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In March 120g pope Innocent III issued a call for a holy war against the nominally Christian ]and of southern France. The Immediate occasion for the issuance of this summons was the murder at St. Gilles of a papal legate, Peter of Castelnau. But the assassination of the legate was only the match which set fire to tinder which had been accumulating in Languedoc over long years.

The real antecedents of the Albigensian crusade lay far back in the economic, political, cultural, and religious history of southern France, but the tracing of these is beyond the scope of the present study. It is perhaps sufficient to point out that for reasons which are still not clear, by the latter half of the twelfth century popular heresies had become rooted more widely and deeply in the Midi than in other regions of Europe, and that the institutions of church and state were not so effectively organized as elsewhere to cope with the challenge. The feudal bond, especially in its military aspects, was weaker than in other parts of France; the counts of Toulouse paid only a shadowy allegiance to the king of France; the kings of England and of Aragon possessed substantial holdings in the region and were continually reaching out for more; while the emperor of Germany held suzerainty over thy marquisate of Provence east of the Rhone. Thus, the counts of Toulouse for different parts of their domain, owed allegiance to three rulers in addition to the king of France, while they in turn were constantly embroiled with their own vassals. Though at the turn of the thirteenth century they ruled one of the most considerable vassal state of the crown of France, their lands lacked cohesion. They were cut up into a congeries of lordships, lay and ecclesiastical, many of which recognized only the most nebulous allegiance to the house of St. Gilles. This situation was by no means unique, but was aggravated by the divided allegiance of the counts of Toulouse, the conflicting interests of neighbor States in the territory, the desire of the French king to establish effective hegemony over the Midi, and the determination of the counts of Toulouse to bring their own vassals and the growing towns more firmly under their control. There are indications of efforts on the part of Raymond V and Raymond VI in the twelfth century to improve this condition, but their work was impeded by the rapid growth of heresy in the region and the consequent divisions in the population.

For popular heresy did present a serious challenge, Its manifestations ranged all the way from an effort to return to the simplicity of early Christianity, in a healthy reaction against the temporal power and the presumptions of the ecclesiastical hierarchy, to the setting up what amounted to a rival religion under “Neo-Manichaean” or Catharist leaders. It was this heresy, most firmly entrenched in northern Italy and Languedoc, that clergy and lay rulers by the lake twelfth century recognized as the most dangerous to established order. In the earliest extant register of the Inquisition in Languedoc it was referred to as the heresy; witnesses before the court were required to tell what they knew of “heresy”, i.e., Cathari and Waldensianism. Although it seems desirable here to outline some of its main futures, Catharism is not easily summed up in a few words. Its roots reach bark to the eastern Mediterranean world during the early centuries of Christianity, to the religious and philosophical speculations of the so-called Gnostics. Just how the connection between this early gnostic movement and the Catharism in western Europe from the eleventh to the fourteenth century may be traced is still a matter of discussion, which need not be pursued here. Let it be noted merely that observers of the sporadic outbreaks of heresy in France as early as the eleventh century write of it occasionally as “Manichaean”.

Basically the Cathars, or the “pure”, as they called themselves, were either absolute or modified dualists. These differed in their view of creation. The former believed in two Principle, or Gods, the one creating and ruling an immaterial and suprasensible world which was wholly good, the other creating and ruling this world of sense which was wholly evil. The latter held that all creation was by God, but that Lucifer, who had originally been an angel of light, rebelled, was cast out of heaven, and drew with him a portion of the angels who had been seduced by him. By God he was given dominion over this material universe, which was still in chaos, to shape according to his will. Although there were considerable differences between these two groups, and indeed among members of the same group, they were at one in believing that this world is from the devil. All matter is evil, and the souls of angels who fell from heaven are forcibly implanted in the bodies of men by the devil : the problem of salvation for the individual is to free the soul from the envelope within which it has been imprisoned, which may be accomplished only through the instrumentality of the Catharist church. Both groups denied the Trinity as understood by orthodox Christians, Jesus and the Holy Ghost being created, by and inferior to God. Christ had no real existence on this earth, being only a phantom who was not truly born of the Virgin Mary, who did not eat, did not suffer, did not rise from the dead, and did not ascend into heaven. All this occurred in the suprasensible world, wherein was His real existence. The sacraments of the church they held unavailing; the clergy possess no special powers; there is no purgatory and no resurrection of the body. They denied the validity of prayers and offerings for the dead; spurned the veneration of the cross, of images, and of relics; held burial in hallowed ground or belief in the special sanctity of churches and altars to be void of meaning; in addition they were charged with refusal to take oaths; denial of the right of justice to the civil power; condemnation of marriage; and refusal to eat meat, milk, or eggs, which were of sexual origin.

In place of the official church whose foundations they undercut, in both faith and organization, they were in process of setting up a rival church with a hierarchy, consisting of bishops, “elder sons”, “younger sons”, and deacons; with what may be called sacraments, the most important of which was the consolamentum; with a liturgy; and with a membership consisting of a relatively small body of initiates, the “perfected” (perfecti), and a much larger group of “believers” (credentes). There are occasional references in the sources to a rival “pope”, but that is probably due to a misunderstanding of their use of the term “papas”. The core of their membership consisted of the perfected. Reinerius Sacconi, who had himself been for many years a member of the sect, but was (when he wrote) a Dominican and an inquisitor, estimated that there were probably about 4,000 perfected in the second quarter of the thirteenth century. They were a picked group of men and women, who had been subjected to a long and rigorous novitiate before they were allowed to receive the consolamentum, a rite somewhat comparable to baptism and ordination in the orthodox church. This rite is carefully detailed in their rituals, two versions of which have come down to us. To them baptism was not material, of water, but spiritual, through the imposition of hands by which they received the Holy Spirit. As  a “perfected”, one was cleansed from sin and was qualified to preach and to perform the rituals of the church. For one thus consoled a life of great austerity was prescribed. The consolamentum constituted the sole means whereby at death the soul might be freed to return to heaven. But the great majority of believers delayed the rite until they felt death approaching, thus laying themselves open to the charge of licentiousness of life, a charge difficult of proof or denial.

For a clear picture of this heresy much more should be said, but this may suffice to indicate why, having permeated all strata of society in Languedoc it was considered destructive not alone of orthodox religious faith, but of existing social and political institutions as well. By the middle of the twelfth century, sporadic and uncoordinated efforts on the part of the laical clergy and lay officials to contain it had proved already inadequate. Preaching missions, such as that of Bernard of Clairvaux in southern France, had yielded negligible results.

The Third Lateran Council in 1179 adopted a decree (canon 27), anathematizing heretics, known variously as Cathari, Patarini or Publicani, and all who supported them. With threw were grouped mercenary soldiers (Latin, ruterii, French, routiers), who were threatened with the same penalties as were the heretics. An indulgence of two years was offered any who would take up arms against them. At about the same time, the kings of France and England, at the request of Raymond V, united in an agreement to root out heresy from southern France by armed force., but they abandoned the plan in favor of further trial of preaching and disputation. This has been termed the first hint of a crusade in Languedoc. In the years immediately following the Council of Verona (1184), where pope and emperor agreed that the secular power should be employed in the service of the church for the extirpation of heresy, there was developed in addition to ecclesiastical legislation a growing body of secular law in the matter of heresy, which indicates that its suppression was moving from the occasional and the improvised to a conscious policy on the part of church and state looking toward its eradication.

In Languedoc all ranks of society were involved, either as heretics themselves or as harbor or defenders of heretics. Even the ecclesiastical state was not free from charges either of heresy or of lukewarmness in its pursuit. Raymond VI, who succeeded as count of Toulouse in 1194, lacked his father’s interest in tooting out heresy. Indeed, it would be difficult to argue that, given the weakness of his hold upon the lesser nobility in his lands and the autonomous position of the towns, he could have coped effectively with the challenge of heresy, even had he wished to do so.

Immediately upon his accession to the papal throne in 1198, Innocent III took energetic action to stem the spread of heresy in southern France. Beginning with the appointment of Renier and Guy, of the Cistercian order, as “commissioners” in southern France, there was a constant succession of papal legates especially appointed to that region primarily for the extirpation of heresy. Renier was raised to the position of legate in 1199; shortly thereafter Peter of Castelnau, archdeacon of Maguelonne and a Cistercian from the monastery of Fontfroide, was associated with him. To the legates already on the ground was added, in 12o5, Arnold Arnaldo, abbot of Citeaux who led a mission of twelve Cistercian abbots to the Midi, and who later became one of the most active and prominent of the leaders of the crusade. In 1212 Arnold was chosen archbishop of Narbonne. As these men died or were transferred their places were filled by others, sent from Rome or drawn from the French clergy. They devoted themselves to strengthening the local clergy and introducing reforms, to preaching, and to public disputations with the heretics.

On paper the legates possessed wide authority, but they had a difficult task, not only because of the normal regional resentment of “foreign” reformers, but partially because the very powers conferred upon than by the pope aroused the hostility of many of the local clergy as well as of the nobility. The result was that they had not only to combat heresy, but also to cope with the opposition, covert or declared, of the very element in society from whom they felt they should receive support. Peter of Castelnau in despair asked to be relieved of his mission and be allowed to return to his monastery, a request which Innocent refused.

To the aid of the legates there came in 12o6 bishop Diego of Osma and his assistant Dominic. They had been on a mission to Rome, and when that was completed had been urged by the pope to aid in the conversion of heretics in the Midi. They, too, resorted to public disputation with heretics, as a regular part of their procedure. But these debates, like other expedients of the legates, did little to diminish heresy. Feeling toward the legates was in some places so hitter that Peter of Castelnau was advised by his associates in the fall of 1206 to withdraw “for fear of assassination, in that the heretics hated him above all others”. This he did and rejoined his fellows only after a period of six months.

Gradually the judgment was forming that heresy could be suppressed only by the use of force, Already in 1204 and 1205 Innocent III had asked Philip Augustus to aid in this task. Finally, on November 17, 1207, the pope addressed an open letter to Philip, urging that he and his subjects take up arms to eradicate heresy in Languedoc offering the same indulgences as those conferred upon crusaders to the Holy Land, and suggesting the confiscation of the lands of heretics. To this letter Philip replied through bishop Odo of Paris. He did not refuse aid, but emphasized his commitments in the north, both military and financial, which would make it impossible, unless the pope could guarantee him a firm truce with john of England, and in addition the clergy and nobility would have to contribute generously to help defray the cost of such an expedition. And finally, he must be free to recall his troops at any time should the king of England break the truce. The pope was in no position to offer such guarantees, so the matter of the crusade remained in abeyance.

This direct call for a crusade antedates by some months the assassination of Peter of Castelnau which occurred on January 14, 1208. Peter had attended a conference at St. Gilles which had refused the request of count Raymond VI of Toulouse for absolution from a ban of excommunication which had been pronounced against him the previous year, in confirming this excommunication by letter of May 29, 1207, pope Innocent had written bitterly to Raymond, threatening him with loss of the county of Melgueill, which he held of the holy see, and with the unleashing of other nobles against his lands, to root out heresy and to take what they could conquer. This, together with the pope’s appeal to Philip Augustus in November, had sting Raymond to action. Hence his interview with the legates and his request for absolution and the raising of the interdict on his lands. The conference broke up irk recriminations and charges of bad faith, and Raymond repeatedly warned the legates that wherever they went they would be under his surveillance. The following morning, while about to cross the Rhone in the neighborhood of Arles, Peter of Castelnau was struck down by the hand of an unknown assassin. Raymond was at once suspected to be the instigator of the crime. The identity of the murderer was never ascertained, nor was the responsibility of Raymond VI ever proved or disproved. Early in March, the pope categorically laid the blame upon him and renewed the anathema of excommunication. But he subsequently modified the charge to one of suspicion of complicity, and Raymond himself steadfastly denied any knowledge of the crime prior to its execution. He was not an astute politician, but it is improbable that he would have committed such a blunder as to have countenanced so stupid an ad on the part of one of his retainers. Indeed, the legate had attracted to himself sufficient ill will to account for the murder as the rash act of an embittered nobleman. Rut whether Raymond wag guilty or not, the only course open to him, under the circumstances, would seem to have been a prompt appeal to the mercy of the church and an assurance of immediate action to discover the murderer and bring him to justice. Instead he temporized.

Raymond’s opponents acted without delay. On March 10 pope Innocent wrote to the king, prelates, nobles, and commoners throughout France, denouncing the murder, and declaring Raymond excommunicate as guilty of the crime and of heresy. Innocent invited any and all to take up arms against him and against all supporters of heresy and promised them any lands which they might wrest from the heretics, “saving the right of the haut suzerain”. To further this cause he urged the conclusion of truce between the kings of France and England. These letters were followed by a further communication of March 28 addressed to the then legates—Arnold Amalric, Navarre (bishop of Couserans), And Hugh Raymond (bishop of Riez)—calling for a crusade against the heretics of Languedoc and offering, as previously, the same indulgences granted to crusaders to the Holy land.

The response. of the nobility was immediate. William of Tudela writes that he never saw so tame a force as gathered in the spring of 12o9 to join the attack upon the Midi. The attitude of Philip Augustus was not so favorable. The pope in his letter of March to had asked him to lead the expedition for the chastisement of Raymond and the extirpation of heresy. Philip still had his hands full in the north, however, where large issues were at stake in his struggle with John of England and where relations with the empire were not satisfactory. He looked with a critical eye therefore, upon the drawing off by his vassals of any large number of fighting men for a War in the south. Moreover, his relations with Innocent were strained on more than one point, and the references in the pope’s letters of November 17, 1207, and March 10 to the confiscation of the lands of heretics aroused his suspicions at once. He now took occasion to point out firmly that, in the opinion of “learned advisers”, the necessary first step was the conviction of Raymond as a heretic: “Only then should you publish the judgment and invite us to confiscate the land, since he holds it of us in fief”. At the same time he endeavored, without much success, to limit the numbers of knights who might be drawn off for the southern crusade.

According to William of Tudela, in order to counter these preparations for a crusade Raymond VI sought a meeting with Arnold Amalric, who referred him to Innocent III for a decision, in the matter of absolution. Raymond also sought out his nephew Raymond Roger, viscount of Beziers and of Carcassonne, with whom he had been in conflict, and vainly urged upon him a united defense against the threat from the north. Raymond’s one remaining recourse lay in a direct appeal to the pope. Already toward the end of 1208 or the beginning of 1209 he had sent representatives to Rome asking for another legate, alleging that it was impossible for him to come to any agreement with Arnold Amalric, and offering to submit in all things to the pope’s will. Innocent sent his secretary Milo as legate, with instructions to maintain a conciliatory attitude in his relations with the count, but at the same time to be advised in all things by Arnold Amalric.

Through the instrumentality of the new legate Raymond was dramatically reconciled with the church at St. Gilles (on June 18, 1209). He was made to rehearse the charges preferred against him in the excommunications of 1207 and 1208 and to agree, so far as lay in his power, to correct the abuses therein detailed. These charges run as a refrain through all his subsequent negotiations with the clergy: (1) Raymond had not expelled heretics from his lands, but rather had favored them and had so comported himself as to be suspect of heresy; (2) he had harbored mercenary troops; (3) violated solemn feast days, (4) conferred public office upon Jews; (3) retained the lands of monasteries and churches, especially of St. Gilles; (6) maltreated the clergy, notably the bishops of Carpentras and Vaison, and committed deeds of brigandage against their property, (7) also he had fortified churches; (8) was suspected of involvement in the murder of Peter of Castelnau; (9) and had levied unjust tolls. All these acts he abjured, and as a pledge of good behavior he turned over to the clergy for their administration seven fortresses (mostly in the region of the Rhone), and placed the county of Melgueil, which he held from the holy see, under the virtual control of the clergy. The following day (June 19), at the instance of Milo, the count issued a document designed to carry out the terms of his submission, insofar as they concerned his relations with the clergy and their property, and ordered his officials in no way to molest them.

Raymond then asked to be allowed to take the cross against the heretics. The request was granted, and, armed with a papal letter of congratulation for his submission, he shortly went off to join the crusaders, who by this time were moving south through. the Rhone valley. He met the approaching army at Valence and appears it once to have established cordial relations with its leaders. His motives in thus throwing in his lot with the invaders from the north are not difficult to guess. He was probably moved less by religious fervor than by a prudent desire to keep watch over the crusaders, to learn their objectives, and to direct their attack against his troublesome nephew and vassal, Raymond Roger, in order to shield his own lands against devastation and conquest.

The crusading array was composed of contingents drawn widely from northern and central France. Despite the determined efforts of the pope over a period of years, it lacked the leadership either of king Philip or of his son Louis, but it did number among its leaden important members of the nobility, chief of whom were duke Odo of Burgundy and the counts of Nevers, St. Pol, and Boulogne (Hervey of Donzi, Walter of Châtillon and Reginald of Dammartin respectively), together with a considerable number of prelates, including the archbishops of Rheims, Rouen, and Sens, as well as members of the lesser nobility. Acting as overall leaders were the papal legates Arnold Amalric and Milo. No useful estimate of the size of the army can be made; in their report to the pope the Legates describe it as the greatest awry that lead ever been assembled in Christendom.

There is no need to follow in detail the campaigns of the crusade from the capture of Béziers July of 1209 to the Peace of Paris twenty years later. The more important steps in the conquest of the Midi may be grouped under six general heads: (1) the conquest of the lands of the Trencavel family (1209-1211); (2) the conquest of the Toulousain (1211-1213); (3) the intervention of king Peter of Aragon and the battle of Muret (1213); (4) the triumph of Simon of Monfort :  the Lateran Council (1213-1215); (5) the southern counter-attack (1215-1225); and (6) the final conquest by the crown (1225-1229).

The first attack of the crusading army was directed against the lands of the Trencavel family, ruled at this time by Raymond Roger, twenty-four years of age, courageous, attractive in personality, but gravely lacking in experience. He ruled as viscount of Béziers and of Carcassonne and lord of the Albigeois and of Razès. His lands formed a solid block, cutting across Languedoc roughly from the Herault on the east to the Hers on the west, and from the Tarn on the north to the Pyrenees mountains and Roussillon on the south, including within their boundaries the important towns of Albi, Béziers, and Carcassonne, and the strongholds of Cabaret and Minerve to the north, Termes to the south, and Lavaur to the west. Some of these regions were among those most thickly settled with heretics.

For these lands Raymond Roger did homage to count Raymond VI of Toulouse and to king Peter II of Aragon, but he had slight hope of support from either. His refusal to join forces with his uncle, Raymond, against the northerners had apparently been motivated by distrust of the count and undue confidence in his own strength. Although ultimately he did appeal to Peter of Aragon for aid in the defense of Carcassonne, Peter was not yet prepared to cross swords with those who were fighting under the authority of the church, and contented himself with diplomatic protest. Thus left alone, Raymond Roger called upon the citizens of Béziers to defend their city as best they might, while he himself strengthened Carcassonne for a determined stand.

Undaunted by the absence of their prince, the citizens of Béziers prepared for a siege, confident in the strength of their position and believing that they could hold out until the very size of the crusading army would defeat it because of the difficulty of procuring provisions. Their rash over-confidence led them to make a sortie, and in the melée which followed between them and the foot-soldiers of the crusading army the latter forced one of the gates, in the matter of a few hours the city was in the hands of the crusaders; the mounted troops never even saw action (July 22). On the side of the defenders all was confusion; resistance was at an end. The crusaders pillaged and slaughtered at will. Even discounting the lurid exaggerations of our sources—for example, that 7,000 were cremated in burning the church of is Madeleine— the loss of life must have been great, among orthodox as well as heretics. To finish the destruction the foot-soldiers burned one section of the city.

The example of Béziers was sufficient to strike terror into the people of the region, and many place opened their gates to the invaders, whose march from Béziers to Carcassonne was unopposed. The attempt of king Peter of Aragon to aid Raymond Roger by negotiation was fruitless; Carcassonne was invested and for two weeks withstood a siege, August 1—15. Then the summer heat, sickness, and lack of water forced capitulation. Raymond Roger was able to save his people, who were allowed to leave the city, “taking with them nothing but their sins”, only by submitting himself as a hostage. His death from dysentery a few months after led to ugly stories of foul play.

The relatively mild treatment accorded Carcassonne, after the destruction wrought at Béziers, is explained by the necessities of the crusader. Self-interest required that if they were to provision and house themselves, towns and countryside should be preserved rather than destroyed. And it was certainly to the interest of those who hoped to profit by confiscations and to settle in the Midi.

To this point leadership of the crusade had devolved upon the papal legates. By now, however, nearly the whole territory of Raymond Roger was in the hands of the crusaders. Upon whom should these lands be bestowed, and who should assume responsibility for the further prosecution of the war? After some preliminary offers to leading nobles among the crusading forces—the duke of Burgundy and the counts of Nevers and St. Pol—the choice fell upon Simon, earl of Leicester and lord of Montfort, an able and courageous noble from the Île de France, who accepted the honor with some show of reluctance. On the Fourth Crusade Simon had refused to follow the majority in turning aside to conquer Zara, but had proceeded to Palestine, where for a time he had fought the Moslems. When the call for a crusade against the heretics had been issued, he had gathered a troop from his ancestral lands southwest of Paris, and joined the expedition. He knew well the difficulties of the position offered him, but accepted it on the understanding that those who urged it upon him would stand by him in the hour of need.

Upon the choice of a leader and the completion of their forty-day service, the great majority of the crusaders returned home, leaving Simon with a handful of followers who, after the departure of the duke of Burgundy, numbered only about thirty knights. The winter of 1209-12 10 was a difficult period for Simon; his men were ambushed, and one stronghold after another fell away as their holders felt strong enough to break the agreements they had made when menaced by the invading northern host. King Peter of Aragon refused Simon’s proffered homage for the viscounty of Carcassonne and the lordship of Razès held of him.

In the spring of 1210 Simon’s fortunes took a turn for the better. His wife came south bringing with her much needed reinforcements. With these and other recruits that came later he was able to take the offensive, to reduce the towns and castles which had withdrawn allegiance during the previous winter, and successfully to besiege the two heavily fortified strongholds of Minerve and Termes, the latter capitulating on November 22 after a bitter four-month siege. Simon was now substantially master of the lands of the Trencavel family, Cabaret and Lavaur being the only important strongholds which still held out against him. The decision had to be made whether to rest here or proceed to attack lands held directly by the count of Toulouse.

In the winter of 1210 to—1211 it appeared for a while as though relations between the southerners and the crusaders might improve. The king of Aragon finally accepted the homage of Simon for Carcassonne and Razès and pursued negotiations looking toward a marriage between his son James and Amicie, a daughter of Simon, who was given custody of the boy then only three year of age. At the same time the king gave his sister Sancia in marriage to the son of Raymond of Toulouse, the future Raymond VII, who was in his fourteenth year. But friendly negotiation came to nothing when Raymond VI withdrew in bitterness from a council held at Montpelier early in 1211 at which this momentary rapprochement between Peter of Aragon and Simon had been effected.

The background of that incident was as follows. After the fall of Carcassonne to the crusaders Raymond VI had left their army, but appeal to have found difficulty in charting a clear course. According to the prelates, he had not fulfilled the promises made at St. Gilles in 1209. At a series of councils and conferences at Avignon (September 1209), Sr. Gilles (June-July 1210), Narbonne (January 1211), and Montpellier (January-February 1211) the accusations were always the same. Raymond sought absolution from the ban of excommunication, under which he had again been placed, and asked to be allowed to purge himself from the charges of heresy, favoring heretics, and complicity in the murder of Peter Castelnau; but for one reason or another his request was consistently disallowed by the prelates. Personally, as Raymond complained and as was surely true of Arnold Amalric and Thedisius (a notary of Genoa who had begun his carter in Languedoc as secretary to Milo) and some of them may have been haughty and hard men to deal with. As responsible representatives of the church, however, they seem to have arrived at substantially the same conclusions. The pope had his doubts at times, as when he wrote to Philip Augustus that he felt unsure just who was at fault in the failure of Raymond to purge himself, but he did insist that affirmative action be taken by the clergy on the ground.

Raymond had personally laid his case before his suzerains, Philip Augustus, the emperor Otto IV, and the pope. From them he received advice, but no real support. There is no convincing evidence that he made a genuine effort to fulfill the obligations which he had assumed under the terms of his absolution in June of 1209, or that he made any purposeful move to defend himself in case of direct attack upon his lands by the crusaders. The legates felt confirmed in their judgment of him as a shifty individual whose word was of no value.

With this background the council—or probably more accurately, conference— assembled at Montpellier and held two sessions in late January and early February 1211. There the clergy laid before Raymond a memorandum of terms upon which he might be reconciled with the church. Peter of Les Vaux-de-Cernay contents himself with remarking that these were very favorable. William of Tudela, however, paints an entirely different, and probably a far truer, picture. Besides the previous demands upon Raymond, he says that the clergy now required that fortifications be leveled in his territories. Imposed limitations on the habitat, food, and clothing of his vassals; required Raymond to allow Simon and his crusaders free passage through his lands so long as they committed no excesses; and bound him to go on a crusade to the Holy Land, after which he should join one of the crusading orders. If Raymond did not accept these demands he was to be driven from his lands. When this memorandum was react to Peter of Aragon, he is said to have remarked: “By the Lord Almighty, there is here something that needs amendment”. Accounts agree that Raymond left the conference hastily and without further word with the legates; Peter intimates because of an untoward omen; William states to publish the infamous terms of the ultimatum throughout his territories.

These terms have been variously regarded as a product of the poetic imagination of the author of the Chanson, as a fabrication of Raymond in an attempt to arouse his vassals to resist an expected attack upon his immediate territories, or as a shrewd plan of the clergy to present conditions which they could be sure he would reject. The real purpose in the action of the legates appears to have been to cry to justify a direct attack upon the lands of Raymond, for which Simon now felt himself ready. A fresh sentence of excommunication was directed against the count, already excommunicated, and his lands were laid under interdict. This sentence was later confirmed by the pope.

As a preliminary to the attack, Simon of Montfort turned to the reduction of the two strong points still remaining in the lands of Raymond Roger’s son Raymond Trencavel, Cabaret and Lavaur. The former he had attempted to take in 1209, shortly after the capture of Carcassonne, but that attack had failed. Now, with fresh troops from the north under the leadership of bishop Peter of Paris, he was prepared to try again. Peter Roger, lord of Cabaret, shrank from the encounter, yielded without a struggle and received land elsewhere in compensation. Siege was then laid to Lavaur. The struggle for that stronghold, which lasted from March to May 1211, was bitter. Provisions and troops were sent by one party in Toulouse to support the crusaders. The position of Raymond in this regard is not entirely clear. At first he made no effective move to halt either the provisions or the men. Later, however, he forbade provisioning the crusaders from Toulouse, and he did send some troops to aid it the defense of Lavaur. William of Tudela believed that, had this aid been really substantial, the stronghold would not have fallen.

On behalf of his widowed sister Geralda, countess of Lavaur, the town was defended by Amery of Montréal, who had twice made his peace with Simon and twice returned to the opposition. His defection, coupled with the ambush and destruction of a column of “pilgrims” at Montgey by count Raymond Roger of Folk, may help to explain Simon’s harsh treatment of the defenders when the stronghold was finally rendered. Aimery and some eighty knights were either hanged or put to the sword; a number of heretics, variously estimated at up to 400 were burned. Countess Geralda was cast into a well and covered with stones. This severity represents a change in policy on the part of Simon, who had up to this time made some real attempt to conciliate the southern baronage. Constant defection, however, gradually convinced him of the futility of such a course, and increasingly he turned to harsh treatment of persons and destruction of strongholds which he was unable adequately to garrison.

Reinforced by fresh troops under count Theobald of Bar, Simon of Montfort now essayed a direct attack upon the city of Toulouse. But he quickly recognized that his forces were insufficient adequately to invest the town and to cope with the troops that the counts of Toulouse, Foix, and Comminges were able to bring to its defense. He remained before Toulouse less than two weeks (June 17-29), withdrawing thence to the region of Foix where he ravaged the territories of count Raymond Roger, and thereafter to Cahors where he accepted the homage of the nobles of Quercy, promised him by bishop William of Cahors while they were before Toulouse.

Already in this campaign of the summer of 1211 may be traced the beginnings of a policy of encirclement of the city of Toulouse, which becomes clearer during the following year. But Simon’s position was constantly being undercut by the return north of contingents that had completed their forty-day service; while at the same time Raymond was purposefully gathering reinforcements from the Toulousain, the Agenais, and the territories of Foix, Comminges, and Béarn. He even induced Savary of Mauléon, seneschal of Aquitaine under John of England, to come to his support with a considerable body of mercenaries. The troops thus assembled constituted a respectable force, by the testimony of our sources far superior to any that Simon could put in the field.

Raymond was thus at length in a position to defend his lands and even to assume the offensive. But he was no soldier. Simon elected to stand at Castelnaudary, close to the boundary between the Toulousain and the lands which he had conquered from viscount Raymond Roger. The decisive moment in the engagement came when the count of Foix, who had left the besieging army to attack an escorted convoy of provisions, was defeated and driven from the field while the count of Toulouse remained inactive under the walls of the town. Raymond withdrew, and lost what appears at this distance to have been a good opportunity to defeat and perhaps capture the redoubtable Simon.

This check did no however, stop the defection of towns and strongholds from Simon; more than fifty are reported to have returned to allegiance to the count of Toulouse during the fall of 1211. Nothing could better illustrate the unstable situation in Languedoc and the inconclusive character of the warfare that was being waged. Despite the astronomical figures mentioned by the sources, the actual troops engaged were few, frequently only a handful. Towns and fortresses would change hands as one or another of the contestants received reinforcements of a few score, or at most a few hundred, real fighting-men. Simon had a small core of faithful associates, drawn largely from among his neighbors in the Île de France, several of whom came with him to the Midi in 1209 and stood by him in fair fortune or foul, frequently until death separated them. These he rewarded with fiefs taken from heretics or rebels. Simon had to depend upon these stalwarts to hold the line as best they might during the long intervals when there were no forty-days “pilgrims” to lend their aid. As time wore on, Simon also had to make increasing use of mercenaries—the employment of whom was one of the bitterest charges brought against Raymond VI and his associates.

But for offensive purposes a free flow of crusaders seeking the liberal indulgences which could be won by service of only forty days was indispensable. Thus in the winter of 1211-1212 the addition of about one kindred knights led by Robert Mauvoisin turned the balance in favor of Simon; and a larger reinforcements in the spring enabled him to reconquer numerous strongholds in the regions of the Tarn and of the Garonne and then to move northwest to the Agenais, whither he had been invited by bishop Arnold of Agen, to receive the submission of that district. In this sweep the most important engagements were the siege and reduction of Penne­d'Agenais on the Lot, northeast of Agen, which capitulated on July 26, 1212, and the capture of Moissac on the Tarn some six weeks later. At Penne a large part of Simon’s army, having completed the forty-day service, melted away before the siege ended and he was constrained to give favorable terms to the garrison, despite the fact that the defenders had been so hard pressed that they had burned a considerable section of the town and had driven out the noncombatants. At Moissac, after a tough fight with much atrocity on both sides, the townsmen, who had employed mercenaries, saved themselves by capitulating and turning their defenders, including some reinforcements from Toulouse, over to Simon, whose forces quickly dispatched them. Other towns in the neighborhood yielded without a fight.

Simon of Montfort now held the territories north and east of Toulouse, except for the fortified town of Montauban, which he avoided. He then proceeded south and southwest, his strategy obviously being to isolate Toulouse and Montauban. He raided south along the Ariège river and then east as far as Tarbes, where he turned north to the Agenais. On this campaign he received the homage of a considerable number of nobles who had supported Raymond. The encirclement of Toulouse was virtually complete.

From conquest Simon now turned to the organization of the lands acquired during the past three years.  He called an assembly to meet at Pamiers (November 1212). To this meeting came members of the clergy, the nobility, and some few representatives of the towns, though only the names of the clergy have come down to us. From this group he appointed a commission of twelve to draw up statutes for his conquered territories, composed of four members of the clergy (the bishops of Toulouse and Causerans, 2 Templars and one Hospitaller), four from the northern nobility, and four southern laymen, two knights and two burgesses. The document, called the statutes of Pamiers, which resulted from the deliberations of this commission was promulgated on December 1. The essential element in it was the attempt to impose upon the Midi substantially the custom of the region of Paris, with its tighter feudal liens, especially in the matter of military service. What might have been its effect had a longer and more peaceful period of assimilation prevailed can never be known. For the statutes never really took root in the immediate domains of the counts of Toulouse. Simon’s conquest of these lands was too fleeting; such elements as were introduced were largely swept away by the return of this part of the ancestral inheritance to Raymond VII by the Peace of Paris in 1229. In the lands directly annexed by the crown, however, they appear to have had a longer life and greater influence.

Simon was given no time for the peaceful organization of his conquered lands. Peter of Aragon, whose effort to this point had been to restrict hostilities and to effect an accommodation between the conflicting parties, now felt that the activities of Simon had endangered his interests to the point where he must roast his lot more definitely with Raymond of Toulouse and his colleagues. But before committing himself finally to this course he made one last attempt art conciliation at a council held at Lavaur in mid-January of 1213.

Certain events of the months preceding the holding of this council affected the diplomatic moves during and immediately subsequent to its deliberations. After Simon’s attack upon Toulouse in June 1211, representatives of that city had written to Peter of Aragon urging his protection from what they considered unjustified persecution by the legates and the crusading forces. Toward the end of 1211 Raymond VI had visited king Peter and had solicited his assistance against Simon. In the late spring of 1212 Peter had visited Toulouse, taken the city under his protection, and appointed a vicar to act for him. Shortly thereafter, on July 16, 1212 he had participated in the signal victory of Las Navas de Tolosa over the Spanish Moslems. Peter’s position was now much strengthened: he was hailed as a savior of Christendom. And he was free to intervene in the Midi.

Letters of this period indicate the perplexities and uncertainties of papal policy. Innocent Ill desired to conciliate Philip Augustus whose assistance he needed in his struggle with Otto of Brunswick and John of England. He also wanted a new crusade against the Aiyubids, one of is dearest projects. The Albigensian crusade was for him, therefore, a necessary but annoying interruption to larger plans; he must deal with heresy, of course, but at the same time not permit the crusade to proceed to the point of alarming Philip. There was also still in his mind a real question as to the guilt of Raymond and the purity of the motives urging forward Simon and his supporters. In the spring of 1212, he wrote to his legates, Arnold Amalric, now archbishop-elect of Narbonne, and bishop Raymond of Uzès, urgently insisting that they obey his previous orders, to give Raymond of Toulouse an opportunity to clear himself, before confiscating his property or that of his heirs. He thus explicitly denied their previous request for permission, to dispose of lands confiscated from Raymond, “since the Apostle enjoins not only avoidance of evil but even the appearance thereof”. Innocent concluded with the statement that he had asked bishop Hugh of Riez and master Thedisius to proceed in accordance with his previous instructions. If they found that the delay was Raymond’s fault, they should so report, without equivocation, in order that he might act in the matter as the necessities of peace and the faith required.

Sometime in the early winter of 1212-1213, also, king Peter of Aragon sent envoys to represent to the pope how far Simon had overreached himself in attacking Peter’s vassals, counts Raymond Roger of Fix and Bernard of Comminges and viscount Gaston of Béarn, and his brother-in-law, the count of Toulouse, none of whom had ever been convicted of heresy. These emissaries found ready ears for their appeal. In mid-January of 1213, the pope wrote letters to his legates in Languedoc and to Simon of Montfort, the effect of which was to halt the crusade because it had accomplished its objectives; he bade them turn the arms of the crusader against the "infidel”. He scolded Simon for attacking good Christians, and directed him to render to Peter the service which he owed him for the lands of the Trencavel family. He ordered the legates to assemble a council of clerics, nobles, and “other prudent men” to consider proposals which Peter would lay before them, and to report to Innocent their recommendations, that he might thus be enabled to make a proper decision in the matter.

This belated effort to reach an equitable settlement threw the implacable extremists into consternation. In their minds nothing short of the destruction of Raymond and his house would guarantee peace for the clergy in Languedoc and the opportunity for Simon to enjoy the fruits of his hard-fought campaigns.

It was in this climate that the council met at Lavaur in mid-January 1213. Peter II, who had spent several days in Toulouse, requested a hearing before the council and was invited to submit his observations in writing. This he did in a memorandum defending the counts of Comminges and Foix and the viscount of Béarn against a the charge of heresy and urging the return of their lands. Count Raymond of Toulouse he pictured as ready to make amends for any injury he might have done the church or the clergy, and as ardently desirous of receiving absolution. If, however, Raymond’s lands could not be restored to him personally, Peter asked that he be allowed to go on an extended crusade, either to Spain or to the Holy Land, and that, until convincing proof of his good intentions could be established, his lands be held in trust for his son, who was blameless. The king of Aragon offered to act as trustee.

In a bitter letter the clergy at the council replied to these proposals, refusing to absolve Raymond, on the ground that this matter was no longer within their competence, and maintaining that Comminges, Foix, and Béarn were nests of heresy and their rulers abettors of heretics. They rejected Peter’s request for time in which to effect an accord, and warned him that persistence in his present course would invite ecclesiastical censures. Far from being deterred by the firm tone of the prelates Peter appealed his case to the pope and took under his protection the counts of Toulouse, Foix, and Comminges, the viscount of Béarn, and the consuls of Toulouse, all of whom swore fealty to him.

The issue was thus joined. Though probably still unaware of the precise contents of the papal letters favoring the proposals of the king of Aragon, Simon and his supporters were in no doubt as to their general tenor and the necessity of countering the good impression created at Rome by the Aragonese agents. A lengthy memorandum, setting forth their position in the conflict with king Peter, was therefore prepared and placed in the hands of representatives for delivery to the pope. They also took the precaution of securing supporting letters from other members of the clergy of southern France. With greater or less emphasis that all asserted the “necessity” of the destruction of Raymond VI and his house and the conquest and assimilation by Simon of what remained of his lands.

The impact of this delegation, together with the supporting letters was decisive by the late spring. Letters bearing the papal seals were sent from Rome in late May or early June to king Peter, count Simon, archbishop Arnold Amalric, and bishop Fulk of Toulouse, the tenor of which was quite other than that of the letters dispatched by the pope in mid-January. The crusading party had been completely successful: Luchaire presumes this last series of letters to have been dictated to the papal notaries by the representatives from the Council of Lavaur. Indeed, Innocent harshly upbraided the king of Aragon for having so grossly misinformed him regarding the true state of affairs in Languedoc, bade him withdraw his protection from Toulouse, and declared the rulers of Foix, Comminges, and Béarn under the necessity of securing absolution from the archbishop of Narbonne. He acceded to Peter’s request for a special papal emissary to be sent to Languedoc to work for peace. Pending. his arrival, the pope enjoined upon Peter the maintenance of a firm truce between himself and Simon (which the king had asked for at Lavaur, but had been refused). Failure to comply with these conditions would lay Peter of Aragon open to ecclesiastical censures.

There is little indication of any real effort toward reconciliation in Languedoc. however. Peter of Les Vaux-de-Cernay reports a suggested conference between Peter of Aragon and Simon of Montfort early in the spring of 1213, but they failed to get together, the upshot being mutual defiance. Both sides hastened to lay their cases before Philip Augustus, with no apparent result. The papal letter of January, which the king of Aragon was careful to publish in the north, most certainly reduced the number of new recruits for the army of Simon, and the preaching of Robert of Courçon (Curzon), papal legate in France, for a crusade to Palestine served further to turn men’s minds from the southland. But Simon was heartened by the news that the son of Philip Augustus, the future Louis VIII, who had for some time contemplated leading an expedition to Languedoc, was now about to take the cross for that purpose. That small hope was dashed, however, when in view of the threatening situation in the north, his plans were canceled. Simon was therefore compelled to make do as best he might with the slim forces at his command, aided by such few recruits as did arrive. Peter meanwhile returned to Aragon and called upon his nobles to aid him in the defense of Languedoc, justifying his action on the grounds that the count of Toulouse was being unjustly attacked and deprived of his lands, and that family ties required that he go to his assistance.

Both sides looked forward to a derisive engagement. On information that Peter of Aragon had crossed the Pyrenees with a body of troops, Simon of Montfort began pulling in his lines and awaited the movement of Peter and the counts of Toulouse, Foix, and Comminges, who joined forces in Toulouse late in August or early in September, and moved without delay to the investment of Muret, at the junction of the Louge with the Garonne some twelve miles south of Toulouse. Although ill-provisioned and lightly held by crusading troops, Muret constituted a threat to communications between Toulouse and the south, through which Peter had just passed and where his presence had encouraged considerable defection from allegiance to Simon of Montfort.

Simon was at Fanjeaux, some forty miles to the southeast, when he learned of the allied intention to attack Muret. Ordering such aid as could be spared from Carcassonne to follow him, he entered Muret on the afternoon of September 11. The allies had already made a first attack upon the garrison of the town, but had withdrawn, apparently at the suggestion of Peter of Aragon, who decided to allow free entry to the small force under Simon’s command, the better to destroy it later.

Much has been written on the battle of Muret. To everyone present except Simon his cause seemed hopeless. He insisted upon his trust in God, and charged that Peter had come to the support of Raymond for frivolous reasons. The clergy advised caution and again strove to deflect Peter of Aragon from the course he had chosen. Though the threat of excommunication did hang over his head, there was no one bold enough to charge him, the warrior of Christendom against Islam at Las Navas de Tolosa, with heresy or even abetting heretics. His championship of the cause of the nobles of Languedoc, therefore, pointed up the hollowness of the oft-reiterated claim that the crusaders were seeking only to root our heresy from the land. The king was not to be turned from his decision by the endeavors of the clergy.

There was dissension among the allies, however, although they knew that provisions were scarce in the town, and that Simon'’ only hope lay in a quick victory. Raymond’s sensible plan for awaiting the inevitable attack in strongly fortified defensive position was nevertheless scornfully rejected by Peter as unworthy of a soldier. It is probable that the root of this controversy lay deeper than a matter of tactics; the kings of Aragon had long been striving to extend and consolidate their power north of the Pyrenees and it has been suggested that, though Raymond had welcomed Aragonese aid and had sworn fealty to Peter, he regretted his bargain and distrusted Peter almost as much as he feared Simon.

The battle of Muret was joined on the morning of September 12, 1213, after hope of reaching some accommodation with Peter was abandoned by the prelates who accompanied Simon. Even while the clergy were still attempting to negotiate, some troops from the command of the count of Foix made an exploratory attack upon an open gate of the town. They quickly withdrew and fell out of battle formation. This was the signal for the crusaders to break negotiations and proceed to the attack. With greatly inferior numbers, Simon realized he must catch the allies in the open field and, if possible, off balance, his force being too small to attack even a lightly fortified position. In this way Peter’s decision to meet him in the field rather than to remain in the protected camp played into his hand.

Surprised, while assembling, by the rapidity of Simon’s attack, the troops of the count of Foix received the shock of the first assault and were hurled back upon the division under the king of Aragon. Here the lack of cohesion on the part of the allies became immediately apparent. Some of the Gascon and Catalan troops under Peter fled the field. Simon’s men fought their way to where the king was stationed and, though the Aragonese rallied about him and fought to the last, Peter was struck down; his surviving followers were thrown into confusion by his death. Meanwhile Simon himself led his division on a flanking movement which completed the rout. The engagement lasted only a matter of minutes; there is no record that Raymond and his troops ever got into the fight at all, thus repeating the failure at Castelnaudary two years previously.

The victory was complete. With the mounted troops of the allies in flight from the field, Simon turned to deal with the allies’ foot-soldiers who, in the belief that their cavalry were winning the engagement, had proceeded to attack the town. Some were ridden down; others, in an attempt to gain their ships, anchored down the Garonne northeast of the town, were drowned in the river. The sources place at 15,000 to 20,000 the numbers of those, mostly foot-soldiers of course, who thus lost their lives. These figures seem very high indeed. There is agreement, however, that losses among the mounted troops were slight for the crusaders, while for the allies, particularly the Aragonese, they were substantial.

However the figures are interpreted the engagement represented a brilliant victory of a small force (perhaps 800-1ooo mounted men), possessing determination, decision, and discipline, over a larger one (perhaps 3,ooo-4,000 mounted men), weakened by divided counsels and lacking in leadership and training. The hero of Las Navas de Tolosa presented a sorry spectacle as a commander un the plain of Muret, and the count of Foix, good soldier that he had proved himself in other engagements, failed here to distinguish himself, while, as we have seen, Raymond VI figured not at all in the battle.

The defeat of Muret eliminated Aragon as a threat to the crusaders, and constituted a severe check to the pretensions of Aragonese kings north of the Pyrenees; towns and nobles that had filtered in their submission to Montfort were in appreciable numbers again constrained to make terms with him; recruiting in the north for the crusade, which had languished for a time after pope Innocent’s letters of the preceding January had, in effect declared it ended, was again pushed with vigor by Robert of Courçon and other preachers; the leaders of the opposition were for the moment stunned and planless. The counts of Toulouse, Foix and Comminges met at Toulouse shortly after the defeat at Muret to discuss future action, but nothing seems to have come of this meeting. Raymond VI and his young son withdrew for a few months to the protection of king John of England.

Simon of Montfort on the other hand, continued the war with renewed vigor, strengthened somewhat by the arrival of a few new crusaders from the north. Completely disillusioned by the recent defections he now pursued a systematic policy of destroying strongholds which he was unable to garrison. With rapid thrusts he raided through the counties of Foix and Comminges.  Thence he turned eastward to the Rhone, where he made alliances designed to bring the marquisate of Provence effectively under his control. From Provence he returned early in 1124 to Narbonne where the viscount, Aimery, influenced by a group of Aragonese who were seeking from Simon the return of their boy king James I, challenged his authority. The quarrel was quieted for the moment by a new papal legate, Peter of Benevento. After this episode Simon proceeded, with considerable reinforcements, on a wide swing through the Agenais, as far as Marmande on the Garonne, a portion of which he destroyed while leaving unmolested the castle, which was held by troops of John of England; to Casseneuil on the Lot, which he reduced after a considerable siege; through Quercy and into southern Périgord, where, on the ground that they harbored heretics, he captured four strongholds on the Dordogne, and thence through Rouergue to Rodez, its capital city, where after considerable dispute he was recognized as overlord by count Henry (November 7, 1214). With the subsequent acquisition of the strong­hold of Sévérac, some twenty-five miles to the east of Rodez, Simon could feel himself in effective control of substantially all the lands of Raymond of Toulouse. There remained, however, the problem of securing satisfactory recognition of his conquests.

For such recognition favorable action by pope Innocent III was essential. This step the pope still hesitated to take. The defeat of the allies at Muret and their appeal for absolution and reconciliation had led him In January 1214 to appoint Peter of Benevento as legate in Languedoc with instructions to follow a conciliatory line. Peter of Les Vaux-de-Cernay exclaims in glee on the astute policy pursued by Peter in dangling before the southerners the hope of reconciliation while Simon employed the time in establishing firmly his hold upon the lands of the count of Toulouse, but there is nothing in the record to indicate that Peter did more than carry out faithfully the pope’s instructions. In April he received back into the church the counts of Comminges, Foix, and Toulouse, together with the citizens of Toulouse. Also, in obedience to a letter from the pope, Simon of Montfort met the legate near Narbonne, and finally delivered to him James, the young son of Peter II of Aragon, for return to his homeland. Peter of Benevento accompanied the young king James I to Aragon and remained south of the Pyrenees for some months. Meanwhile Simon of Montfort had been strengthened by considerable reinforcements from the north, led by Robert of Courçon as papal legate to France, and William, the archdeacon of Paris. Other duties required Robert to leave the crusaders at Le Puy, but there are occasional references to his presence in the south, and in July q214 at St. Livrade he confirmed Simon of Montfort and his heirs in possession of the lands conquered from the heretics or their supporters in the Albigeois, Agenais, Quercy, and Rouergue, and any others which he might have acquired “within the bounds of our authority”. In view of the hesitation of the pope and the reconciliation of Count Raymond and other leaders of the resistance some three months previously, such confirmation appears hasty and it is equally difficult to harmonize it with decisions taken a few months later. There is, however, no record that the legate was disciplined for his action.

At Montpelier, in January of the following year (1215), five archbishops, twenty-eight bishops, and a large number of other clergy and lay magnates met in council under the presidency of Peter of Benevento, by then returned from Aragon, to consider the important question of the disposal of the lands of the count of Toulouse. Their recommendation was unanimous; the lands should be given to Simon of Montfort, who should also succeed to All Raymond’s honors and titles. In Toulouse and all the lands held by the count, as well as in the other lands occupied by the crusaders, Simon was to be chosen “prince and sole ruler”. They requested the legate immediately to invest him with these lands. This Peter was unable to do, however, under the terms of his mission, and the matter had to be referred to the pope. The decision of Innocent III was announced in letters to the legate, the prelates, the nobles, and Simon, all under date of April 1, and all to the same purport: final disposition of the lands which Simon had conquered must await the decision of a general council which the pope had called; pending that decision, Simon was to have custody of these lands, together with the revenues and rightsjurisdictions and responsibility for defending them as the legate should determine.

Simon accepted the pope’s pronouncement with what grace he could, perhaps constrained to do so by the news, received shortly after the Council of Montpellier, that the long-projected expedition of Louis, heir to Philip Augustus, was actually under way (April 1215). Both Simon and the papal legate probably received the news with some foreboding; the former could not be certain how king Philip might view his conquer and the latter felt none too sure that his recent decisions, especially regarding Narbonne and Toulouse, would meet with Louis’s approval. Both hastened to meet Louis, Simon at Vienne, Peter at Valence, and both were at once reassured by the friendly attitude of the prince royal, who made it clear that he had no wish to upset any of the dispositions already made.

The progress of Louis and his followers across Languedoc, from the Rhone to Toulouse, was in the nature of a triumphal procession. Certain questions, involving the disposition of strongholds, which for the time had been kept in the hand of the legate, were settled. Thus it was determined that the walls of Narbonne and Toulouse should be destroyed, greatly to the disgust of their citizens, who were, however, for the moment powerless to offer opposition. The castle of Foix was given to Simon, who also obtained, in accordance with instructions in the papal letters of April 21 effective control of all the lands of count Raymond. These dispositions having been effected and Louis and his army having completed the requisite forty-day service, the crusaders turned north again (early June). Within a short time thereafter the legate Peter proceeded to Rome. To consolidate his administration Simon made a tour through the Toulousain, the Agenais, and into southern Périgord.

At the Fourth Lateran Council, which met in November 1215, there was debate as to the final disposition of lands conquered and administered by Simon of Montfort. Of this, two of our chief sources treat only briefly, but the Chanson has a lengthy account in which the arguments for and against the claims of Simon are fully stated. How much of this is based on a true report of discussions held during the council, and how much is the product of poetic imagination, it is impossible to say, but the tart admission of Peter of Les Vaux-de-Cernay that there were those, even among the clergy, who opposed attribution of the lands to Simon, and the final decision of the council indicate that there was substantial difference of opinion, and that the pope himself was not entirely happy in the judgment he was called upon to pronounce.

If we are to believe the anonymous author of the Chanson the leading protagonists were bishop Fulk of Toulouse, who spoke hotly for Simon, and count Raymond Roger of Foix, who spoke chiefly for himself. Innocent III is made to assume a mediating position, questioning how Raymond of Toulouse, who had sought and received absolution, and especially his son, who had been guilty of nothings could justly be deprived of their lands. Simon was not present at the council, but was represented by his brother Guy and was staunchly supported by the overwhelming majority of the French clergy there present. Raymond VI and his son were both present, but silent, so far as the record indicates. The son’s claim was pressed apparently by representatives of his uncle, king John of England; the father’s, by several nobles of Languedoc and by a few members of the clergy, chief of whom were archdeacon Hugh of Lyons and Arnold Amalric, archbishop of Narbonne. Arnold Amalric from the beginning of the crusade through the Council of Lavaur had been Raymond’s most outspoken enemy among the clergy; but his early insistence that the only possible solution of the problem of heresy in Languedoc lay in the dispossession of the house of St Gilles and the investment of Simon with its lands seems to have been greatly modified by his recent contest with the latter for prestige and power in Narbonne.

However persuasive may have been the legal argument in favor of the count of Toulouse, and whatever may have been the private preference of the pope, the needs of the church, the diplomatic situation at the moment, and the logic of the crusade demanded that substantial consideration be given to the claims of Simon of Montfort. The final decision of the council on November 3o confirmed by a papal bull of December 14 was therefore to that effect. Raymond VI was declared guilty of harboring heretics and routiers, and was deprived of his lands, but so long as he showed himself worthy, he was to receive an annual provision of 400 marks, and his wife was to be protected in her dower rights; all lands conquered from heretics or their supporters were to be assigned to Simon; the remaining lands of Raymond, which had not been conquered by the crusaders, and which consisted chiefly of the marquisate of Provence, were to be held by the church in trust for young Raymond until he should come of age and should show himself worthy to receive them. Lands of Raymond Roger, the count of Foix, were reserved for later consideration. By a letter of December 21 Innocent III appointed bishop Arnold of Nimes and the archdeacon of Genflans to consider and report upon the claims made by Raymond Roger; pending final decision they were to place the castle of Foix under the jurisdiction of abbot Berengar of St. Thibéry, and Simon of Montfort was to be enjoined from any hostile action against the count. Soon after this Raymond Roger regained his lands. The disposition made of the county of Comminges is not known, but the presumption is that it was awarded to Simon.

The history of the ten years subsequent to the Fourth Lateran Council is that of the reconquest of their lands by the two Raymonds. The success of Simon of Montfort carried with if certain liabilities. Never a man of easy temper and warm personality, he had experienced difficulty in winning and retaining the support of any large number of those over whom he had extended his rule. As time wore on, the strain under which he lived made him lets ready to seek or to accept compromise or accommodation. This heightened the impression, whether justified or not, that he sought power for its own sake and, under the cloak of stamping out heresy, was intent principally upon carving out lands for himself. As noted above, it is not difficult to find in the correspondence of Innocent III indications of hesitancy in supporting this champion of the church, and of fear lest the crusade would proceed—or indeed had proceeded—beyond the objectives which the pope had in mind.

In accordance with the decision of the Lateran Council Simon took determined steps to strengthen his position in Languedoc, and to secure recognition of his conquests by Philip Augustus. He sought especially to make good his claim to the title duke of Narbonne. He first appealed to the pope against the renewed claims to that title put forth by archbishop Arnold Amalric, and then in February 1216 he marched upon Narbonne, prepared to employ force if necessary. Met at the gates of the city by the archbishop whom he contemptuously thrust aside, despite the excommunication which Arnold pronounced against him, he even went so far as to command the celebration of mass in the ducal chapel, in his disdain for an interdict which the archbishop laid upon the city. Efforts of the clergy to allay the unseemly quarrel were without success. But Simon ultimately established his position; he was granted the title by Philip Augustus some two months later and continued to hold it until his death, as did his son after him.

From Narbonne Simon proceeded to Toulouse, where he received the oath of allegiance of the citizens, ordered them to level their walls, and strengthened the fortifications of the comital residence, the Château Narbonnais. Thence he journeyed to Paris where Philip Augustus invested him with the lands and titles formerly held of him by count Raymond. At no time since the beginning of the crusade had his position appeared so secure as in the spring of 1216. But this was more seeming than real. Crusading recruits were now being deflected elsewhere. Immediately after the close of the Lateran Council, Innocent III had renewed the call for a strong crusading effort to Palestine. Simon was forced more and more to dependence upon mercenary troops.

While Simon was working to establish a firm grip upon his newly acquired lands, the Raymonds were likewise busy. After conferring with the pope, immediately upon the close of the councils Raymond VI withdrew from Rome to Genoa and was there later joined by his son. Together they journeyed to Marseille, where they were well received, and thence on invitation to Avignon, where they were acclaimed by noble and townsmen. From the support there offered them the immediate assumption of authority in the marquisate of Provence seemed assured of success and the possibility of the retinues of their lands just west of the Rhone was a hope.

Raymond VI thereupon left for Aragon to seek aid in that quarter, leaving the young Raymond to consolidate his successes in the Venaissin. At this juncture the latter received intimation that the citizens of Beaucaire, the place of his birth nineteen years previously, would open its gates to him. This strongly fortified town on the west bank of the Rhone had been enfeoffed to Simon in 1215 by archbishop Michael of Arles, and he had placed Lambert of Thury over it as seneschal. But there was serious question whether Beaucaire did not properly belong with the Provencal lands which were being held in trust for the young Raymond; so he crossed the Rhone with troops drawn from the nobility and townsmen of the east bank.

The garrison of Beaucaire was quickly driven to the fortress to the north of the town, where it was closely invested by land and water. Repeated sorties failed to break Raymond’s lines; the besieged were deprived of access to fresh supplies of food and water. Simon’s brother Guy and his son Amalric, who were in the Toulousain, set out with the troops at their command to succor the garrison, and an urgent appeal was sent to Simon lo hasten his return from northern France. All efforts, even those of Simon himself when he finally arrived, failed to raise the siege. By the end of August 1216, after an investment lasting some three months, the garrison was reduced by the lack of food and water to such straits that Simon was constrained to yield the stronghold with the understanding that the garrison be allowed to retire unmolested. His decision in this matter was undoubtedly influenced by disquieting reports from Toulouse to the effect that Raymond VI had crossed the Pyrenees from Aragon and had entered that city.

The success of the southern forces at Beaucaire set off a chain reaction. The towns, which from the start of the crusade, and frequently irrespective of their orthodoxy, had shown considerable distrust of Simon of Montfort and his followers, became increasingly opposed to the northern occupation as time wore on and the evidences of lust for power and conquest on the pan of the northerners multiplied. The nobility also now began to rally around the house of St. Gilles in the apparent hope that the younger Raymond might prove a leader of sufficient strength to cope with the invaders.

All this called for prompt and decisive action on the part of Simon. By rapid marches he moved on Toulouse, where he found the situation quite out of hand. Raymond VI had withdrawn upon news of his approach, but the inhabitants of the town had forced the crusader garrison to take refuge in the Chateau Narbonnais. Nor were they cowed by the approach of Simon. They threw barricades, across the streets, repaired their dismantled fortifications as best they might, and with determination fought both the attack of Simon’s troops and the fires which he had set in several quarters of the town. Resistance was, however, ultimately broken, and through the efforts of the clergy a capitulation was agreed upon. Simon harshly demanded the payment of 30,000 marks’ indemnity; the retention of hostages whom he had seized by some estimated at 400; the further destruction of any edifices that might serve as defensive positions in case of subsequent riots or rebellion; and added strengthening of the Château Narbonnais. The heaviness of the money payment indicates the financial straits to which Simon had been reduced in his attempt to maintain in the field even the semblance of an adequate fighting force. Any thought of conciliation was now at an end. Rebels must submit or accept the consequences.

However, instead of inducing submission this policy merely served to stiffen resistance. As was shown at Beaucaire and at Toulouse it was in the towns that the increasingly determined resistance of the southern provinces was focussed. The writer of the Chanson reports, also, divided counsels among Simon’s staunchest lieutenants. The poet tells a long story of debates among the crusading leaders at Beaucaire, and at Toulouse he makes Simons brother Guy and Alan of Roucy, two of his most devoted followers, heap bitter reproaches upon him for his ruthless methods and severe terms of surrender. Even William of Puylaurens, who felt no undue sympathy for the southern cause, believed that the moral ascendency had now passed from the crusaders, that they had become the slaves of their avarice and their appetites, no longer devoted to the service of Christ and the destruction of the heretics but puffed up in their own pride; “for this reason the Lord will give them to drink to the very dregs of the cup his of wrath”.

The fail, winter, and spring of 1216-1217 were employed by both sides in strengthening their positions. The younger Raymond received additional support from town and countryside in the marquisate of Provence and along the right bank of the Rhone. At the same time Simon was actively buttressing his strength, particularly in the southwest and in Provence. The latter territory he was attempting to wrest again from Raymond (VII) when report of a new rising in Toulouse recalled him to the west.

Raymond VI had divided his time since the Lateran Council between Provence and Aragon where, in the late summer of 1217, he was in the process of recruiting troops. Advised of the readiness of the people of Toulouse to place themselves under his command, he hastened to Cross the Pyrenees with Such Aragonese mercenaries as he had been able to recruit. Arrived in Languedoc, he was joined by Roger Bernard, son of Raymond Roger of Foix, Bernard IV of Comminges, and a very considerable group of lesser nobles from Foix, Comminges, Bigorre, and the southern Toulousain.

On September 13 these allies were able to enter Toulouse under cover of a fog. A majority of the townspeople greeted them with acclaim; others were opposed or attempted to remain neutral, either from prudence or from conviction. These latter were forced to go along with the majority, or fled to the Château Narbonnais (to which the garrison was also driven after an unsuccessful attempt to dispute Raymond’s entrance into the town), or were put to the sword. Since all fortifications of the town, except the Château Narbonnais, had been dismantled or destroyed, Raymond’s followers hastily dug trenches and erected timbered earthworks. AU labored with feverish haste. At the same time for the crusaders countess Alice of Montfort sent an urgent call for help to her brother-in-law Guy and her son of the same name, who were tome fifty miles distant in the region of Carcassonne, and dispatched a messenger to her husband on the other side of the Rhone. The forces of the two Guys were insufficient to make headway against the defenders of the town; after two vain attempts to take it by storm, they joined the garrison in the Château Narbonnais and awaited further reinforcements.

Reinforcements appears however to have rallied to the southern cause in more substantial numbers than to the northern. From Quercy, Gascony, the Albigeois and the region of Carcassonne recruits flocked to the standard of Raymond VI. Many of them were charged with heresy for its support, but there were many others who were orthodox in faith but were determined to break Simon’s grip upon the southland, Toulouse now becoming the center of the whole resistance. So widespread was the movement that some historians have seen in it the expression of a new patriotism and solidarity in Languedoc, but it may merely reflect a canny presumption that more might be had from the ineffectual house of St. Gilles than from that of Montfort.

Simon of Montfort, with the forces at his command, made what speed he could in covering the considerable distance from the Rhone to Toulouse. En route he was to suffer the sobering experience of seeing many of the southern recruits in his army desert and return to their homes. When Simon reached Baziège, about twelve miles from Toulouse, he was met by his brother Guy, and together they attacked Toulouse at once, in the hope that the town might be taken before its newly constructed defense system could be consolidated. Their attack failed; it seemed clear that the town would have to be reduced by a siege, and an effective siege required more troops. In an attempt to cut the town’s communications with the west and southwest, from which supplies and reinforcement came, Simon attacked St. Cyprien, a suburb of Toulouse on the left bank of the Garonne, joined to the town by two bridges. In this too he was unsuccessful; his need of reinforcements was urgent. To secure these countess Alice, accompanied by the cardinal-legate Bertrand and bishop Fulk of Toulouse, set out for the north to solicit aid from Philip Augustus and again to preach the crusade. Urgent appeals for assistance were also sent to pope Honorius III.

By a series of letters dispatched late in December and early in January (1218) Honorius ordered Toulouse and the towns in the region of the Rhone to desist from rebellion; directed James of Aragon and his counselors to withdraw aid from the rebels; warned young Raymond (VII) of the dire consequences of his present course; and promised Raymond Roger of Foix the prompt return of the castle of Foix if he would withdraw his aid from Toulouse. He requested the clergy of Languedoc to supply all possible help to Simon, and urged Philip Augustus and the clergy of northern France to aid in recruiting forces for the crusade.

There is little indication that the papal letters had much effect. Some southern nobles did join Simon’s forces before Toulouse during the winter, either from conviction or from the prudent desire to be on the winning side, for the prestige of his previous successes in the face of great odss was too powerful easily to suffer eclipse. And in the spring there arrived before Toulouse bands of crusaders from the north, the most considerable company being under the command of Ralph of Nesle, count of Soissons. Recruits flowed likewise to the besieged town. Dalmatz of Creixell brought a company of Aragonese mercenaries and Raymond Roger of Foix entered the town with a contingent, but the greatest enthusiasm was created by the appearance in Toulouse of Raymond the younger.

The winter had been spent in thrust and counter-thrust, with neither tide gaining any marked advantage. The besieged did, however, seal off the Château Narbonnais from the town by an embankment, strengthened the fortifications hastily thrown up in the autumn, and made good their lack of arms and armor. Contemporary accounts convey the impression that the northern forces had lost the clear supremacy which had been theirs during the first eight years of the conflict and that the advantage in morale had passed definitely from them to the forces under Raymond. This appears most clearly in the pages of the Chanson. But it cannot be ascribed merely to the robust bias of the poet; it is to be found also in the account of William of Puylaurens, who in one place makes the legate chide for his lethargy none less than the redoubtable Simon himself.

After the passing of the Lenten season, the tempo of operations accelerated. Simon’s forces succeeded for a time in a second attempt to cut the communications of the town to the west by the occupation of St. Cyprien, but their effort had to be abandoned. A direct attack upon the town gained a momentary foothold within the fortifications, only to be soon lost. Sorties by the besieged kept Simon’s troops eternally on the alert. Fighting was rude; losses were severe, the two Guys, brother and son of Simon, being among the wounded. Few prisoners were taken, and there are accounts of the brutal murder of some who did yield themselves. Finally, Simon of Montfort and his counselors determined to construct an enormous cat, under the protection of which ditches might be filled in, and the walls approached and surmounted. This was built and put in operation. The town’s defenders centered their efforts upon its destruction. Fighting became hot, and Simon himself hastened to take command. A stone hurled from a mangonel—serviced, it was said, by women—struck him squarely on the head. Thus ended the career of the leader of the crusade, a man whom Raymond VII, albeit his enemy, later praised in the highest terms for his “fidelity, foresight, energy, and all those qualities which befit a prince”. He was able to inspire loyalty among a small group of followers whom he rewarded liberally, and who in return served him with singleness of purpose and devotion.

Simon of Montfort was killed on June 25, 1218. The joy of his enemies was unbounded, the grief of his followers unrestrained. There was no one to take up the sword which fell from his hand; leadership devolved upon his eldest son, Amalric, then a young man twenty-six years of age. He had been a faithful lieutenant under his father, and was already a seasoned campaigner, but had never developed the stature necessary to continue his father’s work. Almost immediately the edifice which Simon had erected in southern France began rapidly to fall apart. One wonders whether even Simon himself, with inadequate funds, tired followers, and disaffected local noble., could have maintained it. Forty-day crusaders were of much utility in capturing towns and strongholds, but valueless for policing them when once taken, and Simon had been singularly unsuccessful in winning the lasting support of the Southern nobles and knights, whose factious individualism and endemic localism prevented the imposition of strong feudal bonds subordinating them permanently to the ambitious and uncongenial interlopers from northern France.

After one further unsuccessful attack, Amalric raised the siege of Toulouse and retired to Carcassonne. Defection could not be stopped, although Amalric did what he could, Honorius III tried to assist by recognizing his claim to the lands conquered by his father, by soliciting aid for him from the French clergy, and by urging Philip Augustus to prepare, and his son Louis to undertake a Second expedition to Languedoc. For this the pope promised one half of a twentieth then being raised by the clergy of France for the Holy Land and commanded that the entire yield of the twentieth in Languedoc be delivered to Bertrand, the legate, to be disbursed by him and Amalric for the operations against the Raymonds. But Amalric’s financial difficulties seem not to have been greatly ameliorated, and the expedition under Louis was delayed. When he finally did lead it to the south, by the western route, he sided in the capture of Marmande, which had declared again for Raymond, and then moved up the Garonne  to Toulouse, which he besieged. But the force at his command was unequal to the task; he soon raised the siege and returned north having done little harm to the southerners. The Agenais, QuereyRouergue, the Albigeois north of the Tarn, Comminges, the Gascon lands, which Simon had been able to annex, and the western Toulousain were in large part lost by Amalric, as were the marquisate of Provence and the lands immediately to the west of the Rhone. Such strength as remained to him was centered in lower Languedoc, substantially the lands of the Trencavel family which had been conquered during the first two years of the crusade. And even here there were losses; Castelnaudary, only a few short miles from Carcassonne fell to young Raymond in 1220 and Montréal in1221.

It would serve no useful purpose to follow through the petty engagements of the years immediately succeeding the death of Simon. By 1222 Amalric was at the end of his resources. He attempted to turn his lands over to Philip Augustus but the offer was refused. The death of Raymond VI of Toulouse in August 1211 brought no improvement in Amalric’s situation, nor was he aided by the death of Raymond Roger of Foix in the following year. The latter had been a more formidable adversary than had the old count of Toulouse, and he was followed in the county of Foix by a capable and well-tried son, Roger Bernard. Raymond VII, at the age of twenty-five, inspired greater enthusiasm and confidence than had ever been accorded his father. The years 1222 to1225 constitute a confused period of negotiation among the two principals, the pope and the king of France, ending with the Council of Bourges, which met on November 30, 1125.

This council was called by Romanus, cardinal-deacon of St. Angelo, the new Legate dispatched to “France and Provence”, and was largely attended by prelates or their representatives from all parts of France. First consideration was given to the problem of heresy and the lands of the counts of Toulouse. Raymond urged, as he had at an earlier date, that he be reconciled with the church and enfeoffed with the lands of his father. He repeated his pledge to pursue heretics and to obey to all things the dictates of the church. To this Amalric opposed his claim to the lands which had been adjudged to his father by the church and for which his father had done homage to the king. The judgment of the council was against Raymond. From the negotiations of the preceding months it is clear that, so far as he was concerned, it had been called to give dramatic announcement to a decision already determined in advance. That Raymond had sensed as much may be inferred from his previous negotiation of a secret treaty with Henry III of England, and of another with Hugh of Lusignan, Count of La Marche, whereby his daughter Joan was betrothed to Hugh’s son.

There was no delay in enforcing the decisions against Raymond. At the end of January 1226, Louis VIII proclaimed that he would lead a crusade against the heretics in the southland. The terms of the agreement, negotiated by cardinal Romanus and approved by the pope, were not greatly different from terms which had been rejected by the pope two years previously. A sore point indeed was the stipulation that the clergy of France should contribute a tenth of their revenues for a period of five years in support of the crusade. To clear the ground for the seizure of the lands formerly held by the house of St, Gilles, Raymond was excommunicated by the legate, he was declared a heretic and his lands forfeit. Members of the clergy were sent throughout France to preach the crusade. To stir up enthusiasm, a memorial addressed to the king, and calling upon him to lead such an expeditions was secured from representatives of the nobility.

It was planned that recruits should assemble at Bourges and should proceed thence to Lyons, where the army was to arrive about the first of June. There are no satisfactory estimates of the number of troops which assembled in response to the call. But that it was a respectable force is indicated by the pressures, in the form of heavy financial aids, employed to induce vassals to bring up their levies; by the wide regional spread shown in the names of participants mentioned by the chroniclers; and probably most significantly by the haste with which towns and individual members of the southern nobility, by letter or by representative or in person, sought to make their peace with the church and their submission to the king. This may probably be explained in large part by the war-weariness of all parties in the south, who had offered under seventeen years of intermittent warfare, but there is also evident a healthy respect for the power represented by the king’s forces.

The crusading army left Lyons early in June and proceeded down the east bank of the Rhone to Avignon, whose representatives had asked the legate for a reconciliation with the church, and had offered the king safe passage across the Rhone. The march to Avignon was without incident, but upon arrival at the town a misunderstanding arose, which resulted in the investment of the city by the king’s forces. Avignon was heavily fortified, however, and its citizenry staunch. Siege engines had little effect upon its walls; the stout response of the Avignonese took its toll of the crusading forces; troops of the count of Toulouse, who hovered in the region, made provisioning of the army difficult; and disease of epidemic proportions carried off a considerable number from the invading army. There was lack of unanimity also among the king’s followers. The clergy were restless under the heavy payments they were called upon to make for the crusade, and some members of the nobility were openly sympathetic toward Raymond VII and his cause. On the other hand provisions in the town failed, and the hope of a successful outcome of the defense gradually faded.

Under the circumstances both sides were ready to negotiate. A capitulation was agreed upon, and the crusaders entered the town on September 9, after a siege lasting three months. By the terms of the surrender the Avignonese wen reconciled with the church, and the town was relieved of the interdict which had been laid upon it. In return the townsmen were required to deliver to king and legate a number of hostages, variously estimated from 150 to 300, to destroy the fortifications of the town, to yield without recompense Beaucaire and other strong places which hid been turned over to them by count Raymond as pledges for debt, and to pay a considerable ransom. A band of mercenaries, who had given excellent service in the defense of the towns were put to the sword, but the oft-repeated statement that entrance into the city was accompanied by a general massacre of the inhabitants rests on no contemporary evidence.

Losses to the crusading army by disease and battle deaths are estimated at about 3,000, which seems a fsir price for the capture of Avignon. It is true, however, that the whole of the marquisate of Provence, almost all Languedoc east of Toulouse, the GévaudanRouergue, and much of Querey now declared for Louis without a further blow being struck. During the siege count Raymond Berengar of Provence allied with Louis against Raymond of Toulouse. This is not surprising for the two counts were rivals in Provence and Raymond VII had encouraged the towns in the county of Provence in their sporadic resistance to the authority of their count. But more significant is the fact that two of Raymond’s staunchest and most powerful supporters sought peace with the king during this period—Roger Bernard of Foix, who was refused reconciliation with the church, and Bernard V of Comminges, who had succeeded his father in the spring of 1225, and who made his peace at Avignon in September. Thus it may be argued that much bloodshed and destruction were spared by a determined policy at the start.

After its conquest Louis VIII provided for the administration of Avignon and for that of the marquisate of Provence, despite the fact that the emperor was overlord of these territories. He thereafter traversed Languedoc to Pamiers where he made provision for the government of the lands west of the Rhone thus far secured, building upon the plan of Simon of Montfort to establish administrative units under seneschals. Simon’s very liberal provision for the church caused him no little embarrassment, but by exchanges of property and money grants he effected amicable adjustments.

The king thereupon left his new conquests to a lieutenant, Humbert of Beaujeu, and proceeded north by easy stages. Toulouse he bypassed probably because of the approaching winter and the presumption that its capture would require a difficult siege. His health was failing and he got no further than Montpensier in Auvergne, where he died on November8, 1226. He left a son Louis, twelve years of age, and a highly capable widow, the queen-mother, Blanche of Castile.

To Raymond VII of Toulouse the death of Louis VIII offered some respite. In the fall of 1226 he had as allies Roger Bernard of Foix, Raymond Trencavel, a number of other rebels who had been deprived of lands and castles, some towns—notably Toulouse, Agen, and Limoux (which had been reduced by Louis but almost immediately had again revoked), and some portions of the lands of the counts stretching to the west and north. Given the general war-weariness of the whole region, this was not much to build upon. But the French monarchy was so fully engaged with disaffection nearer home, especially the rebellion of the counts of Brittany, Champagne, and La Marche, that it could send little aid to Humbert of Beaujeu and the garrisons in the south. The clergy were also energetically resisting the efforts of the legate to collect the tenth for the crusade. As a result Raymond was able to regain some lost territory. It was impossible, however, to obscure the fact that he was pitting his strength against the much greater potential power of the king of France. Humbert began a program of systematic destruction, laying waste the countryside in the region of Toulouse, and Raymond was powerless to prevent him. There could hardly be any question of the ultimate victor.

Under the circumstances, pope Gregory IX, who succeeded Honorius III in 1117, prosed for final settlement in Languedoc. Cardinal Romanus was retained as legate with instructions to negotiate a peace; to that end he bent his energies, the result being the Peace of Paris of April 11, 1229. On the same date Raymond was absolved from long-standing excommunication and reconciled with the church.

The treaty is a lengthy document, consisting of some twenty-one articles. Raymond swore to be loyal to the king, to obey the dictates of the church; to keep the peace and expel his mercenaries; to pay indemnities amounting to 10,000 marks; to do penance for five years, fighting the “infidel”; and to grant amnesty to those in his lands who had supported church, king, and the house of Montfort against him or his father. Then follow clauses dealing with territorial adjustments. Raymond was to place in custody of the king his daughter Joan, to be married to one of the king’s brothers (Alphonse of Poitiers), provided papal sanction for the marriage within prohibited degrees could be secured. In return Raymond would receive the lands of the diocese of Toulouse (with the exception of certain lands granted by the king to Guy of Lévis); would retain the overlordship of the county of Foix; and would receive in addition the Albigeois north of the Tarn, RourrgurQuercy (except Cahors and some dependent lands) and the Agenais. These are all expressed in terms of ecclesiastical boundaries, and there were a few small exceptions made of lands held of the king, but Raymond received substantially the western and northern portions of the lands controlled by the count of Toulouse prior to the beginning of the crusade. All these lands were to be granted to Raymond as their true lord, and over them he was to have full and free dominium, with certain stated exceptions, and the right to make pious bequests. The exceptions were important. Toulouse and its diocese after the death of Raymond could descend only to Alphonse of Poitiers or to his heirs by Joan. Should Alphonse die without heirs by Joan, it was to descend to the king and his heirs; no immediate heirs of Raymond might inherit. That is, in this portion of the county of Toulouse the house of St. Gilles was to die with Raymond. In the other territories named above succession was to go to Joan and her heirs if Raymond died without a legitimate son. In his remaining territories west of the Rhone and south of the Tarn, Raymond ceded all his rights to the king. Similarly, he ceded to the church hit rights in lands east of the Rhone, the marquisate of Provence.

Other provisions requited restitution to those who, though not heretics, had been deprived of their land by church, kings, or Simon of Montfort; obligated Raymond to fight any in his domains who, like the count of Foix, had not made peace with king and church, and to destroy the fortifications of Toulouse and thirty other strongholds within his lands. In addition, pledges, in hostages and castles, were to be held by the king, to assure the faithful fulfillment of the terms of the treaty.

Such were, in outline, the terms of the instrument by which the Albigensian crusade was finally ended. They were severe. Historians from William of Puylaurens to the present have been puzzled to know why Raymond should have agreed to so harsh a settlement. The clauses relative to his loyal submission to king and church were in line with demands that had been made as conditions precedent to reconciliation over the previous twenty years. But the financial provisions, coming at the end of a long period of attrition, owing to costs of war and loss of revenue through the conquests of Simon of Montfort and later of Louis VIII, must have been difficult to meet. They amounted in all to something more than 30,000 marks, most of which sum was payable within a period of four years. This may well have equaled his total income from the lands remaining to him during the period in question. The clauses dealing with the inheritance must have been most difficult of acceptance. The counts of Toulouse had been among the proudest and most independent of the princes owing allegiance to the Capetian kings. Now Raymond VII not only yielded a large portion of the richest of his heritage, but was forced to do homage and swear fealty according to the customs of Paris for what was left. He had also to destroy the fortifications of the capital city of his county, Toulouse, and of thirty other towns; to allow the king to garrison for a period not to exceed ten years, nine of his chief strongholds, including the Château Narbonnais; to renounce forever the hope of handing down to his heirs the heart of his county of Toulouse; and to face the strong likelihood that his heirs would inherit none of his lands. William of Puylaurens felt that he could not have lost more had he risked all and fought to the end. But Raymond appears to have considered it the part of prudence to salvage what he could before the situation deteriorated further.

On the other hand, the question has been raised why Raymond was allowed to retain so much, since utter defeat appeared to be only a matter of time. The answer doubtless lies in the troubled situation of France. Apart from considerations of justice and charity, which seem to have weighed with the queen-mother, and the apparent sympathies and hesitations of some members of the northern nobility, Blanche of Castile, as regent, had the very real problem of establishing her young son firmly upon the throne, in the face of a revolt by some French nobles and the hostile attitude of Henry III of England. She needed a settlement in the south in order to concentrate on other pressing problems.

There are a few further points in connection with the treaty which should not be passed over in silence. By article 7 Raymond agreed to establish a fund, amounting to 4,000 marks, to pay the salaries for ten years of four masters of theology, two decretists, six artists, and two masters-regent of grammar. This clause heralded the establishment of a university at Toulouse, much needed for the training of ecclesiastical personnel in Languedoc. Other clauses of the treaty indent the drawing together of church and state in the suppression of heresy. Raymond agreed to confiscate the property of anyone who remained excommunicate for a year (art, 3). A bounty of two marks for a period of two years and one mark thereafter was to be paid to anyone apprehending a heretic (art. 2); civil officers (bailiffs) were to be employed to search out heretics and their supporters and bring them to trial (art., 2); all subjects of the count were required to swear to aid in tracking down heretics and to serve the king in all things, this oath to be renewed every five years (arts. 17, 18). Finally, Raymond acknowledged the king of France as his overlord in the Agenais, a fief which his mother Joan, sister of Richard I, had brought as a dower to Raymond VI, and which was thus held of the king of England, and he yielded all his rights east of the Rhone to the churchy despite the fact that he held those lands of the emperor, who had warned him against any form of alienation without imperial consent. That pope Gregory IX found the latter situation anomalous is indicated by his return of the marquisate to Raymond in 1234. This was confirmed, without reference to papal action, by emperor Frederick II in the same year. The Agenais was the subject of disunions between the kings of France and England, finally amicably concluded in the Later Peace of Paris (1259) by which Louts IX recognized English claims to the territory.

Thus ended the Albigensian Crusade. The house of St. Gilles was crushed; a considerable proportion of the lesser nobles of the region were killed or disinherited; a very few of the nobles from the north who had fought under Simon of Montfort, and had been rewarded by the grant of lands, remained and developed new roots in the southland. At least a generation of turmoil succeeded the peace, as is shown by the king’s inquests during the second half of the century, before normal feudal relations were reestablished and injustices at least partially righted. Politically the Capetians were the great gainers. It was now possible to begin actively the assimilation of Languedoc under the crown. From this point of view there is much to be said for the argument that the actual crusade ended with Simon of Montfort’s death in 1218, or soon thereafter and that the subsequent ten years witnessed the fight for effective union of Languedoc with the kingdom of France. But that consideration was at least implicit throughout the whole period; it is difficult to disentangle religious and political considerations. Nor can it be said that the Peace of Paris ended the ambitions of other states in the region. The king of Aragon still had claims to lands north of the Pyrenees; the king of England had not lost all interest in the area; and the emperor was still the overlord of Provence.

Nor was Raymond VII disposed to accept without a struggle the terms of the treaty. The twenty years between the signing of that document and his death in 1249 he devoted in large part to three aims: the rehabilitation of his father’s memory and the burial of his body in holy ground; the effecting of a marriage that would provide him with a son who might succeed him and thus circumvent, in part at least, the terms of the treaty; and the building of an alliance that could effectively challenge the king’s power in Languedoc. In none of these was he successful.

Though the Peace of Paris was a long step in the direction of a political settlement in Languedoc, heresy, which was the avowed reason for the crusade, was by no means eradicated, though its protection by the nobility of the region had been largely broken. There remained the problem of developing machinery to uproot it from town and hamlet, of strengthening local church organization and of installing more devoted personnel to be maintained by new lands and valuable prerogatives.

At a council, held at Toulouse in November 1219 under the presidency of the cardinal-legate Romanus, there were present numerous clergy, including the archbishops of Narbonne, Bordeaux and Auch, and a considerable number of laity, including count Raymond, seneschal Odo of Carcassonne, and two consuls of Toulouse. The acts of the council are in forty-five articles, in which the provisions for dealing with heresy are carefully set forth and a program for cooperation of church and state in hunting out the heretic is laid down. In every parish a team consisting of a priest and two or three laymen was to search out heretics; every lord was to be responsible for driving heresy from his lands, failure to do so entailing loss of lands and personal jeopardy; houses in which heretics were found were to be destroyed and the land confiscated; one might seek out heretics in the lands of another, but no one might be punished as a heretic until he had been adjudged such by proper ecclesiastical authority; anyone failing to attend the confessional and partake of the Eucharist thrice in the year laid himself open to suspicion of heresy; all males after their fourteenth year and females of twelve years and above must take oath to support the church and combat heresy, this oath to be renewed biennially; no heretic might practice medicine or bold public office; a layman might not own a Bible, but exception was made of the breviary and the hours of the Virgin. These latter books in the vernacular were, however, most expressly prohibited.

The Council of Toulouse thus supplemented the Peace of Paris in the program to establish peace, order, and Unity of the faith in Languedoc. Military action had not been enough to suppress heresy although it had driven it underground. The problem was still unsolved. A new instrument was now devised to dell with herein, the Inquisition, but any consideration of its history would carry us beyond the scope of this volume.