The greater efficiency of beheading is evident from early times. Accounts of the executions of the pioneer Christian saints indicate the sword was resorted to in Rome and most parts of its empire, when every other means had failed ignominiously. One such source is the thirteenth-century Legenda Aurea of Jacobus de Varagine, which enthusiastically records the deaths of at least twelve female saints, among them Lucy, Margaret, Juliana, Agnes and Euphemia. As the Legenda is devotional, rather than scholarly, in nature, its accounts may raise some rational eyebrows; nonetheless they are valuable indicators of the association of nobility with martyrdom and beheading.