The legend of San Ataulfo is intrinsically linked to the French Camino de Santiago, which is surrounded by mysteries and legends that give it that emblematic and peculiar character that draws our attention to so many of us. It is an inexhaustible source of stories that have reached our days by popular tradition and that we must continue today. On the other hand, more specifically, the popular route of the Camino de Santiago from Sarria it also treasures a good part of this mysticism that will make your experience something singular, unique and exciting.


One of these traditions is the Legend of San Ataulfo in front of a Wild bull (narrated by Acipilón)

During the XNUMXth century, customs in the north of the Iberian Peninsula were not entirely exemplary. We lived in an impure age full of monastic scandals, abandoned wives, and clerics with concubines. It was rumored that the Bishop of Compostela, Ataulfo II, wanted to end the abuses and reestablish ecclesiastical discipline, even if he had to use a heavy hand to do so, but such a decision did not please anyone who enjoyed such riots.

So, on a cold winter afternoon, my companion Cadón and myself, Acipilón, received the visit of several rebel clerics, who, very upset at the interference of the Compostela bishop, asked us to come before the then King of Asturias, Alfonso III the Great. We had to accuse Ataulfo of conspiring against his reign and of entering into agreements with the Moors to deliver the Galician lands to them and we did so, because we did not want to see our privileges reduced either. And it was not an arduous task to convince the king, since among his claims was to end all the enemies of his crown.

The aforementioned bishop appeared one day before Alfonso III and had not finished showing him his respects when he was taken prisoner. Like any traitor, his punishment would be to abandon him to his fate before a wild bull.

On the car day, the square where the event was to take place was full of people. We were all screaming excitedly and eager to see how the beast ended that powerful threat. As the beast came out into the ring, he rammed Ataulfo with an accelerated race, but just before grazing the bishop’s robes and before the astonished gaze of all present, the bull stopped dead and lowered his head submissively allowing Ataulfo to hold his horns . Regretful, I understood that we had made a gross mistake because, without a doubt, that day his innocence was proven, and the Legend of San Ataulfo was born.

History wanted these events not to be forgotten and to be immortalized forever in a beautiful capital of the refectory of the Cathedral of Pamplona, which you can see if you make your Camino de Santiago from Roncesvalles.


In our Camino de Santiago travel agency We are lovers of the legends, myths and mysteries that surround this thousand-year-old pilgrimage route, so you cannot miss our post on the legend of Santo Domingo de la Calzada where the hen sang after roasting.