Scenes from the Crusades - Illustrations by Gustave Dore

Pierre Barthelemyundergoing the Ordeal of Fire
Pierre Barthelemey, a priest from Marseilles, joined the Crusades and travelled to the Holy Land. He claimed to have discovered the Holy Lance which had pierced Jesus while he was on the cross. He also claimed that this weapon would put the infidels to flight. His claims were met with skepticism and so Barthelemy agreed to undergo an ordeal by fire, to prove that he was telling the truth. Unfortunately for Barthelemy, he succumbed to the fire and died around 1099. Gruesome ordeals such as this were not uncommon in the Middle Ages, before the advent of a functioning legal system capable of fact finding.

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