Languedoc, The Citadels of Vertigo. The Castles of the Cathars
62 images Created 31 Aug 2015
Demons, saints, heretics, knights, ladies, trobadours. Even the Holy Grail. The ingredients for a good story there are all on these valleys at the foot of the Pyrenees whith romantic vestiges located on spectacular hill tops. The Citadels of Vertigo has been nicknaned this skyline of castles along the ancient border between France and Aragon. For the tourism marketing for many years were the castles of the Cathars, Gnostic Christians that for the Catholic Church were heretics. Pope Innocent III called for a crusade against them at the beginning of twelfth century and after many sieges and several generations of war the local lords were defeated, and the Cathars exterminated or burned alive and the castles annexed to the French kingdom. Most of these castles, advertised as romantic vestiges of the Cathar period, are castles built by the French kings after the Cathar Crusade but they are often built on the site of earlier castles where the Cathars lived and survived. So in castles like Peyrepertuse, Puivert, Queribus perched on the mountains still survive the traces of a faith that did not aspire to leave earthly memories. The most famous is Montségur, the Cathars’s last real stronghold which fell after 10 months of siege in 1244, "the seat and head" of the Cathar church providing a refugee for the faidits, local lords who continued a guerilla war against the invaders. In May 1243 Montsegur was besieged by about 10,000 crusaders. Inside Montsegur were around 200 fighters, 200 pacifists parfaits who took no part in the fighting, and 100 or so other refugees. By the end of January the crusaders were able to construct trebuchets to bombard the defenders, that surrendered on March 1244 after a truce of two weeks, after which the Parfaits would have to abjure their faith or burn alive. During this truce four perfects escaped to save the Cathar "treasure" and on 16 March 1244 more than 200 parfaits were burned alive onto a field under the castle.