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THE TRENCAVELS I

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The Trencavels II

 

 

Among the symbolic characters of the Albigensian Crusade there is one synonyme of heroism mixed with tragedy that stands out from all others.

 

Raimond Roger Trencavel:  this very name evokes, for those who venture among the grey walls of his fabulous city, witness of his birth and death, the rise of intolerance and religious fanatism, the bloody rides toward the southern lands.

 

The sack of Beziers, the taking of Carcassonne tolled the bell of his dynasty.  Within three months all was over.  On the 10th of November 1209, Raimond Roger died in the depths of the dungeon where he had been thrown.

 

Since, some eight centures have passed, but at Carcassonne his memory remains omnipresent.   There is no place where we are not awakened or assailed by his reputation.

 

Every stone reminds us of the bravery of this young man of twenty four.  The illuminations glorify his rightmindedness, his hate of intransigence, his loyalty, his aversion to any dishonourable pact :  Step by step we follow him through the meanders of the count's castle;   imagine him on the hourdis fighting valiantly.  The streets pay him homage, one is named after him.  Nowadays, they are still resounding to his forced parade through the City, the clink of the chains that imprisoned him still rattle the paving-stones.  There is no tower that does not tell his ill-fate, there is no grating that does not make us dream of the dungeon that saw his death.  The Saint-Nazaire basilica is full of whispers.  The despair of his people can be touched.  It stabs at our hearts.  The lamentation of the sorrowful crowd that for ten days filed before his coffin rise at our ears.  There is no book that does not speak of foul murder, where the sinister shadow of poison does not darken the ink.  There is no quill that does not allude to the guilt of the terrible Simon of Montfort.

 

But who in reality was Raimond Roger Trencavel?  Before attempting to retrace his brief existence, we must evoke the prestigious line from which he was descended...  Those fierce lords nicknamed Trencavel (Cut Well) who, for more than a century, reigned as masters in Beziers, Carcassonne, the Razes and Albi.

 

Copyright:  Monique Decamps

 

(Trencavel between legend and reality - 2000)

 

 

 

BERNARD ATON (+ January 1129)

 

The first to be nicknamed Trencavel.  Founder of  the dynasty.  Son of Raimond Bernard Aton, Count of Albi and Nîmes and of Ermengarde, countess of Carcassonne, the Razes, Beziers and Agde.  In 1083, he married Cecile of Provence, natural daughter of Bernard, count of Arles and the Low-Provence, who borne him seven children:

 

- Pagane

 

- Mateline, married to Arnaud of Beziers in 1105

 

- Roger I

 

- Raimond I Trencavel

 

- Bernard Aton, viscount of Nîmes and Agde, who married Guilhelme of Montpellier and was the father of Bernard Aton, rescued by his uncle Raimond I Trencavel.  He died in 1159.

 

- Ermengarde (Trencavelle) who married Gaufred of Roussillon in 1110

 

- Ermissende who married Rostaing of Pesquieres in 1121

 

From 1101 to 1105, he took part in the crusades in the Holy Land.  He died at Nîmes in January 1129 and was buried in Albi.  His possessions were equally divided between his three sons.  The eldest one Roger I inherited Carcassonne, the Razes and Albi.  The second, Raimond I Trencavel, received the viscounty of Beziers.  To the third, Bernard Aton, fell the cities of Nîmes and Agde.

 

 

 

BERNARD ATON AND CECILY OF PROVENCE
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THE WEDDING OF MATHELINE TRENCAVEL AND ARNAUD OF BEZIERS (1105)

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