Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Peter Bartholomew

I am taking a moment to go back six months and more because Anonymous, while he seemed to initially believe that the item Peter Bartholomew found was the lance of Longinus, he said no more about it although Peter went rattling on. August Krey's book, The First Crusade; the accounts of eyewitnesses, includes not just the entire Deeds of the Franks but other chronicles and includes some letters.
Peter remained in the camp of Raymond, the Count of St. Giles, with Raymond of Aguilers, went on having more visions and St. Andrew had some advice to give the pilgrims about Antioch. He did not want Antioch turned over to the Emperor and said that some of their bad luck along the way was because they did not keep Nicea and make it fully Christian. Raymond wrote that none of the princes heeded St. Andrew's advice. Peter Bartholomew (and Peter the Hermit) was traveling south with the Count of St. Giles and was overheard speaking to St. Andrew in Rugia by a Simon while Raymond and the Bishop of Agde were also visited by visions during the time St. Andrew was in their tent. St. Andrew was annoyed with the Count of St. Giles because he did not take proper care of his relics that they found in Antioch.
During the siege of Arqa, Peter claimed that Jesus, St. Peter, St. Andrew and another figure came to see him. Peter was told that the Crusaders should cry "God help us!" to distinguish them from the non-believers who should all die. He also told Peter that he hated the Jews because they are non-believers and should not be spared.
While the Crusaders were fighting at Antioch, the Turks were battling the Egyptians (called by Anon 'Babylonians') over Jerusalem and other territories. The Egyptians won Jerusalem and sent envoys to the Count of St. Giles but they were unable to form an agreement. So it was the Egyptian occupation of Jerusalem that the Crusaders were heading south to fight. The main doubter of the finding of the lance had been the Bishop of Le Puy, perhaps due to Peter being a layman. Peter also had visions along the road where the Bishop had gone to hell for doubting the lance. At Arqa, Peter offered to undergo trial by fire to prove his words. It appears he went through the fire on Good Friday. Raymond reported that they built a very large fire, placed the lance in Peter's hands and sent him through. He said that Peter stopped in the middle(Peter said that he paused to speak with Jesus who was in there with him) and carried on. He also named two people who swore that they saw a bird overhead, plunge into the fire while Peter was passing through it and another who swore he saw another man, dressed in priestly robes, go into the flames and remained there. Raymond wrote that Peter was unhurt by the fire but, when the people saw he was unharmed, they swarmed him to touch him and, in the crush of bodies, he fell down and was trampled and his back was broken. Raymond Pilet had to rush into the crowd, swinging his sword, to free Peter. Peter lingered for a time and then died of his wounds and was buried at Arqa. Raymond of Aguilers carried on to Jerusalem and then nothing more is heard of him.
I often wondered why Bohemond did not take the lance for himself, since it was such a powerful talisman or did he believe his own abilities were great enough that he had no need of such things. For starters, Peter Bartholomew said that St. Andrew wanted the Count of St. Giles to have the lance and be the leader of the Crusade so it is no wonder that Bohemond doubted the lance from the beginning. Although Anonymous seems to have believed in the lance at first, Raoul of Caen had a different point of view. He wrote that the various Crusader armies had been fighting each other over food at the siege of Antioch and while these fights were raging, Peter, who Raoul calls a liar, stepped forward with his vision. Raoul wrote that Peter hid the tip of an Arab spear on himself and jumped into the hole when it was dark and went 'aha!'. He wrote that Bohemond detected that immediately as a trick (although Anonymous wrote that the lance was accepted as genuine) and said,
"Beautifully was it contrived that St. Andrew should appear to a man who, I hear, frequents taverns, roams the streets, is a friend to vanities and ingrained with folly! The holy apostle chose a fine person to whom to disclose the secret of heaven! For to whom would that trick not be evident? If a Christian had hidden it, why did he pass over the nearest altar for a hiding place, or if a Gentile or a Jew, why was it hidden within the walls of a church? Why near an altar? If it is ascribed to neither but to chance, in what historical account is Pilate found to have come to Antioch? Surely we knew that it was the lance of a soldier and a soldier of Pilate. But what follows is delightful! I hear that the finder leaped in, after the diggers had been laboring in vain, and that was granted to one man in the darkness which had been denied many in the open. Oh boorish foolishness! Oh boorish credulity!......the Provencals ascribe our victory which is from above, like light from the Father to their piece of iron. Let that grasping Count and stupid rabble regard it as their own! We however have won and shall win in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!" Raoul also wrote that the Counts of Normandy and Flanders, Arnulf and Tancred agreed with Bohemond. Raymond(Count of St. Giles) withdrew swearing to avenge the insults of the son of Guiscard with the dagger if not the lance and he tried to stir up the mob to attack Bohemond and kill him.
Raoul gave a very different description of the trial by fire. He wrote that there were two rows of woods set afire and that Peter had to walk between them for nine paces. Peter arrived on the other side burned and died the next day. Raymond and his people tried to attack and kill Arnulf, who they blamed for Peter's death but the Counts of Normandy and Flanders came to his rescue. Raoul (or Ralph) of Caen was not an eyewitness to these events but he did have access to eyewitnesses. He was a pupil of and friend to Arnulf, who replaced Adhemar as papal legate, and he became chaplain to Bohemond and later Tancred. Raymond's Provencals and the Normans hated each other and fought all along the way. Bernard Bachrach has a fine book on Raoul's Gesta Tancredi.
Before Peter died at Arqa, he told Raymond of Aguilers to bury the lance five leagues from the church of St. Trophim and have a church there and have a medal made there. The place was to be called Mount of Joy because St. Peter promised St. Trophim he would send the lance to him. Raymond (Count of St. Giles) was said by Raoul to have kept the lance and to have given it to Alexius in Constaninople in exchange for help in attacking Tancred at Antioch. It has been suggested that Alexius gave it back to Raymond as he already had a lance, which had been accepted as genuine, and that Raymond lost it to the Turks in a later expedition to Anatolia. Albert of Aachen wrote that he lost it to the Turks at Mersivan. There are several lances. Once owned by the Hapsburgs, which Hitler had coveted, and is displayed at the museum in Vienna on which the nail has potential to be authentic. The lance or tip of the lance which had been sold to France by a later emperor went missing during the French Revolution. The Vatican has a lance or the rest of the French lance, which had been given to the pope by the Turks after Constantinople fell. The Vatican does not display this lance and there is the one at Echmiadzin, which is said to have been found by the Turks at Mersivan.


Kristin said...

"He said that Peter stopped in the middle(Peter said that he paused to speak with Jesus who was in there with him) and carried on."

That sounds like a story in the Book of Daniel. (Daniel 3: 22-25)

22 Therefore because the king's commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flame of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed'nego.

23 And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed'nego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.

24 Then Nebuchadnez'zar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counselors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king.

25 He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.

The fourth, according to most interpretations, is Christ.

As far as the lance goes, we all know what happened to Hitler after he lost it to Patton. :)

The Red Witch said...

Do you have an opinion on which one was genuine? I forget where the Hapsburgs got theirs.

Peter Bartholomew was said to be illiterate and he was a layman so he would not have been permitted to know the contents of the Bible so well. Raymond of Aguilers wrote pages and pages of visions and miracles people were witnessing along the road to Jerusalem and there were all kinds of people who stepped forward with visions that corroborated Peter's story.

The Red Witch said...

Actually I just took a look back at my earlier post on the lance. The Hapsburgs bought it from the Byzantines. Makes you wonder how many lances did the Emperor have and how much did he make selling them off?

Kristin said...

Well, in some cases, the Hapsburgs are considered the descendants of the Jews who fled Jerusalem for refuge in France. The Merovingians and all that.

I guess you can draw your own conclusions. LOL

The Emperor probably had tons of "relics" he sold for a nice bit of cash. Helped along by people like Helena, who thought everything she found related to Christ or Mary.

The Red Witch said...

Relics were a big business in the Middle Ages. Even now, they remain an object of attraction.

Tracy said...

Raoul gave a very different description of the trial by fire. He wrote that there were two rows of woods set afire and that Peter had to walk between them for nine paces. Peter arrived on the other side burned and died the next day
That description certainly sounds the most likely.

Anonymous said...

I suppose all these lances were fakes.


The Red Witch said...

@I suppose all these lances were fakes

Well the lances are but the nail on the Hapsburg lance has potential and the Vatican lance has never been tested. In fact, I don't know if it is ever shown to anyone.