Just what were the Cathars? The answer is revealed in a study of life centuries ago; a Christian religion, eventually
to founder on the rock of catholic bigotry.
Cathars were a gentle people who, whilst existing all over southern Europe, were particularly active in the wealthy southern part of France around Toulouse, Carcassonne and Béziers. Its followers had a simple code of living to become pure - "parfaits". Only later did scholars ascribe the Greek word for pure - kathari - to this religion.
By the thirteenth century, their opposition to the powerful, corrupt and wealthy church of Rome had become an embarrassment to the pope. With the king of France, he launched a crusade against these perceived heretics and a peaceful sect was ruthlessly exterminated. By 1321, the last cathar had been burnt at the stake.
For a drama played out up to a thousand years ago, the story is well documented. But how does their legacy affect us today? The answer has fascinated historians and writers for years. Research is on-going with much still to discover. But beware: exposure is addictive! The more you learn the more you feel compelled to probe.
The Stele, in memory of the 180 cathars who died in Minerve.
Plaque to the memory of 180 members of the Cathar religion, burnt to death in Minerve
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Revised -- 17 November 2016