ROGER OF WENDOVER
Flowers of history. The history of England from the descent of the saxons to A.D. 1235. vol.1
passing the bridge,* they sent Robert duke of Normandy,
with a light body of troops, to advance and explore the way,
that, if any unforseen impediment should arise, they might
be forewarned thereof : the duke, accordingly, kept in ad
vance of the army until he reached the aforesaid bridge.
The structure was of stone-work, and had towers at each
front, in which a hundred brave men, skilled in the use of
the cross-bow, were stationed to prevent any one from
crossing the river either by the bridge or by the ford,
Seven hundred cavalry, moreover, had come from Antioch,
and were posted on the opposite bank of the river to prevent,
as far as lay in their power, our men from crossing. When
duke Robert found that he could not pass the river, in con
sequence of the opposition of the troops aforesaid, a severe
conflict took place, which lasted till the main body came up.
Then the trumpets sounded, the Christians attacked the bridge,
and drove back its defenders, whilst others searched for the
ford, and passing the river, drove off the enemy and gained
the opposite bank. The whole army then crossed, and halted for the night. The next morning they pursued their course along the king's way, between the mountains and the river, and encamped in front of the city, at the distance of less than a mile from its walls.
Antioch is an illustrious city, so called from Antiochus, son f of Alexander of Macedon, who made it the capital of his kingdom. In it the prince of the apostles afterwards fixed his episcopal seat, under the venerable Theophilus, who was the most powerful of its inhabitants, and from whom it was afterwards called Theophilis. In ancient times it was called Reblata, and it was here that Sedekiah, king of Juda, was brought before Nebuchodonosor, and deprived of his sight. It is situated in Cœlo-Syria, which is a district of Syria, famous for its fertile lands, its delightful streams, and pleasant fountains. The lord of the city was
one Axianus,i Turk by nation, and of the family of the
* The Fer is called the Farfar by Albert of Aix, but the bridge alluded to in the text is over the Ifrin, not over the Orontes. See Gibbon,
xi. p. 62. t It is hardly necessary to inform the reader that Antiochus was not the son of Alexander the Great.
} His Persian name was Akky-Sian, (see llichaud, vol. i. p. 267, note,) which has been rendered by various writers Darsianus, Axianus, Gratianue, and Cassianus.