Cathar Castles: Fortresses of the Albigensian Crusade by Marcus Cowper

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, B�ziers, 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.

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Additional resources for Cathar Castles: Fortresses of the Albigensian Crusade 1209-1300 (Fortress, Volume 55)

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Lavaur, 1211 The year 1211 saw a number of important political developments in Montfort’s struggle for control of the Trencavel lands. Firstly, Pedro of Aragon recognized Montfort's position as viscount of Béziers and Carcassonne, accepting him as a vassal. This was something he had been unwilling to do in 1209 immediately following the deposition and death of Raymond Trencavel, but he now realized that Montfort’s position was so strong that he had to accept the inevitable. The second major development was the renewed excommunication of Raymond VI, count of Toulouse, by the papal legates in January, subsequently confirmed by the Pope in April.

Raymond-Roger was invited to parley with the crusader leaders to discuss terms; he accepted the invitation and was quickly imprisoned once he had left the safety of the walls. Carcassonne was taken and the population were allowed to leave unharmed, though without any of their possessions. 2 Raymond-Roger was taken back into the Cité and imprisoned in his own comtal castle. He was to die three months later, ostensibly of dysentery. Even before the death of Raymond-Roger the crusaders had decided to depose him and replace him with one of their own leaders.

Montfort was determined to make an example of the place for a number of reasons, including the fact that Aimery had submitted to him in 1210, the length of the siege, and the massacre of the German crusaders. What followed was a further example of Simon’s ruthlessness and determination to put down any threat of revolt. He had Aimery of Montréal hanged along with 80 of his knights, against all the customs of medieval warfare. William of Tudela remarked that he had never heard of so great a lord being hanged in all of Christendom, and the weight of Aimery’s armour broke the gallows.

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