Many places such as Peyrepertuse or Quéribus represent Cathar history. But it’s in Montségur, with its “pog” and its castle, that the Cathar church epic can still be felt, the “True Church” in opposition to the Roman church. Its members claim an absolute loyalty to the Gospel principles, and reject all later papacy inventions. They’re opposing the Church of God to the Church of the World and consider that the Kingdom of God does not belong to this world.

Catharism that hit Languedoc and the Oriental part of the Pyrenees stretches from 15th January 1208, date of the Papal legate murder, to the Treaty of Corbeil signed in 1258 between the King of France Louis IX and Jacques the First of Aragon, which ratifies the route of the border,  and will be effective until the Treaty of the Pyrenees signed in 1659.

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In 1208, Pope Innocent III starts a Crusade against the heretics, known as “Albigeois”, who thrived on the Count of Toulouse lands. Then, a twenty years war began. The Cité of Carcassonne, thought to be invicible, falls in 1209 and on 12th September 1213, confrontation between the royal troops and the army of Pierre II of Aragon takes place in Muret. The Southerners are defeated,  Aragon sovereign is killed and the Count of Toulouse is relieved of its lands.

But Toulouse rises up and in January 1224, victory changes sides.

In 1226 the Pope then decides to call for a second crusade, led this time by the King of France himself. Languedoc, worn out and weakened, has to capitulate, and in 1229, Raimond VII signs the Treaty of Maux, which marks the end of the crusade against the Albigeois. But it is only with the fall of Montsegur in 1244, that the Cathar period really ends.  

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