*Includes medieval accounts
*Includes online resources and a bibliography for further reading
*Includes a table of contents
“The Roman Church…[says] that the heretics they persecute are the church of wolves. But this is absurd, for the wolves have always pursued and killed the sheep, and today it would have to be the other way around for the sheep to be so mad as to bite, pursue, and kill the wolves, and for the wolves to be so patient as to let the sheep devour them!” – Excerpt from the alleged writings of the Cathars
The unique, copper-red hue of the naturally cracked earth on the foothills of the French Pyrenees is obviously stunning, but if the rumors are to be believed, they, too, are rich with medicinal properties. For centuries, locals have been scooping up and bottling the precious dirt and turning them into an array of poultices, salves, and even tonics. This land is also home to several legends and local traditions. When the earth is drenched by heavy storms, the crumbling red soil drifts into the River Aude, staining the water with crimson. This beautiful, yet haunting phenomenon, which the locals call the “blood of the Cathars,” is a symbolic reminder of the blood shed by these “heretics” at the hands of the Catholic Church.
Despite the controversial events, and their supposed heresy, it seemed that the fall of the Cathars brought an everlasting curse upon the region. As one unnamed farmer, documented by French medievalist Jean Duernoy, put it, “Since the heretics were chased away from Sabartes, there is no longer good weather in this area.” Another notary from Tarn echoed his sentiments, asserting, “When the heretics lived in these lands, we did not have so many storms and lightning. Now that we are with Franciscans and Dominicans, the lightning strikes more frequently…”
But who were these Cathars, and why was the Catholic Church so committed to getting rid of them? The Cathars: The History and Legacy of the Gnostic Christian Sect During the Middle Ages examines the origins of the cult, their fascinating belief system, their gradual development over the years, and the events that contributed to their epic downfall. Along with pictures depicting important people, places, and events, you will learn about the Cathars like never before.