1. Let me tell you about Simon IV de Montfort, 5th Earl of Leicester. Our good pal Simon wasn’t exactly known for being a super nice guy - in 1199 he took the cross and set out on the unmitigated disaster that was the Fourth Crusade. However, despite not participating in the attack on Zara himself, and criticising it, deeply pious Simon got the taste for crusading. Being chummy with Pope Innocent III probably had something to do with it, but the levels of historical douchebaggery Innocent III is guilty of could probably fill a blog all on it’s own. I digress.
Anyway. In 1209, Innocent III decides there’s just not enough killing in God’s name going on and chooses the Cathars, a quiet, unassuming little sect in the south of France to pick on. The Cathars were ultimately mostly harmless, they believed that all material goods were corrupt and a creation of evil, and therefore the only way to true Christianity was an all out rejection of these. The Cathar leaders, known as Perfecti, were hermit types, owning nothing, they were vegetarians and they were peaceful. So obviously, to Innocent III, they were a gigantic threat to the Catholic church. And he calls a crusade against them, and our dear friend Simon de Montfort is elected leader of it. 
On 21 July, 1209 the church’s forces reached the town of Beziers.  Beziers had a mixed Cathar and Catholic population and the two lived side by side peacefully. The Catholics were given the option to leave the city. They refused. The entire 20,000 strong population of Beziers was massacred. Cathars, Catholics, men, women, children - not a single person was left alive. de Montfort is said to have told his troops “”tuez les tous, dieu reconnaitra les siens” - “kill them all, God will know his own” to justify the outright slaughter. He then proceeded to lay siege to Carcassonne - a heavily fortified citadel with the unfortunate issue of the main water supply being outside the city gates. In the heat of the southern French summer, the city fell after 14 days. But he didn’t stop there. Oh no. Rampaging around towns and cities in the south of France, de Montford had 140 Cathars burned alive in Minerve, and in Lastours, before sacking the town, prisoners from nearby villages were brutally mutilated as a warning - their eyes were gouged out and their lips, ears and noses were cut off.
Simon and the crusaders continued their ransacking of the south of France, but he eventually got his comeuppance. In 1216, nine months into the siege of Toulouse, Simon was struck on the head with a rock from a mangonel - a mangonel reportedly operated by women and girls. 
So to summarise:
was an incredibly pious man dedicated to the Dominican order and the suppression of heresy. 
was super good pals with probably the biggest douchebag in medieval European history, Innocent III
really, REALLY liked crusading
had no problem whatsoever with the slaughter of tens of thousands of innocent people 
liked to mutilated prisoners as a warning
set the scene for the rest of the Albigensian crusade, which resulted in an Inquisition wherein thousands of Cathars were burned alive and culminated in the entire Cathar population being wiped out by the start of the 14th Century
didn’t have anything to do with the Holy Grail at all because the Cathars hold the Grail theory was made up by an occultist with an overactive imagination in the 1930s

    Let me tell you about Simon IV de Montfort, 5th Earl of Leicester. Our good pal Simon wasn’t exactly known for being a super nice guy - in 1199 he took the cross and set out on the unmitigated disaster that was the Fourth Crusade. However, despite not participating in the attack on Zara himself, and criticising it, deeply pious Simon got the taste for crusading. Being chummy with Pope Innocent III probably had something to do with it, but the levels of historical douchebaggery Innocent III is guilty of could probably fill a blog all on it’s own. I digress.

    Anyway. In 1209, Innocent III decides there’s just not enough killing in God’s name going on and chooses the Cathars, a quiet, unassuming little sect in the south of France to pick on. The Cathars were ultimately mostly harmless, they believed that all material goods were corrupt and a creation of evil, and therefore the only way to true Christianity was an all out rejection of these. The Cathar leaders, known as Perfecti, were hermit types, owning nothing, they were vegetarians and they were peaceful. So obviously, to Innocent III, they were a gigantic threat to the Catholic church. And he calls a crusade against them, and our dear friend Simon de Montfort is elected leader of it. 

    On 21 July, 1209 the church’s forces reached the town of Beziers.  Beziers had a mixed Cathar and Catholic population and the two lived side by side peacefully. The Catholics were given the option to leave the city. They refused. The entire 20,000 strong population of Beziers was massacred. Cathars, Catholics, men, women, children - not a single person was left alive. de Montfort is said to have told his troops “”tuez les tous, dieu reconnaitra les siens” - “kill them all, God will know his own” to justify the outright slaughter. He then proceeded to lay siege to Carcassonne - a heavily fortified citadel with the unfortunate issue of the main water supply being outside the city gates. In the heat of the southern French summer, the city fell after 14 days. But he didn’t stop there. Oh no. Rampaging around towns and cities in the south of France, de Montford had 140 Cathars burned alive in Minerve, and in Lastours, before sacking the town, prisoners from nearby villages were brutally mutilated as a warning - their eyes were gouged out and their lips, ears and noses were cut off.

    Simon and the crusaders continued their ransacking of the south of France, but he eventually got his comeuppance. In 1216, nine months into the siege of Toulouse, Simon was struck on the head with a rock from a mangonel - a mangonel reportedly operated by women and girls. 

    So to summarise:

    • was an incredibly pious man dedicated to the Dominican order and the suppression of heresy. 
    • was super good pals with probably the biggest douchebag in medieval European history, Innocent III
    • really, REALLY liked crusading
    • had no problem whatsoever with the slaughter of tens of thousands of innocent people 
    • liked to mutilated prisoners as a warning
    • set the scene for the rest of the Albigensian crusade, which resulted in an Inquisition wherein thousands of Cathars were burned alive and culminated in the entire Cathar population being wiped out by the start of the 14th Century
    • didn’t have anything to do with the Holy Grail at all because the Cathars hold the Grail theory was made up by an occultist with an overactive imagination in the 1930s

    1 year ago  /  80 notes

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      That statue isn’t of Simon IV de Montfort, 5th Earl of Leicester. It’s of his son Simon V de Montfort, 6th Earl of...
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