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The Cathars

The Cathars

Bonus : Abbayes et châteaux du Pays Cathare

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At the end of the 12th century what the religious powers of Rome called heresy, spread over the Occitan lands: Catharism. This religion was the result of great spiritual demand and was widely implanted in all levels of society: it was tolerated, and often supported by the Lords and Princes in the Midi. In 1208, following the assassination of his legate at Saint-Gilles, Pope Innocent III called for the only crusade ever carried out in a catholic land “the Crusade against the Albigeois”. This marked the beginning of a troubled period for the region – a period which lasted nearly 35 years, begun and ended by such tragic events as the massacre of Béziers in July 1209 and the burning at the stake in Montségur in March 1244. From sieges to open battles, from treason to martyrs, from inquisitions to solidarity, the “pays cathare” was to live the blackest hours of its history – against the backdrop of the pleasant Lauragais countryside and the silhouettes of these proud citadels, timeless symbols of the resistance of a people and of its faith…

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