A History of the Inquisition In The Middle Ages.
By Henry Charles Lea - 1888
Chapter I: The Albigensian Crusades
THE Church admitted that it had brought upon itself the dangers which threatened it - that the alarming progress of heresy was caused and fostered by clerical negligence and corruption. In his opening address to the great Lateran Council, Innocent III. had no scruple in declaring to the assembled fathers:
"The corruption of the people has its chief source in the clergy. From this arise the evils of Christendom: faith perishes, religion is defaced, liberty is restricted, justice is trodden under foot, the heretics multiply, the schismatics are emboldened, the faithless grow strong, the Saracens are victorious"
and after the futile attempt of the council to strike at the root of the evil, Honorius III., in admitting its failure, repeated the assertion. In fact this was an axiom which none were so hardy as to deny, yet when, in 1204, the legates whom Innocent had sent to oppose the Albigenses appealed to him for aid against prelates whom they had failed to coerce, and whose infamy of life gave scandal to the faithful and an irresistible argument to the heretic, Innocent curtly bade them attend to the object of their mission and not allow themselves to be diverted by less important matters.
The reply fairly indicates the policy of the Church. Thoroughly to cleanse the Augean stable was a task from which even Innocent's fearless spirit might well shrink. It seemed an easier and more hopeful plan to crush revolt with fire and sword.
We have seen how promptly and persistently Innocent took in hand the heretics of Italy, nor were his dealings with those beyond the Alps less active and decisive, though they manifest an evident desire to do exact justice, and not to confound the innocent with the guilty. The Nivernois had long been noted as a deeply infected district. The troubles occasioned by Catharism at Vezelai in 1167 have already been alluded to, and the sharp repression of heresy then had put an end to its outward manifestation without destroying its germs. Towards the end of the century Bishop Hugues of Auxerre earned the title of the Hammer of heretic sby his energy and success in persecution; and though he was likewise noted for avarice, usurpation of illegal rights, oppression of his flock, and ferocity in ruining those who had offended him, his zeal for the faith covered the multitude of sins, hardly needing the urgency with which , in 1204, Innocent commanded him to clear his diocese of heresy. By the pitiless employment of confiscation, exile, and the stake he labored to purify it, but the evil was stubborn and constantly reappeared.
The chief propagator was an anchorite named Terric who dwelt in a cavern near Corbigny, where he was finally surprised and burned, through the exertions of Foulquesde Keuilly, but the infection was not confined to the poor and humble. In 1199 we find the Dean of Nevers and the Abbot of St. Martin of Xevers appealing to Innocent from prosecutions commenced against them, and the answers of the pope show both his anxious desire that they should have full opportunity to prove their innocence, and the uncertainty and cumbrous nature of the ecclesiastical procedure of the time.
In 1201 Bishop Hugues was more successful with a criminal of equal importance, the knight, Everard of Chateauneuf, to whom Count Hervey of Nevers had intrusted the stewardship of his territories. In this case, the Legate Octavian called a council in Paris, comprising many bishops and theologians, for his trial; he was convicted principally on the testimony of Bishop Hugues and was handed over to the seculararm and burned, after a respite for the purpose of rendering an account of his office to Count Hervey.
His nephew, Thierry, an equally hardened heretic , escaped to Toulouse, where five years later we find him a bishop among the Albigenses, who were gratified in having a Frenchman as an accomplice. La Charite was an especially active centre of heresy in the Mvernois, and from 1202 to 1208 there are frequent appeals to Innocent from its citizens, show that Rome was regarded as more indulgent than the local courts; and the papal decisions continue to manifest a laudable desire to prevent injustice.
Popular Versions Of Scripture
All this proved inefficient, and it was one of the first places to which , in 1233, an inquisitor was sent. At Troyes, in 1200, five male and three female Catharans were burned; and at Braisne, in 1204, a number were similarly put to death, among whom was Nicholas, the most renowned painter in France.
In 1199 another danger threatened the Church in Metz, where Waldensian sectaries were found in possession of French translations of the New Testament, the Psalter, Job, and other portions of Scripture, which they contumaciously studied with unwearied perseverance and refused to abandon at the command of their parish priests; nay, they were hardy enough to assert that they knew more of Holy Writ than their pastors, and that they had a right to the consolation which they found in its perusal. The case was some what puzzling, since the Church as yet had had no occasion to interdict formally the popular reading of the Bible, and these poor folk were not accused of any definite heretical tenets.
Innocent, therefore, when applied to, admitted that there was nothing condemnable in the desire to understand Scripture, but he added that such is its profundity that even the learned and wise are unequal to its comprehension, and consequently it is far beyond the grasp of the simple and illiterate. The people of Metz were therefore exhorted to abandon these reprehensible practices and return to a proper degree of respect for their pastors if they wished pardon for their sins, with a significant threat of compulsion in case of further obstinacy; and when the simple and illiterate folk proved deaf to this command, a commission was sent to the Abbot of Citeaux and two others, to proceed to Metz and put a stop, without appeal, to these unlawful studies - with what success we may infer from the fact that in 1231 the heretics of Treves were found in possession of German versions of Holy Writ.
It was the stronghold of heresy in southern France, however, which rightly gave rise to chief concern in Rome, and to this Innocent resolutely bent his energies. Raymond VI. of Toulouse, in the full vigor of mature manhood, at the age of thirty-eight had, in January, 1195, succeeded his father in the possession of territories which rendered him the most powerful feudatory of the monarchy and almost an independent sovereign.
Besides the county of Toulouse, the duchy of Narbonne conferred on him the dignity of first laypeer of France. He was likewise suzerain, with more or less direct authority, of the Marquisat eof Provence, the Comt at Venaissin and the counties of St. Gilles, Foix, Comminges, and Rodez, and of the Albigeois, Vivarais, Gevaudan, Velai, Rouergue, Querci, and Agenois. Even in distant Italy he was known as the greatest count on earth, with fourteen counts as his vassals, and his troubadour flatterers assured him that he was the equal of emperors-
Car il val tan qu'en la soavalor
Auri assatz ad un emperaclor.
Even after the sacrifice of a major part of the possessions of the house, his son, Raymond VII., at his splendidChristmascourtof 1244, conferred the honor of knighthood on no less than two hundred nobles. So far as matrimonial alliances can have weight, Raymond VI. was strengthened with the mon everyside, for he was of close kindred to the royal houses of Castile, Aragon, Xavarre, France, and England. His fourth wife was Joan of England, whom he married in 1196 in pursuance of a favorable treaty with her brother Richard, thus relieving him of the enmity of that redoubtable warrior, who, as Duke of Aquitaine, had pressed his father hard. Yet that treaty with Richard gave secret offence to Philip Augustus, destined to bear bitter fruit thereafter.
Almost at the same time he was liberated from another formidable hereditary foe by the death of Alonso II. ofAragon, whose large possessions and still larger pretensions in southern France had at times almost threatened the extinction of the house of Toulouse. With his successor, Pedro II., Raymond's relations were most friendly, cemented in 1200 by his marriage with Pedro's sister Eleanor, and in 1205 by the engagement of his young son, Raymond VII., with Pedro's infant daughter.
Position Of Raymond Of Toulouse
Though the distant sovereignty of France troubled him but little, yet the friendliness manifested to him on his accession by Philip Augustus was a not unimportant element in the prosperity which on every side seemed to give him assurance of a peaceful and fortunate reign.
Thus secured against external aggression and confident of the future, he recked little of an excommunication which had been fulminated against him in 1195 by Celestin III. on account of the invasion of the rights of the Abbey of St. Gilles - an excommunication which Innocent III. removed shortly after his accession, but not without words of reproof and warning which Kayrnond defiantly disregarded, thus laying the foundation of a quarrel destined to result so disastrously. Though not a heretic, his indifference on religious questions led him to tolerate the heresy of his subjects.
Most of his barons were either heretics or favorably inclined to a faith which, by denying the pretensions of the Church, justified its spoliation or, at least, liberated them from its domination. Raymond himself was doubtless influenced by the same motive, and when, in 1195, the Council of Montpellier anathematized all princes who neglected to enforce the Lateran canons against heretics and mercenaries, he paid no attention to its utterances. It would, in fact, have required the most ardent fanaticism to lead a prince so circumstanced to provoke his vassals, to lay waste his territories, to massacre his subjects, and to invite assault from watchful rivals, for the purpose of enforcing uniformity in relig- ion andsubjugationto a Church known only by its rapacity and corruption. Toleration had endured for nearly a generation; the land was blessed with peace after almost interminable war, and all the dictates of worldly prudence counselled him to follow in his father's footsteps. Surrounded by one of the gayest and most cultured courts in Christendom, fond of women, a patron of poets, somewhat irresolute of purpose, and enjoying the love of his subjects, nothing could have appeared to him more objectless than a persecution such as Rome held to be the most indispensable of his duties.
The condition of the Church in his dominions might well excite the indignation of a pontiff like Innocent III., who conscientiously believed in the full measure of its awful authority and imprescriptible rights. A chronicler assures us that among many thousands of the people there were but few Catholics to be found; and althought his is doubtless an exaggeration, we have een in the preceding chapter what rapid strides heresy had made.
How utterly discredited the Church had become, and how loss of respect for the spirituality had led to spoliation of the temporality is shown by the condition of the episcopate of the capital, Toulouse. Bishop Fulcrand, who died in 1200, is described as living perforce in apostolical poverty like a private citizen. His tithes had been seized by the knights and the monasteries; his first-fruits by the parish priests, and his only revenue was derived from a few farms and from the public baking-oven over which he retained a feudal right. In his extremity he brought suit against his own chapter to compel them to assign to him the incomeof a single prebend as a meanso f livelihood. When he visited the parishes, he was obliged to beg an escort from the lords of the lands over which he passed.
When Fulcrand's wretched life came to an end, uninviting as the episcopate seemed to be, it was the subject of a bitter and disgraceful contest which ended in the success of Raymond de Rabastens, Archdeacon of Agen, whose career was even more miserable than that of his predecessor. Perhaps his poverty might excuse the unblushing simony with which he sought to augment his revenues; but when he had pledged or parted with all the remaining possessions of his see to defray the expenses of a fruitless litigation with Raymondde Beaupuy, one of his vassals, he was rightly adjudged a wicked and slothful servant, and was deposed with an annual assignment of thirty livres toulousains to keep him from beggary. His successor, Foulques of Marseilles, a distinguished troubadour who had renounced the world and become Abbot of Floreges, used to relate that when he took possession of the see he was obliged to water his mules at home, having no one to send with them to the common watering-place on the Garonne. Foulques was a man of different temper, whose ruthless bigotry in time carried fire and sword throughout his diocese.
Condition Of The Church
The evil was constantly increasing, and unless checked it seeme donly a question of time when the Church would disappear throughout all the Mediterranean provinces of France. Yet it must be said for the credit of the heretics that there was no manifestation of a persecuting spirit on their part. The rapacity of the barons, it is true, was rapidly depriving the ecclesiastics of their revenues and possessions; as they neglected their duties, and as the law of the strongest was all-prevailing, the invader of Church property had small scruple in despoiling lazy monks and worldly priests whose numbers were constantly diminishing; but the Cathari, however much they may have deemed themselves the Church of the future, seem never to have thought of extending their faith by force. They reasoned and argued and disputed when they found a Catholic zealous enough to contend with them, and they preached to the people, who had no other source of instruction; but, content with peaceable conversions and zealous missionary work, they dwelt in perfect amity with their orthodox neighbors.
To the Church this state of affairs was unbearable. It has always held the toleration of others to be persecution of itself. By the very law of its being it can brook no rivalry in its domination over the human soul; and, in the present case, as toleration was slowly but surely leading to its destruction, it was bound by its sense of duty no less than of self-preservation to put an end to a situation so abhorrent. Yet, before it could resort effectually to force it was compelled to make what efforts it could at persuasion - not of heretics, indeed, but of their protectors. Innocent was consecrated February 22, 1198, and already by April 1st we find him writing to the Archbishop of Ausch, deploring the spread of heresy and the danger of its becoming universal.
The prelate and his brethren are ordered to extirpate it by the utmost rigor of ecclesiastical censures, and if necessary by bringing the secular arm to bear through the assistance of princes and people. Not only are heretics themselves to bepunished, but all who have anydealings with them, or who are suspect by reason of undue familiarity with them. In the existing posture of affairs, the prelates to whom these commands were addressed can only have regarded them with mingled derision and despair; and we can readily imagine the replies in which they declared their zeal and lamented their powerlessness.
Innocent probably was aware of this in advance and did not await the response. By April 21st he had two commissioners ready to represent the Holy See on the spot - Kainier and Gui - whom he sent armed with letters to all the prelates, princes, nobles, and people of southern France, empowering them to enforce whatever regulations they might seef it to employ to avert the imminent peril to the Church arising from the countless increase of Cathari and Waldenses, who corrupted the people by simulated works of justice and charity.
Those heretics who will not return to the true faith are to be banished and their property confiscated; these provisions are to be enforced by the secular authorities under penalty of interdict for refusal or negligence, and with the reward for obedience of the same indulgences as those granted for a pilgrimage to Rome or Compostella; and all who consort or deal with heretics or show them favor or protection are to share their punishment.
It was apparently an after-thought when Rainier, six months later, was empowered to remove the source of the evil by reforming the Churches and restoring discipline.
Rainier's powers evidently proved insufficient, and in July, 1190, they were enlarged, both as a reformer and a persecutor, and he was appointed legate, to be received and obeyed with as much reverence as the pope himself. About this time there appeared to be a gleam of success in the application of William, Lord of Montpellier, for a legate to assist him in suppressing heresy but though William was a good Catholic this special manifestation of zeal was due to his anxiety to obtain the legitimation of the children of a second wife whom he had married without legally divorcing a previous one, and as Innocent refused to sanction the wrong, no great results were to be anticipated for religion.
Fruitless Efforts Of Persecution
A vigorous show of reform was also commenced by attacking two high-placed and notorious offenders, the archbishops of Narbonne and Ausch, whose personal wickedness, negligence, and toleration of heresy had reduced the Church in their provinces to a most deplorable state; but as these proceedings dragged on for ten or twelve years before the removal of the sinners could be effected, no immediate purification could be hoped for by the most sanguine.
In fact, for a time at least, these spasmodic efforts at reform only rendered matters worse. Angered and humiliated by the powers conferred on the representatives of Rome, and alarmed at the attempts to punish their evil lives, the local prelates were in no mood to second the exertions put forth for the eradication of heresy , and at one time it would even seem as though they might be driven to make common cause with the heretics, in opposition to the Holy See, in order to protect themselves and their clergy.
Rainier had fallen sick in the summer of 1202 and had been replaced by Pierre de Castelnau and Raoul, two Cistercian monks of Fontfroide, who succeeded, after infinite trouble, by threats of the royal vengeance, in persuading the magistracy of Toulouse to swear to abjure heresy and expel heretics, in return for an oath pledging immunity and the preservation of the liberties of the city; but no sooner were their backs turned than heresy was as flagrant as before. Encouraged by this apparent success, they undertook the task of obtaining a similar oath from Count Raymond.
This they finally accomplished, with equally slender result, but the process showed what assistance they might expect from the hierarchy. When they summoned the Archbishop of Narbonne to accompany them to the Count of Toulouse for the purpose, he not only refused, but declined to aid them in any way, and it was only after long entreaty that he would even furnish them a horse for the journey. With the Bishopof Beziers their success was no better. He likewise declined to go with them to Raymond; and when they asked his co-operation in summoning the consuls of Beziers to abjure heresy and defend the Church against heretics, he not only withheld it, but impeded their efforts; and though he finally promised to excommunicate the magistrates for contumacy, he never did so, in spite of the fact that heresy so predominated in the town that the viscount wa sobliged to authorize the cathedral canons to fortify the Church of St. Peter for fear that the heretics would seize it.
Possibly he was deterred by the example made of his neighbor, Berenger, Bishop of Carcassonne, who, in consequence of threatening his flock for heresy, was expelled the city and a heavy fine imposed on any one who should have dealings with him.
Evidently pope and legate were of small account in the chaos which reigned in Languedoc. The prelates refused to be reformed, and yet the legates, in their disputations with the heretics, were so continually answered with references to the evil lives of the clergy that they recognized reformation as a condition precedent to any peaceable conversion of the people. The heretics were daily growing bolder, as if to show their scorn of the futile efforts of Innocent. About this very time Esclairmonde, sister of the powerful Count of Foix, with five other ladies of rank, was hereticated in a public assemblage of Cathari, where many knights and nobles were present, and it was remarked that the count was the only one who did not give the heretical salute or "veneration" to the ministrants. Even Pedro the Catholic of Aragon presided over a public debate at Carcassonne, between the legates and a number of leading heretics, which had no result.
The situation was desperate, and Innocent may be pardoned if he reached the conclusion that a deluge was needed to cleanse the land of sin and prepare it for a new race. Enough time had been lost in half-measures while the evil was daily increasing in magnitude, and Innocent proceeded to put forth the whole strength of the Church.
Crusade Threatened In Vain
To the monks of Fontfroide he adjoined as chief legate the "Abbot of abbots," Arnaud of Citeaux, head of the great Cistercian Order, a stern, resolute, and implacable man, full of zeal for the cause and gifted with rare persistency. Since the time of St. Bernard the abbots of Citeaux had seemed to feel a personal responsibility for the suppression of heresy in Languedoc, and Arnaud was better fitted for the work before him than any of his predecessors.
To the legation thus constituted, at the end of May, 1204, Innocent issued a fresh commission of extraordinary powers. The prelates of the infected provinces wer ebitterly reproached for the negligence and timidity which had permitted heresy to assume its alarming proportions. They were ordered to obey humbly whatever the legates might seefit to command, and the vengeance of the Holy See was threatened for slackness or contumacy. Wherever heresy existed, the legates were armed with authority
"to destroy, throw down, or pluck up whatever is to be destroyed, thrown down, or plucked up, and to plant and build whatever is to be built or planted."
With one blow the independence of the local Churches was destroyed and an absolute dictatorship was created. Recognizing, moreover, of how little worth were ecclesiastical censures, Innocent proceeded to appeal to force, which was evidently the only possible cure for the trouble. Not only were the legates directed to deliver all impenitent heretics to the secular arm for perpetual proscription and confiscation of property, but they were empowered to offer complete remission of sins, the same as for a crusade to the Holy Land, to Philip Augustus and his son, Louis Cceur-de-Lion, and to all nobles who should aid in the suppression of heresy.
The dangerous classes were also stimulated by the prospect of pardon and plunder, through a special clause authorizing the legates to absolve all under excommunication for crimes of violence who would join in persecuting heretics -- an offer which subsequent correspondence shows was not unfruitful. To Philip Augustus, also, Innocent wrote at the same time, earnestly exhorting him to draw the sword and slay the wolves who had thus far found no one to withstand their ravages in the fold of the Lord. If he could not proceed in person, let him send his son, or some experienced leader, and exercise the power conferred on him for the purpose by Heaven. Not only was remission of sins promised him, as for a voyage to Palestine, but he was empowered to seize and add to his dominions the territories of all nobles who might not join in persecution and expel the hated heretic.
Innocent might well feel disheartened at the failure of this vigorous move. He had played his last card and lost. The prelates of the infected provinces, indignant at the usurpation of their rights, were less disposed than ever to second the efforts of the legates. Philip Augustus was unmoved by the dazzling bribes, spiritual and temporal, offered to him. He had already had the benefit of an indulgence for a crusade to the Holy Land, and had probably not found his spiritual estate much benefited thereby; while his recent acquisitions in Normandy, Anjou, Poitou, and Aquitaine, at the expense of John of England, required his whole attention, and might be endangered by creating fresh enmities in too sudden a renewal of conquest.
He took no steps, therefore, in response to the impassioned arguments of Innocent, and the legates found the heretics more obdurate than ever. Pierre de Castelnau grew so discouraged that he begged the pope to permit him to return to his abbey; but Innocent refused permission, assuring him that God would reward him according to the labor rather than to the result.
A second urgent appeal to Philip in February, 1205, was equally fruitless; and a concession in the following June, to Pedro of Aragon, of all the lands that he could acquire from heretics, and a year later of all their goods, was similarly without result, except that Pedro seized the Castle of Escure, belonging to the papacy, which had been occupied by Cathari. If something appeared to begained when at Toulouse, in 1205, some dead heretics were prosecuted and their bones exhumed, it was speedily lost, for the municipality promptly adopted a law forbidding trials of the dead who had not been accused during life, unless they had been hereticated on the death-bed.
The work might well seem hopeless, and all three legates were on the point of abandoning it peremptorily in despair, even Arnaud's iron will yielding to the insurmountable passive resistance of a people among whom the heretics would not be converted and the orthodox could not be stimulated to persecution.
Fruitless Mission Work
Bishop Foulques of Toulouse used to relate that in a disputation at which he was present the Cathari were, as usual, vanquished, when he asked Pons de Kodelle, a knight renowned for wisdom and a good Catholic, why he did not drive from his lands those who were so manifestly in error.
"How can we do it?" replied the knight. "We have been brought up with these people, we have kindred among them, and we see them live righteously."
Dogmatic zeal fell powerless before such kindliness; and we can readily believe the monk of Vaux-Cernay, when he tells us that the barons of the land were nearly all protectors and receivers of heretics, loving them fervently and defending them against God and the Church.
The case seemed desperate, when a new light fell as though from heaven upon those groping blindly in the darkness. About mid-summer in 1206 the three legates met at Mbntpeier, and the result of their conference was a determination to withdraw from the thankless labor. By chance, a Spanish prelate, Diegode Azevedo, Bishop of Osma, arrived there on his return from Rome, wherehe had vainly supplicated Innocent to permit his resignation of his bishopric in order that he might devote his life to missionary work among the infidel. On learning the decision of the legates, he earnestly dissuaded them, and suggested their dismissing their splendid retinues and worldly pomp and going among the people, barefooted and poor like the apostles, to preach the Word of God. The idea was so novel that the legates hesitated, but finally assented, if an example were set them by one in authority. Diego offered himself for the purpose and was accepted, whereupon he sent his senators home, retaining only his sub-prior, Domingo de Guzman, who had already, on the voyage towards Rome, converted a heretic in Toulouse. Arnaud returned to Citeaux to hold a general chapter of the order and to obtain recruits for the missionary work, while the other two legates with Diego and Dominic commenced their experiment at Caraman, wherefor eight days they disputed with the heresiarchs Baldwin and Thierry, the latter of whom we have seend riven from the Nivernois some years before. We are told that they converted all the simplefolk, but that the lord of the castle would not allow the two disputants to be expelled.
Further colloquies of similar character are recorded, occupying the autumn and winter, and, with the opening of spring, in 1207, Arnaud had held his chapter and obtained numerous volunteers for the pious work, among them no less than twelve abbots. Taking boats, they descended the Saoneto the Rhone, without horses or retinue, and proceeded to their field of labor, where they separated into twos and threes, wanderin gbarefoot among the towns and villages and seeking to gather in the lost sheep of Israel.
For three months they thus labored diligently, like real evangelists, finding thousands of heretics and few orthodox, but the harvest was scanty and conversions rarely rewarded their pains - in fact, the only practical result was to excite the heretics to renewed missionary zeal. It speaks well for the tolerant temper of the Cathari that men who had been invoking the most powerful sovereignso f Christendom to exterminate them with fire and sword, should have incurred no real danger in a task apparently sofull of risk. The missionaries had to complain of occasional insult, but never were even threatened with injury, except perhaps, at Beziers, Pierre de Castelnau, who seems to have attracted to himself the special dislike of the sectaries. It shows, moreover, the zealous care with which the Church restricted the office of preaching that the legates, in spite of the extraordinary powers with which they were clothed, felt obliged to apply to Innocent for special authority to confer the license to teach in public on those whom they deemed worthy.
The favorable answer of the pope was in reality one of the important events of the century, for it gave the impulsion out of which eventually grew the great Dominican Order, Pierre de Castelnau left his colleagues and visited Provence to make peace among the nobles, in the hope of uniting them for the expulsion of heretics.
Raymond of Toulousere fused to lay down his arms until the intrepid monk excommunicated him and laid his dominions under interdict, finally reproaching him bitterly to his face for his perjuries and other misdeeds.
Count Raymond Excommunicated
Raymond submitted in patience to this reproof, while Pierre applied to Innocent for confirmation of the sentence. By this time, in fact, Raymond had acquired the special hatred of the papalists, through his obstinate neglect to persecute his heretical subjects, in spite of his readiness to take what oaths were required of him. Notwithstanding his outward conformity to orthodoxy, they accused him of being at heart a heretic, and stories were circulated that he always carried with him "perfected" heretics, disguised in ordinary vestments, to gether with a New Testament, that he might be "hereticated" in case of sudden death; that he had declared that he would rather be like a certain crippled heretic living in poverty at Castres than be a king or an emperor; that he knew that he would in the end be disinherited for the sake of the "Good Men," but that he was ready to suffer even beheading for them.
All this and much more, including exaggerated gossip as to his undoubted frailties, was diligently published in order to renderh im odious, but there is no proof that his religious indifference ever led him to deviate from the faith, and no accusation that he had ever interfered with the legates in their mission. They were free to make what converts they could by persuasion or argument, but he committed the unpardonable crime of refusing at their bidding to plunge his dominions in blood.
Innocent promptly confirmed the sentence of his legate, May 29, 1207, in an epistle to Raymond which was an unreserved expression of the passions accumulated through long years of zealous effort frustrated in its results. In the harshest vituperation of ecclesiastical rhetoric, Raymond was threatened with the vengeance of God here and hereafter. The excommunication and interdict were to be strictly observed until due satisfaction and obedience were rendered; and he was warned that these must be speedy, or he would be deprived of certain territories which he held of the Church, and if this did not suffice, the princes of Christendom would be summoned to seize and partition his dominions so that the land might be forever freed from heresy.
Yet in the recital of misdeeds which were held to justify this rigorous sentence there was nothing that had not been for two generations so universal in Languedoc that it might almost be regarded as a part of the public law of the land. He had continued to wage war when desired by the legates to make peace, and had refused to suspend operations on feast-days or holidays; he had violated his oaths to purge his land of heresy, and had shown such favor to heretics as to render his own faith vehemently suspected; in derision of the Christian religion he had bestowed public office on Jews; he had despoiled the Church and ill-treated certain bishops; he had continued to employ the robber bands of mercenaries and had increased the tolls.
Such is the summary of crime alleged against him, which we may reasonably assume to cover every thing possibly susceptible of proof.
Innocent waited awhile to prove the effect of this threat and the results of the missionary effort so auspiciously started by Bishop Azevedo. Both were null. Raymond, indeed, made peace with the Provencal nobles, and was released from excommunication, but he showed no signs of awakening from his exasperating indifference on the religious question, while the Cistercian abbots, disheartened by the obstinacy of the heretics , dropped off one by one, and retired to their monasteries. Legate Raoul died, and Arnaud of Citeaux was called else where by important affairs. Bishop Azevedo went to Spain to set his diocese in order and return to devote his life to the work; but he, too, died when on the point of setting out. He had left behind him the saintly Dominic, who was quietly bringing to gether a few ardent souls, the germs of the great Order of Preachers, and Pierrede Castelnau remained as the sole representative of Rome until Raoul was replaced by the Bishop of Conserans.
Every thing thus had been tried and had failed, except the appeal to the sword, and to this Innocent again recurred with all the energy of despair.
A milder tone towards Philip Augustus with regard to his matrimonial complications between Ingeburga of Denmark and Agnes of Meran might predispose him to vindicate energetically the wrongs of the Church; but, while condescending to this Innocent now addressed, not only the king, but all the faithful throughout France, and the leading magnates were honored with special missives.
November17, 1207, the letters were sent out, pathetically representing the incessant and alarming growth of heresy and the failure of all endeavors to bring the heretics to reason, to frighten them with threats, or to allure them with blandishments.
Murder Of The Legate Pierre
Nothing was left but an appeal to arms; and to all who would embark in this good work the same indulgences were offered as for a crusade to Palestine. The lands of all engaged in it were taken under the special protection of holy Church , and those of the heretics were abandoned to the spoiler.
All creditors of crusaders were obliged to postpone their claims without interest, and clerks taking part were empowered to pledge their revenues in advance for two years.
Earnest and impassioned as was this appeal, it fell, like the previous one, upon deaf ears. Innocent had for years been invoking the religious martial ardor of Europe in aid of the Latin kingdoms of the East, and that ardor seemed for a time exhausted. Philip Augustus coolly responded that his relations with England did not allow him to let the forces of his kingdom be divided, but that, if he could be assured of a two years' truce, then, if the barons and knights of France wanted to undertake a crusade, he would permit them, and aid it with fifty livres a day for a year.
Apparently the present effort was destined to prove as inefficient as the former one had been, when a startling incident suddenly changed the whole aspect of affairs. The murder of the legate Pierre de Castelnau sent a thrill of horror throughout Christendom like that caused by the assassination of Becket thirty-eight years before. Of its details, however, the accounts are so contradictory that it is impossible to speak of it with precision.
This much we know, that Pierre had greatly angered Raymond by the bitterness of his personal reproaches that the count, aroused by the sense of impending danger in the fresh call for a crusade, had invited the legates to an interview at St. Gilles, promising to show himself in all things an obedient son of the Church; that difficulties arose in the conference, the demands of the legates being greater than Raymond was willing to concede.
The Romance version of the catastrophe is simply that, during the conference, Pierre becameen tangled in an angry religious dispute with one of the gentlemen of the court, who drew his dagger and slew him; that the count was greatly concerned at an event so deplorable, and would have taken summary vengeance on the murderer but for his escape and hiding with friends at Beaucaire.
The story carried to Rome by the Bishops of Conseransa nd Toulouse, who hastened thither to inflame Innocent against Raymond, was that, wearied with the count's tergiversations, the legates announced their intentions to withdraw, when he was heard to threaten them with death, saying that he would track them by land and water.
That the Abbot of St. Gillesand the citizens, unable to appease his wrath, furnished the legates with an escort, and they reached the Rhone in safety, where they passed the night. While preparing to cross the river in the morning (January 16, 1208), two strangers, who had joined the party, approached the legates, and one of them suddenly thrust his lance through Pierre, who, turning on his murderer, said,
"May Godforgive thee, for I forgive thee!"
and speedily breathed his last; and that Raymond, so far from punishing the crime, protected and rewarded the perpetrator, even honoring him with a seat at his own table. The papal account, it must be owned, is somewhat impaired in effect by the remark that Pierre, as a martyr, would certainly have shone forth in miracles but for the incredulity of the people. It may well be that a proud and powerful prince, exasperated by continued objurgation and menace, may have uttered some angry expression, which an overzealous servitor hastened to translate into action, and Raymond, certainly, never wasa ble to clear himself of suspicion of complicity; but there are not wanting indications to show that Innocent eventually regarded his exculpation as satisfactory.
The crime gave the Church an enormous advantage, of which Innocent hastened to make the most. On March 10 he issued letters to all the prelates in the infected provinces commanding that, in all Churches, on every Sunday and feast-day, the murderers and their abettors, including Raymond, be excommunicated with bell, book, and candle, and every place cursed with their presence was declared under interdict. As no faith was to be kept with him who kept not faith with God, all of Raymond's vassals were released from their oaths of allegiance, and his lands were declared the prey of any Catholic who might assail them, while, if he applied for pardon, his first sign of repentance must be the extermination of heresy throughout his dominions.
Crusade Undertaken At Last
These letters were likewise sent to Philip Augustus and his chief barons, with eloquenta djurations to assume the cross, and rescue the imperilled Church from the assaults of the emboldened heretics; commissioners were sent to negotiate and enforce a truce for two years between France and England, that nothing might interfere with the projected crusade , and every effort was made to transmute into warlike zeal the horror which the sacrilegious murder was so well fitted to arouse. Arnaud of Citeaux hastened to call a general chapter of his Order, where it was unanimously resolved to devote all its energies to preaching the crusade, and soon multitudes of fiery monks were inflaming the passions of the people, and offering redemption in every Church and on every market place in Europe.
The flame which had been so long kindling burst forth at last.
To estimate fully the force of these popular ebullitions in the Middle Ages, we must bear in mind the susceptibility of the people to contagiouse motions and enthusiasms of which we know little in our colder day. A trifle might start a movement which the wisest couldn ot explain nor the most powerful restrain. It was during the preaching of this cmsade that villages and towns in Germany were filled with women who, unable to expend their religious ardor in taking the cross, stripped themselves naked and ran silently through the roads and streets. Still more symptomatic of the diseased spirituality of the time was the crusade of the Children. which desolated thousands of homes.
From vast districts of territory, incited apparently by a simultaneous and spontaneous impulse, crowds of children set forth, without leaders or guides, in search of the Holy Land; and their only answer, when questioned as to their object, was that they were going to Jerusalem.
Vainly did parents lock their children up; they would break loose and disappear; and the few who eventually found their way home again could give no reason for the overmastering longing which had carried them away. Nor must we lose sight of other and less creditable springs of action which brought to all crusades the vile, who came for license and spoil, and the base, who sought the immunity conferred by the quality of crusader.
This is illustrated by the case of a knave who took the cross to evade the payment of a debt contracted at the fair of Lille, and was on the point of escaping when he was arrested and delivered to his creditor. For this invasion of immunity the Archbishop of Keims excommunicated the Countess Matilda of Flanders, and placed her whole land under interdict in order to compel his release. How this principle worked to secure the higher order of recruits was shown when Gui, Count of Auvergne, who had been excommunicated for the unpardonable offence of imprisoning his brother, the Bishop of Clennont, was absolved on condition of joining the Host of the Lord.
Other special motives contributed in this case to render the crusade attractive. There was antagonism of race, jealousy of the wealth and more advanced civilization of the South, and a natural desire to complete the Frankish conquest so often begunand never yet accomplished. More than all, the pardon to begained was the same as that for the prolonged and dangerous and costly expedition to Palestine, while here the distance was short and the term of service limited to forty days. Paradise, surely, could not be gained on easier terms, and the preachers did not fail to point out that the labor was small and the reward illimitable. With Christendom fairly aroused by the murder of the legate, there could be no doubt, therefore, as to the result. Whe ther Philip Augustus contributed, in men or money, is more than doubtful, but he made no opposition to the service of his barons, and endeavored to turn his acquiescence to account in the affair of his divorce, while he declined personal participation on the ground of the threatening aspect of his relations with King John and the Emperor Otho. He significantly warned the pope, however, that Kaymond's territories could not be exposed to seizure until he had been condemned for heresy, which had not yet been done, and that when such condemnation should be pronounced it would be for the suzerain, and not for the Holy See, to proclaim the penalty.
Terror Of Count Raymond
This was strictly in accordance with existing law, for the principle had not yet been introduced into European jurisprudence that suspicion of heresy annulled all rights - a principle which the case of Raymond went far to establish, for the Church without a trial stripped him of his possessions and then decided that he had forfeited them, after which the king could only acquiesce in the decision. Scruples of this kind, however, did not dampen the zeal of those whom the Church summoned to defend the faith. Many great nobles assumed the cross - the Duke of Burgundy and the Counts of Nevers, St. Pol, Auxerre, Montfort, Geneva, Poitiers, Forez, and others, with numerous bishops. With time there came large contingents from Germany, under the Dukes of Austria and Saxony, the Counts of Bar, of Juliers, and of Berg. Recruits were drawn from distant Bremen on the one hand, and Lombardy on the other, and we even, hear of Slavonian barons leaving the original home of Catharism to combat it in its seat of latest development. There was salvation to be had for the pious, knightly fame for the warrior, and spoil for the worldly; and the army of the Cross, recruited from the chivalry and the scum of Europe, promised to be strong enough to settle decisively the question which had now for three generations defied all the efforts of the faithful.
All this was, necessarily, a work of time, and Raymond sought in the interval to conjure the coming storm. Roused at last from his dream of security, he recognized the fatal position in which the murder of the legate had placed him, and if he could save his dignities he was ready to sacrifice his honor and his subjects. He hastened to his uncle, Philip Augustus, who received him kindly and counselled submission, but forbade an appeal to his enemy, the Emperor Otho. Raymond, however, in his despair, sought the emperor, whose vassal he was for his territories beyond the Rhone, obtaining no help, and incurring the ill-will of Philip, which was of much greater moment. On his return, learning that Arnaud was about to hold a council at Aubinas, Raymond hurried thither with his nephew, the young Raymond Roger, Viscount of Beziers, and endeavored to prove his innocence and make his peace, but was coldly refused a hearing, and was referred to Rome. Returning much disconcerted, he took counsel with his nephew, who advised resisting the invasion to the death; butRaymond's courage was unequal to the manly part. They quarrelled, whereupon the hot-headed youth commenced to make war on his uncle, while the latter sent envoys to Rome for terms of submission, and asked for new and impartial legates to replace those who were irrevocably prejudiced against him. Innocent demanded that, as security for his good faith, he should place in the hands of the Church his seven most important strongholds, after which he should be heard, and, if he could prove his innocence, be absolved.
Raymond gladly ratified the conditions, and earnestly welcomed Milo and Theodisius, the new representatives of the Church, who treated him with such apparent friendliness that, when Milo subsequently died at Aries, he mourned greatly, believing that he had lost a protector who would have saved him from his misfortunes. He did not know that the legates had secret instructions from Innocent to amuse him with fair promises, to detach him from the heretics, and when they should be disposed of by the crusaders, to deal with him as they should see fit.
He was played with accordingly, skilfully, cruelly, and re- morselessly. The sevencastleswere duly deliveredto Master Theodisius, thus fatally crippling him for resistance; the consuls of Avignon, Nimes, and St. Gilles were sworn to renounce their allegiance to him if he did not obey implicitly the future commands of the pope, and he was reconciled to the Church by the most humiliating of ceremonies.
The new legate, Milo, with some twenty archbishops and bishops, went to St.Gilles, the scene of his alleged crime, and there, June 18, 1209, arrayed themselves before the portal of the Church of St.Gilles. Stripped to the waist, Raymond was brought before the masapenitent, and swore on the relics of St.Gilles to obey the Church in all matters where of he was accused. Then the legate placed a stole around his neck, in the fashion of a halter, and led him into the Church, while he was industriously scourged on his naked back and shoulders up to the altar, where he was absolved.
The curious crowd assembled to witness the degradation of their lord was so great that return through the entrance was impossible, and Raymond was carried down to the crypt where the martyred Pierre de Custelnau lay buried, whose spirit was granted the satisfaction of seeing his humbled enemy led past his tomb with shoulders dropping blood.
Raymond Absolved And Deceived
From a Church man's point of view the conditions of absolution laid upon him were not excessive, though well known to be impossible of fulfilment. Besides the extirpation of heresy, he was to dismiss all Jews from officea nd all his mercenary bands from his service; he was to restore all property of which the Churches had been despoiled, to keep the roads safe, to abolish all arbitrary tolls, and to observe strictly the Truce of God.
All that Raymond had gained by the sesacrifices was the privilege of joining the crusade and assisting in the subjugation of his country. Four days after the absolution he solemnly assumed the cross at the hands of the legate Milo and took the oath-
"In the name of God, I, Raymond, Duke of Narbonne, Count of Toulouse, and Marquis of Provence, swear with hand upon the Holy Gospels of God that when the crusading princes shall reach my territories I will obey their commands in all things, as well as regards security as whatever they may see fit to enjoin for their benefit and that of the whole army."
It is true that in July, Innocent, faithful to his prearranged duplicity, wrote to Raymond benignantly congratulating him on his purgation and submission, and promising him that it should redound to his worldly as well as spiritual benefit; but the same courier carried a letter to Milo urging him to continue as he had begun; and Milo, on whom Raymond was basing his hopes, soon after, hearing a report that the count had gone to Rome, warned his master, with superabundant caution, not to spoil the game.
"As for the Count of Toulouse," writes the legate, "that enemy of truth and justice, if he has sought your presence to recover the castles in my hands, as he boasts that he can easily do, be not moved by his tongue, skilful only in his slanders, but let him, as he deserves, feel the hand of the Church heavier day by day. After I had received security for his oath on at least fifteen heads, he has perjured himself on them all. Thus he has manifestly forfeited his rights on Melgueil as well as the seven castles which I hold. They are so strong by nature and art that, with the assistance of the barons and people who are devoted to the Churc , it will be easy to drive him from the land which he has polluted with his vileness."
Already the absolution which had cost so much was withdrawn, and Raymond was again excommunicated and his dominions laid under a fresh interdict, because he had not, within sixty days, during which he was with the crusaders, performed the impossible task of expelling all heretics, and the city of Toulouse lay unde ra special anathema because it had not delivered to the crusaders all the heretics among its citizens.
It is true that subsequently a delay until All-Saints' (Nov.1) was mercifully granted to Raymond to perform all the duties imposed on him; but he was evidently prejudged and foredoomed, and nothing but his destruction would satisfy the implacable legates.
Meanwhile the crusade rs had assembled in numbers such as never before, accordingto the delightedAbbot of Citeaux, had beenga thered toge ther in Christendom; and it is quite possible that there is but slight exaggeration in the enumeration of twenty thousand cavaliers and more than two hundred thousand foot, ineluding villeins and peasants, besides two subsidiary contingents which advanced from the West. The legates had been empowered to levy what sums they saw fit from all the ecclesiastics in the kingdom, and to enforce the payment by excommunication.
As for the laity, their revenues were likewise subjected to the legatine discretion, with the proviso that they were not to be coerced into payment without the consent of their seigneurs. With all the wealth of the realm thus under contribution, backed by the exhaustless treasures of salvation, it was not difficult to provide for the motley host whose campaign opened under the spirit-stirring adjuration of the vicegerent of God-
"Forward, then, most valiant soldiers of Christ! Go
to meet the forerunners of Antichrist and strike down the
ministers of the Old Serpent! Perhaps you have hither to fought
for transitory glory; fight now for everlasting glory; you have
fought for th eworld; fight now for God!
We do not exhort you to perform this great service to God for any earthly reward, but for the kingdom of Christ, which we most confidently promise you!"
National Character Of The War
Under this inspiration the crusaders assembled at Lyons about St.John's day (June 24, 1209), and Raymond hastened from the scene of his humiliation at St. Gilles to complete his infamy by leading them agains this countrymen, offering them his son as a hostage in pledge of his good faith. He was welcomed by them at Valence, and, under the supreme command of Legate Arnaud, guided them against his nephew of Beziers. The latter, after a vain attempt at composition with the legate, who sternly refused his submission, had hurriedly placed his strongholds in condition of defence and levied what forces he could to resist the onset.
The war, it should be observed, despite its religiousorigin, was^ already assuming a national character. The position taken by Raymond and the rejected submission of the Viscount of Beziers, in fact, deprived the Church of all colorable excuse for fur ther action; but the men of the North were eager to complete the conquest commenced seven centuries before by Clovis, and the men of the South, Catholics as well as heretics, were virtually unanimous in resisting the invasion, notwithstanding the many pledges given by nobles and cities at the commencement. We hear nothing of religious dissensions among them, and comparatively little of assistance rendered to the invaders bv the orthodox, who might be presumed to welcome the crusaders as liberators from the domination or the presence of a hated antagonistic faith.
Toleration had become habitual and race-instinct was too strong for religious feeling, presenting almost the solitary example of the kind during the Middle Ages, when nationality had not yet been developed out of feudalism and religious interests were universally regarded as dominant. This explains the remarkable fact that the pusillanimous course of Raymond was distasteful to his own subjects, who were constantly urging him to resistance, and who clung to him and his son with a fidelity that no misfortune or selfishness could shake, until the extinction of the House of Toulouse left them without a leader.
Raymond Roger of Beziers had fortified and garrisoned his capital, and then, to the great discouragement of his people, had withdrawn to the safer stronghold of Carcassonne. Reginald, Bishop of Beziers, was with the crusading forces, and when they arrived before the city, humanely desiring to save it from destruction, he obtained from the legate authority to offer it full exemption if the heretics, of whom he had a list, were delivered up or expelled.
Nothing could be more moderate, from the crusading standpoint, but when he entered the town and called the chief inhabitants to gether the offer was unanimously spurned. Catholic and Catharan were too firmly united in the bonds of common citizenship for one to betray the other. They would, as they magnanimously declared, although abandoned by their lord, rather defend themselves to such extremity that they should be reduced to eat their children. This unexpected answer stirred the legate to such wrath that he swore to destroy the place with fire and sword-to spare neither age nor sex, and not to leave one stone upon an other.
While the chiefs of the army were debating as to the next step, suddenly the camp-followers, a vile and unarmed folk as the legates reported, inspired by God, made a rush for the walls and carried them, without orders from the leaders and without their knowledge. The army followed, and the legate's oath was fulfilled by a massacre almost without parallel in European history.
From infancy in arms to tottering age, not one was spared - seven thousand, it is said, were slaughtered in the Church of Mary Magdalen to which they had fled for asylum - and the total number of slain is set down by the legates at nearly twenty thousand, which is more probable than the sixty thousand or one hundred thousand reported by less trustworthy chroniclers. A fervent Cistercian contemporary informs us that when Arnaud was asked whether the Catholics should be spared, he feared the heretics would escape by feigning orthodoxy, and fiercely replied,
Kill them all, for God knows his own!"
In the mad carnage and pillage the town was set on fire, and the sun of that awful July day closed on a mass of smouldering ruins and blackened corpses - a holocaust to a deity of mercy and love whom the Cathari might well be pardoned for regarding as the Principle of Evil.
To the orthodox the whole was so manifestly the work of God that the crusaders did not doubt that the blessing of Heaven attended their arms. Indeed, other miracles were not wanting to encourage them. Although in their senseless havoc they destroyed all the mills within their reach, breadw as always miraculously plentiful and cheap in the camp - thirty loaves for a denier was the ordinary price; and during the whole campaign it was noted as an encouragement from heaven that no vulture, or crow, or other bird ever flew over the host.
Siege Of Carcassonne
Similar good-fortune had attended the smaller crusading armies on their way to join the main body. One, under the Viscount of Turenne and Gui d'Auvergne, had captured the almost impregnable castle of Chasseneuil after a short siege. The garrison obtained terms and were allowed to depart, but the inhabitants were left to the discretion of the conquerors. The choice between conversion and the stake was offered them, and, proving obstinate in their errors, they were pitilessly burned - an example which was generally followed. The other force, under the Bishop of Puy, had put to ransom Caussade and St. Antonin, and was generally censured for this misplaced avaricious mercy. Such terror pervaded the land that when a fugitive came to the Castle of Villemur falsely reporting that the crusaders were coming and would treat it like the rest, the inhabitants abandoned it under cover of the night and themselves set it on fire. Innumerable strongholds, in fact, were surrendered without a blow, or were found vacant, though amply provisioned and strengthened for a siege, and a mountainous region bristling with castles, which would have cost years to conquer if obstinately defended, was occupied in a campaign of a month or two.
The populous and mutinous town of Narbonne, to save itself, adopted the severest laws against heresy, raised a large subvention in aid of the crusade, and surrendered sundry castles as security.
Without dallying over the ruins of Beziers, the crusaders, still under the guidance of Raymond, moved swiftly to Carcassonne, a place regarded as impregnable, where Raymond Roger had elected to make his final stand. The wiser heads among the invaders, looking to a permanent occupation of the country, had no desire to repeat the example already given, and have on their hands a land without defences. Arriving before the walls on August 1st, only nine days after the sack of Beziers, a regular siege was commenced. The outer suburb, which was scarce defensible, was carried and burned after a desperate resistance. The second suburb, strongly fortified, cost a prolonged effort, in which all the resources of the military art of the day were brought into play on both sides, and when it was no longer tenable the besieged evacuated and burned it.
There remained the city itself, the capture of which seemed hopeless. Tradition related that Charlemagne had vainly besieged it for seven years and had finally become its master only by a miracle. Terms were offered to the viscount; he was free to depart with eleve nof his own choosing, if the city and its people were abandoned to the discretion of the crusaders, but he rejected the proposal with manly indignation. Still, the situation was becoming insupportable; the town was crowded with refugees from the surrounding country; the summer had been cursed with drought, and the water supply had given out, causing a pestilence under which the wretched people were daily dying by scores.
In his anxiety for peace the young viscount allowed himself to be decoyed into the besieging camp, where he was treacherously detained as a prisoner - dying shortly after, it was said, of dysentery, but not without well-grounded suspicions of foul play. Deprived of their chief, the people lost heart; but to avoid the destruction of the city, they were allowed to depart, carrying with them nothing but their sins - the men in their breeches and the women in their chemises - and the place was occupied without further struggle. Curiously enough, we hear nothing of any investigation into their faith, or any burning of heretics.
The siege of Carcassonne brings before us two men, with whom we shall have much to do hereafter, representing so typically the opposing elements in the contest that we may well pause for a moment to give them consideration. Theseare Pedro II. of Aragon and Simon de Montfort.
Pedro Of Aragon
Pedro was the suzerain of Beziers, and the young viscount was bound to him with ties of close friendship. Though when appealed to in advance for aid he had declined, yet when he heard of the sack of Beziers he hurried to Carcassonne to mediate if possible for his vassal, though his efforts were fruitless. He was everywhere regarded as a model for the chivalry of the South. Heroic in stature and trained in every knightly accomplishment, he was ever in the front of battle; and on the tremendous day of Las Navas de Tolosa, which broke the Moorish power in Spain, it was he, by common consent, among all the kings and nobles present, who won the loftiest renown.
In the bower he was no less dangerous than in the field. His gallantries were countless, and his licentiousness notorious, even in that age of easy morals. He was munificent to prodigality, fond of magnificent display, courteous to all comers, and magnanimous to all enemies. Like his father, Alonso II., moreover, he was a troubadour, and his songs won applause, none the less hearty, perhaps, that he was a liberal patron of rival poets. With all this his religious zeal was ardent, and he gloried in the title of el Catolico. This he manifested not only in the savage edict against the Waldenses, referred to in a previous chapter, but by an extraordinary act of devotion to the Holy See.
In 1085 his ancestor, Sancho I., had placed the kingdom of Aragon under the special protection of the popes, from whom his successors were to receive it on their accession and to pay an annual tribute of five hundred mancuses. In 1204 Pedro II. resolved to perform this act of fealty in person. With a splendid retinue he sailedfor Rome, where he took an oath of allegiance to Innocent, including a pledge to persecute heresy. He was crownedw ith a crown of unleavened bread, and receivedfrom the pope the sceptre, mantle, and other royal insignia, which he reverently laid upon the altar of St. Peter, to whom he offered his kingdom, taking in lieu his sword from Innocent, subjecting his realm to an annual tribute, and renouncing all rights of patronage over Churches and benefices.
As an equivalent for all this he was satisfied with the title of First Alferez or Standard-bearer of the Church and the privilege for his successors of being crowned by the ArchBishop of Tarragonain his cathedral Church. The nobles of Aragon, however, regarded this as an inadequate return for the taxes occasioned by his extravagance and for the loss of Church patronage, and their dissatisfaction was expressed in forming the confederation known as La Union, which for generations was of dangerous import to his successors. Impulsive and generous, Pedro's career reads like a romance of chivalry, and, with such a character, it was impossible for him to avoid participating in the Albigensian wars, in which he had a direct interest, owing to his claims upon Provence, Montpellier, Beam, Koussillon, Gascony, Comminges, andBeziers.
In marked contrast with this splendid knight-errantry was the solid and earnest character of de Montfort, who had distinguished himself, as was his wont, at the siege of Carcassonne. He was the first to lead in the assault on the outer suburb; and when an attack upon the second had been repulsed and a crusader was left writhing in the ditch with a broken thigh, de Montfort with a single squire leaped back into it, under a shower of missiles, and bore him off in safety. The younger son of the Count of Evreux, a descendant of Eollo the Norman, he was Earl of Leicester by right of his mother the heiress, and had won a distinguished name for prowess in the field and wisdom and eloquence in the council.
Religious to bigotry, he never passed a day without hearing mass; and the true-hearted affection which his wife, Alice of Montmorency, bore him, shows that his reputation for chastity - a rare virtue in those days - was probably not undeserved. In 1201 he had joined the crusade of Baldwin of Flanders; and when, during the long detention in Venice, the crusaders sold their services to the Venetians for the destruction of Zara, de Montfort alone refused, sayingt hat he had come to fight the infidel and not to make war on Christians. He left the host in consequence, made his way to Apulia, and with a few friends took ship to Palestine, where he served the cross with honor.
It is curious to speculate what change there might have been in the destiny of both France and England had he remained with the crusade to the capture of Constantinople, when he, and his yet greater son, Simon of Leicester, might have founded principalities in Greece orThessaly and have worn out their lives in obscure and forgotten conflicts.
When the Albigensian crusade was preached, one of the Cistercian abbots who devoted himself most earnestly to the work was Gui of Vaux-Cernay, who had been a crusader with de Montfort at Venice.
Simon De Monfort
It was owing to his persuasion that the Duke of Burgundy took the cross on the present occasion, and he was the bearer of letters from the duke to de Montfort making him splendid offers if he would likewise take up arms. At de Montfort's castle of Kochefort, Gui found the pious count in his oratory, and set forth the object of his mission. De Montfort hesitated, and then, taking up a psalter, opened it at random and placed his finger on a verse which he asked the abbot to translate for him. It read :
"For he shall give his angels charge over thee. to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee in their hands, that thou hurt not thy foot against a stone" (Ps.xci. 11, 12).
The divine encouragement was manifest. De Montfort took the cross, which was to be his life's work, and the brilliant valor of the Catalan knight proved no match for the deep earnestness of the Norman, who felt himself an instrument in the hand of God.
With the capture of Carcassonne the crusaders seem to have felt that their mission was accomplished; at least, the brief service of forty days which sufficed to earn the pardon was rendered, and they were eager to return home. The legate naturally held that the conquered territory was to be so occupied and organized that heresy should have no further foothold there, and it was offered first to the Duke of Burgundy and then successively to the Counts of Neversand St. Pol, but all were too wary to be tempted, and alleged in refusal that the Viscount of Beziers had already been sufficiently punished. Then two bishops and four knights, with Arnaud at their head, were appointed to select the one on whom the confiscated land should be bestowed; and these seven, under the manifest influence of the Holy Ghost, unanimously selected de Montfort.
We may well believe, from his reputation for sagacity, that his unwillingness to accept the offer was unfeigned, and that after prayers had proved unavailing, he yielded only to the absolute commands of the legate, speaking with all the authority of the Holy See. He made it a condition, however, that the continued and efficient support which he foresaw would be requisite should be given him. This was duly promised, with little intention of fulfilment. The Count of Severs, between whom and the Duke of Burgundy a mortal quarrel had arisen, withdrew almost immediately after the capture of Carcassonne, and with him the great body of the crusaders.
Thedukeremainedfor a shorttime, when he likewise turned his face homewards, and de Montfort was left with but about forty-five hundred men, mostly Burgundians and Germans, for whose service she was obliged to offer double pay.
De Montfort's position was perilous in the extreme. It mattered little that in August, during the full flush of success, the legates had held a council in Avignon which ordered all bishops to swear every knight, noble, and magistrate in their dioceses to exterminate heresy, or that such an oath had already been forced upon Montpellier and other cities which were trembling before the wrath to come.
Such oaths, extorted by fear, were but an empty form, and the homage which de Montfort received from his new vassals was equally hollow. It is true that he regulated his boundaries with Raymond, who promised to marry his son with de Montfort's daughter, and he styled himself Viscount of Beziers and Carcassonne, but Pedro of Aragon refused to receive his homage, and secretly comforted the castellans who still held out with promises of early assistance, while others who had submitted revolted, and castles which had been occupied were recaptured. The country was recovering from its terror. An annoying partisan warfare sprang up; small parties of his men were cut off, and his rule extended no far ther than the reach of his lance. At one time it was with difficulty that he restrained those who were with him in Carcassonne from flight; and when he set forth to besiege Termes it was almost impossible to find a knight willing to assume command of Carcassonne, so dangerous was the post considered. Yet with all this he succeeded in subduing additional strongholds, and extended his dominion over the Albigeois and into the territory of the Count of Foix. He hastened, moreover, to acquire the good grace sof Innocent, whose confirmation of his new dignity was requisite, and whose influence for further succor he earnestly implored.
Further Aid Needed
All tithes and first-fruits were to be rigorously paid to the Churches; any one remaining under excommunication for forty days was to be heavily fined according to his station; Rome, in return for the treasures of salvation so lavishly expended, was to receive from a devastated land an annual tax of three deniers on every hearth, while a yearly tribute from the count himself was vaguely promised. To this, in November, Innocent replied, full of joy at the wonderful success which had wrested five hundred cities and castles from the grasp of heretics.
He graciously accepted the offered tribute, and confirmed de Montfort's title to both Beziers and Albi, with an adjuration to be sleepless in the extirpation of heresy; but he could scarce have appreciated the crusader's perilous position, for he excused himself from efficient aid on the score of complaints which reached him from Palestine that the succor sorely needed there had been diverted to subdue heretics nearer home. He therefore only called upon the Emperor Otho, the Kings of Aragon and Castile, and sundry cities and nobles from whom no real aid could be expected.
The archbishops of the whole infected region were directed to persuade their clergy to contribute to him a portion of their revenues, and his troops were exhortedto bepatient andto askno pay until the following Easter; neither of which requests were likely to yield results. Some what more fruitful was the release of all crusaders from any obligations which they might have assumed to pay interest on sums borrowed; but the most practical measure was one which forcibly illustrates the friendly and confidential intercourse which had existed between the heretics and the clergy in southern France, for all abbots and prelates throughout Narbonne, Beziers, Toulouse, and Albi were directed to confiscate for de Montfort's benefit all deposits placed by obstinate heretics for safe-keeping in their hands, the amount of which was said to be considerable.
After losing most of his conquests, de Montfort's position became more hopeful towards the spring of 1210, as his forces were swelled by the arrival of successive bands of "pilgrims" as these peaceful folk were accustomed to style themselves - and his ambitious views expanded. The short term for which the cross was assumed rendered it necessary to turn the new-comers to immediate account, and de Montfort was unceasingly active in recovering his ground and in reducing the castles which still held out.
It is not worth our while to follow in detail these exploits of military religious ardor, which, when successful, were usually crowned by putting the garrison to the sword and offering the non-combatants the choice between obedience to Rome and the stake - a choice which gave occasion to zealous martyrdom on the part of hundreds of obscure and forgotten enthusiasts. Lavaur, Minerve, Casser, Termes, are names which suggest all that man can inflict and man can suffer for the glory of God. The spirit of the respective parties was well exhibited at the capitulation of Minerve, where Robert Mauvoisin, de Montfort's most faithful follower, objected to the clause which spared the heretics who should recant, and was told by Legate Arnaud that he need not fear the conversion of many, as ample experience had shown their prevailing obstinacy.
Arnaud was right; for, with the exception of three women, they unanimously refused to secure safety by apostasy, and saved their captors the trouble of casting them on the blazing pyre by leaping exultingly into the flames. If the playful zeal of the pilgrims sometimes manifested itself in eccentric fashion, as when they blinded the monks of Bolbonne and cut off their noses and ears till there was scarcea trace of the human visagel eft, we must remember the sources whence the Church drew her recruits, and the immunity which she secured for them, here and hereafter.
If Raymond had fancied that he had skilfully saved himself at the expense of his nephew of Beziers, he had at last discovered his mistake.
Raymond Demands A Hearing
Arnaud of Citeaux had fully resolved upon his ruin, and de Montfort was eager to extend his lordship and the purity of the faith. Already, in the autumn of 1209, the citizens of Toulouse had been startled by a demand from the legate to surrender all whom his envoys might select as heretics, under pain of excommunication and interdict. They protested that there were no heretics among them; that all who were named were ready to purge themselves of heresy ; that Raymond V. had, at their instance, passed laws against heretics, under which they had burned many and were burning all who could be found. Therefore they appealed to the pope, naming January 29, 1210, as the day for the hearing. At the same time de Montfort had notified Raymond that unless the legate's demands were conceded he would assail him and enforce obedience. Raymond replied that he would settle the matter with the pope, and lost no time in appealing in person to Philip Augustus and the Emperor Otho, from whom he received only fair words.
On reaching Rome he was apparently more fortunate. He had a strong case. He had never been convicted, or even tried, for the crimes whereof he was accused; he had always professed obedience to the Church and readiness to prove his innocence, according to the legal methods of the age, by canonical purgation; he had undergone cruel penance as though convicted, and had been absolved as though forgiven, since when he had rendered faithful and valuable service against his friends and had made what reparation he could to the Churches which he had despoiled. He boldly asserted his innocence, demanded a trial, and claimed the restoration of his castles.
Innocent seems at first to have been touched by the wrongs inflicted on him and the ruin impending over him; but if so the impression was but momentary, and he returned to the duplicity which thus far had worked so well. The citizens of Toulouse he pronounced to have justified themselves, and ordered their excommunication removed. As regards Raymond, he instructed the Archbishops of Sarbonne and Aries to assemble a council of prelates and nobles for the trial which Raymond so earnestly demanded.
If there an accuser should assert his heresy and responsibility for the murder of Pierre de Castelnau, both sides should be heard and judgment be rendered and sent to Rome for final decision; if no formal accuser appeared, then fitting purgation should be assigned to him, on performance of which he should be declared a good Catholic and his castles be restored.
All this was fair seeming enough, yet it is impossible not to see the purposed deceit in an accompanying letter to the legate Arnaud, praising him warmly for what had been done and explaining that the conduct of the matter had been ostensibly intrusted to the new commissioner, Master Theodisius, merely as al ure forRaymond; or, to use thepope's own words, that the legate was to be the hook of which Theodisius was the bait.
Instructions were also given as to some minor matters, and to lull Raymond to a more complete sense of security, on his final audience Innocent presented him with a rich mantle and with a ring which he drew from his own finger.
Joy reigned in Toulouse when the count returned, bringing with him the removal of the interdict and the promise of a speedy settlement of the troubles. Legate Arnaud entered fully into the spirit of his instructions and suddenly becamef riendly and affectionate. We even hear of a visit paid by him and de Montfort to Raymond in Toulouse, where they were magnificently received; and Raymond, it is said, was persuaded to give the citadel of the town, known as the Chateau Narbonnois, as a residence to the legate, from whose hands it passed into those of de Montfort, costing eventually the lives of a thousand men for its recapture. Arnaud, moreover, exacted a promise of one thousand livres toulousains from the citizens before he would give effect to the papal letters removing the interdict; when one half was paid, he gave them his benediction, but a delay in raising the other half caused him to renew the interdict, which cost them much trouble to remove.
Master Theodisius joined the legate at Toulouse, as we are told by a fiercely orthodox eye-witness, for the purpose of consulting with him as to the most plausible excuse for eluding Innocent's promise to Raymond of an opportunity of purgation, for they foresaw that he would purge himself and that the destruction of the faith would follow. The readiest method of attaining this pious object lay in Raymond's failureto perform the impossible task assigned him of clearing his lands of heresy; buti n order to avoid the appearance of premeditated unfairness, the solemn mockery was arranged of assigning him a day three months distant, to appear at St.Gilles and offer his purgation as to heresy and the murder of the legate - a warning being added about his slackness in persecution.
Deception Of Raymond
At the appointed time, in September, 1210, a number of prelates and nobles were assembled at St. Gilles, and Raymond presented himself with his compurgators in the full confidence of a final reconciliation with the Church. He was coolly informed that his purgation would not be received; that he was manifestly a perjurer in not having executed the promises to which he had repeatedly sworn, and his oath being worthless in minor matters, it could not be accepted in charges so weighty as those of heresy and legate-murder, nor were those of his accomplices any better.
A man of stronger character would have been roused to fiery indignation at this contemptuous revelation of the deception practised on him; but Kaymond, overwhelmed with the sudden destruction of his illusions, simply burst into tears - which was duly recorded by his judges as an additional proof of his innate depravity, and he was promptly again placed under the excommunication which it had cost him such infinite pains to remove.
For form's sake, however, he was told that when he should clear the land of heresy and otherwise show himself worthy of mercy, the papal commands in his favor would be fulfilled. The Provencal was evidently no match for the wily Italians; and Innocent's approbation of this cruel comedy is seen in a letter addressed by him to Raymond, in December, 1210, expressing his grief that the count had not yet performed his promises as to the extermination of heretics, and warning him that if he did not do so his lands would be delivered to the Crusaders. An other epistle by the same courier to de Montfort, complaining of the scanty returns of the three-denier hearth-tax, shows that even Innocent kept an eye on the profitable side of persecution; while exhortations addressed to the Counts of Toulouse, Comminges, and Foix, and Gaston of Beam, requiring them to help de Montfort, with threats of holding them to be fautors of heresy in case they resisted him, showed how completely all questions were prejudged and that they were doomed to be delivered up to the spoiler.
Raymond at length began to see what all clear-visioned men must long before have recognized, that his ruin was the deliberate purpose of the legates. Had the nobles of Languedoc been united at the beginning, they could probably have offered successful resistance to the spasmodic attacks of the crusaders, but they were beingd evoured one by one, while Raymond, their natural leader, was kept idle with delusive hopes of reconciliation.
The restoration of his castles was hopeless, and it was time for him to prepare himself as best he could for the inevitable war. With this object, to unite his subjects, he circulated a list of conditions which he said had been proposed to him at a conferencein Aries, in February, 1211 - conditions which were onerous and degrading to the last degree to the people as well as to himself - which would have placed the whole territory and its population under the control of the legatesand of de Montfort, would have branded every inhabitant, Catholic as well as heretic, noble as well as villein, with the mark of servitude, and would have banished Raymond to the Holy Land virtually for life.
Whether such demands were really made or not, their effect was great upon the people, who rallied around their sovereign and were ready for any self-sacrifice.
That the list of conditions was supposititious is rendered probable by other negotiations in which Raymond desperately strove to avert the inevitable rupture. In December, 1210, we find him at Narbonne in conference with the legates, de Montfort, and Pedro of Aragon, where impracticable terms were offered him, and where Pedro finally consented to receive de Montfort's homage for Beziers. Shortly afterwards another meeting was held at Montpellier, equally fruitless, except for de Montfort, who made a treaty with Pedro and received from him his infant son Jayme, to be held as a hostage. Even in the spring of 1211 Raymond again visited de Montfort at the siege of Lavaur and allowed provisions to be supplied for a while to the crusaders from Toulouse, although he had fruitlessly endeavored to prevent the marching of a contingent which the Toulousains furnished to the besiegers.
Almost as soon as Lavaur was taken, May 3, 1211, de Montfort fell upon his territories and captured some of his castles, apparently without defiance or declaration of war, when he made a last miserable effort of submission by offering his whole possessions except the city of Toulouse, to be held by the legate and de Montfort as security for the performance of what might be demanded of him, reserving only his life and his son's right of inheritance.
First Siege Of Toulouse
Even these terms were contemptuously rejected. He had so abased himself that he seems to have been regarded as no longer an element of weight in the situation. Besides, the Count of Bar was speedily expected with a large force of crusaders, whose forty-days' term was to be utilized to the utmost, and the siege of Toulouse was resolved on.
As soon as the citizens heard of this design they sent an embassy to the crusaders to deprecate it. They had been reconciled to the Church, and had assisted at the siege of Lavaur, but they were sternly told that they would not be spared unless they would eject Raymond from the city and renounce their allegiance to him.
This they refused unanimously. All the old civic quarrels were forgotten, and as one man they prepared for resistance. It is a noteworthy illustration of the strength of the republican institution of the civic commune, that the siege of Toulouse was the first considerable check received by the crusaders. The town was well fortified and garrisoned; the Counts of Foix and Comminges had come at the summons of their suzerain, and the citizens were earnest in defence. They not only kept their gates open, but made breaches in the walls to facilitate the furious sallies which cost the besiegers heavily. The latter retired, June 29th, under cover of the night, so hastily that they abandoned their sick and wounded, having accomplished nothing except the complete devastation of the land-dwellings, vineyards, orchards, women and children were alike indiscriminately destroyed in their wrath - and de Montfort turned from the scene of his defeat to carry the same ravage into Foix. This final effort of self-defence was naturally construed as fautorship of heresy and drew from Innocent a fresh excommunication of Raymond and of the city for "persecuting" de Montfort and the crusaders.
Encouraged by his escape, Raymond now took the offensive but with little result. The siege of Castelnaudary was a failure, and a good deal of desultory fightin goccurred, mostly to the advantage of de Montfort, whose military skill was exhibited to the best advantage in his difficult position. The crusade was still industriously preached throughout Christendom, and his forces were irregularly renewed with fresh swarms of "pilgrims" for forty- days' service, so that he would frequently find himself at the head of a considerable army, which again would soon melt away to a handful.
To utilize this varying stream of strangers of all nationalities in a difficult country which was bitterly hostile required capacity of a high order, and de Montfort proved himself thoroughly equal to it. His opponents, though frequently greatly superior in numbers, never ventured on a pitched battle, and the war was one of sieges and devastations, conducted on both sides with savage ferocity.
Prisoners were frequently hanged, or less mercifully blinded or mutilated, and mutual hate grew stronger and fiercer as de Montfort gradually extended his boundaries and Raymond's territories grew less and less.
The defection of his natural brother Baldwin, whom he had always treated with suspicion, and who had been won over by de Montfort when captured at Montferrand, before the siege of Toulouse, had been a severe blow to the national cause; how deeply felt was seen when, in 1214, he was treacherously given up and Raymond hanged him, with difficulty granting his last prayer for the consolations of religion.
Early in 1212 the Abbot of Yaux-Cernay received in the bishopric of Carcassonne the reward of his zeal in furthering the crusade, and Legate Arnaud obtained the great archbishopric of Narbonneon the death or degradation of the negligent Berenger.
Not content with the ecclesiastical dignity, Arnaud claimed to be likewise duke, giving rise to a vigorous quarrel with de Montfort, who, notwithstanding his devotion to the Church, had no intention of surrendering to it his temporal possessions.
Possibly it was the commencement of coolness between them that induced Arnaud to favor the crusade preached at the request of Alonso IX. of Castile, at that time threatened by a desperate effort of the Moors, largely reinforced from Africa, to regain their Spanish possessions.
De Montfort's Successes
Much as de Montfort needed every man, the new Archbishop of Narbonne marched into Spain at the head of a large force of crusaders to swell the army with which the kings of Aragon, Castile, and Navarre advanced against the Saracen. It is characteristic of the tenacity of the man that, when the French contingent grew weary of the service and refused to advance after the capture of Calatrava, returning ingloriously home, Arnaud remained with those whom he could persuade to stay, and shared in the glory of Las Navas de Tolosa, where a cross in the sky encouraged the Christians, and two hundred thousand Moors were slain.
The spring and summer of 1212 saw an almost unbroken series of successes for de Montfort, until Raymond's territories were reduced to Montauban and Toulouse, and the latter city, crowded with refugees from the neighboring districts, was virtually beleaguered, as the crusaders from their surrounding strongholds made forays up to the very gates. De Montfort desired the papal confirmation of his new acquisitions, and for this application was made to Borne by the legates. Innocent seems to have been aroused to a sense of the scandal created by the faithful carrying out of his policy, for Raymond, though constantly claiming a trial, had never been heard or convicted, and yet had been punished by the seizure of nearly all his dominions.
Innocent accordingly assumed a tone of grave surprise. It is true, he said, that the count had been found guilty of many offences against the Church, for which he had been excommunicated and his lands exposed to the first comer; but the loss of most of them had served as a punishment, and it must be remembered that, although suspected of heresy and of the murder of the legate, he had never beenconvicted, nor did the pope know why his commands to afford him an opportunity of purging himself had never been carried out. In the absence of a formal trial and conviction his lands could not be adjudged to another. The proper forms must be observed, or the Church might be deemed guilty of fraud in continuing to hold the castles made over to it in pledge.
Innocent evidently felt that his representatives, involved in the passions and ambitions of the strife, had done what could not be justified, and he wound up by ordering them to repor to him the full and simple truth. Another letter, in the same sense, to Master Theodisius and the Bishop of Kiez, cautioned them not to be remiss in their duty, as they were said to have thus far been, which undoubtedly refers to their withholding from Raymond the opportunity of justification. At the same time, a prolonged correspondence on the subject of the hearth-tax, and the acceptance of an opportune donation of a thousand marks from de Montfort, place Innocent in an unfortunate light as an upright and impartial judge.
To this Theodisius and the Bishop of Riez replied with the transparent falsehood that they had not been remiss, but had repeatedly summoned Raymond to justify himself, and that Raymond had neglected to make reparation to certain prelates and Churches, which was quite likely, seeing that de Montfort had been giving him ample occupation. They proceeded, however, to make a bustling show of activity in compliance with Innocent's present commands, and they called a council at Avignon to give a colorable pretext for pushing Raymond to the wall. Avignon, however, was fortunately unhealthy, so that many prelates refused to attend, and Theodisius had a timely sickness, rendering a postponement necessary. An other council was therefore summoned to convene at Lavaur, a castle not far from Toulouse, in the hands of de Montfort, who, at the request of Pedro of Aragon, graciously granted an eight days' suspension of hostilities for the purpose.
The matter, in fact, had assumed a shape which could no longer be eluded. Pedroof Aragon, fresh from the triumph of Las Kavas, was a champion of the faith who was not to be treated with contempt, and he had finally comeforward as the protectorof Raymond and of his own vassals. As overlord he could not passively see the latter stripped of their lands, and his interests in the whole region were too great for him to view with indifference the establishment of so overmastering a power as de Montfort was rapidly consolidating.
Intervention Of King Pedro
The conquered fiefs were being filled with Frenchmen; a parliament had just been held at Pamiers to organize the institutions of the country on a French basis, and everything looked to an overturning of the old order. It was full time for him to act. He had already sent a mission to Innocent to complain of the proceedings of the legates as arbitrary, unjust, and subversive of the true interests of religion, and he came to Toulouse for the avowed purpose of interceding for his ruined brother-in-law.
By assuming this position he was assuring the supremacy of the House of Aragon over that of Toulouse, with which it had had so many fruitless struggles in the past.
Pedro's envoys drew from Innocent a command to de Montfort to give up all lands seized from those who were not heretics, and instructions to Arnaud not to interfere with the crusade against the Saracens by using indulgences to prolong the war in the Toulousain. This action of Innocent, coupled with the powerful intercession of Pedro, created a profound impression, and all the ecclesiastical organization of Languedoc was summoned to meet the crisis. When the council assembled at Lavaur, in January, 1213, a petition was presented by King Pedro, humbly asking mercy rather than justice for the despoiled nobles. He produced a formal cession executed by Raymond and his son and confirmed by the city of Toulouse, together with similar cessions made by the Counts of Foix and Comminoes and by Gaston of Beam, of all their lands, rights, and jurisdictions to him, to do with ashe might see fit in compelling them to obey the commands of the pope in case they should prove recalcitrant. He asked restitution of the lands conquered from them, on their rendering due satisfaction to the Church for all misdeeds: and if Raymond could not be heard, the proposal was made that he should retire in favor of his young son - the father serving with his knights against the infidel in Spain or Palestine, and the youth being retained in careful guardianship until he should show himself worthy the confidence of the Church.
All this, in fact, was virtually the same as the offers already transmitted by Pedro to Innocent. No submission could be more complete; no guarantees more absolute could be demanded. There was no pretence of shielding heretics, who could, under such a settlement, be securely exterminated; but the prelates assembled at Lavaur were under the domination of passions and ambitions and hatreds, the memory of wrongs suffered and inflicted, and the dread of reprisals, which rendered them deaf to everything that might interfere with the predetermined purpose. The ruin of the house of Toulouse was essential to their comfort - they might well believe even to their personal safety - and it was pressed unswervingly.
As legates, Master Theodisius and the Bishop of Eiez presided, while the assembled prelates of the land were led by the intractable Arnaud of Narbonne. All forms were duly observed. The legates, as judges, asked the opinion of the prelates as assessors, whether Raymond should be admitted to purgation. A written answer was returned in the negative, not only for the reason previously alleged, that he was too notorious a perjurer to be listened to, but also because of fresh offences committed during the war, the slaying of crusaders who were attacking him being seriously included among his sins. As a further subterfuge it was agreed that the excommunication under which he lay could only be removed by the pope. Shielding themselves behind this answer, the legates notified Raymond that they could proceed no further without special license from the pope - a repetition of the eternal shifting of responsibility, like a shuttlecock from one player in the game to another - and when Raymond implored for mercy and begged an interview, he was coldly told that it would be useless trouble and expense for both parties. There remained the appeal of King Pedro to be disposed of, and this was treated with the same disingenuous evasion. The prelates undertook to answer this without the legates, so as to be able to say that Raymond's affairs were out of their hands, as he had himself committed them to the legates; and, besides, his excesses had rendered him unworthy of all mercy or kindness.
As for the other three nobles, their crimes were recited, especially their self-defence against the crusaders, and it was added that if they would satisfy the Church and obtain absolution, their complaints would be listened to; but no method was indicated by which absolution could be obtained, and no notice was deigned to the guarantees offered in Pedro's petition.
Pedro's Guarantees Rejected
Indeed, Arnaud of Narbonne, in his capacity of legate, wrote to him in violent terms, threatening him with excommunication for consorting with excommunicants and accused heretics, and his request for a truce until Pentecost, or at least until Easter, was refused on the ground that it would interfere with the succes sof the crusade, which was still preached in France with a vigor justifying doubts of the sincerity of Innocent's orders to the contrary.
The whole proceedings were so defiant a mockery of justice that there was a very manifest alarm lest Innocent should repudiate them and yield to the powerful intercession of King Pedro.
Master Theodisius and several bishops were despatched to Rome with the documents so as to bring personalin fluence to bear. The prelates of the council addressed him, adjuring him by the bowels of the mercy of God not to draw back from the good work which he had commenced, but to lay his axe to the root of the tree and cut it down forever. Raymond was painted in the blackest colors.
The effort he had made to obtain succor from the Emperor Otho, and the assistanceat one time rendered him by Savary de Mauleon, lieutenant of King John in Aquitaine, were skilfully used to excite odium, as both these monarchs were hostile to Rome; and he was even accused of having implored help from the Emperor of Morocco, to the subversion of Christianity itself.
Fearing that this might be insufficient, letters were showered on Innocent by bishops from every part of the troubled region, assuring him that peace and prosperity had followed on the footsteps of the Crusaders, that the land which had been ravagedby heretics and bandits was restored to religion and safety, that if but one more supreme effort were made and the city of Toulouse were wiped out, with its villainous brood, wicked as the children of Sodom and Gomorrah, the faithful could enjoy the Land of Promise; but that if Raymond were allowed to raise his head, chaos would come again, and it would be better for the Church to take refuge among the barbarians.
Yet in all this nothing was said to the pope of the guarantees offered through King Pedro, who was obliged, in March, 1213, to transmit to Rome copies of the cessions executed by the inculpated nobles, duly authenticated by the ArchBishop of Tarragona and his suffragans,
Master Theodisius and his colleagues found the task harder than they had anticipated. Innocent had solemnly declared that Raymond should have the opportunity of vindication, and that condemnation should only follow trial. He was now required to eat his words, while the persistent refusal to allow a trial must have shown him that the charges so industriously made were destitute of proof.
The struggle was hard for a proud man, but he finally yielded to the pressure, though the delay of the decision until May 21, 1213, shows what effort it cost. When the decree came, however, its decisiveness proved that pride and consistency had been overcome. Innocent's letters to his legates have not reached us - perhaps a prudent reticence kept them out of the Regesta - but to Pedro he wrote sternly, commanding him to abandon the protection of heretics unless he was ready to be included in the objects of the new crusade which was threatened if further resistance was attempted. The orders which Pedro had obtained for the restoration of non-heretic al lands were withdrawn as granted through misrepresentation, and the lords of Foix, Comminges, and Navarre were remitted to the discretion of Arnaud of Narbonne. The city of Toulouse could obtain reconciliation by banishment and confiscation inflicted on all whom Foulques, its fanatic bishop, might point out, and no peace or truce or other engagement entered into with heretics was to be observed. As to Raymond, the complete silence preserved with respect to him was more significant than could have been the severest animadversions. He was simply ignored, as though no further account was to be taken of him.
Meanwhile both parties had proceeded without waiting the event in Rome. In France the crusade had been vigorously preached; Louis Coeur-de-Lion, son of Philip Augustus, had taken the cross with many barons, and great hopes were entertained of the overwhelming force which would put an end to further resistance, when Philip's preparations for the invasion of England caused him to intervene and stop the movement which threatened seriously to interfere with his designs.
On the otherhand, King Pedro entered into still closer alliance with Raymond and the excommunicated nobles, and received an oath of fidelity from the magistracy of Toulouse.
Pedro Declares War
When the papal mandate was received, he made a pretence of obeying it, but continued, nevertheless, his preparations for the war, among which the one which best illustrates the man and the age was his procuring from Innocent the renewal of Urban's bull of 1095, placing his kingdom under the special protection of the Holy See, with the privilege that it should not be subjected to interdict except by the pope himself.
A sirvente by an anonymous troubadour shows how anxiously he was expected in Languedoc. He is reproached with his delays, and urged to come to collect his revenues from the Carcasses like a good king, and to suppress the insolence of the French, whom may God confound.
The rupture came with a formal declaration of war from Pedro, accepted by de Montfort, though he had but few troops and the hoped-for reinforcements from France were not forthcoming; indeed, a legate sent by Innocent to preach the crusade for the Holy Land had turned in that direction all the effort which Philip would permit to be made. Pedro had left in Toulouse his representatives and had gone to his own dominions to raise forces, with which he recrossed the Pyrenees and was received enthusiastically by all those who had submitted to de Montfort. He advanced to the castle of Muret, within ten miles of Toulouse, where de Montfort had left a slender garrison, and was joined by the Counts of Toulouse, Foix, and Comminges, their united forces amounting to a considerable army, though far from the hundred thousand men represented by the eulogists of de Montfort. Pedro had brought abouta thousand horsemen with him; the three counts, stripped of most of their dominions, can scarce have furnished a larger force of cavaliers, and the great mass of their array consisted of the militia of Toulouse, on foot and untrained in arms.
The siege of Muret commenced September10, 1213. Word was immediately carried to de Montfort, who lay about twenty-five miles distant at Fanjeaux, with a small force, including seven bishops and three abbots sent by Arnaud of Karbonne to treat with Pedro. Notwithstanding the disparity of numbers, he did not hesitate a moment to advance and succor his people. Sending back the Countess Alice, who was with him, to Carcassonne, where she persuaded some retiring crusaders to return to his aid, he set forth at once, hastily collecting such troops as were within reach. At Bolbonne, near Saverdun, where he halted to hear mass, Maurin, the sacristan, afterwards Abbot of Panders, expressed wonder at his risking with a mere handful of men an encounterwith a warrior so renowned as the King of Aragon. De Montfort in reply drew from his pouch an intercepted letter to a lady in Toulouse, in which Pedro assured her that he was coming out of love for her to drive the Frenchman from her land, and when Maurin asked him what he meant by it, he exclaimed,
"What do I mean? God help me as much as I little fear him who comes for the sake of a woman to undo the work of God!"
It was the God-trusting Norman against the chivalrous Catalan gallant, and he never doubted the result.
The next day de Montfort entered Muret, which was besieged only on one side, the enemy interposing no obstacle, as they hoped to capture the chief of the crusaders. The bishops sought to negotiate with Pedro, but no terms could bereached, and the following morning, Thursday, September 13, the crusaders, numbering perhaps a thousand cavaliers, sallied forth for the attack. As they passed, the Bishop of Comminges comforted them greatly by assuring them that on the Day of Judgment he would be their witness, and that none who might be slain would have to undergo the fires of purgatory for any sins which they had confessed or might intend to confess after the battle.
The holy men then gathered in the Church, praying fervently to God for the success of his warriors; and here we get a traditional glimpse of Dominic, who is said to have been one of the little band; indeed, we are gravely told by his followers that the ensuing victory was clue to the devotion of the Rosary, which he invented and assiduously practised.
As de Montfort drew away in the opposite direction, the besiegers at first thought that he was abandoning the town, and they were only undeceived when he wheeled and they saw he had made a circuit to obtain a level field for the attack. Count Raymond counselled awaiting the onset behind the rampart of wagons and exhausting the crusaders with missiles, but the fiery Catalan rejected the advice as pusillanimous.
The Battle Of Muret
Then armor was donned in hot haste, and the horsemen rushed forth in a confused mass, leaving the footmen to continue the labors of the siege. Emulous rather of the fame of a good knight than of a general, Pedro was immediately behind the vanguard, as two squadrons of the Crusaders came on in solid order, and was readily found by two renowned French knights, Alain de Roucy and Florent de Ville, who had concerted to set upon him. He wass peedily thrown from his horse and slain. The confusion into which his followers were thrown was converted into a panic as de Montfort, at the head of a third squadron, charged them in flank. They turned and fled, followed by the Frenchmen, who slew them without mercy, and then, returning from the pursuit, fell upon the camp where the infantry had remained unconscious of the evil-fortune of the field.
Here the slaughter was tremendous, until the flying wretches succeeded in crossing the Garonne, in which many were drowned.
The loss of the crusaders was less than twenty, that of the allies from fifteen to twenty thousand, and no one was hardy enough to doubt that the hand of God was visiblein a triumph so miraculous, especially as on the last Sunday in August a great procession had been held in Borne with solemn ceremonies, followed by a two days' fast, for the success of the Catholic arms. Yet Kino Jayme tells us that his father's death, and the consequent loss of the battle, arose from his prevailing vice. The Albigensian nobles, to ingratiate themselves with him, had placed their wives and daughters at his disposal, and he was so exhausted by his excesse sthat on the morning of the battle he could not stand at the celebration of the mass.
With the few men at his command de Montfort was unable to follow up his advantage, and the immediate effect of the miraculous victory was scarcely perceptible. The citizens of Toulouse professed a desire for reconciliation, but when their bishop, Foulques, demanded two hundred hostages as security, they refused to give more than sixty, and when the bishop assented to this, they withdrew the offer. De Montfort made a foray into Foix, carrying desolation in his track, and showed himself before Toulouse, but was soon put on the defensive. When he came peaceably to the city of Narbonne, of which he claimed the overlordship, he was refused entrance; the same thing happened to him at Montpellier, and he was obliged to digest these affronts in silence.
His condition, indeed, was almost desperate in the winter of 1214, when affairs suddenly took a different turn. The prohibition to preach the crusade in France was removed, and news came that an army of one hundred thousand fresh pilgrims might be expected after Easter. Besides this a new legate, Cardinal Peter of Benevento, arrived with full powers from the pope, and at Narbonne received the unqualified submission of the Counts of Toulouse, Foix, and Comminges, of Aimeric, Viscount of Narbonne, and of the city of Toulouse. All these agreed to expel heretics and to comply explicitly with all demands of the Church, furnishing whatever security might be demanded. Raymond, moreover, placed his dominions in the hands of the legate, at whose command he engaged to absent himself, either at the English court or elsewhere, until he could go to Rome; and in effect, on his return to Toulouse he and his son lived as private citizens with their wives, in the house of David de Koaix.
Rome having thus obtained everything that she had ever demanded, the legate absolved all the penitents and reconciled them to the Church.
If the land expected peace with submission it was cruelly deceived. The whole affair had been but another act in the comedy which Innocent and his agents had so long played, another juggle with the despair of whole populations. The legate had merely desired to tide de Montfort over the time during which in his weakness he might have been overwhelmed, and to amuse the threatened provinces until the arrival of the fresh swarm of pilgrims.
The trick was perfectly successful, and the monkish chronicler is delighted with the pious fraud so astutely conceived and so dexterously managed. His admiring ejaculation,
"O pious fraud of the legate! O fraudulent piety!"
is the key which unlocks to us the secrets of Italian diplomacy with the Albigenses.
In spite of King Philip's war with John of England and the Emperor Otho, the expected hordes of crusaders, eager to win pardon so easily, poured down upon the unhappy southern provinces.
Their initial exploit was the capture of Maurillac, notable to us as conveying the first distinct reference to the Waldenses in the history of the war. Of these sectaries, seven were found among the captives; they boldly affirmed their faith before the legate, and were burned, as we are told, with immense rejoicings by the soldiers of Christ. With his wonted ability de Montfort made use of his reinforcements to extend his authority over the Agenois, Quercy, Limousin, Eouergue, and Perigord. Resistance being now at an end, the legate, in January, 1215, assembled a council of prelates at Montpellier.
The jealous citizens would not allow de Montfort to enter the town, though he directed the deliberations from the house of the Templars beyond the walls; and once, when he had been secretly introduced to attend a session, the people discoveredit, and would have set upon him, had he not bee nconveyed away through backstreets. The council fulfilled its functions by deposing Raymond and electing de Montfort as lord over the whole land; and, as the confirmation of Innocent was required, an embassyw as sent to Rome, which obtained his assent. He declared that Raymond, who had never yet had the trial so often demanded, was deposed on account of heresy; his wife was to have her dower, and one hundred and fifty marks were assigned to her, secured by the Castle of Beaucaire.
The final disposition of the territory was postponed for the decision of the general council of Lateran, called for the ensuing November; and mean while it was confided to the custody of de Montfort, whom the bishops were exhorted to assist and the inhabitants to obey, while from its revenues some provision was contemptuously ordered to be made for the support of Raymond. Bishop Foulques returned to his city of Toulouse, of which he was virtually master, under the legate who continued to hold it and Narbonne, to keep them out of the hands of Louis Coeur-de-Lion, who was shortly expected in fulfilmentof his crusader's vow, taken three years previously; and the "faidits," as the dispossessed knights and gentlemen were called, were graciously permitted to seek a livelihood throughout the country, provided they never entered castles or walled towns, and travelled on ponies, with but one spur, and without arms.
The battle of Bouvines had released France from the danger so which had been so threatening, and the heir-apparent could be spared for the performance of his vow. Louis came with a noble and gallant company, who earned the pardon of their sins by a peaceful pilgrimage of forty days. The fears which had been felt as to his intentions proved groundless. He showed no disposition to demand for the crown the acquisitions made by previous crusades, and advantage was taken of his presence to obtain temporary investiture for de Montfort, and to order the dismantling of the two chief centres of discontent -- Toulouse and Narbonne.
De Montfort's brother Gui took possession of the former city, and saw to the levelling of its walls. As for Narbonne, Archbishop Arnaud, mindful rather of his pretensions as duke than of the interests of religion, vainly protested against its being rendered defenceless. In making over Raymond's territories to de Montfort, however, Innocent had excepted the county of Melgueil, over which the Church had a sort of claim, and this he sold to the Bishop of Maguelonne, costing the latter, including gratifications to the creatures of the papal camera, no less a sum than thirty-three thousand marks. The transaction held good, in spite of the claims of the crown as the eventual heir of the Count of Toulouse, and, until the Revolution, the Bishops of Maguelonne or Montpellier had the satisfaction of styling themselves Counts of Melgueil.
It was but a small share of the gigantic plunder, and Innocent would have best consulted his dignity by abstention.
Meanwhile the two Raymonds had withdrawn -- possibly to the English court where King John is said to have given them ten thousand marks in return for the rendering of a worthless homage, to which is perhaps attributable the permission given by Philip Augustus to his son to perform the crusade and grant investiture to de Montfort of the lands thus transferred to English sovereignty.
The Fourth Council Of Lateran
Foreign humiliations and domestic revolt, however, rendered John useless as an ally or a suzerain, and Raymond awaited, with what patience he might, the assembling of the great council to which the final decision of his fate had been referred. Here, at least, he would have a last chance of being heard, and of appealing for the justice so long and so steadily denied him.
In April, 1213, had gone forth the call for the Parliament of Christendom, the Twelfth General Council, where the assembled wisdom and piety of the Church were to deliberate on the recovery of the Holy Land, the reformation of the Church, the correction of excesses, the rehabilitation of morals, the extirpation of heresy, the strengthening of faith, and the quieting of discord. All these were specified as the objects of the convocation, and two years and a half had been allowed for preparation.
By the appointed day, November 1, 1215, the prelates had gathered together, and Innocent's pardonable ambition was gratified in opening and presiding over the most august assemblage that Latin Christianity had ever seen. The Frankish occupation of Constantinople gave opportunity for the reunion, nominal at least, of the Eastern and the Western Churches, and Patriarchs of Constantinople and Jerusalem were there in humble obedience to St. Peter. All that was foremost in Church and State had come, in person or by representative. Every monarch had his ambassador there, to see that his interests suffered no detriment from a body which, acting under the direct inspiration of the Holy Ghost, and under the principle that temporal concerns were wholly subordinate to spiritual, might have little respect for the rights of sovereigns.
The most learned theologians and doctors were at hand to give counsel as to points of faith and intricate questions of canon law. The princes of the Church were present in numbers wholly unprecedented. Besides patriarchs, there were seventy-one primates and metropolitans, four hundred and twelve bishops, more than eight hundred abbots and priors, and the countless delegates of those prelates who were unable to attend in person.
Two centuries were to pass away before Europe was again to show its collective strength in a body such as now crowded the ample dimensions of the Basilica of Constantine; and it is a weighty illustration of the service which the Church has rendered in counteracting the centrifugal tendencies of the nations, that such a federative council of Christendom, attainable in no other way, was brought together at the summons of the Roman pontiff. Without some such cohesive power modern civilization would have worn a very different aspect.
The Counts of Toulouse, Foix, and Comminges had reached Rome in advance, where they were joined by the younger Raymond, coming through France from England disguised as the servitor of a merchant, to escape the emissaries of de Montfort. In repeated interviews with Innocent they pleaded their cause, and produced no little impressionon him. Arnaud of Narbonne, embittered by his quarrel with de Montfort, is said to have aided them, but the other prelates, to whom it was almost a question of life or death, were so violent in their denunciations of Raymond, and drew so fearful a picture of the destruction impending over religion, that Innocent, after a short period of irresolution, was deterred from action. De Montfort had sent his brother Gui to represent him, and when the council met both parties pressed their claims before it.
Its decision was prompt, and, as might be expected, was in favor of the champion of the Church . The verdict, as promulgated by Innocent, December 15, 1215, recited the labors of the Church to free the province of Narbonne from heresy, and the peace and tranquillity with which its success had been crowned.
It assumed that Raymond had been found guilty of heresy and spoliation, and therefore deprived him of the dominion which he had abused, and sentenced him to dwell elsewhere in penance for his sins, promising him four hundred marks a year so long as he proved obedient. His wife was to retain the lands of her dower, or to receive a competent equivalent for them. All the territories won by the crusaders, togethe rwith Toulouse, the centre of heresy, and Montauban, were granted to de Montfort, who was extolled as the chief instrument in the triumph of the faith. The other possessions of Raymond, not as yet conquered, were to be held by the Church for the benefit of the younger Raymond, to be delivered to him when he should reach the proper age, in whole or in part, as might be found expedient, provided he should manifest himself worthy.
The Younger Raymond
So far as Count Raymond was concerned, the verdict was final; thereafter the Church always spoke of him as "the former count " "quondam comes." Subsequent decisions as to Foix and Comminges at least arrested the arms of de Montfort in that direction, although they proved far less favorable to the native nobles than they appeared on the surface.
The highest tribunal of the Church Universal had spoken, and in no uncertain tone; and we may see a significant illustration of the forfeiture of its hold on popular veneration in the fact that this, in place of meeting with acquiescence, was the signal of revolt.
Apparently the decision had been awaited in the confidence that it would repair the long course of wrong and injustice perpetrated in the name of religion; and, with the frustration of that hope, there was no hesitation in resorting to resistance, with the national spirit inflamed to the highest pitch of enthusiasm. If de Montfort thought that his conquests were secured by the voice of the Lateran fathers, and by King Philip's reception of the homage which he lost no time in rendering, he only showed how little he had learned of the temper of the race with which he had to deal.
Yet in France he was naturally the hero of the hour, and the journey on his way to tender allegiance wasa triumphal progress. Crowds flocked to see the champion of the Church; the clergy marched forth in solemn procession to welcome him to every town, and those thought themselves happy who could touch the hem of his garment.
The younger Raymond, at this time a youth of eighteen, hardened by years of adversity, was winning in manner, and is said to have made a most favorable impressionon Innocent, who dismissed him with a benediction and good advice; not to take what belonged to another, but to defend his own -
"res de l'autmi non pregas; lo teu, se degun lo te vol hostar, deffendas"
and he made haste to follow the counsel, according to his own interpretation.
The part of his inheritance which had been reserved for him under custody of the Church lay to the east of the Rhone, and thither, on their return from Italy, early in 1216, father and son took their way, to find a basis of operations. The outlook was encouraging, and after a short stay the elder Raymond proceeded to Spain to raise what troops he could. Marseilles, Avignon, Tarascon the whole country, in fact rose as one man to welcome their lord, and demanded to be led against the Frenchmen, reckless of the fulminations of the Church, and placing life and property at his disposal. The part which the cities and the people play in the conflict becomes henceforth even more noticeable than heretofore - the semi-republican communes fighting for life against the rigid feudalism of the North. How subordinated was the religious question, and how confused were religious notions, is manifested by the fact that, while thus warring against the Church, at the siege of the castle of Beaucaire, when entrenchments were necessary against the relieving army of de Montfort, Raymond's chaplain offered salvation to any one who would labor on the ramparts, and the townsfolk set eagerly to work to obtain the promised pardons. The people apparently reasoned little as to the source from whence indulgences came, nor the object for which they were granted.
De Montfort met this unexpected turn of fortune with his wonted activity, but his hour of prosperity was past, and one might almost say, with the Church historians, that he was weighed down by the excommunication launched at him by the implacable Arnaud of Narbonne, whom he had treated harshly in their quarrel over the dukedom - an excommunication which he wholly disregarded, not even intermitting his attendance at mass, though he had looked upon the censures of the Church with such veneration when they were directed agains this antagonists. Obliged, after hard fighting, to leave Beaucaire to its fate, he marched in angry mood to Toulouse, which was preparing to recall its old lord. He set fire to the town in severalplaces, but the citizens barricaded the streets, and resisted his troops step by step, till accommodation was made, and he agreed to spare the city for the immense sum of thirty thousand marks; but he destroyed what was left of the fortifications, filled up the ditches, rendered the place as defenceless as possible, and disarmed the inhabitants.
Second Siege Of Toulouse
Despite his excommunication, he still had the earnest support of the Church. Innocent died July 20, 1210, but his successor, Honorius III., inherited his policy, and a new legate, Cardinal Bertrand of St.John and St. Paul, was, if possible, more bitter than his predecessors in the detenuination to suppress the revolt against Rome.
The preaching of the crusade had been resumed, and in the beginning of 1217, with fresh reinforcements of crusaders and a small contingent furnished by Philip Augustus, de Montfort crossed the Rhone, and made rapid progress in subduing the territories left to young Raymond.
He was suddenly recalled by the news that Toulouse was in rebellion; that Raymond VI. had been received there with rejoicings, bringing with him auxiliaries from Spain; that Foix and Comminges, and all the nobles of the land, had flocked thither to welcome their lord, and that the Countess of Montfort was in peril in the Chateau Narbonnais, the citadel outside of the town, which he had left to bridle the citizens.
Abandoning his conquests, he hastened back. In September, 1217, commenced the second siege of the heroic city, in which the burghersd isplayed unflinching resolve to preserve themselves from the yoke of the stranger - or perhaps, rather, the courage of desperation, if the account is to be believed that the cardinal-legate ordered the crusaders to slay all the inhabitants, without distinction of age or sex. In spite of the defenceless condition of the town, which men and women unitedly worked night and day to repair; in spite of the threatening and beseeching letters which Honorius wrote to the Kings of Aragon and France, to the younger Raymond, the Count of Foix, the citizens of Toulouse, Avignon, Marseilles, and all whom he thought to deter or excite; in spite of heavy reinforcements brought by a vigorous renewal of preaching the crusade, for nine weary months the siege dragged on, in furious assaults and yet more furious sallies, with intervals of suspended operations as the crusading army swelled or decreased.
De Montfort's brother Gui and his eldest son Amauri were seriously wounded. The baffled chieftain's troubles were rendered sorer by the legate, who taunted him with his ill-success, and accused him of ignorance or slackness in his work. Sick at heart, and praying for death as a welcome release, on the morrow of St.John's day, 1218, he was superintending the reconstruction of his machines, after repelling a sally, when a stone from a mangonel, worked, as Toulousain tradition says, by women, went straight to the right spot-
"E venctot dret la peira lai on era mestiers"
it crushed in his helmet, and he never more spoke word. Great was the sorrow of the faithful through all the lands of Europe when the tidings spread that the glorious champion of Christ, the new Maccabee, the bulwark of the faith, had fallen as a martyr in the cause of religion. He was buried at Haute-Bruyere, a cell of the Monastery of Dol, and the miracles worked at his tomb showed how acceptable to God had been his life and death, though there were not wanting those who drew the moral that his sudden downfall, just as his success seemed to be firmly established, was the punishment of neglecting the persecution of heresy in his eagerness to gratify his ambition.
If proof were lacking of de Montfort's pre-eminent capacity it would be furnished by the rapid undoing of all that he had accomplished, in the hands of his son and successor Amauri. Even during the siege his prestige was yet such that, December18, 1217, the powerful Jourdain de l'Isle-Jourdain made submission to him as Duke of Narbonne and Count of Toulouse and furnished as securities Geraud, Count of Armagnac and Ftizenzac, Roger, Viscount of Fezenzaquet, and other nobles; and in February, 1218, the citizens of Narbonne abandoned their rebellious attitude. His death was regarded as the signal of liberation, and wherever the French garrisons were not too strong, the people arose, massacred the invaders, and gave themselves back to their ancient lords.
Vainly did Honorius recognize Amauri as the successor to his father's lordships, put the two Raymonds to the ban, and grant Philip Augustus a twentieth of ecclesiastical revenues as an incentive to another crusade, while plenary indulgence was offered to all who would serve.
Vainly did Louis Coeur-de-Lion, with his father's sanction, and accompanied by the Cardinal-Legate Bertrand, lead a gallant army of pilgrims which numbered in its ranks no less than thirty-three counts and twenty bishops. They penetrated, indeed, to Toulouse, but the third siege of the unyielding city was no more successful than its predecessors, and Louis was obliged to withdraw ingloriously, having accomplished nothing but the massacre of Marmande, where five thousand souls were put to the sword, without distinction of age or sex.
Indeed, the pitiless cruelty and brutal licentiousness habitual among the crusaders, who spared no man in their wrath, and no woman in their lust, aided no little in inflaming the resistance to foreign domination. One by one the strongholds still held by the French were wrested from their grasp, and but very few of the invaders founded families who kept their place among the gentry of the land.
In 1220a new legate, Conrad, tried the experiment of founding a military order under the name of the Knights of the Faith of Jesus Christ, but it proved useless. Equally vain was the papal sentence of excommunication and exheredation fulminated in 1221; and when, in the same year, Louis under took a new crusade and received from Honorius a twentieth of the Church revenues to defray the expenses, he turned the army thus raised against the English possessions and captured La Eochelle, in spite of the protests of king and pope.
Early in 1222, Arnauri, reduced to desperation, offered to Philip Augustus all his possessions and claims, urging Honorius to support the proposal. The pope welcomed it as the only feasible mode of accomplishing the result for which years of effort had been fruitlessly spent, and he wrote to the king, May 14, representing that in this way alone could the Church be saved. The heretics who had hid themselves in caverns and mountain fastnesses where French domination prevailed, came forth again as soon as the invaders were driven out, and their unceasing missionary efforts were aided by the common detestation in which the foreigner was held by all.
The Church had made itself the national enemy, and we can easily believe the description which Honorius gives of the lamentable condition of orthodoxy in Languedoc. Heresy was openly practised and taught; the heretic bishops set themselves up defiantly against the Catholic prelates, and there was a danger that the pestilence would spread throughout the land. In spite of all this, however, and of an offer of a twentieth of the Church revenues and unlimited indulgences for a crusade, Philip turned a deaf ear to the entreaty; and when Amauri's offer was transferred to Thibaut of Champagne, and the latter applied to the king for encouragement, he was coldly told that if, after due consideration, he resolved on the undertaking, the king wished him all success, but could render him no aid nor release him from his obligations of service in view of the threatening relations with England.
Possibly encouraged by this, the younger Raymond in June appealed to Philip as his lord, and, if he dared so to call him, as his kinsman, imploring his pity, and begging in the humblest terms his intervention to procure his reconciliation to the Church, and thus remove the incapacity of inheritance to which he was subjected.
This must have been suggested by the expectation of the death of Raymond VI., which occurred shortly after, in August, 1222. It made no change in the political or religious situation, but is not without interest in view of the charge of heresy so persistently made and used as an excuse for his destruction. In 1218 he had executed his will, in which he left pious legacies to the Templars and Hospitallers of Toulouse, declared his intention of entering the latter order, and desired to be buried with them. On the morning of his sudden death he had twice visited for prayer the Church of la Daurade, but his agony was short and he was speechless when the Abbot of St. Sernin, who had been hurriedly sent for, reached his bedside, to administer to him the consolations of religion.
A Hospitaller who was present cast over him his cloak with the cross, to secure the burial of the body for his house; but a zealous parishioner of St. Sernin pulled it off, and ad isgraceful squabble arose over the dying man, for the abbot claimed the sepulture, as the death chanced to take place in his parish, and he summoned the people not to allow the corpse to be removed beyond its precincts.
This ghastly struggle over the remains has its ludicrous aspect, from the fact that the Church would never permit the inhumation of its enemy, and the body remained unburied in spite of the reiterated pious efforts of Raymond VII., after his reconciliation, to secure the repose of his father's soul. It was in vain that the inquest ordered by Innocent IV., in 1247, gathered evidence from a hundred and twenty witnesses to prove that Kaymond VI. had been the most pious and charitable of men and most obedient to the Church . His remains lay for a century and a half the sport of rats in the house of the Hospitallers, and when they disappeared piece-meal, the skull was still kept as an object of curiosity, at least until the end of the seventeenth century.
After his father's death Raymond VII. pursued his advantage, and in December Amauri was reduced to offering again his claims to Philip Augustus, only to be exposed to another refusal. In May, 1223, there seem to have been hopes that Philip would undertake a crusade, and the Legate Conrad of Porto, with the bishops of Nimes, Agde, and Lodeve wrote to him urgently from Beziers describing the deplorable state of the land in which the cities and castles were daily opening their gates to the heretics and inviting them to take possession. Negotiations with Raymond followed, and matters went so far that we find Honorius writing to his legate to look after the interest of the Bishop of Viviers in the expected settlement. There was fresh urgency felt for the pacification in the absence of any hope of assistance from the king, since the progress of the Catharan heresy was evermore alarming. Additional energy had been infused into it by the activity of its Bulgarian antipope. Heretics from Languedoc were resorting to him in increasing numbers and returning with freshened zeal; and his representative, Bartholomew, Bishop of Carcassonne, who styled himself, in imitation of the popes, Servant of the servants of the Holy Faith, was making successful efforts to spread the belief.
Truces between Amauri and Raymond were therefore made and conferences held, and finally the legate called a council to assemble at Sens, July G, 1223, where a final pacification was expected.
It was transferred to Paris, because Philip Augustus desired to be present, and its importance in his eyes must have been great, since he set out on his journey thither in spite of a raging fever, to which he succumbed on the road, at Meudon, July 14. Raymond's well-grounded hopes were shattered on the eve of realization, for Philip's death rendered the council useless and changed in a moment the whole face of affairs.
Though Philip showed his practical sympathy with de Montfort by leaving him a legacy of thirty thousand livres to assist him in his Albigensian troubles, his prudence had avoided all entanglements, and he had steadily rejected the proffer of the de Montfort claims.
Yet his sagacity led him to prophesy truly that after his death the clergy would use every effort to involve Louis, whose feeble health would prove unequal to the strain, and the kingdom would be left in the hands of a woman and a child. It was probably the desire to avert this by a settlement which led him to make the fatal effort to attend the council, and his prediction did not long await its fulfilment. Louis, on the very day of his coronation, promised the legate that he would undertake the matter; Honorius urged it with vehemence, and in February, 1224, Louis accepted a conditional cession from Amauri of all his rights over Languedoc. Raymond thus found himself confronted by the King of France as his adversary.
The situation was full of new and unexpected peril. But a month before, Amauri, in utter penury, had been obliged to surrender what few strongholds he yet retained, and had quitted forever the land which he and his father had cursed, a portion of Philip's legacy being used to extricate his garrisons. The triumph, so long hoped for and won by so many years of persistent struggle, was a Dead-Sea apple, full of ashes and bitterness. The discomfited adversary was now replaced by one who was rash and enterprising, who wielded all the power gained by Philip's long and fortunate reign, and whose pride was enlisted in avenging the check which he had received five years before under the walls of Toulouse.
Crusade Proposed And Abandoned
Already in February he wrote to the citizens of Narbonne, praising their loyalty and promising to lead a crusade three weeks after Easter, which should restore to the crown all the lands forfeited by the house of Toulouse. Zealous as he was, however, he felt that the eagerness of the Church warranted him in driving the best bargain he could for his services to the faith, and he demanded as conditions of taking up arms that peace abroad and at home should be assured to him, that a crusade should be preached with the sameindulgencesasfor the Holy Land, that all his vassalsnot joining in it should be excommunicated, that the ArchBishop of Bourges should be legate in place of the Cardinal of Porto, that all the lands of Raymond, of his allies, and of all who resisted the crusade should be his prize, that he should have a subsidy of sixty thousand livres paris is a year from the Church, and that he should befree to return as soon or remain as long ashe might see fit.
Louis asserted that theseconditionswere accepted, and went onwith his preparations, while Raymond made desperate efforts to conjure the coming storm. Henry III. of England used his good offices with Honorius, and Raymond was encouraged to make offers of obedience through envoys to Rome, whose liberalities among the officials of the curia are said to have produced a most favorable impression. Honorius replied in a most gracious letter, promising to send Romano, Cardinal of Sant Angelo, as legate to arrange a settlement, and he followed this by informing Louis that the offers of Frederic II. to recover the Holy Land were so favorable that every thing else must be postponed to that great object, and all indulgences must be used solely for that purpose; but that if he will continue to threaten Raymond, that prince will be forced to submit.
Instructions were at the same time sent to Arnaud of Narbonne to act with other prelates in leading Raymond to offer acceptable terms. Louis, justly indignant at being thus played with, made public protestation that he washed his hands of the whole business, and told the pope the curia might come to what terms it pleased with Raymond, that he had nothing to do with points of faith, but that his rights must berespected and no new tributes be imposed.
At a parliament held in Paris, May5, 1224, the legate withdrew the indulgences granted against the Albigenses and approved of Raymond as a good Catholic, while Louis made a statement of the whole transaction in terms which showed how completely he felt himself to be duped. He turned his military preparations to account, however, by wrenching from Henry III. a considerable portion of the remaining English possessions in France.
The storm seemed to be successfully conjured. Nothing remained but to settle the terms, and Raymond's escape had been too narrow for him to raise difficulties on this score. At Pentecost (June 2) with his chief vassals, he met Arnaud and the bishops at Montpellier, where he agreed to observe and maintain the Catholic faith throughout his dominions, and expel all heretics pointed out by the Church, confiscate their property and punish their bodies, to maintain peace and dismiss the bandit mercenaries, to restore all rights and privileges to the Churches, to pay twenty thousand marks for reparation of ecclesiastical losses and for Amauri's compensation, on condition that the pope would cause Amauri to renounce his claims and deliver up all documents attesting them. If this would not suffice, he would submit himself entirely to the Church, saving his allegiance to the king.
His signature to this was accompanied by those of the Count of Foix and the Viscount of Beziers. As an evidence of good faith he reinstated his father's old enemy, Theodisius, in the bishopric of Agde, which the quondam legate had obtained and from which he had been driven, and in addition he restored various other Church properties. These conditions were transmitted to Rome for approbation with notice that a council would be held August 20 for their ratification, and Honorius returned an equivocal answer which might be construed as accepting them. On the appointed day the council met at Montpellier.
Amauri sent a protest begging the bishops desperately not to throw away the fruits of victory within their grasp. The King of France, he said, was on the point of making the cause his own, and to abandon it now would be a scandal and a humiliation to the Church Universal.
Raymod's Submission Rejected
Not withstanding this, the bishops received the oaths of Raymond and his vassals to the conditions previously agreedy with the addition that the decision of the popes hould be followed as to the composition with Amauri, and that any further commands of the Church should be obeyed, saving the supremacy of the king and the emperor, for all of which satisfactory security was offered.
What more the Church could ask it is hard to see. Raymond had triumphed over it and all the crusaders whom it could muster, and yet he offered submission as complete as could reasonably have been exacted of his father in the hour of his deepest abasement.
At this very time, moreover, a public disputation held at Castel Sarras in between some Catholic priests and Catharan ministers shows the growing confidence of heresy and the necessity of an accommodation if its progress was to be checked. Not less significant was a Catharan council held not long after at Pieussan, where, with the consent of Guillabert of Castres, heretic bishop of Toulouse, the new episcopate of Rasez was carved out of his see and that of Carcasses. Yet the vicissitudes and surprises in this business were not yet exhausted.
In October, when Raymond's envoys reached Rome to obtain the papal confirmation of the settlement, they were opposed by Gui de Montfort, sent by Louis to prevent it. There were not wanting Languedocian bishops who feared that with peace they would be forced to restore possessions usurped during the troubles, and who consequently busied themselves with proving that Raymond was at heart a heretic.
Honorius shuffled with the negotiation until the commencement of 1225, when he sent Cardinal Romano again to France with full powers as legate, and with instructions to threaten Raymond and to bring about a truce between France and England so as to free Louis's hands. He wrote to Louis in the same sense, while to Amauri he sent money and words of encouragement.
His description of Languedoc, as a land of iron and brass of which the rust could only be removed by fire, shows the side which he had finally determined to take.
After several conferences with Louis and the leading bishops and nobles, the legate convened a national council at Bourges in November, 1225, for the final settlement of the question. Raymond appeared before it, humbly seeking absolutiona nd reconciliation; he offered his purgation and whatever amends might be required by the Churches, promising to render his lands peaceful and secure and obedient to Rome. As for heresy, he not only engaged to suppress it, but urged the legate to visit everycity in his dominions and make Inquisition into the faith of the people, pledging himself to punish rigorously all delinquents and to coerce any town offering opposition.
For himself, he was ready to render full satisfaction for any derelictions, and to under go an examination as to his faith. On the other hand, Amauri exhibited the decrees of Innocent condemning Raymond VI. and bestowing his lands on Simon, and Philip's recognition of the latter. There was much wrangling in the council until the legate ordered each archbishop to deliberate separately with his suffragans and deliver to him the result in writing, to be submitted to the king and pope, under the seal of secrecy, enforced by excommunication.
There is an episode in the proceedings of this council worth attention as an illustration of the relations between Rome and the local Churches and the character of the establishment to which the heretics were invited to return with the gentle inducements of the stake and gibbet. After the ostensible business of the assemblage was over, the legate craftily gave to the delegates of the chapters permission to depart, while retaining the bishops.
The Council Of Bourges
The delegates thus dismissed were keen to scent some mischief in the wind; they consulted together and sent to the legate a committee from all the metropolitan chapters to say that they understood him to have special letters from the Roman curia demanding for the pope in perpetuity the fruits of two prebends in every episcopal and abbatial chapter and one in every conventual Church. They adjured him, for the sake of God, not to cause so great a scandal, assuring him that the king and the barons would be ready to resist at the peril of life and dignity, and that it would cause a general subversion of the Church. Under this pressure the legate exhibited the letters and argued that the grant would relieve the Roman Church of the scandal of concupiscence, as it would put an end to the necessity of demanding and receiving presents. On this the delegate from Lyons quietly observed that they did not wish to be without friends in the Roman court, and were perfectly willing to bribe them; others represented that the fountain of cupidity never would run dry, and that the added wealth would only render the Romans more madly eager, leading to mutual quarrels which would end in the destruction of the city; others, again, pointed out that the revenues thus accruing to the curia, computed to be greater than those of the crown, would render its members so rich that justice would be more costly than ever; more over, it was evident that the host of officials in each Church, whom the pope would be entitled to appoint to look after the collections, would not only lead to infinite additional exactions, but would be used to control the elections of the chapters, and end by bringing them all under subjection to Rome. They wound up by assuring him that it was for the interest of Rome itself to abandon the project, for if oppression thus became universal it would be followed by universal revolt.
The legate, unable to face the storm, agreed to suppress the letters, sayingthat he disapproved of them, but had had no opportunity of remonstrance, as they had only reached him after his arrival in France. An equally audacious proposition, by which the curia hoped to obtain control over all the abbeys in the kingdom, was frustrated by the active opposition of the archbishops.
Heresy might well hold itself justifiable in keeping aloof from such a Church as this.
What were really the conclusions reached in the Albigensian matter by the archiepiscopal caucuses no one might reveal, but with pope and king resolved on intervention there could be little doubt as to the practical result. Moreover, the stars in their courses had fought against Raymond, for in this critical juncture death had carried off Archbishop Arnaud of Narbonne, who had become his vigorous friend, and who was succeeded by Pierre Amiel, his bitter enemy. There could be no effective resistance to royal and papal wishes; it was announced that no peace honorable to the Church could be reached with Raymond, and that a tithe of ecclesiastical revenues for five years was offered to Louis if he would undertake the holy war.
Reckless as was Louis, however, and eager to clutch at the tempting prize, he shrank from the encounter with the obstinate patriotism of the South while involved in hostilities with England. He demanded therefore that Honorius should prohibit Henry III. from disturbing the French territories during the crusade. When Henry received the papal letters he was eagerly preparing an expedition to relieve his brother, Richard of Cornwall, but his counsellors urged him not to prevent Louis from entangling himself in so difficult and costly an enterprise, and one of them, William Pierrepont, a skilled astrologer, confidently predicted that Louis would either lose his life or be overwhelmed with misfortune.
In the nick of time, news arrived from Richard giving good accounts of his success; Henry's anxieties were calmed, and he gave the required assurances, in spite of an alliance into which he had shortly before entered with Raymond. As a further precaution to insure the success of the crusade, all private wars were forbidden during its continuance.
The Crusade Organized
The question of religion had practically disappeared by this time, except as an excuse for indulgences and ecclesiastical subsidies and as a cloak for dynastic expansion. If Kaymond had not yet actively persecutedhis heretic subjects it was merely because of the impolicy, under constant threats of foreign aggression, of alienating so large a portion of the population on which he relied for support. He had shown himself quite ready to do so in exchange for reconciliation to the Church, and he had urged the legate to establish an organized Inquisition throughout his dominions. Amid all the troubles the Dominicans had been allowed to grow and establish themselves in his territories; and when their rivals in persecution, the Franciscans, had come to Toulouse, he had welcomed them and assisted them in taking root. In this very year, 1225, St.Antony of Padua, who stands next to St.Francis in the veneration of the order, came to France to preach against heresy, and in the Toulousain his eloquence excited such a storm of persecutionas to earn for him the honorable title of the Tireless Hammer of heretics.
The coming struggle thus, even more than its predecessors, was to be a war of races, with the whole power of the North, led by the king and the Church, against the exhausted provinces which clung to Raymond as their suzerain. We cannot wonder that he was willing to submit to any terms to avert it, for he was left to breast the tempest alone. His greatest vassal, the Count of Foix, it is true, stood by him, but the next in importance, the Count of Comminges, made his peace, and is found acting for the king; the Count of Provence entered into the alliance against him, while, at a warning from Louis, Jayme of Aragon and Nunez Sancho of Roussillon forbade their subjects from lending aid to the heretic.
Meanwhile the crusade was organized on the largest scale. At a great parliament held in Paris, January 28, 1226, the nobles presented an address urging the king to undertake it and pledging their assistance to the end. He assumed the cross under condition that he should lay it aside when he pleased, and his example was followed by nearly all the bishops and barons, though we are told that many did so unwillingly, holding it an abuse to assail a faithful Christian who, at the Council of Bourges, had offered all possible satisfaction.
Amauri and his uncle Gui executed a renunciation of all their claims in favor of the crown: the cross was diligently preached throughout the kingdom, with the customary offer of indulgences, and the legate guaranteed that the ecclesiastical tithe granted for five years should amount to at least one hundred thousand livres per annum.
The only cloud to mar the prospect was the discovery that Honorius had sent letters and legates to the barons of Poitou and Aquitaine, ordering them within a month to return to their allegiance to England in spite of any oaths taken to the contrary.
This curious piece of treachery can only be explained by persuasive bribes from Raymond or from Henry III., and Louis promptly met it with liberal payments to the pope, which he procured the suspension of the letters. This being got out of the way, another council was held March 29, where Louis commanded his lieges to assemble on May 17, at Bourges, fully equipped and prepared to remain with him aslong as he should stay in the South. T e forty day's service which had so repeatedly snatched from de Montfort the fruits of his victories was no longer to arrest the tide of a permanent conquest.
On the appointed day the chivalry of the kingdom gathered around their monarch at Bourges, but before setting forth there was much to be done. Innumerable abbots and delegates from chapters besieged the king, imploring him not to reduce the national Church to servitude by exacting the tithe bestowed on him, and promising to make ample provision for his needs; but he was unrelenting, and they departed, secretly cursing both crusade and king. The legate was busy dismissing the boys, women, old men, paupers, andcripples who had assumed the cross. These he forced to swearas to the amount of money which they possessed; of this he took the major part and let them go after granting them absolution from the vow - an indirect way of selling indulgences which became habitual and produced large sums. Louis drove a thriving trade of the same kind from a higher class of crusaders by accepting heavy payments from those who owed him service and were not ambitious of the glory or the perils of the expedition.
The Siege Of Avignon
He also forced the Count of La Marche to send back to Raymond his young daughter Jeanne, betrothed to La Marche's son, and reserved, as we shall see, for loftier nuptials. To Bourges likewise flocked many of the nobles of Narbonne, eager to show their loyalty by doing homage to the king and to advise him not to advance through their district, which was devastated by war, but to march by way of the Rhone to Avignon - disinterested counsel which he adopted.
Louis set forth from Lyons with a magnificent army consisting, it is said, of fifty thousand horse and innumerable foot. The terror of his coming preceded him; many of Raymond's vassals and cities made haste to offer their submission - Mines, Narbonne, Carcassonne, Albi, Beziers, Marseilles, Castres, Puylaurens, Avignon - and he seemed reduced to the last extremity. When the host reached Avignon, however, and Louis proposed to march through the city, the inhabitants, with sudden fear, shut their gates in his face, and though they offered him unmolested passage around it, he resolved on a siege, in spite of its being a fief of the empire. It had lain for ten years under excommunication, and was noted as a nest of Waldenses, so the Cardinal-Legate Romano ordered the crusaders to purge it of heresy by force of arms. The task proved no easy one. From June 10 till about September 10 the citizens resisted desperately, inflicting heavy loss upon the besiegers.
Raymond had devastated the surrounding country and was ever on the watch to cut off foraging-parties, so that supplies were scanty. An epidemic set in, and a plagueo f flies carried infection from the dead to the living. Disaffection in the camp aggravated the trouble. Pierre Mauclerc of Britanny was offended with Louis for traversing his plot of marriage with Jeanne of Flanders, whose divorce from her husband he had procured from the pope, and he entered into a league with Thibaut of Champagne and the Count of La Marche, who were all suspected of entertaining secret relations with the enemy. Thibaut even left the army without leave, after forty days of service, returned home and commenced strengthening his castles.
The crusade, so brilliantly begun, was on the point of abandoning its first serious enterprise, when the Avignonese, reduced to the utmost straits, unexpectedly offered to capitulate. Considering the customs of the age, the terms were not hard. They agreed to satisfy the king and Church, they paid a considerable ransom, their walls were thrown down and three hundred fortified houses in the town were dismantled, and they received as bishop, at the hands of the legate, Nicholasde Corbie, who instituted laws for the suppression of heresy. It was fortunate for Louis that the submission came when it did, for a few days later there occurred an inundation of the Durance which would have drowned his camp.
From Avignon Louis marched westward, everywhere receiving the submission of nobles and cities until within a few leagues of Toulouse. The reduction of that obstinate focus of heresy was apparently all that remained to complete the ruin of Raymond and the success of the crusade, when Louis suddenly turned his face homeward. No explanation of this unlooked - for termination of the campaign is furnished by any of the chroniclers, but it is probably to be sought in the sickness which pursued the crusaders, and possibly in the commencement of the disease which terminated the march and the life of the king at Montpensier on November fulfilling the prophecy of Merlin,
"In ventris monte morietur leo pacificus"
and not without suspicion of poisoning by Thibaut of Champagne. Throughout Europe, however, the retreat was regarded as the result of serious military reverses. Louis had designed to return the following year, and had left garrisons in the places which had submitted to him, with Humbert de Beaujeu, a renowned captain, in supreme command, and Gui de Montfort under him, but their feats of arms were few, though the burning of heretics was not neglected, when occasion offered, if only to maintain the sacred character of the war.
Saved as by a miracle from the ruin which had seemed inevitable, Raymond lost no time in recovering a portion of his dominions. The death of Louis had worked a complete revolution in the situation, and, for at ime at least, he had little to fear.
Raymond Maintains Himself
It is true that Louis IX., a child of thirteen, was crowned without delay at Reims, and the regency was confided to his mother, Blanche of Castile, but the great barons were restive, and the conspiracy, hatched before the walls of Avignon, was yet in existence. Britanny, Champagne, and La Marche ostentatiously kept away from the coronation, delayed offering their homage, and intrigued with England. Early in 1227, however, they quarrelled, when a show of force and favorable terms brought them in one by one; short truces were made with Henry III. and the Viscount of Thouars, and at emporary respite was obtained. Gregory IX., who mounted the papal throne March19, 1227, took the regent and the boy-king under the papal protection, on the ground of their being engaged in war against heresy; but the succors which they sent from time to time to de Beaujeu were probably only enough to give color to a continuance of the ecclesiastical tithe, which the four great provinces of Reims, Rouen, Sens, and Tours resisted till the legate authorized the regent to seize Church property and compel the payment. Raymond thus was enabled to continue the struggle with varying fortune.
The Council of Narbonne, held during Lent, 1227, in excommunicating those who had proved faithless to the oaths given to Louis shows that the people had returned to their ancient allegiance where they safely could; and in commanding a strict perquisition of heretics by the bishops and their punishment by the secular authorities, it indicates that even in territories held by the French the duties of persecution were slackly performed.
The war dragged on through 1227 with varying result. De Beaujeu, assisted by Pierre Amiel of Narbonne and Foulques of Toulouse, captured, after a desperate siege, the castle of Becede, when the garrison was slaughtered and the heretic deacon Geraud de Motte and his comrades were burned, the castellan, Pagan de Becede, becoming a "faidit" and a leader among the proscribed heretics, to be burned at last in 1233.
Raymond recovered Castel-Sarrasin, but could not prevent the crusaders from devastating the land up to the walls of Toulouse. The following year found both parties inclined for peace.
We have seen that Raymond was eager to make sacrifices for it, even before the last crusade had stripped him of most of his possessions. The regent Blanche had ample motives to come to terms. With all her firmness and capacity the task before her was no easyone. The nobles of Aquitaine were corresponding with Henry III. who always cherished the hope of reconquering the ample territories wrenched from the English crown by Philip Augustus.
The great barons, despising the rule of a woman, were quarrelling between themselves and involving a large portion of the kingdomin war. The hope of completing the conquest of the South could scarcere pay th econstant drain on the royal resources, while chronic warfare there was highly dangerous in the explosive condition of the realm. The difficulty of collecting the tithe from the recalcitrant Churches was increasing, and it could not be continued permanently. Every motive of policy would therefore incline Queen Blanche to listen to the humble prayers for reconciliation which Raymond and his father had never ceased to utter, and a way of securing for the royal line the rich inheritance of the house of Toulouse seemed to offer itself in the fact that Raymond had but one child, Jeanne, still unmarried.
A union between her and one of the younger brothers of St. Louis, with a reversion of the territories to them and to their heirs, would attain peaceably all the political advantages of the crusade, while, as to its religious objects, Raymond had left no doubts of his willingness to secure them.
Gregory IX. was quite content thus to close the war which Innocent had commenced twenty years before. Already, in March, 1228, he wrote to Louis IX., urging him to make peace according to the judgment of the legate, Cardinal Romano, who had full powers in the premises, and it was in the name of the legate that the first overtures were made to Raymond through the Abbot of Grandselve. That the marriage was the pivot upon which from the beginning the negotiations turned is shown by another letter of June 25, authorizing Romano to dispense with the impediment of consanguinity if the union between Jeanne and one of the king's brothers would lead to peace.
The Treaty Of Paris In 1229
Another epistle of October 21, announcing to all the prelates of France that he had renewed the indulgences for a crusade against the Albigenses, would seem to show that the terms offered to Raymond were hard of acceptance, and that renewed pressure on him was necessary. This was enforced by extensive devastations in his territories, and in December, 1228, he gave the abbot full power to assent to whatever might be agreed upon by Thibaut of Champagne, who acted as mediator for him. A conference was held at Meaux, where we find the consuls of Toulouse also represented, and preliminaries were signed in January, 1229. Finally, on Holy Thursday, April 12, 1229, the long war came to an end. Before the portal of Notre Dame de Paris Raymond humbly approached the legate and begged for reconciliation to the Church; barefooted and in his shirt he was conducted to the altar as a penitent, received absolution in the presence of the dignitaries of Church and State, and his followers were relieved from excommunication.
After this he constituted himself a prisoner in the Louvre until his daughter and five of his castles should be in the hands of the king, and five hundred toises of the walls of Toulouse should be demolished.
The terms to which he had agreed were hard and humiliating. In the royal proclamation of the treaty, he is represented as acting at the command of the legate, and humbly praying Church and king for mercy and not for justice. He swore to persecute heresy with his whole strength, including heretics and believers, their protectors and receivers, and not sparing his nearest kindred, friends, and vassals. On all these speedy punishment was to be inflicted, and an Inquisition for their detection was to be instituted in such form as the legate might dictate, while in its aid Raymond agreed to offer the large reward of two marks per head for every manifest ("perfected") heretic captured during two years, and one mark forever there after. As for other heretics, believers, receivers, and defenders, he agreed to do whatever the legate or pope should command. His laillis, or local officers, moreover, were to be good Catholics, free of all suspicion. He was to defend the Church and all its members and privileges; to enforce its censures by seizing the property of all who should remain for a year under excommunication; to restore all Church lands and lands of ecclesiastics occupied since the commencement of the troubles, and to pay as damages for personal property taken the sum of ten thousand silver marks; to enforce for the future the payment of tithes, and, as a special fine, to pay five thousand marks to five religious houses named, besides six thousand marks to be expended in fortifying certain strongholds to be held by the king as security for the Church, and between three thousand and four thousand marks to supportfor ten years at Toulouse two masters in theology, two decretalists, and six masters in grammar and the liberal arts.
Moreover, as penance, he agreed to assume the cross immediately on receiving absolution, and to proceed within two years to Palestine, to serve there for five years - a penance which he never performed, though repeatedly summoned to do so, until in 1247 he made preparations for a departure which was arrested by death. An oath was further to be administered to his people, renewable every five years, binding them to make active war upon all heretics, their believers, receivers, and fautors, and to help the Church and king in subduing heresy.
The interests of the Church and of religion being thus provided for, the marriage of Jeanne with one of the king's brothers was treated as a favor bestowed on Raymond. It was tacitly assumed that all his dominions had been forfeited, and the king graciously granted him all the lands comprised within the ancient bishopric of Toulouse, subject to their reversion after his death to his daughter and her husband, in such wise that whe ther there was issue of the marriage or not, or whether she survived her husband or not, they passed irrevocably to the royal family. Agen, Rouergue, Quercy, except Cahors, and part of Albi were likewise granted to Raymond, with reversion to his daughter in default of lawful heirs; but the king retained the extensive territories comprised within the duchy of Narbonne and the counties of Velay, Gevaudan, Yiviers, and Lodeve. The marquisate of Provence, beyond theRhone, adependencyof theempire, wasgivento the Church. Raymond thus lost two thirds of his vast dominions.
In addition to this he was obliged to destroy the fortifications of Toulouse and of thirty other strongholds, and was prohibited from strengthening any in their stead; he was to deliver to the king eight other specified places for ten years, and to pay fifteen hundred marks per annum for five years for their maintenance; and he was to take active measures to reduce to subjection any recalcitrant vassals, especially the Count of Foix, who, being thus abandoned, came in the sameyear and made a humiliating peace.
A general amnesty was proclaimed, and the "faidits," or ejected knights and gentlemen, were restored, excluding, of course, all who were heretics. Raymond, moreover, engaged to maintain peace throughout the land, and the routiers, or bandit mercenaries, who for fifty years had been the special objects of animadversion by the Church, were to be expelled forever. To all these conditions his vassals and people were to be sworn, obligating themselves to assist him in the performance; and if, after forty days' notice, he continued derelict on any point, all the lands granted him reverted to the king, his subjects' allegiance was transferred, and he fell back into his present condition of an excommunicate.
The king's assumed right to the territories thus disposed of arose partly from the conquests of his father, and partly from Amauri, who a few days later executed a third cession of all his claims without reserve or consideration, ther than what the king in his bounty might see fit to grant. The reward he obtained was the reversion of the dignity of Constable of France, which fell in the next year on the death of Matthieu de Montmorency. In 1237 he foolishly revived his claims, again styled himself Duke of Narbonne, made an unsuccessful effort to seize Dauphine in right of his wife, and invaded the county of Melgueil, thereby incurring the wrath of Gregory IX., who ordered him as a penance to join the crusade then preparing to start for the Holy Land.
In effect he did so, and Gregory generously granted him to be paid after he was beyond seas, the large sum of three thousand marks out of the fund arising from the redemption of their vows by crusaders staying at home - by this time a customary mode of selling indulgences, and one exceedingly lucrative, for this payment was assigned simply on the province of Sens and the lands of Amauri himself. In 1238 he sailed, and his customary ill-luck pursued him, for in 1241 we hearof him as a prisoner of the Saracens, and Gregory again camet o his aid by contributingt o his ransom four thousand marks from the same redemption fund. His death occurred the same year at Otranto, on his return from Palestine, thus closing a life of strange vicissitudes and almost uninterrupted misfortune.
The house of Toulouse was thus reduced from the position of the most powerful feudatory, with possessions greater than those of the crown, to a condition in which it was to be no longer dreaded, though Gregory IX. and Frederic II., in 1234, at the reiterated request of Louis IX., restored to it the Marquisate of Provence, probably as a reward for increased zeal in persecution.
Raymond no longer, as Duke of Narbonne, held the first rank among the six lay peers of France, but was relegated to the fourth place. The treaty resulted as its framers intended. In 1229 Jeanne of Toulouse and her destined husband Alphonse, brother of Louis, were children in their ninth year. Their marriage was deferred until 1237, and when Raymond, in 1249, closed his unquiet career, they succeeded to his territories. They both died without issue in 1271, when Philip III. took possession, not only of the county of Toulouse, as provided for in the settlement, but also of the other possessions which Jeanne had vainly attempted to dispose of by will, thus rendering the crown supreme throughout southern France, and preparing it for the rude shocks of the wars with Edward III. and Henry V.
It is fairly questionable, indeed, whether, during those convulsions, the house of Toulouse might not have become independently royal, governing a well-defined territory of homogeneous population, had not the religious enthusiasm excited by heresy enabled the Capets, with the assistance of the papacy, to destroy it in the thirteenth century.
That a monarchy so distracted and weakened as that of France during the minority of Louis IX. could demand and exact terms so humiliating as those which Raymond was glad to accept, shows the helpless isolation to which the religious question had reduced him, despite the fidelity of his subjectsand the repeated failure of the assaults upon him. Those assaults he had met with the courage of a gallant knight and the resources of a skilful leader, but his neglect to persecute heresy deprived him of sympathy and of allies, and the anathema of the Church hung overhim as an ever present curse. To the public law of the period he was an outlaw, without even the right of self-defence against the first-comer, for his very self-defence was rated among his crimes; in the popular faith of the age he was an accursed thing, without hope, here or hereafter. The only way of readmission into human fellowship, the only hope of salvation, lay in reconciliation with the Church through the removal of the awful ban which had formed part of his inheritance. To obtain this he had repeatedly offered to sacrifice his honor and his subjects, and the offer had been contemptuously spurned. Now that the necessities of the royal court had rendered the regent and her counsellors unwilling to risk the drain and the dangers of prolonged war, he was too eager to escape from his cruel position to hesitate long in accepting the hard conditions which were exacted of him, although, as Bernard Gui says, the single provision which assured the reversion of Toulouse to the royal house would have been sufficiently hard if the king had captured Count Raymond on a stricken field.*
There was much that he could allege in justification, had he imagined that justification was needed. Born in 1197, he was yet a child when the storm had broken over his father's head. Ever since he could observe and reason he had seen his land the prey of the ruthless chivalry of the North, at the head of vagabond hordes, as eager for spoilas for the redemption of theirs ins. As soon as one host had melted away it had been succeeded by another, and for twenty years the wretched people who clung to him had known no peace.
He and they had barely escaped as by a miracle from destruction in the last crusade, and there was no prospect of better days in the future, so long as Rome's implacable enmity to heresy, acting upon the ambition of the restless Franks, could always call forth fresh swarms of marauders and dignify them with the Cross. Though he could not be a fervent disciple of a Church which had been to him so stern a stepmother, he was yet no Catharan; and while perfectly ready to tolerate the heresy of a large portion of his subjects, he might well ask himself whether their toleration was to be purchased at the cost of the whole population, who could never look for peace so long as heresy was endured among them. The choice lay between sacrificing one side or both sides; and what well might seem the lesser evil coincided with his own selfish instincts of self-preservation. He never hesitated as to the choice; and, after he had accomplished his object, he faithfully adhered to his promise of uprooting heresy, though more than once he interfered when the excessive rigor of the Inquisition threatened trouble. Perhaps the task at first was a distasteful one, but he had no alternative. He was but a man of his time; had he been more he might have played a martyr's part without better securing the happiness of his people.
The battle of toleration against persecution had been fought and lost; nor, with such a warning as the fate of the two Raymonds, was there risk that other potentates would disregard the public opinion of Christendom by ill-advised mercy to the heretic. Calling upon the state for its assured support, the Church made haste to reap the fruits of victory, and the Inquisition was soon at work among those who had so long bidden her defiance.
That this was unanimously regarded by Europe as necessary and righteous, in spite of the vices and corruption of the ecclesiastical body, is so strange a development of the religion of Christ as to render the process of its evolution an indispensable subject for our consideration.