpted form prior to the piece's new context as spolia.
Stone L is also difficult to decipher (Fig. 10 [Fig. 3, Stone L]). The lower portions
of the creature's body are definitely animalistic, but the head of the figure in some
photographs appears to be a dog and in others it appears to be a human head. Gaillard
identifies the piece as a dog restrained by a serpent while Knowlton sees the figure as a
lion strangled by a snake.40
Stone M depicts a male youth riding an animal (Fig. 10 [Fig. 3, Stone M]). The
youth and animal are shown in left profile. The youth's foot is in a stirrup and the youth
has a trumpet raised to his lips.41 He wears a short, above the knee robe with concentric
folds at the chest and left arm at his side. The paw of the animal resembles the first beast
in Stone F (Fig. 10 [Fig. 3, Stone F]) and possibly influenced Knowlton's assessment of
the creatures in that panel as lions.42 The animal in Stone M is likely a lion as its stylized
mane exhibits the same sinuous curves in shorter segments as seen in the Woman with
the Skull's hair (Fig. 6 [Fig. 3, Stone G]). This stylization and the animal's long neck
resemble the lions on the trumeau at Moissac (Fig. 24).
39 J. F. Lhotka and P. K. Anderson, Survey ofi~edievallberian Coinages (Chicago: Argonaut, Inc., 1963),
40 Gaillard, Les Ddbuts de la Sculpture Romane Espagnole: Ledn-Jaca-Compostelle, p. 196; Knowlton,
"The Romanesque Sculpture of the Platerias Portal of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela," p. 36.
41 Gaillard refers to this horn as "un pain." Gaillard, Les Ddbuts de la Sculpture Romane Espagnole: Ledn-
Jaca-Compostelle, p. 196.
42 JOhn Howard Barnes Knowlton, "The Romanesque Sculpture of the Platerias Portal of the Cathedral of
Santiago de Compostela," p. 36.
The right tympanum is composed of Stones N thru X. Stones O thru S all seem to
participate in a common narrative of the Adoration of the Magi. Stone N represents the
foremost portion of a fox or wolf biting its tail or as Knowlton understands it as a dog or
wolf holding a snake between its teeth (Fig. 5, Stone N).43 Stone O is a very damaged
stone that illustrates a four legged farm animal (Fig. 5, Stone O). This panel seems to be
relevant to the general theme in Stone R, which shows a twisting angel (Fig. 5, Stone R)
and to Stones Q thr-u S, which represent the Adoration of the Magi (Fig. 7). The twisting
angel, that would appear to have originally been a vertical piece, is fitted horizontally
over the magi. The star of Bethlehem appears between the Magi closest to the Virgin
while another star appears over the Virgin's head (Fig. 4 [Fig. 5, Stone S]). The
uppermost rays of the star between the Magi has been cut off to make room for the
twisting angel, who is likely representative of the angel who warns the Magi not to return
to King Herod. All three Magi are cut off at the waist; the two closest to the Virgin face
her and the Christ child while the third is turned and faces the opposite direction. All the
Magi have been severely damaged and only the outline of these figures can be read.
Porter suggests that the unusual depiction of this asymmetrical Adoration scene is
understood as an adaptation of a Syrian iconographic tradition in which the three Magi
appear to the left of the Virgin.44 Interestingly, this same iconography of the Adoration
of the Magi appears on the twelfth century sepulcher of San Ram6n, in the church of
43 Ibid 40.
44 Arthur Kingsley Porter, "Spain or Toulouse? and Other Questions." Art Bulletin 7 (1924), p. 7.
Roda de Isabena in Huesca in northern Spain (Fig. 25).45 This may indicate a common
model book that may have Syrian origins.
Stone panel T is another mysterious piece that was originally intended to be placed
vertically, but the master of the portal inserted it horizontally. It depicts a figure wearing
a heavy robe and holding a book. His head looks like it is covered with another round
cap like the one mentioned in Stone I on the left tympanum (Fig.3, Stone I) and is similar
to the round cap in Figure 21. However, this figure has a halo around his head. It is
inserted over Stone U that depicts a miracle of Christ (Fig. 17 [Fig. 5, Stone U]). In this
panel, a haloed Christ looks down at a figure holding a crutch. Gaillard interprets the
panel as the healing of the paralytic.46 However, Knowlton points out that Early
Christian representations of the healing of the blind included a crutch, which explains
why Christ is looking intently into the eyes of the disabled man or boy. 47 It is my
opinion that the healing of the blind man is represented because of its connection to early
Christian representations that relate to Gregory VII's renovatio that will be discussed in
Stone V is the largest on the two tympana. It is possible that as many as three
scenes appear in the panel in continuous narrative: the crowning of Christ with thorns, the
flagellation, and the Crucifixion (Fig. 14 [Fig. 5, Stone V]). Picaud describes the first
image as Pilate seated on a lattice work chair with another man standing above him with
45 M8HUC1 1gleSias Costa, Roda de Isabena: histoira y arte (Barbastro: D.D.P.C.B., 1989), p. 109.
46 Gaillard, Les Ddbuts de la Sculpture Romane Espagnole: Ledn-Jaca-Compostelle, p. 199.
47 Knowlton, "The Romanesque Sculpture of the Platerias Portal of the Cathedral of Santiago de
Compostela," p. 97.
his arm extended to the seated man's head.48 Mathews agrees with Picaud's assessment
of the figure as Pilate.49 However, there is no historical or biblical explanation for a
crowning of Pilate. It is precisely for this reason that Gaillard and Knowlton favor the
reading of this image as Christ being crowned with thorns.'o The only problem with this
interpretation is that Christ is seated and thus, it seems too accommodating for a figure
undergoing torture. Despite this fact, I concur with Gaillard's and Knowlton's
conclusion. Further along panel V is a group of four figures. The figure on the left of this
group is what Picaud identifies as a Jew whipping Christ's back." Christ stands with his
back to this figure and another figure while he faces another captor who ties his hands to
a column. This position creates a horizontal line of the arms of the captor and captive
that forms an abstract cross against the vertical column that melds the flagellation with
the Crucifixion. Interestingly, the bowl-shaped haircuts of the Jews resemble the round
shaped hats that the Jews were known to wear and that are represented in Stone I and
Stone T. On the far right of the panel is a third image of a vacant cross on a mound that
represents Christ's triumph over the cross or the Crucifixion. There is also another
beardless figure to the right of the cross. The figures on this panel are cruder and more
disproportionate than the other tympanum pieces. All the figures, except Christ who is
barefoot, are wearing boots.
48Picaud as cited by Conant, The Early Architectural History of the Cathedral of L oanr, q.;. de Compostela,
49 Mathews, ""They wished to destroy the temple of God": Responses to Diego Gelmirez's Cathedral
Construction in Santiago de Compostela, 1100-1140," p. 192.
"0 Gaillard, Les Debuts de la Sculpture Romane Espagnole: Leon-Jaca-Contpostelle, p. 200; Knowlton,
"The Romanesque Sculpture of the Platerias Portal of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela," p. 43.
51Picaud as cited by Conant, The Early Architectural History of the Cathedral of L oanr, q.;. de Compostela,
Stone W, which appears above Stone X, illustrates an angel plunging from clouds
with a crown held in his hands. Picaud concludes that this piece is supposed to be read
with Stone X as one narrative unit.52 Stone X depicts the Kiss of Judas (Fig. 17 [Fig. 5,
Stone X]). Christ offers his cheek towards the face of another barefoot figure, likely
Judas. The two figures, probably Roman guards, on the periphery of this couple are
wearing boots. This composition is also found in a Syrian manuscript illumination.53
Again, this suggests that a Syrian model book was in use for portions of the iconography
of this portal.
To summarize, the tympana of the Puerta de las Platerias present a diversity of
images, which may initially seem to be unrelated spolia preserved for their artistry or
their sacredness. However, while some of the panels of the tympana are too damaged to
suggest a definitive identification of iconography, the better preserved panels seem to
present related themes to the dual nature of Christ. These are: the Temptation of Christ,
the Adoration of the Magi, the Healing of the Blind, the Crowning with the Thorns, the
Flagellation, the Resurrection, and the Betrayal.
In the left tympanum's lower register, an angel stands in a doorway holding a
censer. He appears behind Christ who holds a rock and stands before vegetation with a
snake intertwined within it. Another angel hovers with a censer over the foliage. Next
are two demons, one genuflects and the other hovers with a rock in his hand. Both of
these figures appear before the city of Jerusalem. All of these figures can be related to
the First Temptation of Christ. Next, three monsters appear in a trilobed arched arcade.
53 Knowlton, "The Romanesque Sculpture of the Platerias Portal of the Cathedral of Santiago de
Compostela," p. 98.
The first monster is the most distinctive and he appears to be a dog or hyena type figure.
Next to this piece is the "Woman with the Skull" who is enthroned on a faldestorium.
And above her head is the boy riding the lion.
In the left tympanum's top register is a piece that might represent human figures
intertwined within vines. The disembodied bust of the next figure represents possibly a
Jew as revealed by the visual evidence of his hat. He appears before a blessing apostle,
whose identity as such is determined by his scalloped collar. Next, two combattant lions
surround a flower. And finally, a man/beast is restrained by a snake.
The top register of the right tympanum begins by presenting a dog with a snake
between its teeth. Next is a large quadruped, likely a horse or a cow accompanied by a
flying angel. These pieces may be related to the three Magi and the enthroned Virgin and
Child. The lower register of the tympanum depicts a Jewish person over the scene of the
healing of the blind man. Next is the continuous narrative: the crowning of Christ with
the thorns, the flagellation of Christ at the pillar, and the empty cross. At the right corner
is the betrayal of Christ by Judas and the crowning of Christ by an angel.
The question becomes what unifies the iconography in each tympanum and the
larger message presented in the tympana of the Puerta de las Platerias? Karen Mathews's
understanding of the iconography makes the subj ect of the tympanum a social statement
to the citizens of Santiago de Compostela. She relies heavily on an understanding of the
iconography of the tympana of the Puerta de las Platerias in terms of the Historia
Compostellana.l~~~~1111~~~~ Mathews parallels the program of the portal to an illumination of the
"biographical" narrative of Archbishop Diego Gelmirez written in this manuscript, which
recounts the struggles of this man who became the ecclesiastical authority in Santiago de
Compostela twelve years after the deposition of Bishop Pelaez. Mathews makes many
interesting connections between text and iconography. The Historia Compostell anall~~~~1111~~~~
accuses many of Gelmirez' s insubordinate clerics as being akin to Judas. Mathews sees
the kiss of Judas in the Betrayal scene on the right tympanum (Fig. 17) as exemplifying
this relationship between Gelmirez and the Spanish clerics.54 She also reads the
punishment of Jesus in the flagellation panel (Fig. 14) as a reflection of the callous and
cavalier attitude of the city of Jerusalem, which she associates with the people of
Santiago and their treatment of Gelmirez.5 However, Mathews does not include any
mention of the inscription of "H[IERV] S[AL]EM CIVITA" on the left tympanum (Fig. 3,
Stone E) or any tangible evidence to support an identification of the subj ect of the
tympanum with Jerusalem. She also does not relate this conclusion to Aymery Picaud's
identification of the torturers in the flagellation panel to Jews and in fact, considers the
Codex Calixtinus' s Pilgrim' s Guide as an unreliable source.56 She sees this unreliability
in the text' s prejudiced author, but she discounts the inaccuracies that may be found in
the Historia Compostell anal~~~~1111~~~~ which was completed under the supervision of Gelmirez and
the monks at Santiago by 1140. Mathews does not deal with the date inscribed on the
portal that refers to July 11, 1078. Unfortunately, she fails to make a plausible argument
relating Archbishop Diego Gelmirez and the portal's iconography. She does not provide
evidence that the text of the Historia Compostell anall~~~~1111~~~~ was formulated before the
54Mathews, ""They wished to destroy the temple of God": Responses to Diego Gelmirez's Cathedral
Construction in Santiago de Compostela, 1100-1140," p. 194.
55Mathews relies on the history of riots within the town and the alienation of Gelmirez during these violent
moments. Karen Mathews, "Reading Romanesque Sculpture: The Iconography and Reception of the South
Portal Sculpture at Santiago de Compostela," Gesta 39/1 (2000), p. 5.
56 Mathews, ""They wished to destroy the temple of God": Responses to Diego Gelmirez's Cathedral
Construction in Santiago de Compostela, 1100-1140," p. 141.
organization of the tympana sculpture. All evidence, like the portal inscription, indicates
that the riots she attributes to the broken appearance of the sculpture postdated the
erection of the portal. It seems plausible, since the correlations that Mathews finds are at
best conj ecture, that Gelmirez tailored the text of the Historia Compostellan2a to an
already existent program on the south portal.
The other programmatic consideration of the portal that I am aware of is that of
Jose Maria de Azcarate. He supports a reading of the portal as the dual nature of Christ.5
Problematic to this conclusion seems to be Mathews's complaint regarding missing
scenes in the passion narrative of the two tympana on the Puerta de las Platerias. It is the
lack of an iconographic representation of the Last Supper, Crucifixion, and the Three
Women at the Tomb that concerns her.'" Traditionally, the Last Supper is not included
within the passion sequences and thus, the lack of this scene is not viewed by me as a
lacuna in the representation of the Passion. The scenes of the Entry into Jerusalem, the
Crucifixion, and the Three Marys at the Tomb seem to be more important and will be
accounted for in the description of the dual nature program.
I concur with Azcarate that the iconographic program in the two tympana of the
Puerta de las Platerias can be understood as the dual nature of Christ based on the
primary events depicted that include the Adoration of the Magi, the Temptations, the
Betrayal, the Flagellation, the Crucifixion, and Mary Magdalene at the Tomb. The
Adoration of the Magi (Fig. 5, Stones Q thr-u S), which is depicted in the right tympanum,
57 Jos6 Maria de Azcarate, "La Portada de las Platerias y el program iconografico de la Catedral de
Santiago" 4rchivo Espaiiol de 4rte, 36 (1963), p. 1.
58 Mathews, ""They wished to destroy the temple of God": Responses to Diego Gelmirez's Cathedral
Construction in Santiago de Compostela, 1100-1140," p. 191.
is an unusual asymmetrical composition that Arthur Kingsley Porter relates to a Syrian
composition.59 However, in this depiction, the third magus is turned away from the
enthroned mother and child. The magi are known to carry gifts that indicate earthly
kingship (gold), heavenly kingship (frankincense), and death/resurrection (anointing
oil). It is possible that this composition was chosen for this scene to emphasize Christ as
completely human in Casper' s gift of earthly kingship and as completely divine in
Melchior' s gift of heavenly kingship. The third magus is turned away from Christ
possibly to indicate the unnecessary gift of anointing oil because of Christ' s
resurrection. Here is the first reference to the resurrection that Mathews sees as missing
from the tympana. The fact that two stars are represented in the scene is unusual and may
also reference the dual nature, one star leading to death if unheeded and the other star as a
symbol of salvation. The magi are facing the enthroned Virgin (Fig. 13 [Fig. 5, Stone S])
who is nimbed and positioned frontally giving her an iconic appearance similar to
Byzantine images of the Virgin. Images such as that of the theotokos in Hagia Sophia' s
apse (Fig. 26) are recalled with this iconographic depiction.60
In the left tympanum is the representation of Christ' s First Temptation (Fig. 3,
Stones A thr-u E), which probably is intended to evoke all three temptations. This scene
is one of the strongest declarations of Christ' s humanity and divinity. By approaching
the hungry Christ at a time in which his human needs are great, the devil tempts Christ to
turn stones into bread using his divinity to satiate his humanity. Though Christ is human,
his divine nature prevents him from acting on a human frailty.
59 Porter, "Spain or Toulouse? and Other Questions," p.7.
61) The Council of Ephesus in 43 1 confirmed the Virgin Mary as "God-bearer," in an effort to extinguish
The Passion, which includes the Betrayal, the Crowning of Christ with Thorns, the
Flagellation, the Crucifixion, and the Resurrection is found predominantly on the right
tympanum. The Passion is important for the dual nature of Christ not only in its
exemplifying his human suffering, but also in Christ' s divine salvation of humanity
through this suffering. The Betrayal (Fig. 17 [Fig. 5, Stone X]) illustrates Christ's arrest
and the Judas kiss, his emotional suffering. The crowning with the thorns is one of the
trials in Christ's physical suffering (Fig. 14 [Fig. 5, Stone V]). The flagellation scene
(Fig. 14 [Fig. 5, Stone V]) is interesting because it conflates Christ' s pre-Crucifixion
tortures with his suffering on the cross. The arms of the torturer and Christ across the
pillar make an abstract cross with Christ to the left of the cross and his restraining
oppressor on the right. Christ' s position to the right of this cross puts him in the position
of salvation. This cross composition helps account for Mathews' s missing Crucifixion
image. An actual cross appears to the right of this scene. It is an empty cross on a
mound that could represent Golgotha. The empty cross symbolizes Christ's triumph over
the cross and therefore is also an allusion to His resurrection.
Mathews's complaint about the missing scene of resurrection has thus been
reconciled by the backward turned magus toward Herod's kingdom and the vacant cross
at the end of the flagellation panel. There is, however, one more possible sculptural
arrangement that implies resurrection. This includes the two pieces on either end of the
left tympanum, the angel in the doorway (Fig. 9 [Fig. 3, Stone A]) and the Woman with
the Skull (Fig. 6 [Fig. 3, Stone G]). The angel in the doorway holds a censer. From the
doorway of the sepulcher, the angel looks across the tympanum to the Woman with the
Skull. There is the possibility that this enigmatic female figure is the prototype for the
Penitent Magdalene who is often depicted with the sixteenth century Tridentine attribute
of the skull. The skull may represent Golgotha or the skull of Adam. But there are pre-
existent images of Mary at the Tomb that have one Mary figure holding an incense pot
toward the angel seated at the open door of the tomb. This motif appears in a Carolingian
ivory, located at the Cathedral of Narbonne in Narbonne, France (Fig. 27).61 The
Narbonne ivory has the open door of the sepulchre, which significantly, also has
rectangular moulding around the door, similar to the door behind the angel (Fig. 9 [Fig. 3,
Stone A]). The iconography of Mary Magdalene with the censer appears frequently in
Carolingian art and also appears in an initial in a folio from the Drogo Sacramnentary
(Fig. 28) also with a tomb with a rectangular door. The connection of Carolingian
iconography with the Puerta de las Platerias will gain further importance in Chapter 4's
isolation of iconography of the Carolingian period that relates to the Woman with the
Because of their damaged state, some panels of the two tympana defy iconographic
identification. However, the better preserved spolia elements reveal a complex program
of New Testament scenes, which emphasize the humanity and the divinity of Christ. This
program may be the result of a complex ecclesiastic and secular struggle between Pope
Gregory VII and King Alfonso VI of Le6n-Castile, which will be discussed in the next
61 Marie-ChriStine Sepibre, L hugcle d 'un Dieu ..anul,,t (Paris: Les editions du Cerf, 1994), pp. 215-217.
THE SOCIAL, POLITIC, AND RELIGIOUS CONTEXT OF LATE ELEVENTH
With the weakening and eventual downfall of the Roman Empire, the northern
portions of its territory fell pray to the invasions of various barbarous people. As a result,
the Iberian Peninsula was overrun by the Visigoths in the mid-fifth century who brought
with them the Christian Arian heresy. Because of this infiltration of the peninsula by
heresy, many of the traditions labeled as both Christian and Spanish, have had their
orthodoxy challenged by the papacy and the Roman Catholic Church. One of the most
pronounced instances of this type of challenge occurred in the late eleventh century
between Pope Gregory VII and King Alfonso VI. First, this chapter will briefly discuss
Arianism, which emerges as an important aspect of the Mozarabic liturgy in late eleventh
century Spain emerges. The renewed importance of Arianism involves the Pope and
various documents related to and possibly utilized to justify the replacement of the
Mozarabic liturgy with the Roman Rite. King Alfonso VI' s response to the pressure of
Gregory VII' s renovatio will also be considered, and all of these factors will be related to
the south portal and its title as portal of the silversmiths. The audience of the south
portal, which would have included the townspeople and the pilgrims from the pilgrimage
path through the Iberian Peninsula, will also be related to the title of the portal: Puerta de
las Platerias. Ultimately, all these factors will be interrelated to the purpose and program
of the portal.
As briefly explored in Chapter 2, Pope Gregory VII's emphasis on early Christian
themes in his renovatio may indicate that he saw the original "bad seed" that cultivated
the Mozarabic liturgy as the same antagonist to early Christian orthodoxy, Arius. Arius
(250-336 AD), considered the founder of Arianism, claimed that Christ was not equal
with God because he was between the designation of human and divine; thus, Arius
challenged the dual nature of Christ.' The exact origin of this heresy is debated. While
Arius was an Alexandrian bishop, Newman sees Arianism's development as occurring
within the School of Antioch and barely stops short of definitively calling it a Jewish
heresy.2 He comes to this conclusion in the associations between Arius and Lucian of
Antioch who tutored Arius and likely encouraged the ideas of Paul of Samosata, who
advocated Christ' s position as merely man.3 Though there are several theories about the
gestation of the Arian heresy, Newman' s theory and Arius's relationship to Antioch will
be the argument about Arianism most important to this thesis.
Because Spain had a particularly influential historical connection with Arianism,
Spanish Christian tradition provoked various suspicions concerning its orthodoxy. The
primary target of critical inspection fell upon its most public displays, namely the
Mozarabic Liturgy. The term Mozarabic is somewhat misleading. The liturgy received
this name some time after the liturgy's abolition in 1080 at the Council of Burgos.4 The
i Rowen Williams, Arius: Heresy and Tradition (London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 1987), pp. 98-103.
2 JOhn Henry Cardinal Newman, The Arians of the Fourth Century (London: Longmans, Green, and Co.,
1919), pp. 1-24. There has been a continuous dialogue about Arian origins that Rowan Williams sees as
being relevant despite many theories, which might ordinarily seem outdated because of their conception in
the late nineteenth century.
3 Ibid. 3.
4 The Council of Burgos declared the Roman Liturgy the acceptable liturgy of Spain and was the official
dismissal of the Spanish tradition that used the Mozarabic Liturgy. See Henry Jenner, "Mozarabic Rite,"
reason for this title is believed to involve the persistence of the liturgy among the Spanish
Christians in the areas of Spain under Arabic jurisdiction even after the council.' It has
been known as the Gothic Rite, the Toledan Rite, and the Visigothic Rite.6 These
designations are related to possible origins of the rite with the Visigothic control of Spain
and Toledo' s position as the headquarters of the Mozarabic Rite, where it was believed to
have been practiced even after 1080 with the knowledge of King Alfonso VI.7 It has also
been called the Isidorian Rite because Isidore of Seville (560-636) is speculated as the
writer of the liturgy, or at least may have been involved in revisions of the liturgy.8
No evidence exists concerning the Spanish liturgy before the Visigoths, and very
little aside from a few manuscripts, remain of the liturgy before its abolition in 1080.9
However, it is possible that there is some information about the Mozarabic liturgy that
may be gleaned from Pope Gregory VII's campaign against the liturgy. He wrote some
letters to various parties and, as the liturgical saga progressed, recipients of
correspondences included Abbot Hugh of Cluny and King Alfonso VI.10 Pope Gregory
Catholic Enqvclopedia. www.newadvent.org/cathenl0611a.htm,
the name of the liturgy and Teofilo F. Ruiz, "Burgos and the Council of 1080," inl I,,ne.,;. Saint-Denis,
and Saint Peter: The Reception of the Roman Liturgy in Ledn-Castille in 1 080 (New York: Fordham
University Press, 1985), pp. 121-130.
SHenry Jenner, "Mozarabic Rite," Catholic Enqvclopedia. www.newadvent.org/cathenl0611a.htm,
SB. F. Reilly, The Kingdom ofLedn-Castille under King 4lfonso VI7, 1065-1109, p. 183.
SHenry Jenner, "Mozarabic Rite," Catholic Enqvclopedia. www.newadvent.org/cathenl0611a.htm
'o Joseph F. O'Callaghan, "The Integration of Christian Spain into Europe: The Role of Alfonso VI of
Le6n-Castile," inl La noses;l. Saint-Denis, and Saint Peter: The Reception of the Roman Liturgy in Ledn-
Castile in 1080 (New York: Fordham University Press, 1985), p. 109.
VII' s initial letter to the king of Le6n-Castile in 1074 includes some justification for his
efforts to rid Spain of its Mozarabic liturgical tradition because it is an attempt to cleanse
Priscillianism and Arianism from the liturgy witnessed by papal legates.ll The
concentration of this thesis upon the heresy of Arianism instead of Priscillianism is based
upon the signifiers that the pope used for his campaign and that are related to the south
portal. These signifiers have already been broached in previous chapters, but to
recapitulate they include the dual nature program of the portal and the use of spolia like
that seen on the Arch of Constantine (Fig. 20) and the Church of Old St. Peter' s. As the
first caesaropapist Eigure, Constantine called the Council of Nicaea in 325 to address the
emergence of the Arian heresy in the early Christian world. Pope Gregory VII may have
seen himself as following in the steps of Constantine and as referenced earlier, Ernst
Kitzinger supports prototypes for Pope Gregory's renovatio that relate to Constantine and
Galla Placidia while Helen Toubert recognizes general early Christian themes in
H. E. J. Cowdrey and Ram6n Gonzalvez propose a possible use of the document
forged in the Carolingian era, the Donation of Constantine, as influential in Pope Gregory
VII's campaign.13 Supposedly dating from the early Christian period, this forged
document unjustly made a claim that asserted papal control over many territories
11 Serafin Moralejo, "On the Road, the Camino to Santiago" in 4rt ofidedieval Spain (New York:
Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1993), p. 175.
12 See Ernst Kitzinger, "The Gregorian Reform and the Visual Arts: A Problem of Method (The Prothero
Lecture)," Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, p. 98 and H616ne Toubert, Un art dirige: Reforme
gregorienne et iconographie (Paris: Les editions du cerf, 1990).
13 RamC~n Gonzilvez, "The Persistence of the Mozarabic Liturgy in Toledo after A.D. 1080," inl ten I,;r..~
Saint-Denis, and Saint Peter: The Reception of the Roman Liturgy in Leon-Castile in 1080 (New York:
Fordham University Press, 1985), p. 158; H.E.J. Cowdrey, The Cluniacs and the Gregorian Reform
(Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1970), p. 220.
including Spain. Interestingly, this document was included in a group of false decrees
called the Pseudo-Isidorian decretals. This set of documents, which were organized in
the Carolingian period, possibly by a member of the diocese of Hincmar of Rheims (845-
882), was not known to have existed in Spain during the eleventh century.14 But the
original attribution of the decretals to Isidore of Seville, the same person believed to have
composed or revised the Mozarabic liturgy, seems to open the possibility that Pope
Gregory VII had some access to this document."
Thus, the Pseudo-Isidorian decretals and their inclusion of the Donation of
Constantine make the period of the decretals' forging, the Carolingian period, and the
period of the Donation' s supposed creation, the reign of Constantine, important to Pope
Gregory VII's claim. The revival of the early Christian Eight against Arianism in the
south portal's dual nature program has been explored, but the Carolingian revival of this
early Christian Eight against heresy needs some introduction.
The Pseudo-Isidorian decretals appeared in the Carolingian period that is known for
Alcuin and Charlemagne's fight against Hispanic Adoptionism. Hispanic Adoptionism
was primarily classified as reflecting Arian tendencies to diminish the dual nature of
Christ. However, historically, the Pseudo-Isidorian decretals date to the reign of Charles
the Bald (843-877) and relate more to this Carolingian ruler. As stated earlier, this
14 Though Hincmar of Rheims is reported to have used the decretals on at least one occasion, it is believed
that they were created under his authority by a disgruntled bishop. Philip Schaff, "60. The Pseudo-
Isidorian Decretals," History of the Christian Church, Vohane IV: M~ediaeval Christianity. 4.D.590-1073.
htt \\ \\ lccel.org/s/schaff/hcc4/htm/i.iv.xiii.htm
Catholic Enqvclopedia. h'lip un \\ \ newadvent.org/cathen/05773 a. htm,
15 "False Decretals," Britannica Concise Enqvclopedia.
created in mid-ninth century, supports the primacy of the pope and elevates bishops to have more rights
than usually given them by the archbishops. Louis Saltet, "False Decretals," Catholic Enqvclopedia
http1 un \\\\.newadvent.org/cathen/05773a.htm,
document may have been a product of the diocese of Hincmar of Rheims, who
reprimanded Charles the Bald on numerous occasions for his interest in practices
regarded as heretical.16 Between 860 and 870, Hincmar wrote a treatise to Charles the
Bald entitled De cavendis vitiis et virtutibus exercendis. This work emphasized the
necessity of the transubstantiation of the Eucharistic sacraments. In supporting the actual
consumption of the flesh and blood of Christ through the sacraments, this work not only
supports the dual nature of Christ, but it also advocates the necessity of contrition,
humility, and particularly, the practice of orthodox faith to engaging in this
transubstantiation. 1 Hincmar' s emphasis of these requirements may have been an effort
to counter Charles the Bald' s behavior. This is especially true because of the king' s
interest in unorthodox traditions. For example, Charles the Bald invited emissaries from
Spain to his court in 870 to perform the Mozarabic rite for him.xs
More interesting is the fact that the reputed author/compiler of the Pseudo-Isidorian
decretals in the Carolingian period used the canons of Isidore of Seville, the believed
writer or reviser of the Mozarabic liturgy.19 At this time, the writer, whose pseudonym
16 Philip Schaff, "60. The Pseudo-Isidorian Decretals," History of the Christian Church, Volume If :
M~ediaeval Christianity. 4.D. 590-1073. http://www.ccel.org/s/schaff/hcc4/htm/i.ixiihm
17 Celia Chazelle, The Crucified God in the Carolingian Era (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,
2001), pp. 288, 290.
1s See Henry Jenner, "Mozarabic Rite," Catholic Enqvclopedia. www.newadvent.org/cathenl0611a.htm,
19 Philip Schaff. "Isidore of Seville," New \. Inr-Hlerzog Enqvclopedia ofReligious Knowledge, Vol. VI:
Innocents- Liudger. http://www.ccel.org/s/schaff/encyc/encyc6/tiixihm
Henry Jenner. "Mozarabic Rite," in Catholic Enqvclopedia. www.newadvent.org/cathenl0611la.htm,
was Isidore Mercator, was erroneously identified with Isidore of Seville.20 If Charles the
Bald was showing interest in the liturgical creation of Isidore of Seville, namely the
Mozarabic liturgy, Pope Nicholas I (d.867) could use a forged document believed to be
by the same individual who wrote this liturgy to counter the king's attempt to claim
ecclesiastical authority. Hincmar of Rheims was likely trying to distance the king from
the Mozarabic liturgy, its unorthodoxy, and any ties to Isidore of Seville. Additionally,
the Pseudo-Isidorian Decretals' inclusion of the Donation of Constantine establishes
Gregory VII's papal claim to the fourth century. This claim is said to be made by none
other than the legalizer of Christianity himself, Constantine the Great. Thus, this
document and the Pseudo-Isidorian decretals attempt to show any divergence from
Roman Orthodoxy as heretical in lands that had supposedly belonged to the united
Roman Empire in the fourth century.
The nomenclature which associates Isidore of Seville with the decretals would
seem to be orchestrated to suggest this church father' s recognition of the primacy of
Rome and the pope as well as the surprising admission of the unorthodox nature of what
may have been his Mozarabic liturgy. In this way, the decretals would seem to play an
important role in Pope Gregory VII' s renovatio because they quote earlier sources that
asserted papal primacy and do so in the name of the Mozarabic liturgy's most prominent
figurehead.21 However, interestingly, Pope Gregory VII never mentions Hispanic
Adoptionism in his reasons for obj ecting to the liturgy. In fact, the pope wavers in his
20Philip Schaff. "Isidore Mercator," New \, Inr-Herzog Encyclopedia ofReligious Knowledge, Vol. VI7:
Innocents- Liudger. http://www.ccel.org/s/schaff/encyc/encycO6hmiixxiihm
21Louis Saltet, "False Decretals," Catholic Encyclopedia. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05773a.htm
reasons for the reform citing the possible tainting of Spain from Arian influences to
pagan influences and Muslim influences. Finally, when the installment of the Roman rite
was ensured in Le6n-Castille, Pope Gregory VII issued a bull in 1081 that stated his
approval in relation to the amending of unnamed formal heresies by the reinstatement of
the Roman liturgy.22
When examining the Pope's vacillation in reasoning, the question becomes: did the
identification of the heresy in the Mozarabic liturgy precede Gregory's campaign, or was
the Visigothic history of Spain an excuse to feign discovery of Arianism in the Mozarabic
liturgy, which would fit perfectly into the Pope's Constantinian propaganda? Was the
Donation of Constantine an instrument to further reform, or was it the reason for reform?
The Pseudo-Isidorian decretals are instrumental in asserting the primacy of the
pope while giving the bishops more independence.23 Interestingly, after the deposition of
Bishop Pelaez in 1088, no representative of the pope in the form of a bishop was named
at Santiago de Compostela until 1094.24 Part of the reasoning for this vacancy was
possibly to enable the pope to enact a strict control over the region of Galicia himself and
thus assert a personal role in removing the Mozarabic liturgy so near and dear to the
Spanish people and monastics. As seen in the strong resistance of the monastics at
22RamC~n Gonzilvez, "The Persistence of the Mozarabic Liturgy in Toledo after A.D. 1080," inl ten I,;r,..~
Saint-Denis, and Saint Peter: The Reception of the Roman Litw-gy in Leon-Castile in 1080, pp. 160-161.
23 Karen Mathews, who examines the Puerta de las Platerias as a program organized by Archbishop Diego
Gelmirez, mentions the commonly held opinion of the people of Santiago de Compostela that Bishop
Gelmirez conducted himself in a pope-like manner that seems to hint at the influence of the Pseudo-
Isidorian decretals. Karen Matthews, ""They wished to destroy the temple of God": Responses to Diego
Gelmirez's Cathedral Construction in Santiago de Compostela, 1100-1140," (PhD-University of Chicago,
1995), p. 67
24Georges Gaillard, Les Debuts de la Sculpture Romane Espagnole: Leon-Jaca-Compostelle (Paris, 1938),
p.162; John Howard Barnes Knowlton, "The Romanesque Sculpture of the Platerias Portal of the Cathedral
of Santiago de Compostela" (Thesis-M.A., New York University, 1939), p. 12.
Sahagun and in the monks' manipulation of the medium of manuscripts, Spanish
monastics would have required intense scrutiny before identifying an individual that
would prove resistant to any agenda except the supporting of Roman orthodoxy. While
Knowlton sees this period without a bishop as involving artistic inactivity, it seems that
this would have been the perfect opportunity for the pope to exercise complete control
over what was visually communicated.25
This general heretical theme extracted by Pope Gregory VII takes on a very
specific form. He distills the specifically Spanish heresy into a generalized category of
heresy visually and conceptually associated with Judaism. Pope Gregory VII likely took
his cue in the use of a Jewish metaphor for heresy from Alcuin, who in his fight against
Spanish Adoptionism reprimands Bishop Felix of Urgel and Archbishop Elipandus of
Toledo (717-800). Referring to the bishop and archbishop's support of Spanish
Adoptionism, Alcuin states .with the Jews you still do not believe."26 As previously
described, Arianism itself has also been associated with Judaism.
So how is this Jewish idiom expressed? There are elements including the title of
the south portal, the cathedral's position within the town center, and iconographic
qualities, which assert this comparison. First, the title of the south portal, Puerta de las
Platerias, means the portal of the silversmiths. Interestingly, though throughout the
Middle Ages there were prohibitions on Jewish artistic production, the silversmiths in
Spain were Jewish.27 Though the unwritten assumption about the title of the south portal
26Chazelle, The Crucified God in the Carolingian Era, p. 59.
27Bernard Bemstein, Sanctification and the 4rt of Cil setteri,,,,; Processes and Techniques: 4 Handbook
for Museums (New York: The Judaica Museum, 1994), p. 6.
has been that the portal faces the shops of the silversmiths, as seen in the medieval city
plan of Marilyn Stokstad (Fig. 8), there seems to be some further ideas being fostered in
this title. Since the Pilgrim's Guide asserts that the French only entered from the north,
the south portal's audience was the town of Santiago de Compostela. From this idea,
Karen Mathews asserts that the south portal was predominantly used by the townspeople
and that this was the portal's intended audience.28 Though this makes sense
geographically, the title of the portal as being for the silversmiths seems to suggest that
the townspeople were being associated with the label of non-believers seen as heretics,
expressed in this case by association with Judaism. Further support for this idea is that
the pilgrimage route to Santiago that moves only through the Iberian Peninsula and not
through the rest of Europe is called Ruta de la Plata or the Silver Route. This route was
also known as the Camino Mozarabe. It is by this same route that the relics of Isidore of
Seville, the writer or reviser of the Mozarabic liturgy, were brought to Le6n.29
In terms of contrasts in planning, the cruciform shape of the cathedral has the Plaza
de la Inmaculada on the north arm of the cathedral while the Plaza de las Platerias is on
the south. This idea seems to evoke Carolingian Crucifixion imagery with Ecclesia on
the right of the cross and Synagogue on the left of the cross. The designations of the
cathedral and its relationship to city planning and naming seem to express this idea of the
orthodox and the heretical. In fact, the bishop's palace is located on the north side of the
cathedral while the cloisters are located on the south side. This seems to further express
the resistance of the Spanish monastics to the Roman liturgy and orthodoxy.
28 Matthews, ""They wished to destroy the temple of God": responses to Diego Gelmirez's cathedral
construction in Santiago de Compostela, 1100-1140," p. 151.
29 Alison Raju, The Way ofSt. James: Via de la Plata (Cumbria: Cicerone, 2001), p. 10.
These ideas may not have been solidified until the appointment of Diego Gelmirez
as archbishop of Santiago de Compostela in 1100, under whose leadership the Ruta de la
Plata was popularized. But the generalization of heresy in Jewish terms, which may have
originated with Pope Gregory VII and his quotation of Carolingian sources, also finds
expression on the two tympana. As stated earlier, Figure 15 and the horizontal figure
above the healing of the blind (Fig. 5, Stone T) depict Jewish figures whose designation
as such are verifiable by the round cap that they are wearing. The blessing apostle (Fig.
12 [Fig. 3, Stone J]) on the left tympanum may be proselytizing the capped figure on his
right. Even the unidentifiable creature, possibly dog, being restrained by a snake (Fig. 3,
Stone L) on the left tympanum may reflect the suppression of the Spanish by the heresy
of the Old Law while the dog or wolf with the snake between its teeth (Fig. 5, Stone N)
on the right tympanum may reflect the triumph of the New Law over the Old Law.
In the referencing of Arian heresy in his letter to Alfonso VI, Pope Gregory VII
opened a theological gold mine of Spanish historical connections that include the
Visigoths, the Carolingians, and Constantine. Through the use of the Donation of
Constantine within the Pseudo-Isidorian decretals, Pope Gregory VII was likely
connecting his campaign to a long, but fabricated, history of papal suzerainty in Spain.
Through iconography and metaphors of heresy in terms of Judaism, he asserted this
connection and perhaps even exploited what would become a legend.
This legend originated in the Woman with the Skull's (Fig. 6 [Fig. 3, Stone G])
designation as the "Adulterous Woman" by Aymery Picaud. This description of the
woman may be intended to relay a connection between the woman and Jerusalem, which
is the adulterous woman in the Bible in the books of Ezekiel and Jeremiah. However,
what may be the most telling association comes from the most important Spanish figure
in this thesis, Isidore of Seville. He opens his History of the Goths, Vandals, and Suevi
by calling Spain an adulterous woman.30 This description will be explored in detail in
Chapter 4 in which the "Woman with Skull" will be examined in depth in regard to
various scholars' identifications of her iconography and with regard to iconographic
precedents that have eluded scholars up to this point.
30 Isidore ofSeville 's History of the Goths, Vandals, and Suevi (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1970), pp. 1-2.
THE ICONOGRAPHY OF THE WOMAN WITH THE SKULL
As the largest figure on the two tympana of the south portal sculpture of Santiago
de Compostela (Fig. 1), all of which lack an original context, the classically rendered
Woman with the Skull (Fig. 6) presents an interesting art historical challenge. For this
reason, her iconography was discussed briefly in Chapter 2 with the intention of devoting
all of Chapter 4 to the figure that Walter Cahn labels as one of the most enigmatic in
Romanesque sculpture.l This chapter will begin by giving a description of the piece and
continue by considering the various identities that scholars have attempted to assign as
the piece's iconography. While Cahn's statements concerning the piece express a certain
resignation and ultimate acceptance that the woman's identity is lost due to a lack of
iconographic evidence, this study will propose an iconographic tradition for the piece
revealing the woman's identity as found in Carolingian and Late Imperial Roman
iconography. Many of the scholarly ideas about the Woman with the Skull will be shown
to be relevant only when these scholars' choices for her identity are interrelated to one
another and in the service of her iconographic precursor, the Penitent Roma. Ultimately,
this composite identity will be related to Pope Gregory VII' s campaign to reform the
Spanish Mozarabic liturgy by reasserting the Roman rite. In this campaign, the Woman
with the Skull embodies the message of the south portal intended to act as a self-
reflective image of the Spanish people to the south portal.
SWalter Cahn, "Romanesque Sculpture and the Spectator," in The Romanesque Frieze and its Spectator
(London: The Dean and Chapter of Lincoln Cathedral, 1992), p. 59.
Beyond the overtly prominent scale of the Woman with the Skull (Fig. 6 [Fig.3,
Stone G]), she is one of the most artistically skilled pieces of spolia on the portal. There
is a visual as well as thematic dichotomy expressed by the positive mass and negative
space in the sculpting of this figure. The empty space veiled between the woman's legs
is characterized by drapery folds which are defined and dominated by deep furrows while
the mass of her bare left leg counterbalances this in emphasizing the subtractive
technique that pushes the plasticity of her shin forward into space. The folds below the
waist produce an equal emphasis on the furrows' stark shadowed depressions that in turn
create a positive convex contrast in the dramatic yin and yang of their Zen sand curves.
The sculptor uses subtle indentations to allude to the hemline of her dress while a similar
though vertical line lightly defines the shin of her robe-covered leg that is quite
pronounced in the proj ecting mass of her bare leg. In contrast, the upper torso of the
woman has her right breast exposed, while her left breast is implied through the drapery
folds. The diagonal of her bare body and the diagonal of her clothed body imply the
crisscross of the faldestorium/sella curulis upon which she is seated. And, like the
drapery folds of her robe, her hair resembles a braided mass of sinuous vines offset by
thin swells on some strands. Ultimately, the sculptural result is dramatically fat folds of
drapery and organically, intertwining tresses of hair. Her abundant hair and full face are
in glaring contrast to the death skull on her lap.
None of the other pieces in the two tympana either formalistically or stylistically
replicate the sculptural drama enacted in the Woman with the Skull. Additionally, none
of them have as much drama surrounding their iconographic interpretations. The first
record of an iconographical identification of the woman is often considered the most
sensationalistic and it comes from Aymery Picaud's early twelfth century Pilgrim 's
Guide which states:
Nec est oblivioni tradendum quod miller quedam juxta dominicam Temptacionem
stat, tenens inter manus suas caput lecatoris sui fetidum, a marito proprio abscisum,
osculans illut bis per diem, coacta a viro suo. O quam ingentem et admirabilem
justiciam mulieris adulterate, omnibus narrandam!2
[Nor ought we to forget the female Eigure set near the Temptation of Our Lord: she
holds in her hands the rotting head of her lover, cut off by her husband, who forces
her to kiss it twice a day. What a great and admirable judgment upon an adulterous
woman, which should be recounted to everyone!]3
George Zarnecki's translation of this passage specifies that the head' s former owner is
the woman's seducer, a translated meaning that will have important connotations as this
Picaud' s interpretation has elicited a wide range of responses from that of Philip
Verdier who Einds Picaud' s assessment of the image no more than a roman to Serafin
Moralejo's re-evaluation and endorsement of Picaud's description.5 Moralejo justifies
Picaud's interpretation, less on visual evidence and more by the contemporaneousness of
the interpretation with the sculpture's placement in the tympanum. 6 The Pilgrim's Guide
dates from 1135, and was probably written within sixty years following the creation of
the program of the south portal, which could not predate 1075 and that this study
2 Jeanne Vielliard, Le Guide du Pelerin de Saint-Jacques de Contpostelle (Mlacon: Imprimerie Protat
Frbres, 1969), p. 102.
3 Translation of the words of Aymery Picaud from his Pilgrim' s Guide in Kenneth Conant, The Early
architectural History of the Cathedral of l,,ne, ;. de Compostela, (Cambridge: Harvard University Press,
SGeorge Zarnecki, 4rt of the Medieval World (Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1975), p. 224.
5 P. Verdier, "La participation populaire g la creation et g la jouissance de l'oeuvre d'art" in La culture
populaire au Adoven 4ge, Ed. P. Boglioni (Montreal 1979), pp. 63-80, esp. 70-73.
b Serafin Moralejo, "The Codex Calixtinus as an art historical source," in The Codex Calixtinus and the
Shrine ofSt. James. Ed. John Williams and Alison Stones (Tubingen: Gunter NarrVerlag, 1992), p. 218.
maintains as being created in 1078. But Moralejo does not restrict his interpretation of
the piece to only Picaud's words. He also maintains the idea that the image in its
representation of adultery may be an exensphem based on eleventh or twelfth century
sermons.' The idea of the exensphen implies that the piece in its new context as spolia
acquired a new meaning that was not inherent to its iconography. Thus, Moralejo seems
to assert that the piece became a source for creative interpretation without any retention
of its meaning from its former context. Essentially, reading an accurate meaning into the
piece without any iconographic consistency from its first context to this new context
makes a recreation of twelfth century meaning virtually impossible. Another unfortunate
weakness of this argument is its dependence on written sources that are not even
identifiable: there is no specific written sermon with an exensphen to which Moralejo can
relate the story of the "Adulterous Woman." In addition, there is no visual evidence to
support his reading. Moralejo does mention the possible connection of the Woman with
the Skull to a capital in Santa Marta de Tera in Zamora of a seated woman with a
decapitated head in her lap (Fig.29). However, he concedes that the figure on the capital
is probably Salome because of the beard that is shown on the severed head.8
Jose Maria de Azcarate relates the Woman with the Skull to the sculpture found on
the historiated capitals of the south portal found below the tympana. These capitals
depict the expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise. Azcarate concludes from these
images that the Woman with the Skull is "Eve as Mother of Death." 9 This is understood
9 JOs6 Maria de Azcarate, "La Portada de las Platerias y el program iconografico de la Catedral de
Santiago" 4rchivo Espaiiol de 4rte, 36 (1963), pp. 1-20 (Specifically pp.10-12).
based on the skull on the woman's lap as alluding to death. Eve was the instrument of
the devil that brought death into the world through her encouragement of Adam to eat the
fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, thus her association as sin' s bearer and the "mother" of
death. However, the problem with this interpretation is that Azcarate does not create a
very tight interrelationship of this figure to his larger dual nature program.
Karen Mathews's study discusses the Woman with the Skull only in vague terms
that allude to connections with images of fully clothed women originally from the north
portal.10 Although the purposes in this connection remain ambiguous, she is likely trying
to loosely connect the piece to a social event or person in conjunction with her aim to
relate the entire south portal program to Archbishop Diego Gelmirez. While she alludes
to Moralejo's conclusions about the piece being an exemphem and melds this
interpretation with the idea of "Eve as Mother of Death" as also being an exemphem, it
can only be assumed that she concurs with Moralejo's theory, except she is connecting
the exemphem to personages and female stereotypes concurrent with Diego Gelmirez's
retention of the office of archbishop."l She also makes many references to women as
sinful, including Queen Urraca of Le6n-Castile (1109-1126).12 Mathews quotes a
passage from the Historia Compostell anall~~~~1111~~~~ that refers to the Queen as acting in accordance
with "female perversity" in the breaking of a pact with the archbishop.13 However,
'o Karen Mathews, ""They wished to destroy the temple of God": Responses to Diego Gelmirez's
Cathedral Construction in Santiago de Compostela, 1100-1140" (PhD-University of Chicago, 1995), pp.
11 Ibid. 204-205. Diego Gelmirez's active participation as archbishop at Santiago de Compostela was
between 1100 and 1140.
13 Ibid. 206. makes comparison between the image and Historia Compostellana's statement about the queen
(Urraca) breaking a pact with the archbishop "But whom does female perversity not confront? What do the
Mathews only suggests a general tenor of misogynistic sentiment as influencing the
sculpture and the text and not direct references to particulars. 14 Unfortunately, the only
possible connection between the queen and the Woman with the Skull is possibly the seat
of power, the sella curulis or faldestorium. However, representing the Queen in
slanderous association of the Woman with the Skull would likely have deprived the
archbishop of his office and his head. Mathews also entertains connections between the
figure of the Woman with the Skull and Lust; however, there is a sculptural piece in the
cathedral museum of Santiago de Compostela that was originally on the portal and that
represents Lust. Redundancy, though present in some instances on the portal, makes this
interpretation less plausible."
Ole Naesgaard creates an association between the Woman with the Skull and the
floating head (Fig. 11) that appears to be in the same style. Without any basis, Naesgaard
maintains that the floating head on the upper left of the tympanum is the husband that
decapitated the Woman with the Skull's seducer. He concludes that the story of the
Woman with the Skull is derived from sources like One 7housanda~nd One Nights and
the Decamneron. 16 The problem is that the Decamneron postdates the Pilgrim's Guide by
over two hundred years. Though there was Arab influence in Spain that might have
wiles of the serpent not presume? Whom does this most terrible viper not attack? In sum, what feminine
trickery confronts, presumes, and attacks is indicated clearly by the example of Eve, our first mother. The
most audacious soul of women violates that which is most holy; all is the same, the licit and the
prohibited." (HC, II, 39, 284).
14 Ibid. 206.
1s Ibid. 205.
16 Ole Naesgaard, Saint-Jacques de Compostelle et les debuts de la grande sculptures vers 1100 (Aarhus,
1962), pp. 73-74.
exposed the Spanish to the eighth-century One Thousand and One Nights, there is no
historical reason for connecting the Woman with the Skull with this source.
Chapter 2 of this thesis has connected the Woman with the Skull to the Penitent
Mary Magdalene, a suggestion first made by J. Villa-Amil y Castro and Georges
Gaillard.l7 The official association of the Magdalene with a skull does not occur until the
Council of Trent in the 1560s.ls However, she is shown with this attribute in the
Renaissance paintings of Titian (Fig. 30) and Georges de la Tour (Fig. 31). Rather, I
would like to suggest that there is a larger and more complex melding of iconography and
ideology that is occurring with this iconography of the Woman with the Skull.
As stated earlier, the identification of the piece as an adulterous woman by the
Pilgrim's Guide remains a much-debated interpretation. In fact, Walter Cahn concludes
that "Ultimately, then, we lack in this instance the means to verify the claims of the
Pilgrims' Guide by reference to a stable pictorial tradition or specifiable hermeneutical
practice."19 One of the aims of this chapter is to fill this lacuna.
As the previous chapters have attempted to establish, the themes and texts of the
Carolingian period are just as relevant to the Romanesque period as they are to the ninth
and tenth centuries. Pope Gregory VII' s endeavor to purge Spain of heresy is simply a
renewal of the proj ect of Alcuin and Charlemagne who first interpreted the Mozarabic
17 See J. Villa-Amil y Castro, La Cathedral de ~l oa ;. (Madrid 1909), p.32 and Georges Gaillard "Les
commencements de l'art roman en Espagne" Bulletin Hispanique 37 (1935): 273-308 or Etudes d 'art
roman (Paris 1972), pp. 38-63.
1s Susan Haskins, Mary Magdalene: Myth and Metaphor (New York: Riverhead Books, 1995), p.236.
19 Cahn, "Romanesque Sculpture and the Spectator," p. 59.
liturgy as being tainted by Arianism.20 However, what is more important is the
continuation of this issue into the reign of Charles the Bald. According to Barton Sholod,
Charles the Bald was regularly apprised of the activities and progress in the pre-
Romanesque church of Santiago de Compostela.21 In 870, the same year that this king
invited emissaries from Spain to perform the Mozarabic liturgy at his court and that
Hincmar of Rheims wrote about the importance of the Eucharist to the king, Hincmar of
Rheims commissioned an ivory that has now been integrated into the Pericopes ofHemry
II (Fig. 32).22 This ivory is one of the most renowned Crucinixion ivories of the
Carolingian period and can be interpreted as supporting the dual nature of Christ. Known
as the Munich ivory or Cover of the Bamberg Evangelistary (Fig. 33), it will be shown as
containing a possible prototype for the Woman with the Skull.
The ivory is composed of three registers with wavy groundlines. The top register
contains the Crucifixion, the middle register depicts the resurrection and three Marys at
the tomb, and the bottom register contains classical personifications amid individuals
being resurrected from their tombs. While the Crucifixion and resurrection seem to
celebrate the dual nature of Christ, the Spanish Mozarabic liturgy may be referenced in
the two Eigures on the far right of the top register of the ivory (Fig. 34). The standing
figure has a knob or horn on her head while her heel touches the jug containing the
vinegar that was offered by Stephano to Christ. This horned Eigure has been associated
"0 Celia Chazelle, The Crucified God in the Carolingian Era: Theology and 4rt of Christ 's Passion
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), p. 55.
21Barton Sholod, C iters I.,;;,,pt..-, in Spain: The Cultural Legacy ofRoncesvalles (Genbre: Librairie Droz,
1966), p.59 n. 77.
22 Amy Vandersall, "The Ivories of the Court School of Charles the Bald" (PhD, Yale University, 1965), p.
with Judaism in figures like Moses while Celia Chazelle has also associated the vinegar
used by Stephano in the Crucifixion with Judaism.23 This is important because Judaism
was considered a general metaphor for heresy and dissent from orthodoxy. This
Synagogue figure or figure of Judaism hands a flat, round disk to the enthroned and
crowned male dressed in royal robes. This round disk may be a missorium and signify
the emissaries that came from Spain to the court of Charles the Bald in 870.24 The
ivory's enthroned and crowned figure with his patterned robes closely resembles the
image of Charles the Bald from the Codex Aureus of Charles the Bald from 870 (Fig.
35).25 Both figures have a patterned border to their garment which in the Codex Aureus
is jeweled and this motifis abstracted in the smaller ivory figure. Thus, the king in the
ivory may represent Charles the Bald accepting Synagogue who would personify the
Spanish Mozarabic liturgy. Celia Chazelle concludes that Hincmar of Rheims
commissioned the ivory as an admonishment to the king against heresy with which I
concur.26 But instead of general heresy, the Synagogue figure and her missorium seem to
connect the ivory to the specific incident of the king's invitation of the emissaries to
perform the Mozarabic liturgy.
23 Celia Chazelle, The Crucified God in the Carolingian Era: Theology and Art of Christ 's Passion, p. 148.
24 Henry Jenner. "Mozarabic Rite," in Catholic Encyclopedia.
Imp un \\ newadvent.org/cathen/10611la.htm,
25 Celia Chazelle, The Crucified God in the Carolingian Era: Theology and Art of Christ 's Passion, p. 283.
The figure of Christ and the knot of his perizoma on the ivory appear to be a direct quotation of this
manuscript as well.
26 Ibid. 299. Chazelle, however, says that the figure on the right of the ivory resembles Charles the Bald
but is actually Tellus. She also does not address her proposal of general heretical admonishment of the
king specifically in terms of the Mozarabic liturgy.
The most significant figure in the ivory to this thesis is one of the classical
personifications in the bottom register of the ivory. The use of classical personifications
illustrates the importance of classical style to the ivory and perhaps is meant to evoke
Constantinian models and prototypes. This would relay a message of christusmimesis
and caesaropapism as well as evoke the importance of Constantine through the
Carolingian document, the Donation of Constantine, which falsely transferred papal
authority over areas such as Spain. This ivory and its style essentially proclaim a
prerequisite of orthodoxy to ownership and jurisdiction of these areas based on this false
Donation of Constantine. Examining the particular figures of the Classical
personifications reveals the presence of Oceanus and Gaia who flank a mysterious central
figure (Fig. 36).27 This central female figure is seated on royal cushions and has a bared
right breast. It is also significant that she is located in a graveyard, creating associations
with death. Ferber identifies this mysterious female figure as a personification of
Roma.28 A similar but more maj estic figure appears in the Late Imperial sculpture at the
base of the column of Antoninus Pius in the apotheosis relief (Fig. 37). Like the ivory
figure, this Late Imperial Roma has a bared right breast, and to her left is a shield
depicting the suckling of Romulus and Remus by the legendary she-wolf (Fig. 38).29 The
emblem of Roma on the base of the column of Antoninus Pius can also be linked to the
seated Roma on Charles the Bald's ivory, based on her compositional location directly
27S. Ferber, "Crucifixion Iconography in a Group of Carolingian Ivory Plaques," 4rt Bulletin
(XLVIII/1966), p. 327.
29 According to legend, Romulus and Remus were orphaned as babies and were nurtured by the she-wolf.
When they grew to manhood, Romulus kills Remus on April 27, 753 B.C., the date of the founding of
Rome. Thus, the image on the shield of Roma further reinforces her identification.
beneath the cross. The Carolingian iconography of Roma positioned directly beneath the
cross of the Crucifixion is also represented in a second Carolingian Crucifixion ivory
known as the Rambona diptych dated to 900 (Fig. 39). In the Rambona ivory, Roma is
personified by the suckling she-wolf that is depicted directly beneath the cross. The
similarity in placement of the seated woman from the ivory of Charles the Bald and the
suckling she-wolf from the Rambona ivory supports the interpretation, that this seated
woman on the ivory of Charles the Bald is Roma.
The female personification of Roma on the Antoninus Pius monument and the
Roman figure on Charles the Bald's ivory both share the bared right breast found in the
image of the Woman with the Skull (Fig. 6). In addition, the Woman with the Skull has
the death skull in her lap, which creates the same association with death as does the
personification of Roma in the graveyard in Charles the Bald' s ivory. Perhaps even the
positioning of the ivory's Roma Eigure at the base of the cross, the location known as
Golgotha or place of the skull, may be related to the Woman with the Skull's
iconography. Further connections include that neither Eigure is veiled and both have an
upward tilt to their head, the ivory figure to enable her to look on her conversion back to
Rome and the Roman liturgy through the Crucifixion image above her. The Woman with
the Skull possibly has this same position through similar model book iconography or her
original context, which may be similar to the ivory's composition. However, the
important interpretation of the Woman with the Skull is that she is a Roma who is
penitent or who has strayed. She was orthodox and then tainted by heresy, but she
ultimately is converted back to Roman ways.
The importance of rehabilitation instead of recreation is illustrated by Rose Walker,
who makes the all important point in her book that Pope Gregory VII was emphatic that
the Roman Liturgy was the original liturgy of Spain and that the Mozarabic was a
deviation from this original liturgy.30 Without this claim, Pope Gregory VII would have
been supporting innovation, which was heretical.31 With the influence of the Donation of
Constantine, Spain would be categorized among the possessions of Rome long before
Isidore of Seville and the Mozarabic liturgy. By using an image of the Woman with the
Skull, which may now be identifiable as Penitent Roma, the pope would insure that his
message was clear: the Spanish had deviated from their original liturgy and had fallen
into heresy. Thus, in 1074, Spain was being led by the Pope to see the error of her ways
by beginning to embrace her nascent liturgy, that of Rome.32
However, the question becomes how does the idea of papal jurisdiction relate to the
reading of the sculptural piece as the Adulterous Woman in Picaud' s interpretation and
the idea of Villa-Amil y Castro and Gaillard whose thesis connects the piece to the
Penitent Mary Magdalene?
The answer to this question may reside in ideas broached in previous chapters of
this thesis. In Chapter 3, the Mozarabic liturgy was connected to Isidore of Seville who
also wrote a History of the Goths, Vandals, and Suevi. In this text, Isidore of Seville
30 See Rose Walker, Views of Transition: Liturgy and Illumination in Medieval Spain (London: British
Library, 1998), p.21.
31 Ibid. 32-33.
32 The pope may make direct reference to Spain as this adulterous woman in one of his letters of 1080. In
this letter, he refers to the insurrection of the monk Robert at Sahagfmn who supported the Mozarabic liturgy
as being aided by .. his ancient helper, an abandoned woman .. Scholars have assumed that the
woman could only be Constance of Burgundy; however, it seems possible that the woman aiding Robert
was in fact Spain itself. For further information, see P. David, Etud'es historiques sur la Galice et le
Portugal (Paris and Lisbon, 1966), pp. 414-17.
describes Spain as a woman who has broken her betrothal to Rome by illicit relations
with the Goths.
Of all lands which stretch from the West to India, you are the most beautiful, O
Spain, sacred and ever-blessed mother of leaders and of nations. .. Thus rightly
did golden Rome, the head of nations, once desire you, and although the same
Romulaean virtue, first victorious, betrothed you to itself, at last, nevertheless, the
most flourishing nation of the Goths after many victories in the world eagerly
captured and loved you, and enj oys you up to the present amid royal insignia and
abundant wealth, secure in the felicity of empire.33
As seen in Julie Galambush' s study of the personification of Jerusalem in the Bible
and the variations of adultery, sexual indiscretions with a third party during a betrothal
was considered adulterous behavior.34 Thus, under this definition and with Isidore of
Seville's metaphor of Spain as violating her betrothal, Spain could be likened to an
Galambush' s dissertation, which concerns the identification of Jerusalem as
adulterous in the Book of Ezekiel, becomes even more important when considering Mary
Magdalene's relationship to the adulterous woman metaphor. Galambush sees Jerusalem
as a larger metaphor for Judaism, which this thesis has shown to be connected with some
of the iconographic representations on the portal and as a metaphor for the Arian
heresy.35 The idea of Jerusalem as being adulterous and Spain as being adulterous may
not have been a metaphor that the Spaniards would have rejected on the basis of their
association of Spain with Judaism. In fact, the connections between the arca santa
"found" at Oviedo and the ark of the covenant seem to support an enthusiasm for the
33 Isidore of Seville 's History of the Goths, Vandals, and Suevi. Trans. Guido Donini and Gordon B. Ford,
Jr. (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1970), pp. 1-2.
34 Julie Galambush, Jerusalem in the Book ofEzekiel: The city as Yahweh 's wife (Atlanta: Scholars Press,
1992), p. 28.
Jewish metaphor. After all, the Jews were "the chosen people" and perhaps, the
Spaniards felt that they could become the chosen people who fulfilled the Christian
frenzy for conversion. Additionally, in the left tympanum, Figure 9 (Fig.3, Stone E) has
the inscription of "H[IERV]S[AL]EM CIVITA" which makes a connection between the
Woman with the Skull and Jerusalem through spatial proximity of these sculptural pieces.
While Galambush unites Judaism and adultery, Susan Haskins describes the
Magdalene's association with Judaism and the Synagogue found in Hippolytus of
Rome's Commentary on the Can2ticle of Can2ticles.36 Hippolytus of Rome classifies the
Sponsa or Bride of Christ as being both Mary Magdalene and her sister Martha.37 It is
unclear if he refers to only Mary Magdalene as Synagogue, or the Church of the Jews, or
to both of the women as such. Regardless, the Magdalene is essentially a betrothed
figure who likely was viewed as violating this agreement in her sinful behavior as a
prostitute and a metaphor for the Synagogue or the Church of the Jews.38 This idea is
further traced to possible visual representations in the depiction in the Rabula Gospels
(Fig. 33) of the Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalene at the tomb of Christ. The Rabula
Gospels depicts a similar two-person visitation of the tomb except in this case it is the
Syrian version that has the Virgin Mary accompany the Magdalene.39 Haskins concurs
with other scholars that this is due to a cult to the Virgin in Syria. However, it seems that
36 Haskins, Marv~agdalene: Myth and Metaphor, p. 60.
38It is likely that the misattribution of the Magdalene as a prostitute occurred around the third or fourth
centuries when the commentary on the Mishna, the Talmud began to be circulated. In the Talmud, the
Magdalene is associated with an adulteress. The Hebrew word, znh, was used to refer to both prostitutes
and women engaged in illicit sexual behavior while under the authority of another man. See Galambush,
Jerusalem in the Book ofEzekiel: The city as Tahweh 's wife, pp. 27-35.
39 Ibid. 89-91.
this may be an even more blatant attempt to associate Mary Magdalene with the Church
of the Jews and as the first Eve because of the Virgin' s title of Second or redeeming
Eve.40 The visit to the tomb seems to fuse and express a message of conversion of the
Church of the Jews into Mary-Ecclesia, the Church of Christ.
The Syrian origin of the Rabula Gospels may also reflect a Syrian ideology behind
the association between Mary Magdalene and the Church of the Jews. St. Ephraim the
Syrian, whose sermons were in Castilian manuscripts in the tenth century and also
available at Cluny in the eleventh century, wrote a sermon for Easter Sunday that
identifies the Synagogue as an adulterous woman.41 With the associations of the
Magdalene to the Bride of Christ in Hippolytus of Rome' s Commentary on the Can2ticle
ofCan2ticles, the fourth century relation of St. Ephraim's text of adultery and the Jews,
and the appearance of the Virgin and the Magdalene at the tomb two centuries later in the
Rabula Gospels, these texts may show a progression in the interpretation and role of
By combining these sources, not only can Villa-Amil y Castro, Gaillard, and
Picaud' s interpretations of the Woman with the Skull take on a new meaning, but the
interpretation of the figure as Eve by Azcarate also gains importance. Zarnecki's
translation of Picaud' s text describes the Adulterous Woman' s sin as being caused by a
seducer instead of a lover. Like Eve, she was seduced into sin. Because the Woman with
the Skull is a penitent Roma Eigure, she represents the same woman who strays and
"0 Ibid. 91.
41 Andre Grabar, "Les illustrations des Beatus mozarabes et les miniatures orientales chretiennes et juices,"
Cahiers archcieologiques XXVIII (1979), pp. 8-10: G. Bardy, "Le Souvenir de Saint Ephrem dans le Haut
Moyen Age Latin," Revue du Moven Age Latin 2 (1946), p. 300.
triumphs. So essentially, she represents the ultimate Biblical conflation that the Eigures
of Eve, Mary Magdalene, and the Virgin Mary may be intended to represent. Especially
for the Carolingians and Pope Gregory VII, it was important to represent these various
figures as one Eigure so that she would simultaneously represent pre-fallen Eve and Rome
in her orthodoxy as the original betrothed church, the Magdalene in her adultery as the
heretical Mozarabic liturgy, and Einally, the triumphant church who had always existed
despite the "heresies" of Judaism and Mozarabic Arianism. Ultimately, the Woman with
the Skull would represent the woman who Einally triumphs in her orthodoxy as the pre-
fallen Eve and the Eve restored from Original Sin brought on by her seduction. This idea
is further reinforced when taking into consideration that the primary audience of the
Puerta de las Platerias was the town of Santiago and the pilgrims on the Ruta de la Plata.
As established in Chapter 3, the silversmith portal and the Route of the Silver may refer
to the Jewish silversmiths. This connection may have been intended to address the
audience of the south portal--the townspeople of Santiago de Compostela, with their
Jewish artisans. The adulterous metaphor of the Jews that extended to the heretical
Spanish people of the town and the Spanish pilgrims on the Ruta de la Plata is sustained
in the image of the Woman with the Skull. This image was likely intended as a self-
reflective symbol of a liturgically prodigal return of Spain and her people to their
betrothed, Rome, and the ultimate triumph of the papacy.
The Eigure of the Woman with the Skull was related in Chapter 2 to the angel on
the opposite side of the tympanum so as to create a scene of the resurrection. By
integrating the Eigure of the Penitent Roma that is an emblem of Spain into the scene of
the resurrection, the program of the Puerta de las Platerias placed the Arian disbelievers
in the divine nature of Christ directly in association with the scene from Christian
theology that declares his divinity. In this way, Spain is placed in the role of witness to
Christ' s display of the divinity that accompanied his humanity. Within this role, the
Woman with the Skull drew the citizens of Santiago de Compostela and the pilgrims of
the Ruta de la Plata as a group who were likened to the Jews who also denied the divinity
of Christ, into orthodoxy by forcefully positioning them, like the spolia figure, into the
scene of the resurrection. Through the multivalent meanings of the Woman with the
Skull as a conflation of the fallen and the redeemed and in her association with Spain, the
papacy created a propagandistic tool that may have been essential to refute the Mozarabic
As this study has attempted to show, the urgency to fulfill Pope Gregory VII's
demands in his 1074 letter urging the reform of the Mozarabic liturgy initiated the
building of the Romanesque church of Santiago de Compostela. But more significant to
this study is that it likely dictated the program of the south portal, the Puerta de las
Platerias, which was the portal of the Spanish townspeople and pilgrims. Through the
pope's letter and through inscription evidence, this study derives a terminus postquem of
1075 for the cathedral. The confusion related to the date of July 11, 1078, on the Puerta
de las Platerias is taken by this study to mark Cardinal Richard's arrival in Spain. This
papal legate likely served as the bearer of the dual nature program for the south portal,
explaining that date's placement on the Puerta de las Platerias. The manuscript of the
Codex Calixtinus is the primary source that can be used to isolate a terminus antequem
for the cathedral's south portal. This document describes the tympana arrangement as it
exists today and can be used to conclude the sculptural program's placement by 1135.
As seen in Chapter 2, even without geological testing, the different stones used for
the various sculptures on the two tympana, the different scale of the pieces and their
mutilation to be fit into the composition of the tympana seems to make spolia use a
natural conclusion for the portal. The tympana, which are composed completely of spolia,
become an important example of spolia use in medieval Spain, a topic that has not
received much attention. The use of spolia in medieval Spain may connect the Spanish
churches with Gregory VII' s reform and its orthodoxy. This may indicate that spolia use
in medieval Spain not only acted as a reference to the iconography and past structures
from which the art was taken, but that it was also intended to act as a declarative
statement of orthodox liturgical practice. This orthodoxy becomes aesthetically
connected to the first emperor openly supportive of Christianity, Constantine, who also
used spolia in his monuments like the Arch of Constantine. Pope Gregory VII, who in
1073 was making a papal claim on Spain, is believed to have based this claim on the
forged medieval document, the Donation of Constantine. Though scholars of medieval
Spain dispute the outcome of this claim, the use of spolia seems to create a declarative
statement of Roman control over the Iberian Peninsula at this time. The use of spolia not
only referenced Constantine and the forged assertion of Roman authority over the Iberian
Peninsula, it actively, combatted the assertion in manuscripts that the instigation of the
Roman liturgy was an act of innovation. The actual reuse of spolia was likely a visual
way of representing not innovation but reordering.
I support the argument of Jose Maria de Azcarate that the iconographic program in
the two tympana of the Puerta de las Platerias can be understood as the dual nature of
Christ based on the primary events depicted. These events include the Adoration of the
Magi, the Temptations, the Betrayal, the Flagellation, the Crucifixion, and Mary
Magdalene at the Tomb. Karen Mathews's complaint about the missing scene of
resurrection has been reconciled by the backward-turned magus toward Herod's kingdom
and the vacant cross at the end of the flagellation panel. The two pieces on either end of
the left tympanum, the angel in the doorway and the Woman with the Skull, have also
been argued as representing resurrection. The angel in the doorway holds a censer. From
the doorway of the sepulcher, the angel looks across the tympanum to the Woman with
the Skull, who this study relates to the Penitent Mary Magdalene and the Penitent Roma.
The motif that combines an angel, the Magdalene, and an incense pot appears in a
Carolingian ivory and a Carolingian manuscript, further supporting the Carolingian
iconographic allusions that this thesis has identified.
Chapter 3 takes the dual nature program's importance and relates it to the Arian
influences brought to Spain by the downfall of the Roman Empire and the invasions of
the Goths. The Visigoths who practiced the Arian heresy took control of the land and the
religion of Spain. Because Spain had a particularly influential historical connection with
Arianism, Spanish Christian tradition provoked various suspicions concerning its
orthodoxy. The primary target of critical inspection fell upon its most public displays,
the Mozarabic Liturgy. This rite was also called the Isidorian Rite because the liturgy
was revised or possibly written by Isidore of Seville.
Not only the dual nature program of the portal but also the use of spolia may relate
to the detection of Arianism in the Mozarabic liturgy. As the first caesaropapist figure,
Constantine called the Council of Nicaea in 325 to address the emergence of the Arian
heresy in the early Christian world. Pope Gregory VII may have seen himself as
following in the steps of Constantine. The forged Donation of Constantine was included
in a group of false decrees called the Pseudo-Isidorian decretals. The mistaken
attribution of the decretals to Isidore of Seville, the same person believed to have
composed or revised the Mozarabic liturgy, seems to open the possibility that Pope
Gregory VII had some access to this document.
The Pseudo-Isidorian decretals appeared in the Carolingian period, known for
Alcuin's and Charlemagne's fight against Hispanic Adoptionism. Hispanic Adoptionism
was primarily classified as portraying Arian tendencies to diminish the dual nature of
Christ. However, historically, the Pseudo-Isidorian decretals date to the reign of Charles
the Bald and relate more to this Carolingian ruler. This is especially important because of
the king' s interest in unorthodox traditions as seen in the emissaries from Spain who
came to his court in 870 to perform the Mozarabic rite for him.
The heretical theme, that the Carolingian period identified and that was expunged
by Pope Gregory VII, takes on a very specific form through a visual and conceptual
association with Judaism. There are elements including the title of the south portal, the
cathedral's position within the town center, and iconographic qualities that assert this
comparison. While the Pilgrim's Guide maintains that the French only entered from the
north, the south portal's audience was the town of Santiago de Compostela. From this
idea, Mathews asserts that the south portal was predominantly used by the townspeople
and that this was the portal's intended audience. Though this makes sense
geographically, the title of the portal as being for the silversmiths, an occupation of Jews,
seems to suggest that the townspeople were being associated with the label of heretics
expressed in this case by association with Judaism. Further supportive of this idea is that
the route to Santiago through the Iberian Peninsula is called Ruta de la Plata or the Silver
Additionally, as seen in Chapter 4, the enigmatic piece in the left tympanum that
the twelfth century Pilgrim's Guide calls the "Adulterous Woman," may also reflect this
Jewish theme. The Book of Ezekiel identifies the Jews as adulterous in chapter sixteen.
This designation was a larger metaphor for Spain seen in the works of Isidore of Seville.
The adulterous woman interpretation seems to be accurate for the sculptural piece
because of this literary reference and its author' s connection and the portal's
programmatic relationship to the Mozarabic liturgy. The idea of heresy as adultery
reflected the idea of the Roman rite as not innovation, but the original liturgy from which
adulterous Spain strayed. This same type of iconography and meaning is read into the
ivory from the Pericopes of Henry H that dates to the Carolingian rule of Charles the
Bald. This ivory, or a model book version of its figure of Roma, was likely the prototype
for the Woman with the Skull.
Due to limitations such as language proficiency and time constraints, this study,
whose title bears the word "preliminary," has excluded many of the Spanish studies done
on Santiago de Compostela. As a master' s thesis, there is further work and exploration
that can be done to expand this study, as has been done in the work of Jose Maria de
Azcarate. Further investigations of the Woman with the Skull in terms of 1) her
enthroned position on a sella curulis/faldestorium, 2) her bared breast and its relationship
to the Virgin suckling the Christ Child, and 3) ideas of the woman' s relationship to the
theotokos as the new Eve and the woman's relationship to Original Sin are avenues of
exploration that would require further inquiry. However, many of the questions
surrounding the identity of the "Woman with the Skull" have been narrowed through the
iconographic traditions broached by this study.
Figure 1. Puerta de las Platerias, Santiago de Compostela, (Gaillard, Les Debuts de la
Sculpture Romane Espagnole: Leo~n-Jaca-Composte~lle pl. LXXXIX).
figure 2. Le~tt lympanum, Puerta cle las PJlaterias, (Photo: Karen Webb).
Figure 3. Diagram superimposed over the Left Tympanum, Puerta de las Platerias,
(Photo: Karen Webb).
Figure 5. Diagram superimposed on Right Tympanum, Puerta de las Platerias, Santiago
de Compostela (Photo: Karen Webb).
Figure 4. Right Tympanum, Puerta de las Platerias, Santiago de Compostela (Photo:
-C L'~r` IC
Figure 6. Woman with the Skull, Left Tympanum, Puerta de las Platerias, Santiago de
Compostela, (Gaillard, Les Dibuts de la Sculpture Romane Espagnole: Leon-
Jaca-Compostelle, pl. CI).
Plm~ de lot L~w~i~s
.,.. ~. fy7
"L .r r -.~- p~lr -r
F~e i +:i
+ +. .+ ~C.~
Rm.ckl.lnm.cul.d~ )*fl ii ~
L C- _-C +
1- Chapel ofthe; Chidliil
Pkanddl Hosatal -
Figure 7. Plan of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, (Conant, The Early
Architectural History of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela).
[Black=Romanesque; Green=Romanico-Gothic; Red= Gothic;
Yellow=Renaissance, Baroque; White=Modern]
to LnaCOm jio
18c 17 1. Cathedral of St. James
.I 2,2. Pallace of the Archbishop, with mint and school
/: p p3. Parabo squir h fountain andl markuetplace
r(33 4i. Church of the Corticelp, incorpo~-rate into the pnsent cathedral
5. 1Monastery and hospital of San Pelayo Ante--altares
6i. F-ilgrims' hospital, now site of Ihe ChurchI of St. Martin
?'1 7. Monastery of St. Martin
r P 8. Church of the Hboly Trinity, hospital and cemetery for pilgrims
7 16 9B Cloister of rhe Cathedral
.~~~ ~ ** *-- ..1. Canons' residence
19 23 .12 11. Platerias square, marker
4 ,1.FenhRa Va rniea
1 34 13. Via Sacra
'-7 14. Site of ho~usesi belongicngtMastrMat
m 15. Porta F~rancigena, gate of the French Road, manrket square and
h :f junction of the Vial Sacra and Via F~rancigena
I i h,16. Gate of thoes relnchi Roadlaster loatihon Pet e awo
f direction: Lugo)
: ~Otber Rates noted in the Guride.
/ ~17. Porta Penne 20. Forta de Falg~ueriis (dir~e-
111 m 24 8. Portade Subfratribus~dime- tion. Padrdin andi Vigo)
A 4p tion. L~a Curaila) 21. Porta de Surannis
I~r JZ19. Portu deSancto Peregrino 22. Parra d~e Macerellis
to2 & / Other churchesi mentioned in the Guidle.
.;s~t I' "23. Sta. Suranna, originally dedl 29. St. Mary ty thre Sar
icated to the Horly Sepu~lchre 30. Church of the Conjo
,,, (top of he Quen and 3t. Jewrish qualter
20~ Archbishop assembled here 32, Ancient and early Medieval
5 ~22 in II17) fortifications
gliP24. St. Febl 33. IMedieval and 16th ce~ntury
oP 21 ll~ 26. St. Michel 34. Leyproarium of l~a armc
27. Priory of Sr. Peter 31. Leprosarium of St. Martha
Plua of Santiago de Compostela 28. Salomre
WValls: Ilith century ,.... a, poinr of entry of aqueducts;
Extensrion inl mid-lI th centuru- h father hospitals
Medieval wualls, restored and altered in the 13th. 16th and m other market square~s
19lth centuries, Mnow n avenue ------ otr ae
Figure 8. Plan of Santiago de Compostela, (Stokstad, Santiago de C~ompostela: hI the Age
of the Great Pilgrimages, pp.2-3).
Figure 9. Left portion of Left Tympanum, Puerta de las Platerias, Santiago de
Compostela (Photo: Karen Webb).
Figur 10 ih oto fLf ypnm Pet elsPaeis ataod
Comostla(Po: Kar~en~ Webb). ~