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Old October 12th, 2015, 01:40 PM   #1

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The Siege of Carcassonne, August 1209


Right at the start of the Albigensian Crusade, Béziers, the first center of resistance, was stormed and the people inside were massacred. The horror of this event echoed so far and wide, that it caused everything else that happened that year to be underrated in terms of significance. What happened almost immediately though, was the siege of Caracassonne. This was a very important event which resulted in Simon de Montfort taking up leadership of the Crusade. This is a description of it. I hope you enjoy.

The March of the Crusader Army

“Béziers has fallen, they’re dead, clerks, women, children, no quarter.
They killed Christians too, I rode out, I couldn’t see or hear a living creature.”
- Giraut Riquier de Narbonne

The first center of resistance had fallen within mere hours. Even if the smoldering ashes of the city of Béziers could not be used as a military asset for the moment, it most certainly lifted the morale of the crusaders. The army camped for three more days outside of the city before going on the march deeper in the territories of the Trencavel dynasty. They first moved southwards towards the river Aude, in the direction of the Narbonnès; Narbonne was not likely a target at this point, as it was technically a viscounty under Toulouse (and Toulouse was still sided with the Crusade); the Bézierès had been too one day in the past, but the Trencavels long since paid hommage to the Kings of Aragon in the south. Nonetheless, the army was approaching the city of Narbonne as close as 6 kilometres, and the Archbishop of Narbonne, Bérenger, as well as his followers were still very unpopular with the Pope. Neither the Archbishop, nor Aimerico Pérez de Lara, better known as Aimery III, Viscount of Narbonne, had done much against heretics on their land. The Archbishop, the Viscount and the Narbonnais people must have been in an alarmed state; the news of Béziers had most certainly already reached them. Aimery III saw it as his only option to join the crusader army, so arranged capitulation at this point (though exactly how is not recorded), agreeing to lend his support financially as well as military; he had to open up all his fortification for use by the crusading army. He also needed to lend support spiritually, so he handed over the Cathars that had fled to the city from Béziers and promised to start pursuing heretics actively.

The crusading army travelled along the river Aude, and encountered many towns abandoned, much of their food and cattle left behind for them to use. This was an unusal luxury in times of war; not only could they restock and was there food a plenty, any form of resistance could have significantly delayed the army.


Arrival at Carcassonne

The 1st of August the army reached Carcassonne. While not as impressive a geographic location as Béziers, Carcassonne was built upon a mellow pog, from which its impressive walls rose steep and high. These walls are still mostly there to this date, and what one can see today doesn’t differ that much from medieval times; except for the outer wall which wasn’t there for another few decennia, but the rest of it most certainly was. Perching all around the walls were no less than 26 towers, an impressive barbican and an entire castle keep within the walls.

The walled city of Carcassonne was flanked by three suburbs. Two of them walled; they were called “Borgh” and “Castella’. Between them, unwalled and unfortified, was “St Vincento”, oddly right in front the most strategic location of the three. The long and outstretching walls were a weakness in principal if unmanned, but with a population of near 10,000 and perhaps as many people that had flocked from the countryside, as well as knights and lords that Raimon-Rogièr Trencavel had summoned, there was no fear of this.

Click the image to open in full size.

As is still apparent from the walls today, wooden hoardings were built to overhang the walls in times of siege, to increase the mobility of those throwing stones and shooting arrows from the walls and importantly, better protect the bases from sappers. After the elaborate preparations were pretty much over, the Trencavel viscount was actually preparing a sortie at one point, to meet the crusader army out in the open with about 400 knights and many more others. “To horse, my lords! “ he is recorded to have shouted.

Lucky for the 24-year old viscount, he had the assistance of well weathered figures like Peire-Rogièr de Cabaret. Peire-Rogièr, Lord of Cabaret, was one of his noble vassals who had responded to the call for assistance and had come riding from his castles in the Montagne Noir to Carcassonne. He was the one that strongly advised against making any kind of sortie or field battle, and instead stay put behind the walls, saving the forces for the attack that was sure to happen the next day. As was the case in Béziers, Carcassonne had very real chances of resisting siege situations for a very long time, in which it was likely that the Crusading army would dwindle. In light of had happened at Béziers though, there was reasonable fear. Brave and chivalric display by Raimon-Rogièr Trencavel underlines both the code of honor and the importance placed on autonomy.

There was still hope for relief forces from Aragon too (the ever so self-preserving Lord of Cabaret knew too), as the news of Béziers and the crusading army invading the Carcassès must have reached Père II, King of Aragon by this time.


Attacking and defending

Just like Peire-Roger de Cabaret predicted, the Crusaders attacked the unfortified suburb of St. Vincent first on the morning of August 3, to try and cut the city off of their acces to the river Aude (and thereby, fresh water). The monks and other clergy were chanting ‘veni Sancti Spiritus’ (come, Holy Ghost), which set the eerie atmosphere for the attack. ‘Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Thy faithful’.

Come, Holy Spirit,
send forth the heavenly
radiance of your light.
Come, father of the poor,
come, giver of gifts,
come, light of the heart.
Greatest comforter,
sweet guest of the soul,
sweet consolation.
In labor, rest,
in heat, temperance,
in tears, solace.
O most blessed light,
fill the inmost heart
of your faithful.
Without your grace,
there is nothing in us,
nothing that is not harmful.
Cleanse that which is unclean,
water that which is dry,
heal that which is wounded.
Bend that which is inflexible,
fire that which is chilled,
correct what goes astray.
Give to your faithful,
those who trust in you,
the sevenfold gifts.
Grant the reward of virtue,
grant the deliverance of salvation,
grant eternal joy.

Sources don’t agree upon whether the Occitans tried to defend the St. Vincent suburb, but if they did, both sides suffered casualties in a skirmish. One of the smaller lords, Simon IV de Montfort, singlehandedly advanced ahead of all others into the defensive ditch. After two hours, the defenders had retreated to within the walls and the suburb was taken by the Crusaders. The ditches were filled and some of the buildings were razed to make room for siege engines to be brought up.

Carcassonne was now cut off from running water, they had to rely on the wells. Since direct assault had worked so well for the Crusaders so far, they tried to storm the walls of Borgh; this assault failed miserably because it was met with a barrage of arrows, cascades of hot fluids and rains of stones from the walls. One knight broke his leg and was intially left behind, but again, Simon de Montfort showed an act of bravery by returning with only one squire and saving him, under a heavy hailstorm of projectiles from the walls.

Meanwhile, the siege engines were being constructed. These were catapults, magonels and tribuchets of varying sizes, that could throw stones at the fortified walls and people. Of particular interest in the Occitan wars was the ‘Cat’. This was a four-wheeled wagon, covered in ox-hides, in which soldiers could hide and safely approach the wall without being too vulnerable for stones and burning arrows. Once at the walls, the sapping would begin; either to drive a hole in the wall, or dig a tunnel, or both. The main goal was to destabalize and collapse the wall. Once at the wall, battering rams, mouses, crows and the catpaw could do their job.

The cat was wheeled against the wall of Borgh. It was bombareded with combustibles, fire arrows, wood and stones from the walls, and eventually it was destroyed. However, by that time the sappers had succesfully carved a hollow in the wall to continue their work. On the morning of August 8, this part of the wall collapsed. Borgh was stormed by the crusading army, and the Carcassonais retreated to inside the main walls. Apparently, the Crusaders left unimpressive defense forces, and it was not before long that the Occitans attempted a sortie from the main city back into the suburb, killing off and chasing away everyone they found there. This resulted in a stalemate, no matter how short. Further sorties and further stormings were unwise.


Royal Intermezzo

It was at this point that something remarkable happened. In the distance, the people on the walls of the castrum saw the banners of Aragon approaching from the hills of the Razès, carried forth by a small army of 100 Aragonese knights, their shiny armours glimmering in the afternoon August sun. Even better, it was led by King Père II of Aragon himself. Surely, they had come to deliver Carcassonne from the miserable siege. As the leaders of the crusading army knew very well, Pere II was the Catholic king that was the suzerain of the Carcassonnès, enjoying the protection of the pope. Hostilities temporarily ceased. Everyone very well knew that even if Raimon-Rogièr Trencavel was defeated, the lands would ultimately still belong to Aragon.

Upon seeing the size of the Cruasding army, Père II must have been shocked. Most modern sources report that his 100 knights was but a token force, but this was actually quite large for a mere escort, especially considering that Aragon was at that moment at war with the Almohads. He probably took with him what he could, without compromising his position on the Iberian peninsula, chancing that he would maybe bring a force large enough to impose the besiegers. If he could have taken back Carcassonne, he would have probably done so. Unfortunately for him, this was not the case. He was in no position to make demands or threaten the Crusader army. As would be expected in such a situation, he was to arbitrate between Arnaud-Amaury and Raimon-Rogièr to try and reach terms for capitulation. The first step would be to talk to Trencavel.

Père II first dined with Raimon VI, Count of Toulouse in his tent, and subsequently entered Carcassonne with a few knights. Raimon-Rogièr Trencavel greeted him with great enthusiasm, still thinking that his king was going to offer military assistance. Instead, Père II told him there was nothing he could do, and that Raimon-Rogièr had brought the Crusade upon himself by ignoring the pleas of the pope to act military against the heretics. Of course, the young Trencavel viscount defended himself, as there was hardly anything he could do against half of his population. He accepted for Père II to try and parley on his behalf. Père II returned to Arnaud-Amaury, but the leader of the Crusade was not in the mood for showing any kind of mercy; he would agree to let Raimon-Rogièr leave, plus eleven of his men, but the rest of the people and properties of Carcassonne were to suffer the hands of the Crusade. For medieval standards, these terms were unreasonable. Angered, Père returned to the confines of the walls, knowing that Raimon-Rogièr would never accept such dishonorable and harsh terms, saying that his noble vassal would only accept it when “donkeys would fly”. Raimon-Rogièr refused.

In frustration, Père II and his token army left back over the Pyrenees, back towards the wars in Aragon. The siege was resumed. The tension within the walls was building up, now that hope for relief from the direction of Aragón was shattered. Water was growing scarcer every hour, flies and stench haunting the numerous of bodies piled up of those who had succumbed to the devastating August heat, dysentery or were killed in combat; not to mention the remains of slaughtered, skinned and disemboweled animals for consumption. The situation was quickly becoming unbearable.

Outside the walls during a normal siege the conditions would be much alike. It was not so, as along the road from Béziers to Narbonne to Carcassonne food was aplenty, and all of it belonged to the Crusaders. The conditions of the besiegers were considerably well, especially in comparison.

One of his vassals allegedly said to viscount Raimon-Rogièr Trencavel to seek terms to avoid the Béziers treatment. Somewhere between the 14th and the 16th, about two weeks into the siege and a week after Père II had left, new negotiations were attempted. It is not clear who initiated the parley, but it was probably Trencavel who did so considering the dire situation of the Carcassonnais crammed together within the walls of the city.


Parley

One would expect Raimon VI, Count of Toulouse, or one of the other Occitan nobles present to mediate between Carcassonne and Arnaud-Amaury, but instead, the Trencavel viscount with a small contingent of knights was taken to the tent of Hervé de Donzy, Count of Nevers.

What happened next can not be easily explained, as none of the current sources available to us seemed to have known exactly what happened either. In any case, almost immediately after the talking began, Raimon-Rogièr handed himself over to the custody of the Crusaders. “I think he acted like a lunatic,” recounts the troubadour Guilhaum de Tudèla. Whatever deal he worked out, the people of Carcassonne were free to leave the city if they left all movable property behind. They had to leave through one of the narrow gates, to make sure they wouldn’t take anything with them. Stripped down to their underwear, they fled in the direction of the Toulousain and Lauragais, or over the Pyrenees towards the kingdom of Aragon and the County of Barcelona, leaving their lands, homes, vineyards, herds and a lot more behind forever. “Carrying nothing but their sins,” said the Cistercian monk Pièrre de Vaux-de-Cernay.

Remarkably, no heretics were burnt. It could be that Arnaud Amaury simply demanded the custody of the Trencavel viscount in exchange for the freedom of the people and the wealth and property of Carcassonne, even though the Pope had instructed everyone very clearly; ‘You must try in whatever ways God has revealed to you to wipe out the treachery of heresy and its followers by attacking the heretics with a strong hand and an outstretched arm’. It was probably a military concession that Arnaud-Armaury made.

However, Raimon-Rogièr was not treated as a noble prisoner; he was thrown into his own miserable dungeon in Carcassonne. The knights that went with him to the Count of Nevers were possibly also taken prisoner alongside their Viscount, but these nobles were probably not held for long. Especially not since one would expect important vassals to have been present at the parley, like Pèire-Roger de Cabaret, but we find that noble lord back at his own castles within considerable time.

Unlike what happened at Béziers, the city and the riches of Carcassonne were completely in tact. This was important, as the spiritual leadership of Arnaud-Amaury needed to be accompanied by a secular noble who would govern the area that was conquered. Without a proper military base, all nobles would have refused. Arnaud-Amaury made sure that all the riches were collected, piled up and guarded, basically safekeeping everything to whomever was to become the leader of the crusade. Two of the guards were excommunicated three months later for stealing some of the riches.

The only surviving copy of Canso de Croisada annoyingly misses the lines that probably describe exactly what went down in the tent of Hervé de Donzy, but we will never know now why Raimon-Rogièr put himself in custody. It could have been on impulse. It could have been pressure of his peers or threats of Arnaud-Amaury, or pure desperation that set in after was abandoned by his king.


Aftermath

With the massacre of Béziers, the succesful besieging of Carcassonne and the removal of the viscount, the Trencavel lands took the brunt of violence of the first year of the Albigensian Crusade. The harsh and not so very chivalric treatment of Raimon-Rogièr was probably excused because he was branded a harborer of heretics; some of them likely knew that this made him no different than the Count of Toulouse.

The Crusade in the Midi was only three weeks underway, and two of the most important military centers of resistance had fallen in the Trencavel lands. Now that a military base could be established in Carcassonne, more crusading activities could be undertaken. Had this not been the case, the army probably would have dissolved as quickly as it was put together, like what happened to the Quercy/Agenais branch. It was time to appoint a secular leader.

The highest ranking nobles were first offered the position of leadership of the Albigensian Crusade, with the Carcassès and Bézierès as lands promised. This was not a very attractive position, as there were many hostile towns and cities left, notably Minerve, Cabaret, Termes and Albedun, and even those that had surrendered to the Crusade, would probably defect back to the Southern side as soon as they would have the oppertunity to do so. With the campaigning season almost over, only a skeleton army in this hostile country would remain in Carcassonne as everyone returned home. On top of that, even though Raimon-Rogièr Trencavel was in prison, he already had offspring to whom the lands technically belonged, and most nobles would think it dishonorable to take possession of lands like that. Also, most of the important nobles already had significant amounts of land far away from Carcassonne.

For this reason, the most noble among nobles refused to take the position; Eudes III, duke of Burgundy, Hervé de Donzy, Count of Nevers and Gaucher de Châtillion, Count of Saint-Pol would rather go home at this point, than fight the many centers of resistance left.

By the end of August, a clerical committee appointed the role to the little-known knight named Simon IV de Montfort, 5th Earl of Leicester. Not only was he known for his chivalry, he was also born into an ancient aristocratic family, and then married to Alix de Montmorency, daughter of the Constable of France, also from a powerful noble family. As impressive as that sounds, he wasn’t terribly rich, nor did he hold large amounts of land. His Earldom was titular only, as King John would not allow those loyal to France make money from an English fief, and thus the County of Leceister had been sequestered. He was monogamous, and a faithful orthodox Catholic, who genuinely hated all forms of heresy. However, he too initially refused to take up the position, possibly because of the unchivalrous treatement of the Trencavel viscount and his heritage, and the humbleness for which he was known up until that point. Arnaud-Amaury eventually ordered him to become the leader. He could not refuse this. ‘My work is the work of Christ . . .’, he stated, and so the first base of his his leadership was laid. His reign of terror was about to begin.

With the crusader-pilgrims returning home, and Hervé de Donzy leaving mostly because of him loathing Simon's friendship with Eudes III, Duke of Burgundy (who left himself after a pathetic attempt of besieging Cabaret), only the bravest of knights stayed in Carcassonne. No matter how brave, they were obviously lower on the social scale than Simon himself; the most important of them were Simon de Cissey, Robert de Picquigny, Guilhaume de Contres, Guy de Lévis, Robert de Forceville, Lambert de Crécy de Thury (later de Limoux), Rainer de Chaudron, Raoulf de Agis, Pons de Beaumont, Jean de Beaumont, Rouaud de Donges (viscount), Roger de Andelys, Roger de Essats and Hugues de Lacy. They could not possibly have been prepared for what was to come.

Raimon-Rogièr Trencavel died in the autumn of 1209 under unknown circumstances in the dungeons of Carcassonne. Maybe his death was intentional, but probably it was plain old dysentery.


Sources;
Occitan War, Marvin.
Albigensian Crusade, Sumption.
Canso de Croisada, Guilhaume de Tudela
Kill them all, McGlynn
A Most Holy War, Pegg.
God's Heretics, Burl.
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Old October 14th, 2015, 03:46 AM   #2

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I think the term 'crusader-pilgrims' is a bit rich tbh.
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Old October 14th, 2015, 04:46 AM   #3

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You mean it is a euphemism, or too neutral, or even hypocritical? Hm. Perhaps. But I don't know what else to call them without comprimising my objectivity too much, as personally I prefer the term "mindless fanatical religious invading terrorists of lower social rank".
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Old October 14th, 2015, 04:59 AM   #4

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That's better!!

One point I read recently in a Cathar history is that 6 months in the Languedoc meant that a knight had 'done his crusading duty before God'. This is one reason there were times when De Montfort was lamentably short of forces - ironically including Muret - as everybody had gone back to their nice cosy hearths in Northern France having done 6 months and a day - so to speak.

Far better to do your duty before God slaughtering a few defenceless townsfolk in a summer in the Languedoc than go all the way to the nasty, hot Holy Land, or even hot, harsh Spain, as they found out in 1212.
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Old October 14th, 2015, 06:37 AM   #5

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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnincornwall View Post
That's better!!

One point I read recently in a Cathar history is that 6 months in the Languedoc meant that a knight had 'done his crusading duty before God'. This is one reason there were times when De Montfort was lamentably short of forces - ironically including Muret - as everybody had gone back to their nice cosy hearths in Northern France having done 6 months and a day - so to speak.
It was seasonal for sure, but never as long as 6 months. I think in 1209 it wasn't exactly clear how long one should go - the longer the better. The longer you went, the shorter your time in purgatory would be (a then recently introduced concept).

Papal letters of years shortly thereafter introduce the 40-day terms of service. This way, all through the season, there would be an influx of people, and farmers could return home in time to work the land.

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Originally Posted by johnincornwall View Post
Far better to do your duty before God slaughtering a few defenceless townsfolk in a summer in the Languedoc than go all the way to the nasty, hot Holy Land, or even hot, harsh Spain, as they found out in 1212.
On top of that, the secular and spiritual rewards were exhorbitant too.
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Old October 14th, 2015, 08:35 AM   #6

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Originally Posted by johnincornwall View Post
I think the term 'crusader-pilgrims' is a bit rich tbh.
Pilgrims is actually how the Church defined them and what they understood themselves to be. They were required to prepare as pilgrims, dress as pilgrims (when not in armor), travel as pilgrims, perform the penitential acts of pilgrimage, take the vow of pilgrimage, including chastity and temporary poverty, and to complete their journey, if possible, as pilgrims.

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The longer you went, the shorter your time in purgatory would be
That would be exceptional, so I think it's probably incorrect (unless you can show otherwise). As far as I know the indulgence was always plenary* and the only condition was making the vow of pilgrimage. It was in fact not even necessary to go on crusade (should death or something else prevent the journey), let alone go on crusade for a certain length of time.

*A plenary indulgence is remission of all penalties in this life and the next.

Pope Urban II:
If any men among you go there not because they desire earthly profit but only for the salvation of their souls and the liberation of the Church, we, acting as much on our own authority as on that of all the archbishops and bishops in Gaul, through the mercy of almighty God and the prayers of the Catholic Church, relieve them of all penance imposed for their sins, of which they have made genuine and full confession, because they have risked their belongings and lives for the love of God and their neighbor.
This indulgence was, as far as I know, associated with all crusades.

Quote:
(a then recently introduced concept).
The ancient Christian liturgy included prayers for the dead. We also have Christian inscriptions from the early third century appealing to pray for the dead. And several Church Fathers who wrote about reconciling the dead with God. Therefore, the concept was certainly not new. But you probably meant to say the concept had only recently been defined as doctrine.
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Old October 15th, 2015, 10:18 AM   #7

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That would be exceptional, so I think it's probably incorrect (unless you can show otherwise). As far as I know the indulgence was always plenary* and the only condition was making the vow of pilgrimage
It cannot be disregarded what Papal legates concerned with the Albigensian Crusade thought, said and institutionalized; they were after all, the voice of the Pope as well as the fuel for stimulating the Crusade. Local and international clergy active in the region were promoted to legates, like Pierre de Castelnau, Arnaud-Amaury, Dominic Guzman, Raoul de Frontfroide and Folquet de Marseille. Folquet de Marseille was in contact with and influenced by the blessed Marie d’Oignes, who had a vision of the war against heretics that was to come. Jacques de Vitry wrote in his biography of her; “although she lived far away, she had a vision of the crusaders being killed. Amid the carnage she saw angels rejoicing as they carried the souls of the holy martyrs of Christ directly to paradise without the necessity of purgatory. (Marie was so moved by this joyful sight that she ardently wished to join the pilgrimage against the heretics. “She could barely be restrained from doing so”. Jacques was Marie’s confessor and, sympathetic to her desire to walk like Him in the Provincia, asked what she would do if she were signed with the cross. “I would honour my Lord by witnessing His name where so many impious men have denied Him by blasphemy.”)

Also, if it was plenary, then why did some of the Popes feel like it was necessary to uderline certain crimes as being included when it came down to the Albigensian Crusade? Was this regular for letters regarding crusades? Example;

Honorius III; 15 november 1221, Cum venerabiles fratres;
“...free power to compel objectors, if there are any’, etc. as above up to ‘may be compelled’. Also, we grant you by the authority of these present letters as a favour the power to absolve, according to the formula of the Church and your legation, arsonists and those who have committed violent acts, in order thatyou may thus be able to encourage them the more efficiently to aid this memorable business. Dated as above.”

That confirms Honorius III thought that heretics were way worse than arsonists and murderers, and was willing to give whatever indulgence. This is the same letter that diverted taxes meant for the Fifth Crusade towards the Albigensian Crusade again, a full twentieth for three years on the whole of France. That sounds kind of extreme.

By the way, we haven’t talked about the lands and riches that were also a major lure of the crusade (for nobility), endorsed and underlined by the popes. In a letter to King Philip II of France date as early as May 1204, - importantly, before the murder of Pierre de Castelnau and launch of the Albigensian Crusade, Pope Innocent III already declared heretics and everyone supporting them should be proscribed and their lands seized. Innocent already promised the same indulgences as those going on Crusade to the Holy Land to aristocrats acting against heretics, which signifies that he was already contemplating a Crusade against heretics at this time (though he didn’t expand the indulgences to everyone until the murder of Pierre de Castelnau).

In a Letter from the Pope to Philip II, May 1204; Ad sponse sue;
“Therefore we warn Your Serene Majesty and we exhort you in the Lord, and we enjoin you for the remission of your sins, that, either through you yourself, if it can be done, or through our most dear son in Christ, Louis, your son, or some other prudent man, you will powerfully oppose their perversity and show openly how much you love the unity of the Church and, using the heavenly power which has been handed over to you, compel both counts and barons to confiscate their goods and proscribe their persons. But in order that an equal penalty may restrain those who practise and those who consent – since there is no lack of scheming in secret fellowship such as to block the resistance to blatant villainy – if any of the counts, barons or citizens is unwilling to drive them from their territory, or presumes to harbour those heretics, or dares to encourage them, you may confiscate his goods and not delay adding the whole of his territory to the king’s domain. Thus may Your Royal Power also assist our dear sons the Cistercian abbots Peter and Ralph, monks of Fontfroide, legates of the Apostolic See, whom we assign especially to this matter, so that it may be confirmed that the material sword may supplement the weakness of the spiritual sword, and that you, besides the temporal glory which you will acquire from so pious and praiseworthy a work, may obtain that pardon for your sins which we grant as an indulgence for those crossing over the sea to bring aid to the Holy Land.”

In the 1220s, joining the Albigensian Crusade meant exemption from taxes. Another extreme letter was written by Pope Gregory IX in 1228, which specifically names debts to Jews in the context of joining the Albigensian Crusade;

“But if any of the creditors has forced them to pay out interest, you may compel these same people to restore it by similar censure. Furthermore you may ensure that by means of the secular power the Jews are compelled to remit interest and, until they have remitted it, that they be denied dealings with the faithful. Henceforth if any crusaders at the present time are not able to pay their debts to the Jews, you may take care to labour so that the secular judges may thus procure a suitable deferral for them. So that after the journey of pilgrimage has been undertaken, and there is most certain knowledge about their death or return, they may not incur the inconveniences of paying interest. And equally the Jews shall be compelled to add to the capital, after the necessary expenses have been deducted, the revenues which they themselves shall meanwhile have collected. Also you may compel debtors of the crusaders to pay off the debts in which they are held by the Jews, without interest, inducing their creditors, as far as is necessary, to extend the limits previously fixed for the settling of debts.”

If these kind of rewards are exceptional, only someone who has studied Papal letters regarding the regular crusades can tell me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Otranto View Post
It was in fact not even necessary to go on crusade (should death or something else prevent the journey), let alone go on crusade for a certain length of time.
I wouldn't know the terms of regular Crusades. For the one against the Albigensians before the second half of 1210, a 40 day term of service was possibly what people bestowed upon themselves; contemporary troubadour Guilhaume de Tudela wrote as early as the storming of Béziers in his Canso de Croisada (laisse 18);
“With the exception of the Count of Brienne, there was no baron of France who was not doing his forty day service there.”

During the siege of Termes and thereafter, the Papal Legates institutionalized it, as formal correspondences started using the 40-day service necessary before the indulgences could be obtained (though it was largely Papal legates in the region that enforced this). Perhaps this was exclusive to the Albigensian Crusade.

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The ancient Christian liturgy included prayers for the dead. We also have Christian inscriptions from the early third century appealing to pray for the dead. And several Church Fathers who wrote about reconciling the dead with God. Therefore, the concept was certainly not new. But you probably meant to say the concept had only recently been defined as doctrine.
Yeah, I meant the adoption of the idea into orthodox faith; specifically purgatory not being just simply the realm of the dead and sleeping souls, but a necessary step where you had to be purged of sins until you were ready for heaven.
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Old October 15th, 2015, 01:52 PM   #8

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Nice post, Spikey.

Very informative and well-written
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Old October 15th, 2015, 11:54 PM   #9

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Also, if it was plenary, then why did some of the Popes feel like it was necessary to uderline certain crimes as being included when it came down to the Albigensian Crusade? Was this regular for letters regarding crusades? Example;
You've written a long and interesting response, but it's mostly not related to the crusade indulgence. My issue was your claim that the indulgence was relative to the duration of participation in the crusade. The problem is that it contradicts what the crusades were.

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In a Letter from the Pope to Philip II, May 1204; Ad sponse sue;
“Therefore we warn Your Serene Majesty and we exhort you in the Lord, and we enjoin you for the remission of your sins,
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besides the temporal glory which you will acquire from so pious and praiseworthy a work, may obtain that pardon for your sins which we grant as an indulgence for those crossing over the sea to bring aid to the Holy Land.”
This confirms, not conflicts, with a plenary indulgence: "remission of your sins," "pardon of your sins." Here are a few examples of how the crusade indulgence was interpreted:

St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Letter to the people of eastern France and Bavaria:
Take the sign of the cross and you will obtain in equal measure remission of all the sins you have confessed with a contrite heart.
Letter to the English people:
Take up the sign of the Cross and you will find indulgence for all the sins which you humbly confess.
Peter of blois, De Hierosolymitana peregrinatione acceleranda:
By the privilege of the apostle Peter and the general authority of the Church, the Lord has set forth the word of reconciliation in this sign [of the cross], so that the adoption of the way to Jerusalem should be a complete penance and sufficient satisfaction for sins committed.
Orderic Vitalis:
The pope urged all who could bear arms to fight against the enemies of God, and on God's authority he absolved all the penitent from all their sins from the hour they took the Lord's cross and he lovingly released them from all hardships, whether fasting or other mortification of the flesh.
I can't go through all the sources, and there was development in the ideas, but a plenary indulgence seems to have been attached to all crusades.

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If these kind of rewards are exceptional, only someone who has studied Papal letters regarding the regular crusades can tell me.
These other rewards were not inherent and subject to development, but not exceptional. I've not read about tax exemptions, but of course Jews are not allowed to collect interest on crusaders. Crusading concerned the common good, therefore others are expected to contribute or sacrifice. If Jews wanted the benefits of Christian society, then they had to adjust.

The crusaders would still have been required to fulfill their financial obligations on return. And they usually would have financial obligations. Men and women couldn't normally afford the journey without taking loans, mortgaging or selling their property, renouncing their rights, and so on. The special privilege they seemed to have always enjoyed was that their property was under the protection of the Church. There shouldn't have been too many problems, though, as crusaders were required to prepare as pilgrims, which meant that they were required to leave their family and finances in the best possible condition and to solve personal disputes.

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I wouldn't know the terms of regular Crusades. For the one against the Albigensians before the second half of 1210, a 40 day term of service was possibly what people bestowed upon themselves;
Yes or possibly the destination of the pilgrimage was a certain term of service. But even then this wouldn't have been a condition. If for example a man or woman made the vow and intended to fulfill it, but he or she died or fell ill, then he or she would still have gained the benefits of the crusade indulgence. If the Albigensian Crusade didn't have a plenary indulgence, then it could be argued that it wasn't a crusade to begin with.

Last edited by Otranto; October 15th, 2015 at 11:59 PM.
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Old October 16th, 2015, 01:48 AM   #10

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Sorry, sifting over all my notes that I built up over the years, I do get carried away. I wanted to focus on the military aspects mainly in this thread, but hehe, well, I'm so far away from that already now that I might as well continue.

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Yes or possibly the destination of the pilgrimage was a certain term of service. But even then this wouldn't have been a condition. If for example a man or woman made the vow and intended to fulfill it, but he or she died or fell ill, then he or she would still have gained the benefits of the crusade indulgence. If the Albigensian Crusade didn't have a plenary indulgence, then it could be argued that it wasn't a crusade to begin with.
First, by the way it was initiated is definitely a "crusade". People did "take up the cross", "signed themselves with the cross" and "walked like Him with the cross". One of the three major contemporary sources for it is a lengthy troubadour poem with the title "Canso de Croisada" by the local Guilhaume de Tudèla and (probably) Gui de Cavalhon. They describe it explicitly as a crusade (the first one even being sympathetic to its cause). I agree though that this was the first form of "internal crusade", and that was a new thing.

Second, some sources (secular and clerical) explicitly state that the 40-days term of service was necessary before the plenary indulgence could be obtained (at least, after 1210). The best example of this is by Pierre de Vaux-de-Cernay in his Historia Albigensis, another one of the three major contemporary sources. The 40-days terms of service is kind of a mystery still, but Pierre de Vaux-de-Cernay described crusaders as having completed their "period of service" in at least seven different geographical locations in his chronicle (1209-1218) of the Albigensian crusade, from the siege of Termes and beyond. Pierre was an eye witness to many of the events. Same goes for Tudèla and Cavalhon, who I know by heart name it at least in the context of Béziers, and more formally in the context of Termes. Then we have the third major source Chronique (1203-1275) by Guilhaume de Puylaurens, who aslo names the 40-day term on several occasions.

Historians don't doubt that the 40-days terms of service was institutionalized in the latter half of 1210. From "The Papacy and Crusading in Europe (1198-1245)" by Rebecca Rist;
"For the crusade in 1226, legates granted the same plenary indulgence for 40 days service which had been originally introduced in 1210. The length of service may have reflected the amount of time lords traditionally asked of their vassals for service. Or it may have been a reminder of the Church's 40 days of penance each Lent. Or perhaps it was a reference to the fact that whereas pilgrims were often awarded partial indulgences of 40 days for going on pilgrimages, in this case crusaders were being granted the plenary indulgence for only 40 days' fighting.
[...]
For the significance of the forty-day service period see Claire Dutton,'Aspects of the Institutional History of the Albigensian Crusade, 1198-1229 (PhD dissertation Royal Holloway and Bedford New College, University of London, 1993), pp 211-18; Laurence Marvin 'Thirty-Nine Days and a Wake-up: The Impact of the Indulgence and Forty Days Service on the Albigensian Crusade, 1209-1218', the Historian (2002), pp 75-94."

It was possibly installed because during the heavy and long and harsh siege of Minerve, people flocked away when they felt like it, severely endangering the chances of victory. This was extremely undesirable. Eventually they succeeded, because they paid for the expensive crew of a heavy Tribuchet nicknamed "Bad Neighbour" to finish the siege. After the difficult siege of Minerve, no matter how late in the season it was, Simon and Alice de Montfort together with the papal legates inexplicably decided to besiege Termes. Termes was way more formidable than Minerve, so maybe they invented the 40-days for that particular siege as a prerequisite. It payed off. After large groups were leaving after 40-days, the siege wasn't completed, and Simon and Alice begged nobles and clergy to stay. Few heeded this call. The siege could however be succesfully resumed because a large group of crusader-pilgrims from Lorraine arrived. Military, this is I think why it became important that there was a steady influx of 40-day terms serving pilgrims, and that is I suspect what Simon asked for (always stretched thin for an army) of the Legates before he would even think of laying siege on Termes. Of course, we only sufficient proof that it was installed, not exactly why.

As you say, we do run into the problem that if someone were to die without completing the terms, he would technically not be eligible for the indulgence. However, this was I suspect easily solved by Folquet's believe that one would skip purgatory altogether and go straight to heaven in this case. That was an extra incentive for the orthodox crusader-pilgrims.

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This confirms, not conflicts, with a plenary indulgence: "remission of your sins," "pardon of your sins."
I wasn't arguing against the plenary indulgence, but confirming. It was my point that the plenary indulgence was already given 5 years before the crusade started (for aristocrats), but it was obiviously not enough of an incentive to act upon it, as Philip II himself didn't do anything with it (nor allowed his son or vassals to do anything) at that point. It wasn't yet a crusade, but the indulgence could be obtained. The plenary indulgence wasn't extended to common folks until 1208, when the official crusade was called. Much to the irritation of the Popes, nobody really cared that much about heretics challenging the authority of the Pope over Christianity; even not those that were faithful catholics like Philip II of France, Père II of Aragon and Raimon VI of Toulouse. The local clergy, especially those who were upgraded to papal legates (because of the heresy hotbed they lived in), needed to make it somehow... more attractive for aristocrats to act. Those were the exact same papal legates that preached the Crusade from 1208 to 1209 all over France. (Btw, the Popes had wanted military action in the county of Toulouse for a long time, perhaps as early as 1181 when Lavaur was besieged by a cleric. The assassination of Pierre de Castelnau was an excuse to launch a full blown crusade).

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Originally Posted by Otranto View Post
I can't go through all the sources, and there was development in the ideas, but a plenary indulgence seems to have been attached to all crusades.
Not saying that it wasn't, but you'd still first go to purgatory. I'm saying here that the eloquent Folquet de Marseille, the only key figure of either side that lived through the entire crusade (Dominic Guzman, Arnaud-Amaury, Raoul de Frontfroide, Master Milo, Philip II King of France, Louis VIII King of France, Raimon VI Count of Toulouse, Viscount Raimon-Rogièr Trencavel, Raimon-Rogièr Count of Foix and Pope Innocent III all died during the war), was most influential as Papal legate, Bishop of Toulouse and one of the campaign-preachers, and he believed that ALL crusaders that died while on crusade would skip purgatory (I think, not only those participating in the Albigensian one).

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Originally Posted by Otranto View Post
These other rewards were not inherent and subject to development, but not exceptional. I've not read about tax exemptions, but of course Jews are not allowed to collect interest on crusaders. Crusading concerned the common good, therefore others are expected to contribute or sacrifice. If Jews wanted the benefits of Christian society, then they had to adjust. The crusaders would still have been required to fulfill their financial obligations on return.
Not only Jews could not collect interest while people were on crusade, nobody could. But the debts owed to Jews could be annulled completely.

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