Between the years 850 and 859 forty-eight Christians were decapitated for offences against Islam in Córdoba, the capital of the Islamic Umayyad dynasty in Al-Andalus, Spain (756–1031). The majority of those executed had deliberately instigated their own deaths by making derogatory comments about the Prophet Muhammad, a known capital offence. The calculated nature of their behaviour, in action against rulers considered by their contemporaries to be fellow monotheists, and without the supernatural support of widely accepted miracles, strained the already fractured Christian community. While the Córdoban bishop and the metropolitan of Seville worked closely with the emirs to stop the would-be martyrs, Eulogius, a Córdoban priest and bishop-elect of Toledo, and his friend Paul Alvar composed martyrologies and apologies for the group. Written for prisoners preparing for martyrdom and for circulation amongst the religious communities surrounding the city, the works allow insight into a movement of martyrs composed of men and women, lay and religious, with Christian and non-Christian backgrounds. The works of Eulogius and Alvar reflect an intense preoccupation with public behaviour as an expression of identity in a religiously diverse society. This emphasis on the bodies of Muslims, Christians and martyrs in both hagiography and act draws attention to the movement’s motives by highlighting its relationship with the strictly ascetic monastic communities of Córdoba, where monks and nuns used their own bodies as means of preserving and articulating Christian culture in early medieval Spain.