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  Home >> The Crusades >> The First Crusade >> Arqah

The army had now been reduced slightly by the departure of Baldwin to Edessa and more substantially by Bohemond and his Normans to Antioch. Even so, the Crusaders were well over ten thousand, perhaps as many as twenty thousand. The petty emirs along the route generally yielded, agreeing to pay some sort of tribute money. They ran into trouble, though, at Arqa, a town about fifteen miles from Tripoli, which refused to surrender. Godfrey and Robert joined the Crusade again there, but even with the additional men, the city held.

The siege had lasted from February 14th until April 5th, when Peter Bartholomew had another vision, in which St. Andrew said that the city must be taken by storm at once. Now at last, his doubters openly challenged him, declaring he was a fraud and so was the Holy Lance. Peter was furious and demanded to be tested by an ordeal by fire. If he was a fake, he himself obviously believed his visions were genuine.

On April 8th,  the ordeal was held. Logs were lined up in two parallel rows and were set alight. Peter, holding the Lance high, jumped into the fire and moments later came out the other end. He was terribly burned. He teetered at the edge of the flames and would have fallen back in had not a friend held him up. For twelve days Peter Bartholomew lay in agony, then he died. Those who still believed in him claimed he had gone through unscathed but had been pushed back into the fire. Raymond still kept the Holy Lance. But much of the army believed it was not genuine.

The siege of Jerusalem -->

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Rampart of black and yellow shields