Albigenses

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Albigenses

(ălbĭjĕn`sēz) [Lat.,=people of Albi, one of their centers], religious sect of S France in the Middle Ages.

Beliefs and Practices

Officially known as heretics, they were actually CathariCathari
[Gr.,=pure], name for members of the widespread dualistic religious movement of the Middle Ages. Carried from the Balkans to Western Europe, Catharism flourished in the 12th and 13th cent. as far north as England.
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, Provençal adherents of a doctrine similar to the Manichaean dualistic system of material evil and spiritual good (see ManichaeismManichaeism
or Manichaeanism
, religion founded by Mani (c.216–c.276). Mani's Life

Mani (called Manes by the Greeks and Romans) was born near Baghdad, probably of Persian parents; his father may have been a member of the Mandaeans.
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; BogomilsBogomils
, members of Europe's first great dualist church, which flourished in Bulgaria and the Balkans from the 10th to the 15th cent. Their creed, adapted from the Paulicians and modified by other Gnostic and Manichaean sources, is attributed to Theophilus or Bogomil, a
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). They held the coexistence of these two principles, represented by God and the Evil One, light and dark, the soul and the body, the next life and this life, peace and war, and the like. They believed that Jesus only seemed to have a human body.

The Albigenses were extremely ascetic, abstaining from flesh in all its forms, including milk and cheese. They comprised two classes, believers and Perfect, the former much more numerous, making up a catechumenate not bound by the stricter rules observed by the Perfect. The Perfect were those who had received the sacrament of consolamentum, a kind of laying on of hands. The Albigenses held their clergy in high regard. An occasional practice was suicide, preferably by starvation; for if this life is essentially evil, its end is to be hastened.

They had enthusiasm for proselytizing and preached vigorously. This fact partly accounted for their success, for at that time preaching was unknown in ordinary parish life. In the practice of asceticism as well, the contrast between local clergy and the Albigenses was helpful to the new sect.

History

Early Years

Albigensianism appeared in the 12th cent. and soon had powerful protectors. Local bishops were ineffectual in dealing with the problem, and the pope sent St. Bernard of Clairvaux and other Cistercians to preach in Languedoc, the center of the movement. In 1167 the Albigenses held a council of their own at Toulouse. Pope Innocent III attacked the problem anew, and his action in sending (1205) St. Dominic to lead a band of poor preaching friars into the Albigensian cities was decisive. These missionaries were hampered by the war that soon broke out.

The Albigensian Crusade

In 1208 the papal legate, a Cistercian, Peter de Castelnau, was murdered, probably by an aid of Raymond VIRaymond VI,
1156–1222, count of Toulouse (c.1194–1222). His tolerant attitude toward the Albigenses resulted in his repeated excommunication, although he temporarily made peace with the church in 1209.
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 of Toulouse, one of the chief Albigensian nobles. The pope proclaimed (1208) the Albigensian Crusade. From the first, political interests in the war overshadowed others; behind Simon de MontfortMontfort, Simon de
, c.1160–1218, count of Montfort and earl of Leicester. A participant in the Fourth Crusade (1202–4), he did not join in the sack of Constantinople, but instead proceeded to Syria. He later led the crusade against the Albigenses.
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, the Catholic leader, was France, and behind Raymond was Peter II of Aragón, irreproachably Catholic. Innocent attempted to make peace, but the prize of S France was tempting, and the crusaders continued to ransack the entire region.

In 1213 at Muret, Montfort was victor and Peter was killed. The war went on, with the son of Philip II (later Louis VIII) as one of the leaders. Simon's death in 1218 robbed him of victory and left his less competent son to continue the fight. Raymond's son, Raymond VII, joined the war, which was finally terminated with an honorable capitulation by Raymond. By the Peace of Paris (1229), Louis IX acquired the county of Toulouse. The religious result of the crusade was negligible.

In 1233, Pope Gregory IX established a system of legal investigation in Albigensian centers and put it into the hands of the Dominicans; this was the birth of the medieval InquisitionInquisition
, tribunal of the Roman Catholic Church established for the investigation of heresy. The Medieval Inquisition

In the early Middle Ages investigation of heresy was a duty of the bishops.
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. After 100 years of the Inquisition, of tireless preaching by the friars, and of careful reform of the clergy, Albigensianism was dead.

Bibliography

See S. Runciman, The Medieval Manichee (1947, repr. 1961); R. Rose, Albigen Papers (3d ed. 1979); S. O'Shea, The Perfect Heresy (2000).

Albigenses

 

members of a broad heretical movement in southern France during the 12th and 13th centuries, adherents of the teachings of the Cathari and Waldenses. The origin of the name Albigenses is uncertain. It is usually associated with the city of Albi (in Latin, Albiga), which was perhaps the first center of the movement. Some modern historians derive the name from a distortion of the name of the Albanians—Albanenses—because the Cathari teaching had spread from the Balkan peninsula. The Albigenses considered the earthly world, including the Catholic Church, to be the creation of satan. They rejected the basic dogmas of the church and demanded the liquidation of church lands and tithes. Most of the Albigenses were townspeople, chiefly artisans, although some were peasants. Some local feudal lords, especially the lesser ones, who had claims on church wealth, joined the movement. The count of Toulouse gave the Albigenses his open protection. The pope initiated a crusade against them, and they were condemned by the 12th Ecumenical (Fourth Lateran) Council (1215). The Inquisition was established in the large cities of the south, and the bloody eradication of the Albigenses began, accompanied by widespread confiscation of their property for the benefit of the Catholic Church and royal power. The heresy of Albigensianism disappeared in the 14th century. [1—1384—1]

Albigenses

heretical sect; advocated Manichaean dualism. [Fr. Hist.: NCE, 53]

Albigenses

heretical and ascetic Christian sect in France in 12th and 13th centuries. [Christian Hist.: EB, I: 201]

Albigenses

medieval sect suppressed by a crusade, wars, and the Inquisition. [Fr. Hist.: NCE, 53]
References in periodicals archive ?
Catharism, Albigensianism, and Puritanism are all variants on this same theme, in that each in its own way denies the dignity of the human person and the grandeur of God's creation.
Lansing also suggests the potential for toleration in Catharism itself, largely on the example of a Bolognese heretic who alleged that just as there are seventy-two languages on earth, so there are seventy-two religions, and none has a superior claim over any other.
Moreover, it is far from setting up the radical dualism between flesh and spirit characteristic of later Gnosticism and Catharism.
Besides believing in two gods, as has been mentioned, the Cathars believed that Jesus was a messenger from God, sent to tell the truth of Catharism, but he was not God, and did not really become a human being or die on the Cross.
These concepts are elaborated in Arnold's Inquisition and Power: Catharism and the Confessing Subject in Medieval Languedoc (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2001), and Belief and Disbelief in Medieval Europe (London: Hodder Arnold, 2005).
Never at all frequent, its incidence increased in late Catharism, when after 1295 one commanding personality, the radical dualist Pierre Autier, a notary of Ax, led a revival in the highlands of Foix.
Even after rereading the book, I was still not entirely sure how the reception of Catharism after 1200 in the Agenais was related to the dualist presence during 1000-1150.
s consistent method of considering ideas in connection with important contemporaneous historical developments frequently provides the reader with interesting, if at times very questionable speculations--for example, his theses that the emergence of the Pythagorean doctrine of reincarnation is due to the marginalization of the aristocracy more than anything else, and that the Catholic doctrine of purgatory was a response to Catharism.
By the end of the twelfth century, the authorities often found it simpler to co-opt and so neutralize all but the most intractable apostolic groups, which by then posed less of a challenge than Catharism.
Lorenzo Paolini's study of Italian Catharism suggests a parallelism of a different kind, that of heterodox and orthodox scholastic cultures, which, even while at odds, fed each other: a heretical scholastic education was evidently adequate preparation for university studies (p.
John Arnold began his research with the intention of writing a history of later Catharism, but in the course of his investigations, he became more interested in the question of just how historians should interpret these medieval texts.
In this study of Catharism in 13th-century Orvieto, Lansing develops the argument that "the struggle over the Cathar faith was at the heart of a set of crucial and interrelated changes in 13th-century Italian towns, the creation of independent civic authority and institutions in association with the restructuring of Catholic orthodoxy and authority and the narrowing of gender roles" (5).