Cathar Country - Languedoc Tours
Specialist Tours in South of France
Course Content - Topics Covered.
The following gives a brief summary of topics covered:
Were the Cathars
- An introduction
- Who were the Cathars?
- What did they believe ...?
- Where did their ideas come from?
- Where did they live?
- When did they flourish?
- Why did they disappear?
- Basic tenets and doctrine flowing from these tenets
- Absolute Dualism v Mitigated Dualism
- The problem of Evil.
- The Elect (Parfaits) - role, characteristics & status
+ Cathar hierarchy
- The Consolamentum (cf 7 sacraments)
- Cathar ceremonies
- How the Cathars were perceived by themselves, their neighbours
and the Catholic Church
- Modern resonances (pacifism, women's rights, vegetarianism,
euthanasia, contraception, homosexuality, reincarnation, etc)
- The appeal of asceticism and martyrdom
Context - The High Middle ages
- The concept of heresy - Priscillian / Vaudois / Manichaeism
- European Powers. Players: the Kings of Aragon, England &
France. Pope Innocent III.
- The Crusades in the Levant & the Counts of Tripoli
- The Crusades in Iberia & King Peter II of Aragon
- Appearance of Cathars throughout Europe under different names
after the Crusades
- The Counts of Toulouse & the County of Toulouse - and
- Life in the County of Toulouse 800 years ago. Municipal Councils,
Capitouls. Rich. Educated. Literate. Liberal. Tolerant.
- County of Toulouse not French - the French as "Foreigners"
and French a foreign language - Annexation 1272
- Occitan (Provençal) / Occitania - "the country
that never was" - "Romance" - Carcassonne / Chivalry
& Courtesy / Troubadours / Courtly Love / Paratge / Heraldry
(Cross of Toulouse)
- The English Connection. Kings - Henry II, Richard, John /
Jeanne of England / Simon de Montfort / Savoric de Mauleon /
Hugh de Lacy
- Powerful Women: Jeanne, Esclarmonde, Blanche, Alix, Giralda
- Song of the Crusade / Voltaire / Popes & Saints / Hilaire
- The problem of names
- False Assumptions - eg that All Dualists were Manichaeans,
that all heresies were essentially the same
- Confusion of "heresies" - Cathars & Vaudois
- Common criticisms of the Roman Catholic Church are shared
by many groups - which can give an impression of shared beliefs
- Hostile witnesses / propaganda / nonsense (eg worshipping
cats & flying)
- Different beliefs + loss of Cathar "orthodoxy"
- The winners write the history - Destruction of source information,
did Catharism come from?
- Possibilities - Northern Italy / The Balkans / The Byzantine
- Excursus: St Augustine of Hippo, sex & Original Sin.
- Ancient Manichees / The Zoroastrian inheritance
- Open Battles (cavalry & Infantry)
- Sieges (artillery, chemical warfare, psychological warfare,
- Siege Engines (trebuchets, towers, rams, cats
- Logistics & communications
- Castles / Opida / Castra - Citadels - Carcassonne
- Fighting Clerics (Military-Monks & Military Engineers).
Cistercians, bishops, Templars & Hospitalers
- Feudal Obligations - Military aid, Quarantine
- The rules of War (Were Cathars Christian? Why did it matter?
the significance of Crossbows)
- The Birth of Heraldry
- Before the War - Preaching & debate
- Justification for the war
- The course of the war
- Who's who in the war?
- Raymond VI + allies
- Crusade leadership: Arnaud Amaury, Simon de Montfort
- Arnaud (Did he really say "Kill 'em all, God will
know his own"?)
- Military techniques - siege warfare (Beziers / Lavaur / Bram
/ Beaucaire / Montsegur)
- Battle of Muret
- Cabaret (Lastours)
- Villerouge Termenez
End of Catharism
- The Treaty of Meaux and its consequences
- Annexation of the "Languedoc"
- The end of the Houses of Carcassonne & Toulouse
- Increased Church power - wealth / Inquisition / tithes
/ bishops / Anti-Semitism
- French in place of Occitan
- the beginning of the end for Aragon north of the Pyrenees
- The Inquisition - Resurgence - Montaillou - Belibaste
- Civic freedoms curtailed
- Bible owning & reading a capital crime.
- Economic consequences
- The end of the troubadours?
- Resentment and independence movements - dreams of Occitania
- A vestige of the Early Church? Evidence
- Why was Catharism so popular?
- Cathars and Medieval theology
- The origins of knightly investiture as a religious ceremony
- The Role of Mary Magdalene & Gnostic gospels
- Popular Culture - Ark of the Covenant / Holy Grail / Da Vinci
Code / Holy Blood / Raiders of the lost ark / Nazis / Otto Rahn
/ Parsifal / The Rennes-le-Chateau and Bugerach industries.
Ramifications & Vestiges
- Cathar Castles / tourist industry (popularity of the Cross
of Toulouse) / Memorials / academic study / Capitouls / novels
/ Simon's epitaph
- St Dominic and the Dominicans - copying the practices of Cathars
- poverty / humility / preaching / travelling in pairs / dress
/ convents (Albi - Austerity)
- A Crusade within Europe - A precedent for the Holocaust /
badges of infamy / War Crimes & Crimes against Humanity
- Etymology of the word "bugger"
- Founding of the Inquisition - techniques / the use of torture
- The Fate of the Counts of Toulouse & Kings of England,
Aragon & France
- Papal temporal power (dating from Raymond & John)
- Nation states of modern Europe v Medieval Europe
- Independence Movements - flags / Cross of Toulouse
- Simon, and his epitaph
- Modern philosophy (Dualism)
- Effects on Modern Churches:
- Catholic theology (biblical cannon, apostolic succession,
transubstantiation, War in heaven)
- The Cult of the Virgin Mary (St Bernard)
- Protestants (shared criticisms, Lord's prayer)
- Gnostic Churches today
- Other vestiges - circulades / re-enactments / troubadours