Page 1333

1333 THE CRUSADES-TEE FIRST CRUSADE.

heaped with corpses, and the banner of

Boemund of Tarento floating from the highest tower of Antioch. Only the citadel

remained in possession of the Moslems.

Meanwhile the great army of Turks, led

by Kerboga, the sultan of Mossoul, and Kilidge Arslan, sultan of Nice, drew near to

the city. The Christians were now inside

the walls and the enemy without. Great

was the disparity in numbers; for the Asiatics were estimated at nearly a half a million, of whom one hundred thousand were cavalry. Godfrey and Bcemund found themselves in possession of abundance, but it was that kind of abundance upon which an

army could not long subsist. The actual

stores and provisions of Antioch had been

well-nigh exhausted in the course of the

recent siege, and gold and treasure could

not suffice for bread. The Turks gained

possession of the Orontes between the city

and the sea, and cut off communication with

the port of St. Simeon. No further supplies

could, for this reason, be obtained from

Europe. The allied sultans, perceiving their

advantage, sat down in a spacious and luxurious camp and quietly awaited the day

when the pent-up Christians must yield to

the inevitable.

The condition soon became desperate.

Hawks and hounds disappeared. Then horses

began to be eaten. Many a hungry knight

saw with famishing rage the splendid steed

that had borne him proudly in every battle,

from Scutari to the Orontes, slaughtered

and devoured. Luxury was on every hand,

but no food. The leaders saw that it was

better to fight and die than to remain within

the walls and starve. They, therefore,

exhorted their followers to sally forth with

them, and meet their fate like heroes; but

the exhortation now fell on dull and despairing ears. Zeal had perished of hunger. But, when every thing else failed, superstition came to the rescue. A certain monk, named Peter Barthelemy, had a dream. St. Andrew came to him and said: "Arise! Go and dig in a spot which I will

show thee in the Church of St. Peter, and

thou shalt find the spear wherewith the

soldier pierced the side of the Lord. Take

that sacred weapon and carry it at the head

of the army, and the Infidels shall flee before it."

The pilgrims went hastily and dug. Lo! the object of their search. It was brought

forth and shown to the army. Inconceivable

was the excitement produced by the exhibition of the wonderful weapon. Now were

they ready to go forth and fall upon the

profane dogs of Asia. The hosts demanded

to be led forth to that victory which St.

Andrew had foretold.

It was deemed prudent by the Western

princes to send an embassy to the sultan

and warn him to retire from the country.

Peter the Hermit was chosen to bear the

message. Mounted on a mule and clad in a

woolen mantle, the little monk of Savona

rode boldly through the gates of Antioch

to order out of Syria an army of four hundred thousand Turkish warriors! Coming to

the sultan's camp he found him in a splendid

pavilion, surrounded with all the luxury of

the East, and amusing himself with a game

of chess. "I come," said the Hermit, "in the name of the princes assembled in Antioch,

and I conjure you, in the name of God, to

leave this principality. Go in peace, and I

promise that you will not be molested. But

if you refuse to go in peace, let a battle convince you of the justice of our cause." The

old sultan swelled with rage and scorn on

the delivery of this insolent speech. "Return,"

said he, "to those who sent you, and tell

them that it is for the conquered to receive

conditions, not to dictate them. Bid thy

captains hasten, and this very day implore

my clemency. Tomorrow they will find

that their God, who could not save himself,

will not save them from their fate. Drive the

vagabond away."

With the return of this answer the Crusaders grew hot for battle. The chiefs prepared for the fight, and in a way half miraculous one full meal was served to the army. On the morning of the 1st of July

the gates of Antioch were thrown open

and the Crusaders went forth to stake all

on a single hazard. Godfrey and the other

leaders arranged their forces in twelve divisions in honor of the twelve apostles. The

Duke of Lorrain, himself led the right wing,

supported by his brother Eustace and his

kinsman Baldwin of Bourg. The left was

under command of the Short Hose, and

the Count of Flanders. The reserves, including the Anglo-Norman knights, under the