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Saint George II: Siege of Antioch

Today we continue our special on Saint George.  Click here for Part 1, which introduced the legend of Saint George.

The Siege
The Siege of Antioch was one of the most pivotal battles of the First Crusades.  It was the last major city the Crusaders needed to conquer on their path towards Jerusalem.  Built during the rule of Justinian, the city's defensive walls stood as a great obstacle. After a long siege, the crusaders took over the city, but were then besieged by Muslim forces. Starvation was a major problem and there was little hope of reinforcements.  Death was eminent.

The Fast
Though already starving, leadership ordered a fast.  During this time, a religious leader saw a vision of Saint George and was told to dig for the Lance of Longinus (Holy Spear) - believed to be the spear that pierced Jesus during the crucifixion. With visions and holy weaponry, morale improved and the crusaders charged into battle.

The Return
Not only did the Crusaders take to battle, but many reported that Saint George and other saints descended from heaven and also charged into the battle carrying white banners and riding white horses.  The Crusaders won the battle, took control of Antioch, and soon took over Jerusalem.  From this point, Saint George was an especially important figure when Christians marched into battle.  

In the next article we will look at the progression of Saint George's influence in the Crusades, as well as the development of his flag.

Thanks for reading.

For more on the Crusades, check out the many videos in Extra Credits' library.  They offer many other educational videos as well.

Image from Wikimedia: Detail of a medieval miniature of the Siege of Antioch from S├ębastien Mamerot's Les Passages d'Outreme

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