Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Santiago Syndrome

Psychiatrist, Jesús de la Gárdara, has studied 38 cases of "Santiago Syndrome" in the last 7 years. All the sufferers have 3 characteristics in common: they are affected by strong mystic feelings, fatigue from so much walking, and they have a history of psychiatric conditions.

70% of those who suffer from this syndrome which strikes while walking to Santiago are males. The average age of the sufferer is 40.

Symptoms include: psychiatric episodes, delirium and intense emotional disorders of a manic nature accompanied by paranoia.

The victims spent 10 days in a psychiatric unit in Burgos and only 4 of them continued with the walk. The rest went home.

Translated form an article in La Voz de Galicia, 27 Sep. 2007

Sunday, March 2, 2008

The Hercules Legend

As most people know, Hercules, son of Zeus, was a nasty character who killed his wife and children and was punished by the oracle of Delphi. King Eurystheus set Hercules the task of tracking down Gerion.

Hercules used the same boat for his journey that the Sun had used on his travels. However, the Sun did not want to hand over the boat but decided it was for the best after a salvo of arrows from Hercules. On his voyage he had to threaten the Ocean who tried to sink his boat.

According to one version of the legend, Hercules came ashore in Galicia. After killing Eurition and his dog on Ons Island, where Gerion had taken refuge, the son of Zeus set out again in pursuit of the giant. Gerion arrived first at Punta Hermina. He raised his boat on his shoulders and climbed to a clifftop where he hid under the vessel to rest. But Hercules was smart and guessed his hideout.

The two giants had a fight to the death which lasted three days and three nights. Hercules decapitated his enemy and buried his head in the ground. This image appears in Coruña’s coat of arms with the skull and crossbones of Gerion. Hercules lit a bonfire as a sacrifice to Zeus. The bonfire was the original “lighthouse”, which would later become the Tower of Hercules. Legend claims that Hercules built the tower himself using the same stones he used for Gerion’s tomb.

In thanks, King Eurystheus ordered resettlement of the zone. One theory is that the city was called Cruña after the city’s first female inhabitant.