The Cathars are one of the most famous heretical movements of the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries. They infiltrated the highest ranks of society and posed a major threat not only to the Catholic Church but also to secular authorities as well. The movement was finally smashed by the crusade and the inquisitional proceedings that followed. This new study is the first comprehensive history of the Cathars. It addresses major topics in medieval history including heresy, orthodoxy and the Crusades as well as providing a history of the social and political history of Languedoc and the rise of the Capetian dynasty. A fascinating study of the development of radical religious belief and its violent suppression.
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The Cathars were dualist heretics who, in the twelfth and early thirteenth centuries, presented more coherent doctrinal opposition to the Catholic church than any contemporary movement. They were present in most areas of Latin Christendom, but they were particularly strong in southern France and northern Italy, where they drew adherents from all social classes.
This new book traces the origins and spread of dualist ideas, assesses their attraction for contemporaries, and describes the reaction of the ecclesiastical and lay authorities in the form of preaching campaigns, intellectual refutation, crusade, and inquisitorial investigations. A fascinating account of the development of radical religious belief and the means used to suppress it, this book raises many important issues which transcend the specifics of time and place, including the nature of evil, the ethics of warfare, and the use made of history by later generations.
Richly illustrated, this book will have a wide appeal for all those interested in medieval perceptions of the world, the Crusades and the Inquisition.
Malcolm Barber is Professor of History at the University of Reading. He is the author of The Two Cities:Medieval Europe, 1050-1320 (1992), and two books on the Templars, The Trial of the Templars (1978) and The New Knighthood (1994).
'well-illustrated and attractive...deserves a wide readership' English Historical Review'provides an admirable review of recent scholarship...Professor Barber has shown the ways in which Cathar history should move forward'.History 'beautifully written ... Barber's cool common sense gives a chance to see the religion and the society in which it became rooted in a new light. Highly recommended'THES 'excellent history' Antiquaries Journal
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