Battle of Clavijo and the baptistry

If you look to the right to of the Platerías exit, at the top, you will see a pediment depicting the prodigious battle of Calvijo. This was one of the saint’s first and most well- known miraculous apparitions, to defend the Christian side. It is a 13th-century relief carving of the saint on horseback, surrounded by female figures. They are women thanking him for saving them, by his appearance, from being given to the Muslims in payment of the tax known as the Tribute of the Hundred Maidens, which Christians had to pay each year to the Caliph when Spain was under Muslim rule.

The beautiful Plateresque doors that you will have noticed lead to the cloister and the sacristy. They are unfortunately closed to visitors, which is a shame, as the sacristy contains a number of major artworks.

On the other side of the doors is the baptistry.

According to legend, it was here in the austere 9th-century Pre-Romanesque baptismal font, that the Muslim leader Almanzor’s horse drank so much water that it died. It was in the year 997, when Almanzor destroyed Santiago and took the cathedral bells back with him to Cordoba, on the backs of Christian prisoners. Two hundred years later, the Christians got their revenge, when Ferdinand III “The Holy”, conquered Cordoba and forced the bells of Compostela to be returned on the back of Muslim prisoners.

We have finished our tour of the inside of the cathedral, so now go over to the door next to the baptistry, which leads out to the Plaza de la Quintana, which is where we are now heading.

(c) (R) 2013, MUSMon com S.L.
Text (a) Diego Laforga Marcos

Source: Own work
Author: Diego Laforga (2013)