Not the capital I was expecting


The portal that leads into the Church of Santiago el Mayor in Puente la Reina, Spain, is elaborately decorated. Stone columns rise on either side of the doorway. These are topped by capitals that function as arch supports.

This particular capital caught me by surprise. 

The motif is not unique to this Romanesque church and has been described as a "column-swallower" or a "column-spewer" (depending on which way the imagination reads the architecture.). It may be related to the "foliage-spewer," another common figure. The stone "canvas" of medieval church portals seems to attract presentations of heaven and hell and those destined for each.

The column-swallower may be suggestive of the evil forces that must be resisted. They eat at the church. 

Medieval art is just macabre.

Buen caminó!


Want to start 2019 in a unique way? Join us for a walk across Galilee! Hike the Jesus Trail and do some additional sightseeing in Israel-Palestine. This trip is facilitated by the Jerusalem Center for Biblical Studies and is priced at $2,588 from New York. Dates are Jan 8-16, 2019. For more details click here or contact me at