By Marcus Cowper

Within the early twelfth century advert a wide region of present-day France was once now not below the direct regulate of the French king. in truth, the French king's direct authority stretched little additional than Paris and the realm instantly round it, the Ile de France. the various different areas have been semi-independent duchies and counties, managed by means of, among others, the King of britain and the Holy Roman Emperor. One such zone loose from direct French keep an eye on used to be the Languedoc, the realm stretching from the Massif important south to the Pyrenees, and so far as the river Rhone to the east. This region used to be lower than the unfastened overlordship of the counts of Toulouse, and through the start of the twelfth century the full area had turn into the centre of an early kind of Protestantism referred to as Catharism that flourished to a unprecedented measure and threatened the rule of thumb 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 move' and to acquire new lands and wealth for themselves extra comfortably than crusading to the Holy land. This, the Albigensian campaign, turned 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 continually relied for his or her security upon a chain of strongly fortified walled towns, comparable to Albi, Carcassonne, BВїziers, Toulouse and a good number of fortified hill-top villages and castles which dotted the nation-state. those so-called 'Cathar Castles' now turned the final shelter 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 forms of fortification, the walled urban and the hill-top citadel. 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 building, and in addition reports how good they withstood the attempt of the Albigensian campaign. Related Titles The Crusades (Essential Histories) Medieval Siege conflict (Elite) French Medieval Armies 1000-1300 (Men-at-Arms)

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Extra resources for Cathar Castles: Fortresses of the Albigensian Crusade 1209-1300

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43 The imposing fortress of Termes, ruled by the family of the same name, dominated the area known as the Termenes. It held out against the crusaders under Simon de Montfort for over two months before a polluted water supply caused the defenders to abandon the site. (Author's collection) water supply. The only access the population had to water in time of siege was through a protected passageway running to the bottom of the cliff. Montfort arrived at the site at the beginning of June and invested it from three sides.

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 Beziers 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.

Outside the city. Peter of les Vaux-de-Cernay states that 'the pride of the city of Toulouse was utterly humbled'. Prince Louis returned to Paris and the Fourth Lateran Council later in the year stripped Count Raymond VI of his land and titles, giving them instead to Montfort. The lords of the Languedoc were unwilling to accept the papal judgment and the son of Raymond VI, also called Raymond, led a revolt in the south, occupying the town of Beaucaire in the winter of 1216. The following spring and summer Montfort besieged the southerners without success until August, when he learned of unrest in Toulouse and, fearing that he might lose his possessions, he returned to the city to pacify the inhabitants.

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