Photographer's Note

5 minutes for 500.000 Cathars
Posting #2 in the joint photo session with TE member ‘didi’.

This photo displays well how integrated the castle is with the nature on the summit of this mountain.

The more you learn about the faith of the land and people of the Cathars the more the story will touch you.

Cathars and Catharism in the Languedoc
The Cathars were a religious group who appeared in Europe in the eleventh century, their origins something of a mystery. Records from the Roman Church mention them under various names and in various places, occasionaly throwing light on basic beliefs. The Roman Church debated with itself whether they were Christian heretics or whether they were not Christians at all.

In the Languedoc, famous at the time for its high culture, tolerance and liberalism, Catharism took root and gained more and more adherents during the twelfth century. By the early thirteenth century it was probably the majority religion in the area, supported by the nobility as well as the common people. This was too much for the Roman Church, some of whose own priests had become Cathars. Worst of all, Cathars of the Languedoc refused to pay their tithes.

The Pope, Innocent III, called a formal crusade, appointing a series of leaders to head his holy army. There followed over forty years of war against the indigenous population. During this period some 500,000 Languedoc men women and children were massacred; the Counts of Toulouse and their vassels were dispossessed and humiliated, and their lands annexed to France. Educated and tolerant Languedoc rulers were replaced by relative barbarians.

The Dominican Order was founded and the Inquisition was established to wipe out the last vestiges of resistance; persecutions of Languedoc Jews and other minorities were initiated; the high culture of the Troubadours was lost; lay learning was discouraged; tithes were enforced; the Languedoc started its economic decline, and the language of the area, Occitan, started its descent from one of the foremost languages in Europe to a regional dialect.

At the end of the extirpation of the Cathars, the Church had convincing proof that a sustained campaign of genocide can work. It also had the precedent of an internal Crusade within Christendom, and the machinery of the first modern police state. This crusade was one of the greatest disasters ever to befall Europe. Catharism is often said to have been completely eradicated by the end of the fourteenth century. Yet there are more than a few vestiges even today, apart from the enduring memory of their martydom and the ruins of the famous "Cathar castles". There are even cathars alive today, or at least people claiming to be modern Cathars.

Ref: 'The Cathars of the Langudoc' James McDonald, 2005.

Paolo, ChrisJ, kebek, cessy, Didi, weswang, richtersl, mortijo, babakhendi, magiqa oznaczył to zdjęcie jeko użyteczne

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Additional Photos by Jack R Johanson (jrj) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4529 W: 494 N: 7430] (34843)
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