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By Stephen O'Shea

8 hundred years in the past, the Cathars, a bunch of heretical Christians from all walks of society, low and high, flourished in what's now the Languedoc in Southern France. Their subversive ideals introduced down on them the wrath of Popes and monarchs and provoked a brutal 'Crusade' opposed to them. the ultimate defeat of the Cathars used to be terrible with mass burnings of fellows, girls and kids within the village of Montaillou within the Pyrenees.

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It was once those hinterland vassals who will be Catharism’s stoutest defenders within the early years of the Albigensian campaign. The northerners arrived on August 1. Leery of the bolts and quarrels from Carcassonne’s crossbows, the crusading nobles ordered their tents and pavilions pitched good out of diversity. An impulsive Raymond Roger, in keeping with a chronicler, advised an instantaneous shock assault. “To horse, my lords! ” the viscount shouted. “We’ll experience available in the market, 400 people with the easiest and quickest horses, and earlier than the solar has set, we will defeat them. ” Cooler heads prevailed over this absurd bravado—the defenders have been hopelessly outnumbered. the main convincing tips for warning used to be voiced through Peter Roger of Cabaret, lord of a gold-mining fief at the Montagne Noire. Béziers had proven that an ill-prepared sortie may possibly end as a fiasco (the Biterrois were “stupider than whales,” sniffed one chronicler), and the crusaders ahead of Carcassonne weren't a drained or disgruntled besieging military, simply stunned and defeated. In any occasion, the crusader camp used to be too distant to typhoon all at once. The seigneur of Cabaret rightly surmised that the northerners might first assail the 2 fortified suburbs of Carcassonne that stood outdoor town partitions. He argued for barreling out of the Trencavel capital as soon as the suburbs got here below assault; the crusaders will be nearer, and harder-pressed, and the shock simply as overall. the following day, August 2, 1209, used to be a Sunday, and either side waited in pious impatience. At sunrise on Monday, the northeners struck; they selected Bourg, the weaker of the 2 suburbs. Battering rams, chanting clergymen, clambering squaddies on their ladders, charging knights on warhorses—the medieval phantasmagoria got here to existence in all its brutality. inside hours the bloodied defenders of Bourg scattered in panic because the flimsy partitions in their cost allow within the mob. From atop the rock-solid battlements of Carcassonne, archers and bowmen loosed flight after flight into the crusaders, however the wave of warriors couldn't be stopped. Neither Raymond Roger nor Peter Roger sallied out to Bourg to counterattack. interestingly, not one of the 3 chroniclers who're our resources for this engagement supplies a cause of the abandonment in their plan. there has been no slaughter in this day. as a substitute, the lads of the campaign crashed prior the burning homes and down the slopes resulting in the River Aude—and its necessary wells. The population of Bourg had time to stumble past the barbicans of Carcassonne and to safeguard at the back of its fortifications. they might position nonetheless extra pressure at the overcrowded city’s assets. The crusaders had captured the northern method of the Trencavel capital and, extra vital, commandeered its water provides. The motion at Bourg were a hard-fought tactical victory, within which one minor noble from the north had uncommon himself for his bravery. Simon de Montfort, until eventually then a good if shabby presence within the silken corporation of his betters, may upward thrust to prominence within the siege of Carcassonne.

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