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The Cathar Martyrs

Introduction

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Introduction

The 20th and 21st Centuries are marked by genocide and murder on an industrial scale.  This is nothing new in world history, only the technology has improved to permit greater efficiency in killing.

In this site the systematic destruction of the Cathars and their religion is described.

The Cathars (from the Greek Katharos meaning pure) were a religious minority mainly resident in southern France, especially Languedoc and also northern Spain.

Whilst regarding themselves as Christians and following Gospel teaching they were opposed to the authority of the Catholic Church and this was to lead to their downfall.  The Albigensian Crusade (1209-1255) was launched against them, followed up by the terror of the Holy Inquisition, until the last Cathar teacher or parfait, William Belebaste, was burnt at the stake in 1321.

Languedoc had been a liberal, pluralistic society.  It was culturally different from northern France with a significant geographical separation and a local language.

The crusaders were from the most part from the north of France, many such as Simon de Montfort himself (who had been deprived of his lands during the previous crusade which raided Constantinople) were out to gain booty.  Others were in need of the indulgences on offer ...

The Albigensian Crusade was the only crusade to be specifically targeted against Christians - though others involved attacks on the Greeks of Constantinople.  The continual attacks by the west being a major contributing factor in the city being lost to the Turks in 1453.

The Albigensian crusade was particularly bloody with the entire population of Beziers being massacred and the city razed.  Catholics were butchered along with the Cathars, famously when a commander asked how to tell Cathars from Catholics, he was told, kill them all, God will know his own.

The Cathars, in contrast, were opposed to violence and the parfaits would not even use force in their own defence.

This site describes places associated with the Cathars and the Albigensian Crusade.  The castles and towns described were not for the most part built by the Cathars, but used by them.  Many have been partly or wholly reconstructed at later dates.

This work is dedicated to those who are persecuted because of race or belief.

 

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