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Albigensian Crusade

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Author Topic: Albigensian Crusade  (Read 298 times)
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« 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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