Albigensian Crusades


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Albigensian Crusades

 

crusades conducted 1209–29 (with interruptions) in southern France against the Albigenses, undertaken on the initiative of the papacy in order to suppress a heresy which posed a danger to it. The immediate cause of the crusades was the murder in 1208 of a papal legate by a retainer of Raymond VI, the count of Toulouse. Pope Innocent III excommunicated Raymond VI, who was charged with inspiring the murder, and called for a crusade against the heretics. Philip II (Philip Augustus), the king of France, was engaged in a struggle against England for territory in northern France and refused to head the crusade. The army of crusaders was made up of northern French (in part German) knights, who intended to profit by the rich cities of the south; the clergy of northern France also played an active role. Count Simon de Mont-fort became the leader of the crusaders. In 1209 the crusaders seized and pillaged many southern cities (Béziers, Carcassonne, and others). For southern France the war quickly lost its religious character and was transformed into the resistance of the ProvenÇal people against the northern aggressors. Pedro II, the king of Aragon, entered the war on the side of Raymond VI, who led the military forces of the south. After the battle of 1213 at Muret (in which Pedro died), which ended in the victory of the crusaders, much territory in southern France fell under the control of Simon de Montfort, who acknowledged himself the vassal of the French king. Raymond VI managed to retain only Toulouse, Nímes, Beaucaire, and Agen. In 1215, after a long siege, Toulouse fell and Raymond fled. The Fourth Lateran Council condemned him as a heretic, and his holdings were transferred to Simon de Montfort. However, the resistance of the south was not yet broken. In 1217 a popular uprising in Toulouse was victorious. Taking advantage of this, Raymond returned to Toulouse; his authority was accepted by many cities and areas of Languedoc and Provence, which also rebelled against the crusaders. In 1224, Raymond VII, the son of Raymond VI, drove the forces of A. de Montfort (the son of S. de Montfort, who was killed in 1218) out of Carcassonne. Achieving the acceptance of his conditions—mainly the nonintervention of the pope in secular affairs and in affairs of the local clergy—Louis VIII, the king of France, who had refrained earlier from aiding Montfort because he feared the formation of a strong state in the south, began war against the southerners. The royal forces seized Avignon (1226); many cities of the south then declared their submission to the French throne (A. de Montfort turned his possessions over to the king). As a result, much of Toulouse county was annexed to the royal domain (the Parisian treaty of 1229). The Albigensian wars inflicted great harm on the economy of the south, arresting the development of the cities, which had flourished in the prewar period.

REFERENCES

Osokin, N. A. Istoriia al’bigoitsev i ikh vremeni, vols. 1–2. Kazan’, 1869–72.
Belperron, P. La croisade contre les albigeois et I’union de Languedoc ä la France (1209–1249). Paris, 1942.
References in periodicals archive ?
Marvin justifies such a study on the grounds that to date the campaigns fought during the Albigensian crusades have received relatively cursory attention from scholars preoccupied with providing contextual histories for heresy, inquisition, and crusade.
Deliberately drawing the readers' focus away from overtly religious aspects of the conflict, it provides a valuable counterpoint to scholarship whose long-term approach has obscured a wealth of available detail, and demonstrates that the Albigensian crusades have much more to offer a new generation of researchers.
Here is a major gap in virtually all of these studies: consideration of the probability that the Albigensian crusades had, in fact, very little to do with elusive religious differences and everything to do with rivalries between the rising towns, and the rural nobles allied with them, and a religious hierarchy avid to increase its political control and economic assets.