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The Miracle
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  Home >> 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.

The spoils of war -->

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