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Explore 10 other intriguing titles in the Medieval Gnostics series. Cathar , cathar rituals , Cathars , gnosis , Gnostic History , Gnostics , Judith Mann , pacific rim press , the trail of gnosis. The decisive Cathar event, The Council of St. Felix is described. Tags Albigensian Crusades , asia minor , Bogomil , Buglaria , Cathar , cathar rituals , catharism , Cathars , Crusades , France , gnosis , Gnostic History , gnostic Jewish movement , gnostic traditions , Gnostics , Holy Grail , Inquisition , Judith Mann , kabbalah , Kabbalists , mandaeans , Mani , Manichaeism , massalians , medieval gnostics , pacific rim press , the trail of gnosis , Trail of Gnosis , Tree of Life.

Like this: Like Loading Simon de Montfort was granted the Trencavel lands by the Pope and did homage for them to the King of France, thus incurring the enmity of Peter II of Aragon who had held aloof from the conflict, even acting as a mediator at the time of the siege of Carcassonne.

CATHARS, ALBIGENSIANS, and BOGOMILS – Encyclopaedia Iranica

The remainder of the first of the two Cathar wars now focused on Simon's attempt to hold on to his gains through winters where he was faced, with only a small force of confederates operating from the main winter camp at Fanjeaux, with the desertion of local lords who had sworn fealty to him out of necessity—and attempts to enlarge his newfound domains in the summer when his forces were greatly augmented by reinforcements from France, Germany and elsewhere.

Summer campaigns saw him not only retake, sometimes with brutal reprisals, what he had lost in the "close" season, but also seek to widen his sphere of operation—and we see him in action in the Aveyron at St. Antonin and on the banks of the Rhone at Beaucaire. This was in the medium and longer term of much greater significance to the royal house of France than it was to de Montfort—and with the battle of Bouvines was to secure the position of Philip Augustus vis a vis England and the Empire. The Battle of Muret was a massive step in the creation of the unified French kingdom and the country we know today—although Edward III, the Black Prince and Henry V would threaten later to shake these foundations.

The Catholic inhabitants of the city were granted the freedom to leave unharmed, but many refused and opted to stay and fight alongside the Cathars. The Cathars spent much of fending off the crusaders. Arnaud-Amaury, the Cistercian abbot-commander, is supposed to have been asked how to tell Cathars from Catholics. His reply, recalled by Caesarius of Heisterbach , a fellow Cistercian , thirty years later was " Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius " —"Kill them all, the Lord will recognise His own".

Reportedly at least 7, innocent men, women and children were killed there by Catholic forces. Elsewhere in the town, many more thousands were mutilated and killed. Prisoners were blinded, dragged behind horses, and used for target practice. Prominent opponents of the Crusaders were Raymond Roger Trencavel , viscount of Carcassonne, and his feudal overlord Peter II , the king of Aragon , who held fiefdoms and had a number of vassals in the region.

Peter died fighting against the crusade on 12 September at the Battle of Muret. Simon de Montfort was killed on 25 June after maintaining a siege of Toulouse for nine months. The independence of the princes of the Languedoc was at an end. But in spite of the wholesale massacre of Cathars during the war, Catharism was not yet extinguished and Catholic forces would continue to pursue Cathars.

The Inquisition was established in to uproot the remaining Cathars. On Friday, 13 May , men and women convinced of Catharism were burned at the stake on the orders of Robert le Bougre.

Augustine , bishop of Hippo, had expelled from the city a Fortunatus who had fled Africa in ; he is a Fortunatus who is reported as a monk from Africa and protected by the lord of Widomarum. A popular though as yet unsubstantiated theory holds that a small party of Cathar Perfects escaped from the fortress before the massacre at prat dels cremats. What this treasure consisted of has been a matter of considerable speculation: claims range from sacred Gnostic texts to the Cathars' accumulated wealth, which might have included the Holy Grail see the Section on Historical Scholarship, below.

Hunted by the Inquisition and deserted by the nobles of their districts, the Cathars became more and more scattered fugitives: meeting surreptitiously in forests and mountain wilds. But by this time the Inquisition had grown very powerful.

Sections in this entry

Consequently, many presumed to be Cathars were summoned to appear before it. Repentant lay believers were punished, but their lives were spared as long as they did not relapse. Having recanted, they were obliged to sew yellow crosses onto their outdoor clothing and to live apart from other Catholics, at least for a while. After several decades of harassment and re-proselytising, and, perhaps even more important, the systematic destruction of their religious texts, the sect was exhausted and could find no more adepts. The leader of a Cathar revival in the Pyrenean foothills, Peire Autier , was captured and executed in April in Toulouse.

From the midth century onwards, Italian Catharism came under increasing pressure from the Pope and the Inquisition, "spelling the beginning of the end". Some Waldensian ideas were absorbed into other proto-Protestant sects, such as the Hussites , Lollards , and the Moravian Church Herrnhuters of Germany. Cathars were in no way Protestant, and very few if any Protestants consider them as their forerunners as opposed to groups like Waldensians , Hussites , Lollards , and Arnoldists.

After the suppression of Catharism, the descendants of Cathars were discriminated against, at times required to live outside towns and their defences. They retained their Cathar identity, despite their reintegration into Catholicism. As such, any use of the term "Cathar" to refer to people after the suppression of Catharism in the 14th century is a cultural or ancestral reference, and has no religious implication [ citation needed ].

Nevertheless, interest in the Cathars, their history, legacy and beliefs continues. The term Pays Cathare , French meaning "Cathar Country", is used to highlight the Cathar heritage and history of the region where Catharism was traditionally strongest. Some [ who? Many of the promoted Cathar castles were not built by Cathars but by local lords and later many of them were rebuilt and extended for strategic purposes.

They were for several hundred years frontier fortresses belonging to the French crown and most of what is still there dates from a post-Cathar era. Many consider the County of Foix to be the actual historical centre of Catharism. In an effort to find the few remaining heretics in and around the village of Montaillou , Jacques Fournier, Bishop of Pamiers , future Pope Benedict XII , had those suspected of heresy interrogated in the presence of scribes who recorded their conversations.

The publication of the early scholarly book Crusade Against the Grail by the young German Otto Rahn in the s rekindled interest in the connection between the Cathars and the Holy Grail , especially in Germany. Rahn was convinced that the 13th-century work Parzival by Wolfram von Eschenbach was a veiled account of the Cathars. Starting in the s and continuing to the present day, historians like R.

Bogomils and Cathars

Moore have radically challenged the extent to which Catharism, as an institutionalized religion, actually existed. Building on the work of French historians such as Monique Zerner and Uwe Brunn, Moore's The War on Heresy [85] argues that Catharism was "contrived from the resources of [the] well-stocked imaginations" of churchmen, "with occasional reinforcement from miscellaneous and independent manifestations of local anticlericalism or apostolic enthusiasm".


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Moore's work is indicative of a larger historiographical trend towards examination of how heresy was constructed by the church. The principal legacy of the Cathar movement is in the poems and songs of the Cathar troubadors , though this artistic legacy is only a smaller part of the wider Occitan linguistic and artistic heritage.

In recent popular culture , Catharism has been linked with the Knights Templar , an active sect of monks founded during the First Crusade This link has caused fringe theories about the Cathars and the possibility of their possession of the Holy Grail. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see Cathar disambiguation. Main article: Albigensian Crusade. This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.

Montaillou: Cathars and Catholics in a French Village. London: Penguin. The Cathars. Oxford: Blackwell. Heresy and Authority in Medieval Europe.

"Medieval Heresies" from Fordham University's "Internet Medieval Sourcebook" Website

University of Pennsylvania Press. Moore for a consideration of the origins of the Cathars, and proof against identifying earlier heretics in the West, such as those identified in at Monforte, outside Milan , as being Cathars. The History of the Albigensian Crusade. Boydell Press. Simon and Schuster. Cathars believed that Jesus was not embodied in the human form but an angel Docetic Christology , which echoed back to the Arian controversy. It is most likely that the first Cathars to penetrate Languedoc appealed Arian and Cathar doctrines were sufficiently different from Catholic doctrine that the two branches were incompatible.

Geoffrey's comment implies that he and others called those heretics 'weavers', whereas they called themselves 'Arians'. Suicide in the Middle Ages. Oxford University Press. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eis. Caesarius c was a Cistercian Master of Novices. Church Schism and Corruption. Durban, South Africa.

Introduction: Gnosticism and Late-Medieval Literature

Retrieved 25 January But a multitude of questions arise out of that statement. How could ancient Gnosticism, suppressed and squeezed out by the dominance of Catholic Christianity, have re-emerged in medieval France? How Gnostic were Cathar ideas? Was Catharism completely exterminated or did it survive beyond the 14th century?

How close to the ancient Cathars, in letter or spirit, are modern neo-Cathar groups? What did they really believe? What did they actually do? Ongoing interest in the Cathars is still very much wedded to the Languedoc region. This is a double-edged sword, making the medieval sites available to casual visitors, but somewhat cheapening the experience, which blends natural beauty with the foreboding atmosphere of ruined hilltop castles. The significance of some locations is brought home through knowledge of the history of suffering in these places; others say that the psychic residue of the atrocities performed by the crusaders and the Inquisition needs no amplification.

The initiated inner circle of the movement were known as Perfects, and those individuals followed a strict dietary code. They were almost vegan, but, in accordance with medieval conceptions, ate fish, which were believed not to breed sexually, and hence to be in a separate category to beasts and birds. In Carcassonne citadel there is a restaurant named Le Chaudron Cathare — the Cathar Cauldron — that conjures up the image of a cauldron full of burning oil rather than cassoulet.

During the sieges of the Albigensian Crusade starvation and dysentery were commonplace. In the decades that followed, Cathars sometimes chose the endura, a fast to the death undertaken by newly initiated Perfects, which allowed them to die in good standing — facing death by starvation being preferable to undergoing the attentions of the Inquisition. Most of what we know about the beliefs of the Cathars is what has been preserved by their enemies — particularly the Inquisition, which was formed to combat and eliminate their heresy.

Yet the following extract from Peter of Vaux-de-Cernay, 13th-century Catholic author of The History of the Albigensian Crusade, paradoxically preserves an accurate epitome of their beliefs.

Gnostics 1/4 - Knowledge of the Heart

It is a pattern we should get used to:.