By Mark Gregory Pegg

In January of 1208, a papal legate was once murdered at the banks of the Rhone in southern France. A livid Pope blameless III accused heretics of the crime and known as upon all Christians to exterminate heresy among the Garonne and Rhone rivers--a substantial quarter referred to now as Languedoc--in a very good campaign. This such a lot holy warfare, the 1st during which Christians have been promised salvation for killing different Christians, lasted twenty bloody years--it used to be a protracted savage conflict for the soul of Christendom.
In A so much Holy struggle, historian Mark Pegg has produced a swift-moving, gripping narrative of this terrible campaign, drawing partly on hundreds of thousands of tales accrued by means of inquisitors within the years 1235 to 1245. those money owed of standard women and men, remembering what it was once prefer to pass though such brutal occasions, carry the tale vividly to existence. Pegg argues that generations of historians (and novelists) have misunderstood the campaign; they assumed it was once a struggle opposed to the Cathars, the main recognized heretics of the center a while. The Cathars, Pegg unearths, by no means existed. He additional exhibits how a millennial fervor approximately "cleansing" the realm of heresy, coupled with an apprehension that Christendom was once being eaten clear of inside of through heretics who regarded no assorted than different Christians, made the battles, sieges, and massacres of the campaign nearly apocalyptic of their merciless depth. In responding to this worry with a holy genocidal battle, blameless III essentially replaced how Western civilization handled contributors accused of corrupting society. This basic swap, Pegg argues, led on to the construction of the inquisition, the increase of an anti-Semitism devoted to the violent removal of Jews, or even the holy violence of the Reconquista in Spain and within the New international within the 15th century. All derive their divinely sanctioned slaughter from the Albigensian Crusade.
Haunting and immersive, A such a lot Holy War opens a huge new point of view on a really pivotal second in global heritage, a primary and far away foreshadowing of the genocide and holy violence within the smooth global.

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Additional info for A Most Holy War: The Albigensian Crusade and the Battle for Christendom (Pivotal Moments in World History)

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This malediction—punning on Verfeil, viridefolium, ‘‘greenleaf ’’—came to pass according to Guilhem de Puylaurens. ’’ grieved Bernard of Clairvaux about the Toulousain and Lauragais in a letter he sent to Anfoz Jordas, count of Toulouse, announcing his visit in the summer of 1145. ’’ Henri had wandered through Lausanne, Le Mans, Poitiers, and Bordeaux before he reached Toulouse. 6 He argued what it meant to be a Christian with humor, scripture, and the manner of his life. Churches, sacraments, and priests were not needed to achieve holiness.

8 More than a century later— and three more expeditions to the eastern Mediterranean (the Second, A Most Holy War 11 Third, and Fourth Crusades)—what it meant to be a warrior pilgrim who journeyed to fight ‘‘where He walked in bodily form’’ was a familiar social and moral category. Yet, the first martial pilgrimage to fight Christians within Christendom in 1209 was surprisingly similar to the first armed expedition to the Holy Land in 1096: each one, though a peregrination based on precedent, was an excursion into chiliastic unpredictability.

A great thick ribbon of alluvial plains, chalky plateaus, saline marshes, and granite mountains that, by the end of the thirteenth century, was known as Languedoc but, during the decades of the crusade, was labeled Provincia by the papacy and, by adapting fourteenth-century toponyms, is called Occitania by modern scholars. Provinicia derived from what was thought to have been the Roman imperial province of Gallia Narbonensis (and, to a lesser extent, the province of Gallia Lugdunensis). 10 It marked out an entity that, despite the theoretical suzerainty of the French kings to large parts of it, was not northern Francia or Gallia, in other words, was not France.

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