Spanish Police recovers 12th century Codex Calixtinus manuscript

“A priceless 12th century illustrated manuscript containing what has been described as Europe’s first travel guide has been stolen from the cathedral at Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain. The Codex Calixtinus, which was kept in a safe at the cathedral’s archives, is thought to have been stolen by professional thieves on Sunday afternoon. Archivists did not notice its disappearance, however, until Tuesday, when the cathedral’s dean was told it was missing.” (The Guardian 2011)

A year ago the spectacular theft of the Codex Calixtinus was reported in the press. Almost 12 months later, this famous Codex, which is considered one of the most valuable books worldwide, has been found by the National Police in a garage in Santiago de Compostela. On Wednesday, 4th July, the police arrested the alleged thief, Manuel Fernández Castañeiras, who had been working as an electrician at the Cathedral for several years. It is said that he claimed 400,000 € compensation from the Cathedral for his unfair dismissal.

“The ministry said police found some €1.2 million ($1.5 million) as well as other valuable religious works at houses belonging to the detainees.” (The Washington Post)

“The Códice was found in a rubbish bag in the garage of Manuel’s home, in a cardboard box. Witnesses report that the police also found four books from the cathedral and a silver tray. … Police also arrested his wife, his son and the son’s girlfriend for the robbery which took place on July 5 2011” (Typically Spanish)

Presented here by permission of ILAB.