Now lying substantially buried beneath the rubble of countless earthquakes and ancient conflicts near the modern city of Antakya, Turkey, ancient Antioch was, at the time of Christ, the third most important city of the Roman Empire. Founded in 300 BC, it served as capital of the Seleucid Empire until, in 64 BC, it was annexed to the Roman Republic by Pompey.
From the moment the Spear of Antioch, the spear of Longinus, was found until the moment it disappeared from history after the battle of Ascalon, it was the rallying point of the First Crusade in the hands of Raymond of Toulouse. Raymond used the spear to lead the Crusaders out of the city of Antioch to victory against a much greater army.
The Syrian city of Antioch almost proved the undoing of the first Crusade. After having struggled through Asia Minor, the Knights became bogged down in protracted siege of the city. Once they had captured it, they faced serious Muslim resistance. The finding of the Holy Lance which had pierced the side of the Christ, in June 1098, led to a revival of morale. Even after the Heathen was repulsed, it took until November 1098, before the final push for Jerusalem could be made.