The Crusades >> The
First Crusade >> The Miracle of The Holy Lance
Several miracles, actually. On June 10th, a poor peasant by the
name of Peter Bartholomew, the servant of a member of Count Raymond's army,
came before Raymond and Bishop Adhemar. He told of having received several
visions over the preceding months from St. Andrew in which the saint told
him that the Holy Lance--the spear that pierced Christ's side as he hung on
the Cross--lay buried in St. Peter's Cathedral in Antioch. Raymond was
convinced, but Adhemar was sceptical and there the matter sat.
But news of the vision spread, with everyone having his own opinion. That
very evening, another Provencal, this one a priest, told of a vision he had
had. Since he swore it was true, and as his reputation was good (Peter
Bartholomew's was not), Adhemar believed him.
On June 14th, a meteor was seen to fall into the Turkish camp, a very
good omen. On June 15th, a group that included Raymond of Toulouse, the
historian Raymond of Aguilers, and Peter Bartholomew went to the cathedral
and began to dig. The digging went on for hours, with various people taking
turns. Count Raymond gave up and left. Then Peter Bartholomew jumped into
the hole to take a hand. He very soon cried out that he had found the lance.
Raymond of Aguilers says he himself touched the iron while it was still
embedded in the ground.
Word of the discovery of the Lance spread rapidly and it was taken to
Count Raymond. Bishop Adhemar still thought the man was a fake and refused
to accept it, but so great was the rejoicing that he kept quiet.
The Christians were planning an attack anyway. They knew that there was
serious dissension among various emirs in Kerbogha's camp, and in any case
they could not stay much longer in Antioch for the army was starving. They
set the date for June 28th.
The Crusaders carried the Holy Lance on a standard at the head of the
army. When Kerbogha saw the Crusaders in full array, he tried to send out
for a truce, but the Crusaders advanced anyway. The Turks tried their usual
tactics, but the Crusaders kept on in good formation. As he feared, emirs
began deserting Kerbogha on the field of battle. When Dukak of Damascus
left, the entire army collapsed. For once, the Christians resisted the
temptation to loot the enemy camp, but instead pressed the Turks hard,
killing many. The battle ruined Kerbogha and saved the Crusade.
As much as anything, the victory confirmed Peter Bartholomew's visions.
spoils of war -->