|Ivar the Boneless|
|King Causantin of Scotland|
|"Sisters, I have a plan..."|
Sources vary about Ebba the Younger's feast day. One says June 22, another August 25, and yet another April 2. They agree, however, that she was a Northumbrian princess who founded a monastery at Ebchester. When the Viking horde approached, she gathered the nuns together in the chapter house and proposed self-mutilation as a method of avoiding rape. To demonstrate, she slashed open her nose and upper lip, deeply disfiguring her face. The other sisters followed.
It worked, in a limited way. The Vikings overran the monastery, and seeing the women, were not inclined to rape them. They did, however, lock them in the chapter house and burn it down.
The war against abbeys and monasteries by Viking raiders was certainly asymmetrical. A king like Constantine would field an army and fight, often to the death. An abbess like Ebba would offer no violence, except to herself, and trust in a post-mortal reward. In time, the Vikings were converted to Christianity, and even if overt adherence to the Church fades in northern Europe, the articulated values of the faith will remain ingrained in the culture for centuries. A handful of Ebbas could not have conquered Denmark, but thousands of them and the missionaries who followed them, did.