Your RDA of Irony

Your Saint of the Day

On this day in 1536, the Spanish founded the town of Santiago de Cali.  Only the more formal Colombian drug lords use the the full name of their pharmaceutical capital.

On this day in 1538, the Spanish founded the town of Muy Noble y Muy Ciudad de Santiago de Guayaquil.  Yes, it was mercifully shortened to Guayaquil.  Given the altitude of Ecuador, pronouncing the city’s full name would be the country’s leading cause of asthma.

On this day in 1567, the Spanish founded the town of Santiago de Leon de Caracas.  For some reason, the Venezuelans do not call their capital Leon.

And perhaps out of pure whimsy, Santiago, Chile was not founded on this day.

So who was Santiago, the apparent patron of realtors?  Well, his mother and Jesus called him Jake.  The New Testament refers to him as James the Greater–to distinguish him from James the Lesser and James the Just (who may have been the same person).  Spain calls him Iago and claims him as its patron saint.  Although he lived and died in Judea, legend has it that James found time to preach among the Iberians.  The distance between Spain and Judea is just a brisk walk across the Mediterranean Sea.  

But what especially endeared him to the Spanish was his enthusiasm for killing Moors.  Decapitated around A.D. 44, James apparently developed a posthumous interest in swords.  After 8 centuries in the afterlife practicing fencing, James was ready to demonstrate his skill.  According to medieval chronicles, St. James materialized at the battle of Clavijo and started slaughtering the Moors.  Perhaps the saint was simply trying to protect his tomb, which had just been discovered in northwestern Spain–the only area of the peninsula that the Moors had yet to overrun.  (What a miraculous coincidence!)  St. James was given the credit for the victory and henceforth was known as “matamoros”–the Moor Slayer.

He proved just as invincible helping the Conquistadors win the Americas, although much of the victory could be shared with St. Smallpox.  Subsequently, James was presumed to apply his martial skills against the humanist French, and atheist Spanish Republicans.  (For some reason, he was not particularly effective against Protestant Englishmen.)

Happy Saint Day, Jake!

  1. RB says:

    In college I dated two men named James in a row. To distinguish who I was talking about, I referred to my ex as “James the Lesser” and my current flame as “James the Greater”. Once I broke up with that James, he was demoted to “James the Mediocre”, to make room in case there was a future James (there was not).

    There was also a church in Ohio near where I went to school called “James the Less Catholic Church”. It was all where you put the emphasis.

    • Eugene Finerman says:

      Dear Megan.

      And now you are married to a Matthew. Are there any other apostles you wish to divulge?


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