In this episode, we return to the realm of legends. This time we meet Ursula, a Breton princess. With her eleven or eleven thousand (!) virgin girlfriends, she is on her way back from a pilgrimage to Rome. This pilgrimage was supposed to be her bachelorette party for the strictly devout Christian princess from northwestern Gaul. On the way back home, she also passes Cologne by ship. But the Huns are besieging the city at this time. And no one less than Attila the Hun has an eye on the beautiful Ursula. What happens then is well known to every child growing up in Cologne. So it’s time you learned it, too.
#21 The Martyrdom of St. Ursula – The Saga of St. Ursula and its Backgrounds – The History of Cologne
Ursula’s martyrdom in art
The massacre of Saint Ursula and her eleven thousand virgins by the french painter Jean Bourdichon (made between 1503-1508)
The Maryrium of St. Ursula in a woodcut from 1499.
Church of St. Ursula in Cologne
The church of St. Ursula in Cologne. One of the oldest churches in Cologne and north of the Alpes in Europe.
Ursula busts and her shrine in the choir of St. Ursula’s church.
One of the walls I mentioned in the episode in that one chamber that contains thousands of bones in the church of St. Ursula.
The room is just filled with bones, busts and relics.
Relics like this decorated bone I photographed in Speyer Cathedral, in the city of Speyer in Rhineland-Palatinate, were highly coveted in the Middle Ages as objects of veneration. And Cologne was one of the biggest producer and seller of them far and wide. It made the city and its inhabitants rich.
The small coat of arms of the city of Cologne. With the 11 tears / flames / ermine tails representing the martyrdom of St. Ursula.
The billygoat Hennes IX.
Link to his Livestream here
The predecessor of today’s mascot: Hennes VIII.