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The Cathars Castles



Montségur Peyrepertuse Puilaurens
 
Puivert Quéribus  
   

In 12th and 13th centuries, a new religion, Catharism, was established across the south of France. This "alternative" Christianity was perceived as a serious threat by Pope Innocent III (1198-1216), his clergy and his successors. Under the reigns of the French Capetian kings Philip I Augustus (1180-1223), Louis VIII (1223-1226) and Louis IX (Saint Louis 1226-1270), a "holy" war of unprecedented violence and savagery, combining mainly northern French barons and the papacy, was undertaken between 1209 and 1229, against the Cathars in the southern Languedoc-speaking regions (the langue d’oc was a language very similar to Catalan today). This crusade was also against the Albigensians, whose military challenges continued in fact until 1244 (fall of Montségur Castle, execution by burning of 205 Cathars), and even 1255 (capture of Quéribus). The direct consequences of this were the taking over of a large part of the southern region by the northern-based Capetian monarchy, as well as the virtual extinction of the Languedoc way of life. For more than a century after 1229, the Catholic Inquisitors and their executioners continued to seek the complete eradication of "the heresy" until its total disappearance.

The veil of silence drawn over these epic events for centuries has been torn only recently. After all the tragedy of this human and religious drama, hopefully we can now move beyond the historic arguments of one side or another, towards a deeper understanding of events and a greater spirituality.

English translation Stuart Keogh. With Casteland’s thanks

Castle of the month :

Castle-Gaillard
Normandy - France
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