Louis XIII interpreted the decision at La Rochelle as an open rebellion to his authority and gathered his forces to march south – first capturing the Huguenot city of Saumur and then defeating Rohan’s brother, Benjamin, Duke of Soubise, during the Siege of Saint-Jean-d’Angély on 24 June 1621. The Pope moved against the Cathars but why was Catharism such a threat, what were its beliefs and what was the intellectual and spiritual climate that made the high middle ages the era of the heretic?With Malcolm Barber, Professor of Medieval History at the University of Reading; Miri Rubin, Professor of Medieval History at Queen Mary, University of London; Euan Cameron, Professor of Modern History at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. Web. But despite the wealth and power of the Vatican, all was not as it should have been in the Catholic world; Jerusalem was lost, the Crusades were failing, and in the regions of Europe the spectre of heresy moved over the land. This practice, according to some scholars, gave birth to the most popular literary genre of the Middle Ages: the poetry of courtly love. The threat of Catharism. God allowed this for those who wished to leave but other souls were falling through the hole and so God sealed it. Since those times, a spiritual movement, which can be called a Cathar Renaissance, has started spreading all over Europe. The top ten programmes to listen to from In Our Time's Religion archive. In Southern France, where the church had never had a very strong hold, Cathars lived and worked among the wider community and convened their gatherings without concern. As your introduction says: "Without lifting a sword, the Cathars posed a threat to Catholicism greater than the Muslims or Jews--or so the Church believed. Cathar beliefs ultimately derived from the Persian religion of Manichaeism but directly from another earlier religious sect from Bulgaria known as the Bogomils who blended Manichaeism with Christianity. Metempsychosis (Reincarnation) – a soul would be continually reborn until it renounced the world completely and escaped incarnation. Communication in Catharese included remarking some spoken words with a growl. As long as Cathars existed, the Catholic hierarchy would be compared unfavourably with them, which could lead to enforced reform of the Church. He has taught history, writing, literature, and philosophy at the college level. Mark, Joshua J. Almost everything known about the Cathars comes from confessions of “heretics” taken by Catholic clergy during the inquisition which followed the Albigensian Crusade. In western Europe at AD 1000 heresy had barely been heard of. Melvyn Bragg examines the beliefs of the Cathars, a medieval southern European Christian sect accused of heresy, and explores why they were seen as a threat … The common theme of this body of medieval literature is the beautiful woman who commands worship and service by a courteous, brave, and noble knight. According to Church documents, 20,000 heretics were slaughtered in and around Beziers and the town burned to the ground. Most importantly, the poems celebrated romantic love, which was considered quite different, and far superior, to marriage because in marriage the couple had no choice (the match was arranged by the parents) while one chose to engage in extra-marital or pre-marital love affairs. "Cathars." As Cathars put it, we are all divine sparks, even angels, imprisoned in tunics of flesh. Many souls were seduced and for nine days and nine nights they fell through the hole in heaven the devil had created. The devil consented, and humans were created. The medieval Church established its monopoly over the spiritual... Catharism becomes increasingly popular in Southern France; the Church tries to suppress the heresy. (2019, April 02). Their bodies also possessed rapid healing abilities. Yet within a few generations accusations had … Mark, J. J. Retrieved from https://www.ancient.eu/Cathars/. Trapped in these bodies, the soul would live, die, and be reborn in another as long as that soul remained attached to the body and the pleasures which the devil had promised it back in heaven. On average, Cathar were 1.5 to 1.9 meters tall. Some scholars have suggested, in fact, that the growth of the Cult of the Virgin Mary in medieval Europe – which became an increasingly popular and influential movement – was encouraged by the Cathars' elevation of womanhood. (3), Ascetics Eleanor of Aquitaine (l. c. 1122-1204 CE) and her daughter Marie de Champagne (l. 1145-1198 CE) were both associated with the Cathars as sympathizers. Written by Joshua J. Ancient History Encyclopedia. Cathars. Everyone in the town was killed, some while taking refuge in the church. The faith did not remain restricted to the peasantry for long but spread up the medieval hierarchy to artisans like weavers and potters, writers and poets, merchants and business owners, members of the Catholic clergy, and finally nobility. The Allegory of Love: A Study in Medieval Tradition. Browse the Medieval era within the In Our Time archive. God understood that the souls who had fallen would have to work their way back to his grace and that they could do so through struggling with these bodies so he made a deal with the devil: the devil could do as he liked with the bodies, but the souls which animated them belonged to God. The Cathars: The History and Legacy of the Gnostic Christian Sect During the Middle Ages examines the origins of the cult, their fascinating belief system, their gradual development over the years, and the events that contributed to their epic downfall. In addition to these differences, there was the Cathar insistence that Jesus had never been born of a woman and been made flesh, never suffered, died, and was therefore never resurrected. Courtly love poetry developed in Southern France at the same time as the Cathar heresy. The Cathars who survived the purge of the early 13th century CE continued to live as they had before, only with greater care and secrecy. Related Content Sufficient threat to the Church ideologically, given the steady yet impressive rate of growth of Catharism. My study into how the divine men of Antiquity were conjured into being also led me to them (eventually). Women were valued as men’s equals and female figures from the Bible were highlighted, especially Mary Magdalene and the Virgin Mary. History of Catholicism in France. It is guessed that 20,000 were killed, many of whom were Catholics and not Cathars at all. The story goes that the devil came to the gates of heaven and requested entry but was denied. All these events, as told in the gospel narratives, happened ideally as a sort of allegory for the state of the soul which is born into the world trapped in a body, must suffer and die, and will finally be free only after it has mastered the body and renounced the things of this world. The only books of the New Testament they accepted were the gospels, completely rejecting the epistles of Paul and the others, with a special emphasis on the Gospel According to John. After 1209 CE and the sack of Carcassonne, the earl Simon de Montfort (l. c. 1175-1218 CE) led the crusade which continued the destruction of the region while enriching the northern barons who participated. Elsewhere, they had to be more careful and hide their faith. Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the history of ideas, Christian mysticism If you’re new to In Our Time, this is a good place to start. The Cathar religion was branded heretical by the Roman Catholic Church, and some authorities went so far as to brand them as being non-Christian. Some argue that they were a necessary response by Christendom to the oppression of pilgrims in Muslim-controlled Jerusalem. (2), History of Catholicism in France Mark, published on 02 April 2019 under the following license: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. A freelance writer and former part-time Professor of Philosophy at Marist College, New York, Joshua J. Please note that content linked from this page may have different licensing terms. The faith gained a strong foothold in Italy and Southern France through its appeal to the peasantry. (2). 14 Dec 2020. The survival of these communities is known through Church records of inquisitions which continued on through the 14th century CE. Ancient History Encyclopedia, 02 Apr 2019. The belief structure can easily be traced back to Manichaeism which traveled via the Silk Road from the Byzantine Empire and the Middle East to Europe where it became entwined, under certain circumstances, with Christian belief and symbolism. Once the soul renounced the body and all its temptations, it would be freed to return to God and resume its former state. Pope Innocent III & the Albigensian Crusadeby Unknown Artist (Public Domain). License. The Albigensian Crusade directed against this region in the first quarter of the 13th century CE takes its name from Albi, the cathedral city 65 kilometres north-east of Toulouse. Ancient History Encyclopedia. The female aspect of God was Sophia, “wisdom”). Their central religious text was The Book of Two Principles, passages of which would be read by one of the perfecti to a congregation and interpreted for them by another member of the group. Henry's armed expedition, which … There was no central authority like the Pope of Rome. Mark, Joshua J. Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the Cathars, a medieval European Christian sect accused of heresy. The Cathars repudiated the symbol of the cross and a literal reading of any of the biblical books. Lewis and others cite Catharism as a probable inspiration for these works and claims they were allegories of the Cathar vision. The dignity of manual labor – the Cathars all worked, priests as well as laypeople, many as weavers. They appear in small numbers in records from the 1140’s CE in France, but by 1167 CE, there were enough communities in the region to require an assembly to set rules and boundaries. He hoped that the Fourth Lateran Council would represent the crowning glory of a Papacy that was more powerful than ever before, and it laid down decrees to standardise Christian belief across the whole of Western Europe and heal the papal schism of a generation before. Suicide was (and is still) considered a serious sin by the Church, marriage is encouraged, reincarnation rejected, as is the concept of duality. Last modified April 02, 2019. The council was presided over by a Bogomil cleric named Nicetas (1160’s CE) which firmly establishes Bogomilism as the direct source of Catharism. Chretien is best known for creating some of the most famous elements of the Arthurian Legend such as Lancelot’s affair with Arthur’s queen Guinevere, the quest for the Grail, and is the first to call Arthur’s court Camelot. Pope Innocent III & the Albigensian Crusade. Yet within a few generations accusations had become commonplace and institutions were being set up to identify and suppress beliefs and practices seen as departures from true religion. To become a Cathar, one simply professed one’s belief and received the consolamentum, a blessing and welcoming to the faith through the laying on of hands. This episode is related to The Cathars lived in communities which varied in size from 60 to 600 individuals. They considered the cross a symbol of Rex Mundi and believed it should be destroyed when encountered as it was a representation of evil. They had prominent, retractable claws that could deliver powerful killing attacks on foes and prey.