By Marcus Cowper
Within the early twelfth century advert a wide sector of present-day France was once no longer below the direct keep an eye on of the French king. in truth, the French king's direct authority stretched little extra than Paris and the world instantly round it, the Ile de France. the various different areas have been semi-independent duchies and counties, managed via, among others, the King of britain and the Holy Roman Emperor. One such zone loose from direct French keep an eye on was once the Languedoc, the realm stretching from the Massif critical south to the Pyrenees, and so far as the river Rhone to the east. This zone was once less than the unfastened overlordship of the counts of Toulouse, and by means of the start of the twelfth century the complete area had turn into the centre of an early kind of Protestantism known as Catharism that flourished to a unprecedented measure and threatened the guideline of the Roman Catholic Church. Pope blameless III, alarmed at this heresy and the unwillingness of the southern the Aristocracy to do a lot to uproot it, introduced a campaign in 1209 opposed to ecu Christians. The crusading military, represented the tested Church consisting predominatly of northern French knights. They observed this as a chance either to 'take the cross' and to acquire new lands and wealth for themselves extra with ease than crusading to the Holy land. This, the Albigensian campaign, grew to become a brutal fight among the north and the south of France up to among orthodox Roman Catholic and heretic Cathar.
The population of the Languedoc had continuously relied for his or her protection upon a sequence of strongly fortified walled towns, equivalent to Albi, Carcassonne, Bï¿½ziers, Toulouse and quite a few fortified hill-top villages and castles which dotted the nation-state. those so-called 'Cathar Castles' now grew to become the final safe haven opposed to the invading crusaders and the clash built right into a sequence of protracted and bloody sieges that lasted for over 30 years. the writer describes those very types of fortification, the walled urban and the hill-top fort. He explains why they have been located the place they have been, how they have been equipped, and the protecting ideas in the back of their development, and likewise stories how good they withstood the attempt of the Albigensian campaign.