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The Albigensian Crusade Essay

1291 words - 6 pages

The Albigensian Crusade was started by the Roman Catholic Church under the order of Pope Innocent III as what was actually a travesty of a religious movement, as it had hardly any religious impact. It did, however, lead to immense political, pecuniary, and sociocultural alteration in the Holy Roman Empire and France in the 13th Century AD because it really wasn’t about religion; it was about power. Wealth was spread and lost throughout the Holy Roman Empire and France as the fighting raged on. Southern France’s political power was abolished and replaced as a result of the attacks on Languedoc, a powerhouse for beliefs contrary to Roman Catholicism. A cultured was razed and a society was ...view middle of the document...

Though the crusade targeted heretics, the crusades and their allies the Northern French nobles were invading and attacking their enemy as well as Roman Catholics (Read 193). Many of the nobles in Languedoc though members of the Church, fought against the crusaders because it was an invasion of their territory. Many actually went bankrupt in an attempt to protect their homes (Albigen. Crusade). One of the perks, or indulgences provided by the Church for joining the crusade was the alleviation of debt to the church and protection of property (Tyerman 14); meaning economic stability, at least temporarily. However, many people perished in battle, and their land was seized by or left to the Church. If a man without an heir had joined the crusade and died, his land would then be taken by the Church. After the crusade, began the Inquisitions. If a person was found guilty of heresy, they were to be tortured and half their land would be given to the Church. Many people were tortured into pleading guilty in order for the Church to gain more wealth (Inquisition Languedoc).
The Albigensian Crusade was one of the first crusades which did not involve journeying to the Holy Land, instead it it was a war against Catharism a religion which was the near opposite of Roman Catholicism, decried it as a religion, and considered much of it to be sacrilegious (Read 192). The popularity, and therefore power, of Catharism caused an atrophy of Papal power, which shifted to heretic leaders; threatening the power of the Roman Catholic Church. Cathar belief was leading people to begin looking upon the Church and its rectitude its askance. During the time of Pope Innocent III most of Europe was Roman Catholic, and so there were actually penalties for mooting the beliefs of the Church (Inquisition Languedoc); making cathar belief and its influence a problem for the papacy. The proximal relation of the Church and State made the Church powerful, so much in fact that to be against the church meant that you were also against the state (Roberts 167); thus the need for a “crusade” against the heretic, or Cathars, of Southern France. The crusaders allied with the nobles of Northern France in order to raze the once wealthy region of Languedoc, the bastion of heretic belief; the epicenter of the maelstrom that was contrary to Roman Catholicism. After twenty years of sporadic fighting together, the crusade ended with the Treaty of Paris in 1229 with Raymond VII’s promise to do what his father had allegedly been unable to do, to persecute the heretics (Tyerman 601); the Northern French nobility and the crusaders were able to conquer Languedoc and destroy principal power in Southern France (Albigenses).The Northern nobility became feudal lords after gaining land from the conquest.
The crusade itself was feckless; however it wasn’t the last of its kind. It led to many more crusades against heresy and heretics (Tyerman 44),...

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