By Megan Cassidy-Welch
Parergon, Vol.27.2 (2010)
Abstract: The displacement of people is one aspect of the Albigensian Crusade thathas received relatively little scholarly attention. Through an examination of chronicle evidence, testimonial evidence from the administrative enquêtes, and inquisitorial depositions of the 1240s, 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. Further, displacement was central to the construction of individual and shared memories of the crusade itself.
Introduction: The aftermath of the Albigensian Crusade is usually studied in terms of the advent of the inquisitorial tribunals or, in an older and more problematic historiography, in terms of the ‘loss of Occitania’ and the consolidation of the Capetian royal domain. Less attention has been paid to the effects of the crusade on the inhabitants of the region where the crusade took place. In particular, there has been little scholarship relating to those people who were uprooted from their homes and from the region as a result of both ongoing military action and policies of forced dispossession. This population displacement is important to analyse, as it provides significant insight into the policy and practice of the crusade. Furthermore, the texts which narrate the process and experience of displacement are themselves the repositories of memories, both positive and negative, of the lived reality of displaced people. It is the aim of this essay to explore the ways in which those displaced by the crusade used space to anchor their memories of upheaval and forced movement.