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The Southern French Nobility and the Albigensian Crusade

The Southern French Nobility and the Albigensian Crusade

Elaine Graham-Leigh
Copyright Date: 2005
Edition: NED - New edition
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 216
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  • Book Info
    The Southern French Nobility and the Albigensian Crusade
    Book Description:

    The Albigensian Crusade was called by Pope Innocent III in 1208 against the Count of Toulouse in response to the murder of the papal legate Pierre des Castelnau. The Pope's aim was to force the Count and other nobles in Languedoc to take action against the Cathar heretics in their lands, but in the end, the defeat of Catharism in the south of France was achieved through the establishment of the Inquisition and the extension of French royal authority to the area. While some Occitan noble families survived the crusade, others were destroyed and the behaviour of the crusaders towards the local nobility has often been regarded as rather arbitrary, unconnected to how these families related to each other before 1209. This study takes the case of the Trencavel Viscounts of Béziers and Carcassonne, who were the only members of the higher nobility to lose their lands to the crusade, and argues that an understanding of how the Occitan nobility fared in the crusade years must be based in the context of the politics of the noble society of Languedoc, not only in the thirteenth century but also in the twelfth. ELAINE GRAHAM-LEIGH gained her Ph.D. from the University of London.

    eISBN: 978-1-84615-429-4
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Abbreviations
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Editorial Conventions
    (pp. xiii-xiii)
  6. Maps
    (pp. xiv-xvi)
  7. Genealogies of the Nobility of Languedoc
    (pp. xvii-xxviii)
  8. 1 The Albigensian Crusade, Past and Present
    (pp. 1-9)

    On 10 November 1209, Raimond Roger, erstwhile Viscount of Carcassonne, Béziers, Albi and Razès (1194–1209)¹ and the first member of the higher nobility of Languedoc to fall victim to the Albigensian crusade, died in a dungeon in Carcassonne.² He had been there for two months, since his surrender to the Albigensian crusaders besieging Carcassonne in September, and the speed at which he apparently succumbed to his changed circumstances has given rise to the suspicion in some crusade historiography that he was in fact murdered by the crusaders. The Spanish historian Jordi Ventura, for example, has cast doubt on the...

  9. 2 Charters, Chronicles and Troubadour Poetry: Sources for the Albigensian Crusade
    (pp. 10-41)

    One of the remarkable aspects of the society of twelfth- and early thirteenth-century Languedoc was that it produced very little narrative history. Brief annals and necrologies such as that produced by the church of Carcassonne were known,¹ but the more detailed chronicles and histories being produced in this period in other parts of western Europe are conspicuous by their absence, as are specifically ecclesiastical forms of writing such as hagiography. This dearth of narrative was clearly not the result of a particularly illiterate culture however, as twelfth-century Languedoc left a particularly rich charter record, produced and preserved by both ecclesiastical...

  10. 3 Victims of the Crusade: The 1209 Campaign against the Trencavel
    (pp. 42-57)

    Raimond roger was the last in a line of powerful and largely independent Trencavel viscounts which stretched back to the mid-eleventh century and beyond. The earliest recorded member of the Trencavel family was Bernard, Viscount of Albi under the Count of Toulouse in c. 918.¹ Bernard’s grandson, also Bernard, acquired the viscounty of Nîmes through his marriage to the heiress, Gauze, in the mid-tenth century² and the family became lords of Carcassonne, Béziers and the Razès in 1068 as a result of the marriage of Raimond Bernard Trencavel, Viscount of Albi and Nîmes (d. 1078) to Ermengarde, daughter of Pierre...

  11. 4 The Wrong Side in the Patronage War: Heretics, Cistercians and Abducted Bishops
    (pp. 58-89)

    Whatever the degree of papal involvement in the decision to attack the Trencavel lands, there are various possible motivations behind the selection of Raimond Roger as the first target of the crusade. Notwithstanding the general description of the Albigensian crusade as an effort against heresy,¹ the treatment of the nobility of Languedoc by the crusaders was not always closely linked to the degree of their heretical sympathies. Pope Innocent rebuked Arnauld Amaury and Simon de Montfort for the behaviour of the crusaders in January 1213: ‘You also, brother Archbishop, and the noble man Simon de Montfort, leading the crusaders into...

  12. 5 Ambitious, Brave and Lacking in Political Sense: The Political Background to the Crusade
    (pp. 90-112)

    If the treatment of the Trencavel by the crusade was based on a consideration by the papal legates of all aspects of their relations with the Church, this was no less true of the way the secular politics of Languedoc influenced the behaviour of the crusaders. The assumption that the course of the crusade was not uninfluenced by the relationships of the Occitan nobility is present in much of the modern historiography of the crusade, for example in the frequently advanced argument that the crusade’s attack on Béziers and Carcassonne was inspired by the Count of Toulouse.¹ However, the efficacy...

  13. 6 ‘A People Grieving for the Death of their Lord’?: Responses to the End of Trencavel Rule
    (pp. 113-129)

    The dominance that Pere of Aragon had achieved over the Trencavel by the early thirteenth century made his response to the crusaders’ attack on Béziers and Carcassonne particularly crucial. Pere might have been expected to save Raimond Roger from his fate; in the event, the king’s reaction to the crusaders allowed them to seize the Trencavel lands. The ambivalence of Pere’s position when it came to the crusade’s treatment of the Trencavel reflects his general attitude towards the crusade. On the one hand, he fully supported its aims,¹ having been an enthusiastic prosecutor of heresy in Aragon itself² and a...

  14. 7 ‘Grave oppression of the citizens’: The Limits of Trencavel Lordship
    (pp. 130-165)

    Guillaume de tudela attributed Trencavel problems in dealing with the lords of their lands in the early thirteenth century to Raimond Roger’s youth:¹ ‘Because he was young he was friendly with all of those in the lands in which he was lord, and they had neither awe nor fear of him; on the contrary, they laughed and joked with him as if he were their equal’,² demonstrating an attitude towards young rulers common throughout the medieval period and beyond. In 1200, Innocent III used the same grounds to dismiss the succession of Frederick, the young son of Henry VI, to...

  15. 8 Continuities in Languedoc: The Albigensian Crusade in Context
    (pp. 166-170)

    In the version of the Albigensian crusade prominent from the later thirteenth century on, Raimond Roger, if he was remembered at all, usually became an archetype. Guillem Augier used his blond hair to signal that his representation in thesirventes‘A people grieving for the death of their lord’¹ was as a stock character and not a real person: the young, proud, reckless lord, whose personal history and family background were equally unimportant. For the Italian audience for whom Guillem Augier was writing, the lack of such details allowed the viscount to stand for the then popular idea of pre-crusade...

  16. Bibliography
    (pp. 171-180)
  17. Index
    (pp. 181-188)
  18. Back Matter
    (pp. 189-189)