The Trencavels I
"KILL THEM ALL... GOD WILL RECOGNIZE HIS OWN!"
THE VISCOUNTS OF ALBI AND NIMES
THE VISCOUNTS OF BEZIERS-CARCASSONNE
Vicomte d'Albi (v 844)
Trencavel Vicomte d'Albi (v 875 - 937)
|-->Aton Ier, Vicomte d'Albi et seigneur d'Ambialet
(v 910 - 958)
|-->Bernard-Aton II, Vicomte d'Albi et seigneur
d'Ambialet (v 945 - 990)
X Gancienne, Vicomtesse de Nîmes
|-->Aton II, Vicomte d'Albi et de Nîmes
(v 980 - 1032)
|-->Bernard-Aton III, Vicomte d'Albi (v 1010
|-->Raymond-Bernard Trencavel, Vicomte d'Albi et de Nîmes (v 1036 - 1074)
Vicomtesse de Carcassonne et de Béziers
|-->Bernard-Aton IV, Vicomte d'Albi, Agde, Carcassonne,
Nîmes, Razès et Béziers (1074 - 1129)
X Cécile de Provence
|-->Roger Ier, Vicomte
d'Albi, Carcassone et Razès (? - 1150) xAdélaïde de Pons
en Saintonge x Bernarde de
|-->Raimond Ier, Vicomte d'Albi, Béziers, Carcassonne,
Razès (v 1098 - 1167)
| X Adélaïde
| X Roger-Bernard, Comte de Foix
| |-->Adélaïde ou Alix
| | X Sicard V, co-vicomte de Lautrec
Vicomte d'Albi, Béziers, Carcassonne, Razès ( ? - 1194)
| | X Adélaïde (Azalaïs) de Toulouse,
fille de Raymond V (VII)
| | |
| | |-->Raimond-Roger,
Vicomte d'Albi, Béziers, Carcassonne, Razès (1185 - 1209)
| | |
(v 1204 - v 1267)
| | X Saurine
| | |-->Raimond-Roger
(? - 1270)
X Raymond VI (VIII), comte de Toulouse
| X Gaufred, Comte
|-->Bernard Aton V, Vicomte de Nîmes et Agde (? -
X Guillemette de Montpellier
Aton VI, Vicomte de Nîmes et Agde (1159 - 1214)
The Albigensian Crusade or Cathar Crusade(1209
- 1229) was a 20-year military campaign initiated by the Roman Catholic Church to eliminate
the religion practiced by the Cathars of Languedoc, which the Roman Catholic hierarchy considered apostasy. It is historically
significant for a number of reasons: the violence inflicted was extreme even by medieval standards; the church offered legally
sanctioned dominion over conquered lands to northern French nobles and the King of France, acting as essentially Catholic
mercenaries, who then nearly doubled the size of France, acquiring regions which at the time had closer cultural and language
ties to Catalonia (see Occitan). Finally, the Albigensian Crusade had a role in the creation and institutionalization of the
The Catholic Church had always dealt with movements it considered heretical, but prior to the
12th century these groups were organized in small numbers such as wayward street preachers or small localized sects. The Cathars
however were a large and popular mass movement across an entire region. This was a new phenomenon for the Church to deal with.
Much of the entire region of Southern France was openly converting to Catharism and the belief was spreading to other areas.
Catharism, along with other heretical sects of the period such as the Waldensians, appeared in cities and towns of newly urbanized
areas. It was no coincidence Cathars originated in southern France, one of the most urbanized and populated areas of Europe
at the time.
The Cathars were especially numerous in the region of Languedoc in western Mediterranean France,
then part of the Catalan-Aragonese Confederation or the Kingdom of Aragon. They were also called Albigensians because of the
movement's presence in and around the city of Albi. Political control in Languedoc was divided amongst many local lords and
town councils. Before the crusade, there was little oppression in the area and a fairly advanced cultural level.
When he came to power in 1198, Pope Innocent III was determined to suppress the Cathars. At first
he tried peaceful conversion, however priests sent in to convert the Albigensians met with little success. The Cathars were
protected by local nobles, and also by bishops who resented papal authority. In 1204 the pope suspended the authority of the
bishops in the south of France, appointing papal legates. In 1206 the Pope sought support for action from the nobles of Languedoc.
Noblemen who protected the Cathars were excommunicated.
The powerful count Raymond VI of Toulouse refused to assist and was excommunicated in May, 1207.
The Pope called upon the French king, Philippe II August, to act against those nobles who permitted Catharism, but Philippe
declined to act. Count Raymond met with the papal legate, Pierre de Castelnau, in January 1208, and after an angry meeting,
Pierre de Castelnau was killed the following day. The Pope reacted to the killing by issuing a bull declaring a crusade against
Languedoc — offering the land of the heretics to any who would fight. This offer of land drew much of the nobility of
the north of France into the conflict, against the nobility of the south.
The military campaigns of the Crusade can be divided into a number of periods, the first from
1209 to 1215 was a series of great success for the crusaders in Languedoc. The captured lands however were largely lost between
1215 and 1225 in a series of revolts and reverses. The situation turned again following the intervention of the French king,
Louis VIII, in 1226. He died in November of that year, but the efforts continued under Louis IX (Saint Louis); the area was
reconquered by 1229 and main protagonists made peace. From 1233 the efforts of the Inquisition to crush Catharism were key,
there was resistance and revolts with the military action finally ending in 1255 but the Cathar efforts were clearly doomed.
By mid 1209 around 10,000 crusaders had gathered in Lyon and began to march south. In June Raymond
of Toulouse, recognizing the potential disaster at hand, promised to act against the Cathars, and his excommunication was
lifted. The crusaders headed towards Montpellier and the lands of Raymond-Roger de Trencavel, aiming for the Cathar communities
around Albi and Carcassonne. Like Raymond of Toulouse, Raymond-Roger de Trencavel sought an accommodation with the crusaders,
but Raymond-Roger was refused a meeting and raced back to Carcassonne to prepare his defences.
In July the crusaders captured the small village of Servian and headed for Béziers, arriving
on July 21st. They surrounded the town and demanded the Catharists be handed over; the demand was refused. The town fell the
following day (July 22nd, 1209), an abortive sortie was pursued back into the town and the population was slaughtered. According
to Caesar of Heisterbach the papal representative, Abbot Arnaud-Amaury, declared "Caedite eos! Novit enim Dominus qui sunt
eius" — Latin for "Slay them all! God will know his own." Béziers is believed to have held no more than 500 Cathars,
but over 10,000 citizens were killed. The news of the horror at Béziers quickly spread and many settlements were cowed.
The next major target for the crusade was Carcassonne. The town was well fortified, but vulnerable
and over-populated with refugees. The crusaders arrived outside the town on August 1st, 1209. The siege did not last long,
by August 7th the crusaders had cut the town's access to water, Raymond-Roger sought negotiations but was taken prisoner while
under truce, and the town surrendered on August 15th. The inhabitants were not massacred but all were forced to leave the
town. The crusader Simon de Montfort was granted control of the area encompassing Carcassonne, Albi, and Béziers. Raymond
Roger Trencavel was imprisoned in his own dungeon and left to die on November 10th, 1209... officialy of dysentery, according
to the rumour poisoned. After Carcassonne most towns surrendered without a struggle. Albi, Castelnaudary, Castres, Fanjeaux,
Limoux, Lombers and Montréal all fell quickly during the autumn. However some of the towns quickly taken later revolted.
The next struggle centred around Lastours and the adjacent castle of Cabaret. Attacked in December
1209, Pierre-Roger de Cabaret repulsed the attackers. Fighting largely halted over the winter but many new crusaders arrived.
In March 1210, Bram was captured after a short siege. In June the well fortified town of Minerve was invested, it withstood
a heavy bombardment but in late June the town's main well was destroyed and on July 22nd, the inhabitants surrendered, the
Cathar residents were given a chance to convert and the 140 who refused were burned. In August the crusade proceeded to Termes
and despite attacks from Pierre-Roger de Cabaret the siege was solid and in December the town fell. It was the last action
of the year.
When action resumed in 1211 the actions of Arnaud-Amaury and Simon de Montfort had alienated
several lords over the winter including Raymond of Toulouse, who had been excommunicated again. The crusaders returned in
force to Lastours in March and Pierre-Roger de Cabaret soon agreed to surrender. In May the crusading force was directed against
some revolters, the castle of Aimery de Montréal was retaken, he and his senior knights were hanged and several hundred Cathars
were burned. Cassès and Montferrand both fell easily in early June and the crusaders headed for Toulouse. The town was besieged
but for once the attackers were short of supplies and men, and so Simon de Montfort withdrew before the end of the month.
Emboldened Raymond of Toulouse led a force to attack de Monfort at Castelnaudary in September. De Montfort broke free from
the siege but Castelnaudary fell and the forces of Raymond went on to liberate over thirty towns before grinding to a halt
at Lastours in the autumn. The following year much of the province of Toulouse was re-captured.
In 1213 forces led by the king Peter II of Aragon, I of Catalonia came to the aid of Toulouse.
The force besieged Muret, but in September a sortie from the castle led to the death of king Peter and his army fled. It was
a serious blow for the resisters and in 1214 the situation became worse, Raymond was forced to flee to England and his lands
were given by the Pope to the freshly victorious Philippe II, a ploy which succeeded in interesting the king in the conflict.
In November the ever active Simon de Montfort entered Périgord and easily captured the castles of Domme and Montfort, he also
occupied Castlenaud and destroyed the fortifications of Beynac. In 1215 Castelnaud was lost and swiftly recaptured by de Montfort
and the crusaders entered Toulouse. Toulouse was gifted to de Monfort and in April 1216 he ceded his lands to Philippe.
However, Raymond together with his son the future Raymond VII returned to the region
in April, 1216 and soon raised a substantial force from disaffected towns. Beaucaire was besieged in May and fell after a
three month siege, the efforts of de Montfort to relieve the town were repulsed. De Montfort had then to put down an uprising
in Toulouse before heading west to captured Bigorre but was repulsed at Lourdes in December 1216. In 1217 while de Montfort
was occupied in the Foix region Raymond took Toulouse in September, de Montfort hurried back but his forces were inadequate
to take the town before campaigning halted. De Montfort renewed the siege in the spring of 1218; he was killed in June while
fighting in a sortie.
The crusade was left in temporary disarray. The command passed to the more cautious Philippe
II and he was concerned with Toulouse rather than heresy. Innocent III had also died in July 1216. The conflict fell into
something a lull until 1219, although the crusaders had taken Belcaire and besieged Marmande in late 1218 under Amaury de
Montfort. Marmande fell on June 3rd, 1219 but attempts to retake Toulouse faltered and a number of de Montfort holds fell.
In 1220 Castelnaudary was taken from de Montfort, and while Amaury de Montfort attacked the town from July 1220 the town withstood
an eight month siege. In 1221 the success of Raymond and his son continued, Montréal and Fanjeaux were captured and many Catholics
fled. In 1222 Raymond died and was succeeded by his son Raymond. In 1223 Philippe II died and was succeeded by Louis VIII.
In 1224 Amaury de Montfort abandoned Carcassonne and fled, the son of Raymond-Roger de Trencavel returned from exile to reclaim
the area. Amaury de Montfort offered his claim to the lands of Languedoc to Louis VIII and he accepted.
In November 1225 Raymond, like his father, was excommunicated. Louis VIII headed the new crusade
into the area in June 1226, towns and castles surrendered without resistance. Avignon, nominally under the rule of the German
emperor, did resist and it took a three month siege to finally subdue the town into surrendering in September. Louis VIII
died in November and was succeeded by the child king Louis IX. But queen Blanche of Castile allowed the crusade to continue
under Humbert de Beaujeu. Labécède fell in 1227 and Vareilles and Toulouse in 1228. However queen Blanche offered Raymond
a treaty, recognizing him as ruler of Toulouse in return for fighting Cathars, returning all Church property, turning over
his castles and destroying the defences of Toulouse. Raymond agreed and signed a treaty at Meaux in April 1229; he was then
seized, whipped and briefly imprisoned.
Languedoc now was firmly under the control of the king of France. The Inquisition was established
in Toulouse in November 1229 and the process of ridding the area of heresy and investing the remaining Cathar strongholds
began. Under Pope Gregory IX the Inquistion was given almost unlimited power to suppress the heretics and from 1233 a ruthless
campaign started, burning Cathars wherever they were found, even exhuming bodies for burning. Naturally many resisted, taking
refuge in a few fortresses in Fenouillèdes and Montségur or inciting uprisings. In 1235 the Inquisition was forced out of
Albi, Narbonne, and Toulouse. Raymond-Roger de Trencavel led a military effort in 1240, he was defeated at Carcassonne in
October and then besieged at Montréal where he soon surrendered and was allowed passage to exile in Aragon. In 1242 Raymond
VII de Toulouse attempted a revolt to coincide with an English invasion, but the English were quickly repulsed and his
support collapsed. Raymond VII was pardoned by the king.
The Cathar strongholds slowly fell, the largest at Peyrepertuse in 1240, Montségur withstood
a nine month siege before being captured in March 1244. The final holdout, a small, isolated fort at Quéribus had been also
overlooked until August 1255 when it quickly fell. The last Cathar burning by the Inquisition occurred in 1321.
|CARCASSONNE (15 august, 1209)
|Expulsion of the inhabitantants of the City of Carcassonne