The Perfect Heresy: The Life and Death of the Cathars

By Stephen O'Shea

8 hundred years in the past, the Cathars, a bunch of heretical Christians from all walks of society, low and high, flourished in what's now the Languedoc in Southern France. Their subversive ideals introduced down on them the wrath of Popes and monarchs and provoked a brutal 'Crusade' opposed to them. the ultimate defeat of the Cathars used to be terrible with mass burnings of guys, ladies and youngsters within the village of Montaillou within the Pyrenees.

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Napoléon Peyrat, the guy who created the myths of Cathar nation, is not any doubt resting in peace. March sixteen, 1999, used to be the final anniversary of the well-known bonfire to percentage a similar millennium with definitely the right of Montségur. I left my domestic close to Perpignan and headed towards the Pyrenees, the genuine legacy of the Cathars uppermost in my brain. That this gorgeous nook of France—the nationwide association being part of that legacy—should were the theater of such merciless intolerance was once nonetheless difficult to credits, even after years of go back and forth all through Languedoc within the imagined corporation of the Cathars.

On coming to the throne, the monarch had remodeled his nation to the Holy See. In so doing, he turned an instantaneous vassal of blameless III, who, in his force to fill Church coffers and implement admire for the papacy, welcomed the non secular and fabric obeisance of an outstanding prince. The king’s orthodox credentials have been impeccable. no matter if he didn't implement the antiheresy legislation he had drawn up for his nation, his belligerence towards the Muslim majority within the Iberian Peninsula had made his a blessed identify on the Lateran.

A contemporary French novel even has neo-Cathars struggling with the forces of yank company imperialism. In a few quarters, the Cathars encourage an analogous mix of awe and occult appreciate surrounding the local peoples of the hot global. The heretics of Montségur became ecu stand-ins for the Hopis, their ideals pointing to a non secular selection etched now not opposed to the dreamscape of the desolate tract yet opposed to the history of medieval nightmare. regardless of the nice gulf of centuries, the Cathars nonetheless hang-out the undying highlands of Languedoc.

A chronicler pronounced that Arnold voiced this command outdoors the Mediterranean buying and selling city of Béziers on July 22, 1209, while his crusading warriors, at the verge of storming town after having breached its defenses, had became to him for suggestion on distinguishing Catholic believer from Cathar heretic. The monk’s easy directions have been and the total population—20,000 or so—indiscriminately murdered. The sack of Beziers was once the Guernica of the center a while. even if Arnold Amaury really uttered that pitiless order remains to be an issue for debate.

Paris: Plon, 1998. N. *RICHARDS, JEFFREY. intercourse, Dissidence, and Damnation: Minority teams within the center a while. London: Routledge, 1991. short, energetic, and scholarly, the learn provides hair-raising info of the persecution of Jews, heretics, and lepers. Instructive yet appalling. ROQUEBERT, MICHEL. L’Epopée cathare. five vols. Toulouse: Privat, 1970–89 (vols. 1–4); Paris: Perrin, 1998 (vol. 5). ———. Montségur, les cendres de l. a. liberté. Toulouse: Privat, 1998. ———. Histoire des cathares: Hérésie, Croisade, Inquisition, du onzième au quatorzième siècles.

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