When Magnim Maxim, the last Roman emperor who ruled Britain (according to Nennia), went to conquer Europe and took the best warriors off the island, leaving him to be torn apart by Scott and Picts, he decided to found a new state in the conquered territories and settle it exclusively with the British. In order to prevent the mixing of the blood of British warriors with representatives of local tribes, it was required to bring a significant number of Albion's daughters to foreign territory.
For this purpose, Maxim asked Dionot, the ruler of Dumnonia (the British kingdom, whose borders cover the modern counties of Devon, Cornwall and, partly, Somerset), to send tens of thousands of young virgins from Britain who were to become wives of his soldiers in Armorica (now the region Brittany). One of the potential brides was the daughter of Dionotta, the beautiful Ursula, - it was supposed that she would go to Conan Meriadok, whom Maxim set out to rule Armorica.
A pious and righteous girl, according to legend, asked for her retinue 11 thousand innocent virgins, with whom she sailed to foreign lands. In various interpretations, their number is only 11 people, then 11 thousand, but the latest version is the most common. In addition to Ursula and her retinue, about 60 thousand virgins also set off, in any case, the historian Galfrid of Monmouth stated so. Young girls were equipped on the way and put on three-ships.
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Either because of the storm, or according to the original idea of Ursula herself, instead of Armorica their ships landed in Galicia, from where the princess and the rest of the girls went on a pilgrimage hoping to get to Rome. In the version of the legend, where the daughter of the British king herself sends the boat in the wrong direction, her deed is explained by her unwillingness to marry a heathen - Ursula was a devout and earnest Christian. Sometimes they add that the bridegroom had to be baptized before the princess arrived, such were her conditions. But it is possible that the fleet with virgins was brought to the coast of Galicia by a terrible storm, which nevertheless killed several ships sent by Dionot.
Finding himself on the shore, the procession went to Cologne, where Ursula had a dream: an angel appeared to her and told all the partners to Rome to lead, and then to return to Cologne, where the virgins and the princess herself were to be martyred. Ursula did not scare the omen and she wished to walk to Rome, and then return to where she was to die. In another version, no angel, Ursula, appeared: she intended to go to Rome and persuade the Pope to accompany his congregation to Jerusalem. However, in this case it is not clear how the procession turned out to be in Cologne, if their path lay to Jerusalem through Rome. One way or another, the princess led all 11 thousand virgins to the pope, and he and several bishops agreed to follow her.
Somewhere not far from Cologne, Ursula and the other maidens were captured by the Huns, and their leader (in some interpretations, he was Attila himself) wished to take the beautiful princess as a wife, and give the other girls as a reward. However, women resisted the will of the leader, and thus doomed themselves to death. Some legends also indicate the motive of the hatred of the Huns towards Christians and the refusal of the girls to renounce their faith. Warriors tore unhappy girls, most of them were beheaded. Ursula died of an arrow shot by their leader. In other legends, her body pierced many arrows at once.
It is believed that after the massacre of the Huns over the maidens, the inhabitants of Cologne collected their remains and buried them, and later the church of St. Ursula was erected at this place, which is still in effect today. Inside the basilica is a monument, on which are placed vessels with relics - skulls and other remains, allegedly belonging to Ursula and her companions.
The remains in the church of St. Ursula. A source: www.thevintagenews.com
According to the research, some of the bones found in the 12th century belonged to small children, and, among other remains, were also found to be doggy. Most of the sources that mention the legend of Ursula and the 11 thousand virgins are from the 9th century and later. However, in many works of recognized religious scholars of the Middle Ages, this story is not mentioned at all, which leads historians to the idea of falsification.
Saint Ursula and the 11,000 British Virgins
Ursula and her 11,000 virgin followers
Gulfrid of Monmouth. History of the Britons
The Cult of St Ursula and the 11,000 Virgins
Lead Image Source: www.historic-uk.com
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