Cathar or Catholic: Treading the line between popular piety and heresy in Occitania, 1022-1271

The Murder of St Peter the Martyr, by  Giovanni Bellini

This paper will explain the origins of popular piety and religious reform in medieval Europe before focusing in on two specific movements, the Patarenes and Henry of Lausanne, the first of which became an acceptable form of reform while the other remained a heretic.

The Kingdom, the Power and the Glory: the Albigensian Crusade and the Subjugation of the Languedoc

Albigensian Crusade

In March of 1208, Pope Innocent III preached the Albigensian Crusade. The crusade, which covered an area from Agen to Avignon and the Pyrenees to Cahors, initiated a new phase in the already strained relationship between the Catholic Church and the Languedoc.

Catharism and Heresy in Milan

16th century map of Milan

Evidence suggests that heresy in Lombardy proliferated during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, a period of upheaval in the structure and form of politics and society, especially in itscapital city. From 1117 Milan operated as a commune, securing independent jurisdiction at thePeace of Constance (1183).

Herb-workers and Heretics: Beguines, Bakhtin and the Basques


During the Middle Ages and early Renaissance, the word beguine was used by women to identify themselves as members of a wide-spread and influential women’s movement. The same term was used by their detractors and overt opponents, with the highly charged negative meaning of “heretic.” The etymology of the term “beguine” and ultimate origins of the movement have never been satisfactorily explained.

Women on Trial: Piecing Together Women’s Intellectual Worlds from Courtroom Testimony

Medieval woman being burned at the stake

To tease out these issues, I would like to offer an analysis of a specific set of criminal records from the city of Toulouse in the later Middle Ages. In recent years, many scholars have attempted to gain access to the lives of women in medieval Languedoc.

A Comparison of Interrogation in Two Inquisitorial Courts of the Fourteenth Century

King Philippe Dieu-donné passes judgement on heretics

The spread of the Cathar heresy in Western Europe in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries was perceived as a real challenge to orthodoxy. The Catholic Church soon employed all means possible in a reaction against this dualistic religion, which was especially widespread in the south of France and in central and northern Italy.

Conflict and Coercion in Southern France


This paper endeavors to examine the mechanisms by which the crown of France was able to subsume the region of Languedoc in the wake of the Albigensian Crusade in the thirteenth century.

Understanding terrorism and radicalisation: a network approach

Cathars being expelled from Carcassonne in 1209.

Our most recent work with this model has concentrated on the suppression of a network in the case of the Inquisition and the Cathar heresy in France in the 13th century; and on the spreading of a network in the case of the conversion to Protestantism of England in the mid-16th century.

In search of a missing link: The Bogomils and Zoroastrianism


Both Zoroastrianism and Manichaeism are dualist relig- ions. Implicit in the beliefs held true by these religions is the notion of co-equal and co-eternal principles. Implicit in this notion is the belief that both good and evil exist and are acted upon from the very beginning.

Memories of Space in Thirteenth-Century France: Displaced People After the Albigensian Crusade

Cathars being expelled from Carcassonne in 1209.

It is clear that displacement was a policy of the crusade, a measure of its effectiveness, and a highly personal experience for individuals who were forced to flee the crusading army.

Labyrinth, Part 2


So we continue with the exciting conclusion of last week’s two part mini-series, Labyrinth. Alice is being pursued by unsavory attackers, and Carcassonne has all but fallen.


Jessica Brown Findlay as Alaïs Pelletier du Mas

A review of Part 1 of author Kate Mosse’s, “Labyrinth”. Cathars, Crusaders and the Holy Grail!

Nordic Witchcraft in Transition: Impotence, Heresy and Diabolism in 14th-century Bergen

Witches cooking in a cauldron

Within the orbit of witchcraft, what is the relationship between sexuality, heresy, and diabolism?

“The Eucharist and the Negotiation of Orthodoxy in the High Middle Ages”

Waldensians depicted as witches

This paper is part of Adam Hoose’s dissertation. It examined the differences between Waldensians and Franciscans in their treatment of the Eucharist. It also explored why the Waldensians were unsuccessful in their bid to become a legitimate religious order and were eventually marginalized as heretics.

Waldensians at the turn of the fifteenth century in the Duchy of Austria: Perception of Heresy and Action against Heretics


The other major field of research that pertains to my current investigation is the inquisition; or the repression of heresy, as Richard Kieckhefer asserts. He notes that there was no such a thing as the Inquisition, because it existed only as mere offices, or functions of carrying out the inquisitorial justice, and did not as an institution as such, not even institutions, as was later the case in the sixteenth century.

Dualist heresy in Aquitaine and the Agenais, c.1000-c.1249

Council against Bogomilism, organized by Stefan Nemanja. Fresco from 1290

This thesis will examine whether the heresy in eleventh-century Aquitaine was dualist and will then discuss twelfth- and thirteenth-century Catharism in an Aquitainian context.

Bogomils, Cathars, Lollards, and the High Social Position of Women During the Middle Ages

Medieval women  - 1380

During the 12th century, if not slightly earlier, Western Europe lived through a period of economic and social upheavel termed by many historians the 12th c. Renaissance. One of its aspects is related to the considerable emancipation of women mostly in Southern France, a development which spread over to Italy, Flanders, and later, England. One can even detect social zones where real emancipation was axhieved.

Medieval reads for Dad!

Cathar Castles: Fortresses of the Albigensian Crusade 1209-1300

Father’s Day is just around the corner – here are some fun medieval reads to make his day special!

The War Against Heresy in Medieval Europe

Heretics being burned

No surviving writer suggested on the eve of the millennium that the propagation of heresy of heresy among the people of Western Europe was active, or that any of the heresies of antiquity had survived.

From Other Worldly to Worldly: Materialism, Anomie, and the Decline of Catharism’s Charismatic Appeal

Cathars - 13th century image

The Cathars believed in a dualist cosmology that posited the existence of two coeternal gods, one good and one evil.


Medieval Tarot Cards - Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford

The idea of heretical origins for the Tarot still attracts attention because the Medieval heresies share two important traits with modern Tarotists.

The Friar of Carcassonne

The Friar of Carcassonne

The Friar of Carcassonne: Revolt against the Inquisition in the Last Days of the Cathars By Stephen O’Shea Douglas and McIntyre, 2011 ISBN 978-1-55365-551-0 Publisher’s Synopsis: The dramatic story of a courageous friar who battled king, pope and Inquisition in his search for justice. Nearly a century had passed since the French region of Languedoc […]

In her voice: The destruction of the Cathars in Languedoc

Listen, you can hear the soft rustling of foot soldiers in the valley deep below as they build the mass burning pyre. Tomorrow morning we will walk down from our Montsegur fortress and step up to our deaths.

Conflict and Conscience: Ideological War and the Albigensian Crusade

This thesis is a case study on ethics within war. The thirteenth century Albigensian Crusade was a war against a heretical religious ideology known as Catharism whose tenets threatened the social order of Europe.

The Polemical use of the Albigensian Crusade during the French Wars of Religion

Albigensian Crusade

The Polemical use of the Albigensian Crusade during the French Wars of Religion Racaut, Luc French History 13, 3 (1999) Abstract From the outset of the Reformation, Catholic authors had sought to draw parallels between Protestantism and earlier heresies. In France, members of the Sorbonne took arguments from controversies against a variety of heretical groups which […]

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