Evolution of the account of Duke Godfrey’s deed of hewing the enemy through the middle with a single blow during the siege of Antioch by the First Crusade: A source study
By Bartłomiej Dźwigała
Przegląd Nauk Historycznych, Vol. 17:3 (2018)
Abstract: The article contains research on the narratives describing the battle of the Bridge Gate (March 6, 1098), which took place during the siege of Antioch by the Crusaders. It focuses on the scene which is the climax of the above-mentioned tale, when the duke Godfrey of Bouillon hews the Turkish warrior through the middle with a single stroke of the sword in a duel on the bridge in front of the city.
The study is divided into three parts. The first one includes views of historians regarding the accounts of hewing the foe through the middle by Godfrey as well as an analysis of the earliest stage of shaping the literary tradition of the studied scene, which in the opinion of the author of the article consists of descriptions created by Crusade participants: Raymond of Aguilers, Peter Tudebode and that included in the chronicle of Albert of Aachen. The second part focuses on the modifications and transformations of the earliest accounts introduced by chroniclers from Capetian France in the first two decades of the 12th century.
The last part is devoted to an analysis of the later versions of the scene and their connection with earlier accounts. Research showed that the most popular and vivid version of the tale was created by Robert the Monk, yet there are clear connections with the earlier versions of the account even in the case of authors writing at the end of 12th century and later.
Top Image: 15th-century miniature of the Siege of Antioch from Sébastien Mamerot’s Les Passages d’Outremer