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Albigensian Crusade

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« on: June 25, 2012, 12:09:40 am »

Albigensian Crusade

The Albigensian Crusade or Cathar Crusade (1209–1255) was a 45-year military campaign initiated by the Catholic Church to eliminate Catharism in Languedoc. The Crusade was prosecuted primarily by the French crown and promptly took on a political flavour, resulting in not only a significant reduction in the number of practicing Cathars but also a realignment of Occitania, bringing it into the sphere of the French crown and diminishing the distinct regional culture and high level of Aragonese influence.

When Innocent III's diplomatic attempts to roll back Catharism[1] met with little success and after the murder of the papal legate, Pierre de Castelnau, Innocent III declared a crusade against Languedoc, offering the lands of the Cathar "heretics" to any French nobleman willing to take up arms. The violence led to France's acquisition of lands with closer linguistic, cultural, and political ties to Catalonia (see Occitan). The pope declared that all Albigenses "should be imprisoned and their property confiscated". (Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. 1, 268)

The Albigensian Crusade also had a role in the creation and institutionalization of both the Dominican Order and the Medieval Inquisition.
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1090Crusader
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« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2012, 12:10:13 am »

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« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2012, 12:10:41 am »

Origin

The Catholic Church had always dealt sternly with heresy, but before the 12th century these tended to centre around individual preachers or small localised sects. By the 12th century, more organized groups such as the Waldensians and Cathars were beginning to appear in the towns and cities of newly urbanized areas. In Western mediterranean France, one of the most urbanized areas of Europe at the time, the Cathars grew to represent a popular mass movement[2] that included religion and politics, and the belief was spreading to other areas. Relatively few believers took the consolamentum to become full Cathars, but the movement attracted many followers and sympathisers.

The Cathari were dualistic, believing not in one all-encompassing god, but in two, equal and comparable in status. They held that the physical world was evil and created by the demiurge Rex Mundi (Latin, "King of the World"), who encompassed all that was corporeal, chaotic and powerful; the second god, the one whom they worshipped, was entirely disincarnate: a being or principle of pure spirit and completely unsullied by the taint of matter. He was the god of love, order and peace. Procreation was evil, so women were suspect. Civil authority had no claim on a Cathar, since this was the rule of the physical world. The goal of a Cathar was to become perfect. Cathar missionaries would point out examples of clerical immorality and would contrast that behaviour with uprightness of their own actions. They took special attention to point out the grievances the people of the south received from the Frech kings, and exalted a local sense of nationalism and independence. Thus, the religious movement moved into the political arena. The Catholic Church was deeply concerned by the spread of Cathar teachings and its developments.
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« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2012, 12:11:11 am »

Deriving from earlier varieties of gnosticism, Cathar theology found its most surprising success in the Languedoc and the Cathars were known as Albigensians, either because of an association with the city of Albi, or because the 1176 Church Council which declared the Cathar doctrine heretical was held near Albi.[3][4] In Languedoc, political control was divided among many local lords and town councils.[5] Before the crusade there was little fighting in the area and a fairly sophisticated polity. Western Mediterranean France itself was at that time divided between the Crown of Aragon and the county of Toulouse.

On becoming Pope in 1198, Innocent III resolved to deal with the Cathars. The Cathars did not recognize the authority of the French king or, evidently, the Catholic Church, and so initially a delegation of friars was sent out to assess the situation in the province of Languedoc. The Cathar leadership was protected by powerful nobles,[6] who had clear interest in independence from the king.

The powerful count Raymond VI of Toulouse refused to assist, and openly supported Cathars and their independent movement, so he was excommunicated in May 1207 and an interdict was placed on his lands. The Church senior legate, Pierre de Castelnau, responsible for these actions was murdered by fanatical supporters of Count Raymond of Toulouse, which brought down more penalties on him, and he soon reconciled with the Church. The French king, Philippe II, decided to act against those nobles who permitted Catharism and undermined the obedience owed to secular authority. The actual crusade lasted only two months, but the internal conflict between the north and the south continued for some twenty years.
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« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2012, 12:11:17 am »

Deriving from earlier varieties of gnosticism, Cathar theology found its most surprising success in the Languedoc and the Cathars were known as Albigensians, either because of an association with the city of Albi, or because the 1176 Church Council which declared the Cathar doctrine heretical was held near Albi.[3][4] In Languedoc, political control was divided among many local lords and town councils.[5] Before the crusade there was little fighting in the area and a fairly sophisticated polity. Western Mediterranean France itself was at that time divided between the Crown of Aragon and the county of Toulouse.

On becoming Pope in 1198, Innocent III resolved to deal with the Cathars. The Cathars did not recognize the authority of the French king or, evidently, the Catholic Church, and so initially a delegation of friars was sent out to assess the situation in the province of Languedoc. The Cathar leadership was protected by powerful nobles,[6] who had clear interest in independence from the king.

The powerful count Raymond VI of Toulouse refused to assist, and openly supported Cathars and their independent movement, so he was excommunicated in May 1207 and an interdict was placed on his lands. The Church senior legate, Pierre de Castelnau, responsible for these actions was murdered by fanatical supporters of Count Raymond of Toulouse, which brought down more penalties on him, and he soon reconciled with the Church. The French king, Philippe II, decided to act against those nobles who permitted Catharism and undermined the obedience owed to secular authority. The actual crusade lasted only two months, but the internal conflict between the north and the south continued for some twenty years.
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« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2012, 12:12:39 am »



This portrays the story of a disputation between St. Dominic and the Albigensians (Cathars), in which the books of both were thrown on a fire and St. Dominic's books were miraculously preserved from the flames. In spite of the title, it does not represent the Talmud.
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« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2012, 12:13:10 am »

Military campaigns

The military campaigns of the Crusade can be divided into several periods: the first from 1209 to 1215 was a series of great successes for the crusaders in Languedoc. There was episodes of extreme violence like the killing of Béziers, faced the forces assembled by vassal lords of the Capetian mainly from Ile de France and the north of France, led by Simon de Montfort, against the nobility of Toulouse led by Count Raymond VI of Toulouse and the family Trencavel that, as allies and vassals of the king of Aragon Peter II the Catholic, invoked direct involvement in the conflict at the Aragonese monarch, who was defeated and killed in the course of Battle of Muret in 1213.

The captured lands, however, were largely lost between 1215 and 1225 in a series of revolts and military reverses. The death of Simon de Montfort at the site to Toulouse after the return of Count Raymond VII of Toulouse and the consolidation of Occitan resistance supported by the Count of Foix and Aragonese crown forces decided the military intervention of Louis VIII of France from 1226 with the support of Pope Honorius III.

The situation turned again following the intervention of the French king, Louis VIII, in 1226. He died in November of that year, but the struggle continued under King Louis IX and the area was reconquered by 1229; the leading nobles made peace, culminating in the Treaty of Meaux-Paris in 1229, which was agreed the integration of the territory Occitan in the French crown. After 1233, the Inquisition was central to crushing what remained of Catharism. Resistance and occasional revolts continued, but the days of Catharism were numbered. Military action ceased in 1255.
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« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2012, 12:13:38 am »

Initial success 1209 to 1215

By mid 1209, around 10,000 crusaders had gathered in Lyon before marching south.[7] In June, Raymond of Toulouse, recognizing the disaster at hand, finally promised to act against the Cathars, and his excommunication was lifted.[8] The crusaders turned towards Montpellier and the lands of Raymond-Roger de Trencavel, aiming for the Cathar communities around Albi and Carcassonne. Like Raymond of Toulouse, Raymond-Roger sought an accommodation with the crusaders, but he was refused a meeting and raced back to Carcassonne to prepare his defences.[9]
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« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2012, 12:13:59 am »

In August 1209 the crusaders captured the small village of Servian and headed for Béziers, arriving on July 21. Under the command of the Papal Legate Arnaud-Amaury[10] they started to invest the city, called the Catholics within to come out, and demanded that the Cathars surrender.[11] Both groups refused. The city fell the following day when an abortive sortie was pursued back through the open gates.[12] The entire population was slaughtered and the city burned to the ground. Contemporary sources give estimates of the number of dead ranging between fifteen and twenty thousand. The latter figure appears in Arnaud-Amaury's report to the Pope.[13] The news of the disaster quickly spread and afterwards many settlements surrendered without a fight.

The next major target was Carcassonne. The city was well fortified, but vulnerable, and overflowing with refugees.[14] The crusaders arrived on August 1, 1209. The siege did not last long.[15] By August 7 they had cut the city's water supply. Raymond-Roger sought negotiations but was taken prisoner while under truce, and Carcasonne surrendered on August 15.[16] The people were not killed, but were forced to leave the town — naked according to Peter of les Vaux-de-Cernay. "In their shifts and breeches" according to another source. Simon de Montfort now was appointed leader of the Crusader army,[17] and was granted control of the area encompassing Carcassonne, Albi, and Béziers. After the fall of Carcassonne, other towns surrendered without a fight. Albi, Castelnaudary, Castres, Fanjeaux, Limoux, Lombers and Montréal all fell quickly during the autumn.[18] However, some of the towns that had surrendered later revolted.
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« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2012, 12:15:05 am »

The next battle centred around Lastours and the adjacent castle of Cabaret. Attacked in December 1209, Pierre-Roger de Cabaret repulsed the assault.[19] Fighting largely halted over the winter, but fresh crusaders arrived.[20] In March 1210, Bram was captured after a short siege.[21] In June the well-fortified city of Minerve was invested.[22] It withstood a heavy bombardment, but in late June the main well was destroyed, and on July 22, the city surrendered.[23] The Cathars were given the opportunity to return to Catholicism. Most did. The 140 who refused were burned at the stake.[24] In August the crusade proceeded to the stronghold of Termes.[25] Despite sallies from Pierre-Roger de Cabaret, the siege was solid, and in December the town fell.[26] It was the last action of the year.

When operations resumed in 1211 the actions of Arnaud-Amaury and Simon de Montfort had alienated several important lords, including Raymond de Toulouse,[27] who had been excommunicated again. The crusaders returned in force to Lastours in March and Pierre-Roger de Cabaret soon agreed to surrender. In May the castle of Aimery de Montréal was retaken; he and his senior knights were hanged, and several hundred Cathars were burned.[28] Cassès[29] and Montferrand[30] both fell easily in early June, and the crusaders headed for Toulouse.[31] The town was besieged, but for once the attackers were short of supplies and men, and so Simon de Montfort withdrew before the end of the month.[32] Emboldened, Raymond de Toulouse led a force to attack Montfort at Castelnaudary in September.[33] Montfort broke free from the siege[34] but Castelnaudary fell and the forces of Raymond went on to liberate over thirty towns[35] before the counter-attack ground to a halt at Lastours, in the autumn. The following year much of the province of Toulouse was captured by Catholic forces.[36]
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« Reply #10 on: June 25, 2012, 12:16:06 am »

In 1213, forces led by King Peter II of Aragon, came to the aid of Toulouse.[37] The force besieged Muret,[38] but in September Battle of Muret led to the death of King Peter,[39] and his army fled (this battle also marks end of Aragonese foothold north of the Pyrénées). It was a serious blow for the resistance, and in 1214 the situation became worse: Raymond was forced to flee to England,[40] and his lands were given by the Pope to the victorious Philippe II,[citation needed] a stratagem which finally succeeded in interesting the king in the conflict. In November the always active Simon de Montfort entered Périgord[41] and easily captured the castles of Domme[42] and Montfort;[43] he also occupied Castlenaud and destroyed the fortifications of Beynac.[44] In 1215, Castelnaud was recaptured by Montfort,[45] and the crusaders entered Toulouse. Toulouse was gifted to Montfort.[46] In April 1216 he ceded his lands to Philippe.
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« Reply #11 on: June 25, 2012, 12:16:36 am »

Revolts and reverses 1216 to 1225

However, Raymond, together with his son, returned to the region in April 1216 and soon raised a substantial force from disaffected towns. Beaucaire was besieged in May and fell after a three month siege; the efforts of Montfort to relieve the town were repulsed. Montfort had then to put down an uprising in Toulouse before heading west to captured Bigorre, but he was repulsed at Lourdes in December 1216. In September 1217, while Montfort was occupied in the Foix region, Raymond re-took Toulouse. Montfort hurried back, but his forces were insufficient to re-take the town before campaigning halted. Montfort renewed the siege in the spring of 1218. While attempting to fend off a sally by the defenders, Montfort was struck and killed by a stone hurled from defensive siege equipment. Popular accounts state that the city's artillery was operated by the women and girls of Toulouse.

Innocent III died in July 1216; and with Montfort now dead, the crusade was left in temporary disarray. The command passed to the more cautious Philippe II, who was more concerned with Toulouse than heresy. The crusaders had taken Belcaire and besieged Marmande in late 1218 under Amaury de Montfort, son of the late Simon. While Marmande fell on June 3, 1219, attempts to retake Toulouse failed, and a number of Montfort holds also fell. In 1220, Castelnaudary was re-taken from Montfort. He reinvested the town in July 1220, but it withstood an eight month siege. In 1221, the success of Raymond and his son continued: Montréal and Fanjeaux were re-taken, and many Catholics were forced to flee. In 1222, Raymond died and was succeeded by his son, also named Raymond. In 1223, Philippe II died and was succeeded by Louis VIII. In 1224, Amaury de Montfort abandoned Carcassonne. The son of Raymond-Roger de Trencavel returned from exile to reclaim the area. Montfort offered his claim to the lands of Languedoc to Louis VIII, who accepted.
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« Reply #12 on: June 25, 2012, 12:17:21 am »



Cathars being expelled from Carcassonne in 1209.
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« Reply #13 on: June 25, 2012, 12:17:48 am »

French royal intervention

In November 1225, at a Council of Bourges, Raymond, like his father, was excommunicated. The council gathered a thousand churchmen to authorize a tax on their annual incomes, the "Albigensian tenth", to support the Crusade, though permanent reforms intended to fund the papacy in perpetuity foundered.[47] Louis VIII headed the new crusade into the area in June 1226. Fortified towns and castles surrendered without resistance. However, Avignon, nominally under the rule of the German emperor, did resist, and it took a three-month siege to finally force its surrender that September. Louis VIII died in November and was succeeded by the child king Louis IX. But Queen regent Blanche of Castile allowed the crusade to continue under Humbert de Beaujeu. Labécède fell in 1227 and Vareilles in 1228. Systematically, the crusaders while besieging Toulouse laid the surrounding landscape in waste, rooting up vineyards, burning fields and farms, slaughtering livestock.[48] Raymond did not have the manpower to intervene. Eventually, Queen Blanche offered Raymond a treaty: recognizing him as ruler of Toulouse in exchange for his fighting Cathars, returning all Church property, turning over his castles and destroying the defenses of Toulouse. Moreover, Raymond had to marry his daughter Jeanne to Louis' brother Alphonse, with the couple and their heirs obtaining Toulouse after Raymond's death, and the inheritance reverting to the king in case they did not have issue, as actually happened. Raymond agreed and signed the Treaty of Paris at Meaux on April,12 1229. He was then seized, whipped and briefly imprisoned.
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« Reply #14 on: June 25, 2012, 12:18:23 am »

Inquisition

The Languedoc now was firmly under the control of the King of France. The Inquisition was established in Toulouse in November 1229, and the surviving elements of Catharism were eliminated from the region, largely thanks to the famous inquisitor Bernard Gui. Under Pope Gregory IX the Inquisition was given great power to suppress the heresy. Contrary to popular legend, the Inquisition proceeded largely by means of legal investigation, persuasion and reconciliation. Judicial procedures were used and although the accused were not allowed to know the names of their accusers, they were permitted to mount a defence. The vast majority found guilty of heresy were given light penalties. 11 percent of offenders faced prison. Only around 1 percent, the most steadfast and relapsed Cathars were sentenced for treason, and faced burning at the stake. In those days, little distinction was made between rebellion against the spiritual order and revolt against the temporal order.[49] Some bodies were, however, exhumed for burning. Many still resisted, taking refuge in fortresses at Fenouillèdes and Montségur, or inciting small uprisings. In 1235, the Inquisition was forced out of Albi, Narbonne, and Toulouse. Raymond-Roger de Trencavel led a military campaign in 1240, but was defeated at Carcassonne in October, then besieged at Montréal. He soon surrendered and was exiled to Aragon. In 1242, Raymond of Toulouse attempted to mount a revolt in conjunction with an English invasion, but the English were quickly repulsed and his support evaporated. He was subsequently pardoned by the king.

Cathar strongholds fell one by one. Montségur withstood a nine-month siege before being taken in March 1244. The final hold-out, a small, isolated, overlooked fort at Quéribus, quickly fell in August 1255. The last known burning of a person who professed Cathar beliefs occurred in Corbières, in 1321.[50
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