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Earl of Albemarle, were held by Boemund

of Tarento. In the van of the ragged host

marched a company of priests bearing aloft

the spear-head which Barthelemy had found

under the altar of the Church of St. Peter.

Notwithstanding their desperate condition,

the Crusaders were confident of victory. Delirious with the superstitions of the age, they

urged their way towards the Turkish camp,

fully persuaded that heaven would make good

the promise of triumph.

The Moslems lay undisturbed in their

encampment. Even when the Crusading

army came in sight the sultan of Mossoul,

himself an experienced warrior, refused to

believe that the Christians had come forth

to fight. "Doubtless," said he, "they come

to implore my clemency." The peculiar

"clemency" which they sought, however,

was soon revealed in their conduct. Hardly

had the Saracen trumpets sounded and the

Moslem captains marshaled their immense

army for battle, before the Crusaders set

up their shout of Dieu ie Vent, and rushed

headlong to the charge. Perhaps the leaders

knew that the fate of the First Crusade

was staked upon the issue. The onset of

the Christians was so fierce that nothing

could stand before them. The Saracen

host was borne back by the shock, and the

first charge seemed to foretell the triumph of

the Cross.

In the beginning of the engagement, however, the sultan of Nice had not brought

his army into action. Seeing the Moslems

driven back along the river, he now made

a detour and fell upon the rear of the Crusaders. The latter were thus pent between

two hosts seemingly innumerable. The Moslems set fire to the grass and bushes which

covered the plain, and the stifling smoke

was blown into the faces of the Christians.

Godfrey and Boemund had the mortification to see their followers begin to waver,

give way, and despair. For a moment,

as on the field of Poitiers, three hundred and

sixty-six years before, the fate of the two

continents and the two great Semitic religions seemed to hang in the balance. In

the crisis of the fight, the Crusaders cried

out to the priests and demanded to know

where was the promised succor from heaven.

The undaunted Adhemar, bishop of Puy,

pointed calmly through the clouds of smoke and exclaimed: "There, they are come at

last! Behold those white horsemen! They

are the blessed martyrs, St. George, St.

Demetrius, and St. Theodore come to fight

our battle!" Then the cry of, "God wills

it!" rose louder than ever. The news was

borne from rank to rank that the heavenly

host had come to the rescue. Fiery enthusiasm was rekindled in every Crusader's

breast, and the Moslems suddenly felt the

battle renewed with impetuous fury. On

every side they fell back in disorder before the

irresistible assaults of the Christians. The

field was swept in all directions, and the blaring

bugles of Islam called in vain to the rally.

Terror succeeded defeat, and the flying Saracens were hewed down by frenzied Crusaders,

who knew not to spare or pity. The heavy

masses of the sultan's army rolled away in

one of the most disastrous routs of the Middle

Ages. The victorious Crusaders mounted the

horses of the slain Moslems and pursued the

fugitives until wearied with the excess of

slaughter. The immense hosts of Kerboga

and Kilidge Arslan melted from sight forever.

As soon as the result of the great

battle was known in Antioch the citadel

was surrendered to the Christians. Boemund was now complete master of his principality. A still more important result of

the decisive conflict was the reopening of

communication with the port of St. Simeon,

and the capture of great quantities of provisions and stores in the Saracen camp.

The whole aspect of the struggle was changed,

and the Christian warriors began again

to look forward with pleasing anticipation to the day when they should kneel as

humble victors on the recovered sepulcher of


The position of the Crusaders in Antioch

was not unlike that of the Carthaginians at

Capua. It was evident that the Holy City

might now be easily wrested from the Infidels.

Those of the pilgrims who were actuated by

religious rather than political motives were

eager to advance at once into Palestine. There

lay the goal of their ambition. Not so, however, with the leaders. The example of Baldwin in seizing the Principality of Edessa, and

of Boemund in gaining for himself the great

and opulent city of Antioch, had proved infectious, and nearly every prominent chieftain

now cherished the secret hope that forever