A trip to Cathar Country in the Langedoc - 1
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Cathar Country

This was a lecture tour we took in September 2002 under the aegis of History Today magazine, the lecturer being Dr. Felicity Jones. The opinions expressed on this site are entirely my own, though. A bit of background - the Cathars were a religious sect, originating in the Rhineland but taking root in the Langedoc from about the middle of the 12th Century to burning of the last of them in 1320. Revolted by the greed, luxury & power-mania of the Catholic church, they believed that the World was the work of the devil & that the path to Heaven lay through renouncing worldy pleasures & powers & living an aescetic life in order to become a 'Perfect' & attain salvation by this route. They appear to have picked up on the beliefs of the Bogomils from Bulgaria. Unfortunately for them, they not only offended the Catholic church by indirectly threatening its power & wealth, they also became pawns in the big-power politics of the day, as Philip Augustus, King of France & his successors started knocking together a more centralised French State out of the mass of more or less secure feudal alliegencies. Pope Innocent III, one of the more able & evil swine who run this appalling institution, pronounced a Crusade against the Cathars (known, misleadingly, as the Albigensian Crusade) which started in 1209 & of which more anon.

This gross over-simplification can be augmented by reading:-

"The Perfect Heresy" by Stephen O'Shea or visiting the various relevant web sites, such as:-

http://www.ancientquest.com/embark/cathars.shtml Karen Ralls' site

http://www.cathares.org/sommaire.html this site in French, alas.

http://www.languedoc-france.info/12_cathars.htm for a succinct explanation of Catharism in English

If you read "The Holy Blood & the Holy Grail" by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh &
Henry Lincoln (pp 50 on), sup it with the usual long spoon.
Felicity will be writing a book soon, as well.

Our trip was centred on Carcassonne & this site is organised by the trips we did & why.

Links to pages in this site:-

Maps taken from the Collins World Atlas, 1970 edition,
alas without permission.

France with the Cathar Country
marked in the South

Cathar Country with the
places marked except
Peyrepeteuse, North of St Paul

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Contact: Ken Baldry at 17 Gerrard Road, Islington, London N1 8AY +44(0)20 7359 6294 or e-mail him URL: http://www.art-science.com/Tourism/France/Cathars/index.html Last revised 12/2/2006 © 2002-2006 Ken Baldry. All rights reserved.