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Memories of space in thirteenth-century France: displaced people after the Albigensian Crusade.

The aftermath of the Albigensian Crusade is usually studied in terms of the advent of the inquisitorial tribunals or, in an older and more problematic historiography, in terms of the 'loss of Occitania' and the consolidation of the Capetian royal domain. (1) Less attention has been paid to the effects of the crusade on the inhabitants of the region where the crusade took place. In particular, there has been little scholarship relating to those people who were uprooted from their homes and from the region as a result of both ongoing military action and policies of forced dispossession. This population displacement is important to analyse, as it provides significant insight into the policy and practice of the crusade. Furthermore, the texts which narrate the process and experience of displacement are themselves the repositories of memories, both positive and negative, of the lived reality of displaced people. It is the aim of this essay to explore the ways in which those displaced by the crusade used space to anchor their memories of upheaval and forced movement. (2)

I begin by briefly considering displacement as a policy of the Albigensian Crusade before turning to individual and collective experiences of displacement as they were articulated in three principal thirteenth-century sources: the Historia Albigensis of Pierre des Vaux-de-Cernay which was composed from 1212 to 1218, inquisitorial testimony in the Lauragais inquisition of 1245 to 1246, and the enquete petitions of 1247. These sources serve to represent the range of sources for the history of displacement during and after the crusade and I use them here to illustrate how different types of text cast light on similar issues. This essay is thus something of an introduction to a longer study on displaced people which will deal with all of the sources. (3) Nonetheless, the three 1 analyse here are in themselves most revealing; together they indicate that the experience of displacement forged a range of intimate and fluid ways of thinking about individual place, collective and communal forms of belonging, and the land. It is my overall argument that imagined and remembered space provided those who found themselves displaced as a result of the crusade with a powerful, commemorative and testimonial vocabulary with which to talk about the trauma of war.


The war against heresy in southern France was the outcome of a longer history of failed preaching missions in the area, and had a number of purposes, not the least of which was to punish the recalcitrant Count of Toulouse for failing to act decisively against heretics in his lands. (4) As part of the justification for launching a crusade in the region, canonists, preachers, and Pope Innocent III himself drew heavily on pre-existing canon law and theology, much of which explicitly promoted both dispossession and displacement as central features of proper anti-heretical activity. In particular, the confiscation of property and land which characterized the crusade's early stages was justified by recourse to the decrees of the Third Lateran Council (1179), Ad abolendam (1184), and Vergentis in senium (1199), all of which called for the confiscation of a heretic's goods. (5) Other forms of dispossession were also embedded in the later twelfth-century decrees: Vergentis in senium for instance, made the wills of heretics invalid, and the (orthodox) children of heretics were denied their inheritances. (6) Vergentis in senium has long been seen as the outcome of previous legislation, and is noteworthy for its equation of heresy with treason, too. Indeed, it was the confluence of treason and heresy which could support the new regulations on inheritance contained in the decree. (7)

After the murder of the papal legate, Pierre de Castelnau, the vocabulary of dispossession involved the explicit displacement of people. In his letter of March 10, 1208, in which he describes the murder of Pierre de Castelnau and instigates the crusade against Raymond VI of Toulouse, Pope Innocent indicated his clear and unequivocal intention that 'Catholic inhabitants will take over from the displaced heretics' in the region. (8) These 'displaced heretics' are usually described in the secondary literature as Cathars, although recent scholarship by Mark Pegg has seriously challenged the very existence of that category. (9) The Pope's correspondence around the presence of heretics in the lands of the Count of Toulouse simply refers to them as heretici: a useful enough category to justify intervention against Count Raymond VI. (10) Innocent was firmly attached to the legal procedure for accomplishing this, particularly in relation to Raymond VI, as was Phillip Augustus. In a letter written to the Pope in April 1208, the French King communicated that although he was prepared to consider providing assistance to the Pope, he could not do so (and nor could Innocent) unless Count Raymond had been condemned for heresy. It was only at that point that the Count's lands could be declared open to seizure since it was part of the king's domain. (11) Nonetheless, the legal argument that heretics had generally 'transgressed the law, offended God and persecuted the Church', and therefore had 'forfeited their legal rights to property and rule' was understood to be prima facie justification for dispossession and displacement in general. (12) Thus, in the case of Raymond VI, Innocent's own view that, having done his penance, Raymond VI should keep his lands was rejected by the Fourth Lateran Council, and Raymond found Simon de Montfort in ownership of the lands he had conquered. (13) In more general terms, too, Canon Three of the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215 formally required, inter alia, that all leaders were to expel heretics from their lands. (14)

Thus, papal policy on combating heresy had long clearly indicated that the eradication of heresy involved both the removal of heretical individuals, and the taking of their property. It is not difficult to track the dispossession of members of nobility once the Albigensian Crusade was in progress, and it seems fairly certain that such dispossession was meant to be principally directed at landholders such as the Trencavel and Raymond VI of Toulouse himself. (15) It is also important to understand that the nature of land tenure in this region was extremely complex, for both nobles and others. The intricate and very disjointed character of the land, divided as it was into what Mark Pegg has described as 'shards of fragmented terrain', meant that the rights and claims of those with proprietarial interests were continually being asserted and challenged even before the crusade. (16) It meant a great deal to the honour of an individual in this region to be able to protect and assert his land rights, however small and fragmented they might be, and this applied in both urban and rural settings. (17) Any external challenge to those rights did not simply mean loss of property, but it meant loss of honour and the fracture of the courtliness (cortezia) that characterized relationships between all peoples of different status.

What papal policy meant by the removal of individual heretics from the landscape of the region is more difficult to pin down. In a letter to Philip II of France and the French nobility in 1199, Pope Innocent III had talked more violently about 'cutting out' the heretics who were like ulcers, 'crushing' them, 'uprooting' them, and so on: violent words which described the practice of war and intimated death. (18) Yet particularly in response to the death of the legate Pierre de Castelnau, Innocent III also used words such as relego and depello which can mean drive out, or expel (depellere) or relegate, banish, 'get out of the way', or even send into exile (relegare). Such words relate more directly to the movement of people and the occupation of space by the crusaders as key features of the crusade itself. How this played out in reality was the subject of one of the crusade's most well-known narrative sources, the Historia Albigensis, to which I now turn.


The Historia Albigensis of the Cistercian monk Pierre des Vaux-de-Cernay was composed from 1212 to 1218 by the nephew of Gui, abbot of the monastery of Vaux-de-Cernay. (19) Pierre had travelled with his well-connected uncle on the first part of the Fourth Crusade, but left, with his uncle and companions Simon de Montfort and Fulk of Marseille at the siege of Zara. Pierre was thus well acquainted with the idea and practice of the crusade. His Historia Albigensis is valuable for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that Pierre was an eyewitness to many of the events about which he writes, having travelled with his uncle Gui to the south in 1212 to 1213. As is well known, the Historia Albigensis is a pro-Montfort text: Simon de Montfort took over the title of Viscount of Beziers and Carcassonne in 1209 and the leadership of the crusade after the fall of Carcassonne. The Montfort family were also great patrons of the Cistercian abbey of Vaux-de-Cernay, thus Pierre--who describes himself as a puer elementarius (schoolboy)--had a number of connections with the Montfort family and with Simon in particular.

The Historia targets the area around Toulouse, describing it as a 'treacherous' place which 'has rarely if ever been free of this detestable plague, the sin of heresy', (20) and declaring that it was the mission of one of the papal legates to the area, Pierre de Castelnau, 'to uproot' the heretics. (21) Once the crusade proper had begun in 1209 with the massacre at Beziers, accounts of deliberate destruction of property and forced removal of populations are frequent. At the siege of Carcassonne in 1209, 'the people living in the castra between Beziers and Carcassonne fled in fear of the army, leaving their homes deserted, although a few who were not marked down for heresy surrendered to us'. (22) Once Carcassonne surrendered to the crusading army, 'it was ruled that all the inhabitants should come out of the city naked carrying nothing with them but their sins'. (23) We hear that at Montlaur at the beginning of Lent, 1210, many people had fled in advance of an attack: 'there they [de Montfort and knights] captured many traitors and hanged them--the rest had fled at the sight of our soldiers'. (24) Fear of the army is also indicated in Pierre des Vaux-de-Cernay's account of the events at Saint Marcel, in December 1211 to January 1212:
   When the townsmen of Saint-Marcel heard that the Count had
   recovered so many places and was on his way to besiege them, they
   became afraid; they sent messages to him begging him to make peace
   with them and offering to submit the castrum to his will. The
   Count recalled their crimes and exceptional depravity; he was in
   no way prepared to treat with them and instead sent messengers to
   tell them that there was no prayer or payment that would suffice
   to win his agreement to make peace with them. On this they fled
   from their castrum leaving it empty. (25)

   from the time they took Lavelanet (1212) they found no-one
   prepared to await their arrival in any castrum, however strong,
   since all the inhabitants of the area had been quite overcome
   by fear. (26)

The desertion of castra is often narrated. After the siege of the castrum at Termes, for instance, the crusaders found the castrum of Coustaussa 'deserted'. (27) Likewise, in the winter of 1210 at Castres, Simon de Montfort found Castres 'empty of men but full of supplies'. (28) The following summer of 1211, de Montfort left Pamiers to a castrum named Varilhes, near Foix, which he found deserted and burnt; he garrisoned it with his own men. 'He then entered the territory of the Count of Foix and laid waste numerous fortresses and destroyed the bourg of Foix itself by fire. He then spent eight days around Foix destroying woods and uprooting vines and then returned to Pamiers.' (29) This 'scorched-earth' policy was an active element in the eradication of heresy in the region: at Cabaret in 1210, Pierre tells us that 'crusaders from France uprooted the vineyards of Cabaret on the Count's orders', (30) while around Toulouse in 1213:
   one knight ... decided to make frequent sorties around Toulouse
   with such forces as he had, with the object of destroying the
   numerous strong castles round (sic) Toulouse, cutting down the
   fruit trees and laying waste the crops and vineyards (harvest time
   was approaching) ... Since I cannot record every detail, I will
   summarise by recording that within a few days our men destroyed
   seventeen castles, laid waste the crops around Toulouse and cut
   down most of the vines and the trees. (31)

Forced exile was the fate of the clerics of Toulouse, according to Pierre, who describes them leaving the city (at the command of their bishop) 'barefoot, taking with them the Holy Sacrament'. (32) The image of barefoot and sometimes naked people expelled from towns in the region is a common motif in this chronicle and others. As mentioned above, at Carcassonne in August 1209, it was decided that the inhabitants of the city who came out naked would be set free: thus, 'all the inhabitants came out naked ... bearing nothing but their sins'. (33) In the equally partisan Canso de la Crozada, it is also narrated that when Carcassonne fell:
   out they came, citizens, knights, noblewomen and girls each
   running as a race till there was no-one left in the town, no
   sergeants or boys, no women, no youngsters, no men, great or
   small. Quite unprotected they rushed out pell-mell in their
   shirts and breeches, nothing else; not even the value of a
   button were they allowed to take with them. This way and that
   they scattered, some to Toulouse, some to Aragon, others to
   Spain, and the crusading army entered freely into the citadel.

Indeed, the Song also records that the crusade might be characterized by such acts; the crusade 'left so many great ladies and pretty girls naked and cold, stripped of gown and cloak'. (35) It is also worth noting that this was also a motif which found expression in a later artist's representation of the expulsion of heretics from the city of Carcassonne in 1209; in a fifteenth-century French illustrated manuscript of the Grandes Chroniques de France now held in the British Library, we find an image of men and women stripped almost bare, being ejected by armed soldiers from the walled city. (36)

Pierre des Vaux-de-Cernay reports that the King of Aragon took under his protection all those 'heretics and excommunicants--the Counts of Toulouse, Comminges and Foix, Gaston de Bearn, all the knights of Toulouse and Carcassonne who had fled to Toulouse after being deprived of their possessions for heresy, and the citizens of Toulouse'. (37) Others who abandoned their lands took refuge in the mountains. (38) Others again seem to have adopted the more politicized strategies of guerilla warfare; some men, such as Olivier and Bernard, sons of the Count of Termes, became faidits and fought the crusaders for a number of years after their father was imprisoned in the keep at Carcassonne. (39) The category of faidit is an interesting one, as it describes the status of one who is displaced, dispossessed, and operating outside the law. The term refers particularly to nobles and implies continued and subversive military activity, while Pierre des Vaux-de-Cernay equates such men with heresy. (40)

The Historia Albigensis crafts a particular memory of the crusade in which the displacement of individuals and groups is integral to the construction of the region as an orthodox and sacred space. The destruction of property, forced removal from home, and the fear and flight of the local populations are represented as significant victories for the crusaders, while the work of the preachers and crusaders themselves is understood in terms of purification, restoration, and legitimate ownership. 'This noble man', writes the chronicler of Simon de Montfort, the new Viscount of Beziers-Carcassonne, 'took charge of the government of the territory for the honour of God, the honour of the Church and the suppression of heresy'. Displacement was integral to the purpose of the crusade and its strategy and was also ultimately--for Pierre des Vaux-de-Cernay--the marker of the crusade's success.


After the Treaty of Meaux-Paris in 1229, the military aspect of the Albigensian Crusade formally came to an end. Resistance to the occupation soon escalated, however, and in 1240 the Trencavel rebellion precipitated the region into war once again. Once the rebellion had been quashed and the last Trencavel had submitted to Louis IX that year, it became clear that activities of the King's representatives during the Trencavel rebellion and before had masked a variety of unlawful acts committed by the King's officials in the region, most specifically the unlawful appropriation of property. Such acts became the subject of a series of inquiries commissioned by Louis IX from 1247 and were intended to encourage people of all ranks to come forward with complaints about the activities of royal officials in order that they could be compensated in various ways. (41) For our purposes, the early investigations known as enquetes, are very helpful in shedding light on the losses felt to be incurred by residents of the Languedoc as a result of the Albigensian Crusade and its aftermath. These losses were measurable and quantifiable according to the enquete texts. But they also reflected less tangible feelings of impoverishment, dispossession, and displacement. In narrating such losses, petitioners articulated a set of what we might call 'spatialized memories', which underpinned both the testimonial function of the enquetes themselves and the claims for recompense which were their pragmatic purpose.

William Jordan has provided some useful preliminary data on the general character of all the thirteenth-century enquetes which summarizes the nature of the complaints. (42) Jordan found that 70 per cent of the surviving enquete petitioners were men; 12 per cent women; 15 per cent monasteries, towns, guilds, parishes; and what he called 'defective cases' making up the rest. In customary law, men tended to petition on behalf of women, which may account for the smaller number of female petitioners, while the women petitioners who do appear are a mix of single women--widows and spinsters--or women in family or occupational groups. The effects of war are clear in the complaints of many of the petitioners, especially the women, and this is especially true of one of the earliest of the enquetes, held in 1247 in Carcassonne. (43) In this enquete, some 17 per cent of the petitioners were women, and two-thirds of those 'explicitly tied their grievances to the forfeitures incurred during the Albigensian crusade', (44) while in a slightly later enquete held in the same place (from 1258 to 1262), similar grievances appear. (45) Mostly, as Jordan noted, women appeared to complain about the confiscation of money and property, and often the confiscation of their marriage portion. Any specific goods they tended to claim for were of small value, while the value of all goods and property was measured in money terms. This is what the petitioners sought, as well as the return of specific objects in some instances.

First, loss of land is a frequent complaint. We hear, for instance, of two brothers who, for fear of dying in the conflict around the time of the Trencavel uprising, fled the land (ipsi fratres aufugerunt timore mortis) and were received in the Count of Toulouse's lands. While they were away, the seneschal of Carcassonne seized their goods and possessions. The brothers eventually returned home to find that they were now orphans and paupers (tamquam pauperi et orphani). Their petition to the King was to restore dicta bona et jura, especially as they had helped the King's forces to defend an important castrum. (46) Another case involved a man who told the enqueteurs that when he was seven years old he was forced to flee the city of Carcassonne in fear of the war that was about to break out. While he was away (with his mother), the King's agents occupied the family house and seized their property and attempted to extort money from the family. Given that his father was killed in the service of the King and the Church whom he had served faithfully, the now adult sought the return of his home and property and the restitution of the money that had been unjustly exacted from him. (47) A third example is the case of a widow and her son who told the enqueteurs that their house, their land, and their vineyards were all occupied unjustly during the Trencavel rebellion, and that she, now debilis and widowed, had been told by the Viscount of Beziers when she tried to lay claim to her family property, that these things ought to now belong to the King since she had fled and abandoned them. (48) These three cases are typical of the way in which petitioners remember the sometimes traumatic events of the past. They focus on the loss of property to be sure, but these memories are often tied to their identities as members of families--sons, brothers, sisters, daughters, and so on. Recollections of family rights and property were one way of laying claim to land and rights. But such recollections also hint at the more personal losses incurred by individuals during the war and its aftermath, losses which included the disruption of family life, the separation of family members, and the difficulties of returning home to start again.

The loss of smaller objects is also the subject of the petitioners' complaints. Some of these items had been confiscated by the King's agents using the situation of war as an excuse. Ysardus Gaufredi was one who came before the enqueteurs asking for the return of his sword. He told a complex tale of the loss of this weapon, narrating that at the time of the war of the Count of Toulouse, knowing that the King was about to come to deal with the rebellion, one Guillelmo Cabana, bailli of Leuco together with Stephano de Sentinis took some of his property (clothes, sword, and some money) to be secure at Carcassonne. When Ysardus attempted to retrieve his property, he was told by the bailli that it had been confiscated for the war. Ysardus came before the enqueteurs to petition for the return of his sword. Another man petitioned the enqueteurs because he'd been captured during the Count's war and robbed of various animals, money and swords which he'd tried to keep safe by sending them to Toulouse. The seneschal of Carcassonne told him that he was clearly trying to send the animals to outlaws (faidits), so kept them himself. The petitioner came to the enqueteurs to ask for compensation for these animals. (49)

As already mentioned, women were also more likely to ask for smaller items, and their petitions give some insights into the domestic intrusions that were part of this troubled period of French history. One woman, Guillelma Gillii de Palaiano, said that someone came into her house demanding that she give him her feather mattress because his lord, one Radulphus, wanted to sleep on it. She told him that she could not give it to him as she needed it herself, and when he left, she hid the mattress away in fear of it being taken by the French. The lord's man came back and stole the mattress anyway, taking it to the castrum and refusing to return it. Guillelma came before the enquete to ask for the value of the mattress (six solidos melgoriensium), saying that she was a widow, poor and humilis (humble), and that everyone knew that this was an injustice. (50) Other women told the enqueteurs that they had been the victims of extortion during the recent conflicts. One woman, Raimonda, claimed angrily that she had lost twelve sheep and nine goats because they'd been stolen by Lucatium de Cabaret injuste et sine racione. A number of other people had also stolen small items from her, including vessels, arrows, a sword, and some other objects. For this woman, her possessions were stolen bit by bit, by different people over a period of time. (51) Her case provides a good example of the persistence of accumulative acts of dispossession during this time, many of which involved small, domestic, family objects.

Other women petitioned, like men, for the return of their land. Some of these women pinpointed the exact time of the loss of their land and rights to the time of Simon de Montfort during the Albigensian Crusade itself. Domina Guilellma alleged that de Montfort had taken her inheritance and that after his death, this property remained in the hands of the King until the Count of Foix (Roger Bernard) took it. Guilellma petitioned for an annuity as a form of compensation, as she told the enqueteurs, because she had lived a praiseworthy life, but was now in a decrepit and impoverished state. (52) Guilellma's experience was not unique, nor was the fact that land ownership changed hands so frequently during the crusade and its aftermath. Joseph Strayer has pointed out that the inhabitants of this region of Carcassonne-Beziers suffered territorial loss over a significant period of time. This was a region which, in a short period of time, had been conquered by de Montfort, regained by Raimond VII of Toulouse, annexed as part of the royal domain by Louis VII in 1226, destabilized by the Trencavel rebellion in 1240 and the rebellion of Raimon of Toulouse in 1242, and was still suspected of being a hotbed of heresy by the inquisitors. (53) By the time that Guilellma came to the enqueteurs to describe her personal loss, she did not even bother asking for the land itself; for her, the only restitution that might be permanent and secure was a money annuity.

Finally, some women came to petition for the return of their marriage portion. One of these was a widowed noblewoman who appeared at the Carcassonne enquete. Her name was Saura de Sigarii and she had been widowed some twenty years previously. Saura was now a pauper because, as she told the enqueteurs, during the time of the Trencavel rebellion around the city of Carcassonne, the seneschal of the city and his bailli had seized all her land and occupied it, and stolen the land and property that her husband had left her. She appeared before the enqueteurs to petition King Louis himself for the restitution of her marriage portion and her inheritance, saying that
   he, having God before his eyes and moved by pity and mercy, might
   restore to her the goods and rights of her marriage portion
   because she had served him faithfully and had persevered in her
   widowhood faithfully for twenty years or more and she was
   blameless and pure. (54)

The links between memory and space were particularly acute in the records produced by the enqueteurs. These were cases which dealt with perceived injustices done sometimes many years previously, during the especially traumatic and disruptive context of war and its aftermath. They were therefore cases which involved the activation of memories of people long gone, places which had not been seen for some time, objects which had vanished. People like Guillelmeus de Palaiano remembered his father being a young man; now his father was 'in a decrepit state'. Guillelmeus also remembered himself as a youth--too young to bear arms at the time of the Trencavel rebellion. (55) Guillelmeus' memories were articulated as part of a longer trajectory of life-change, but they also connected him to a particular time and place which he could make vivid through utterance.

It is also worth noting that the language used by petitioners to verify those losses was necessarily descriptive and spoke of the very personal effects of war. But it was also language with a more formal evidentiary weight as oral testimony to wrongs done, and articulated in a petitionary setting. In this setting, the oral statements made by the petitioners were considered prima facie authentic, simply by virtue of being made. This is not to argue that written documents were not important to legal business: indeed, Languedoc's absorption of Roman law procedure had been swift and the written record was emphatically valued as evidence in this region. But oral testimony still provided weighty evidence. (56) The statements, then enshrined in writing, gained further authority as material evidence of wrongdoing and injustice. Oral testimony was also used to make a moral statement about the activities carried out under the cover of war and its aftermath. Injuste, sine racione, are the words used in almost all the petitions to press home the wrongfulness of dispossession. People told of the unfairness of poverty created by theft and extortion during conflict and in doing so in this particular context ensured that there was a permanent record of these injustices.

In this way, too, enquete petitions served as 'practical instruments of memory', much in the same way as the charters of eleventh- and twelfth-century Languedocian society did. Indeed, as Elaine Graham-Leigh has pointed out, even before the crusade, inquiries into land rights and ownership were based on memory. (57) The already strong culture of collective memory linked to the construction of truth in this region was also integral to statements of self-location, ownership, and occupation in the enquete petitions. These spatial concepts expressed in the petitions produced powerful and eloquent testimony to the disruption of war and its aftermath.


At the same time that the enqueteurs were seeking to redress wrongs done in the region, particularly in relation to the unlawful appropriation of property, inquisitorial tribunals were becoming active in the south. Just prior to the enquete of 1247, two vigorous Dominican inquisitors, Bernard de Caux and Jean de St Pierre, had embarked on an ambitious and wide-ranging investigation of the inhabitants of the Lauragais, the region between Toulouse and Carcassonne and once part of the lands of the Counts of Toulouse. Together, the two men interviewed over 5000 people in order to determine their individual and heretical affiliations. The manuscript (Toulouse, Bibliotheque municipale, MS 609), which contains what remains of what was originally ten volumes of documentation recorded in this inquisition between 1245 and 1246, has been analysed very thoroughly by Mark Pegg and others for what it contains about ideas and practices of that nebulous heresy of 'Catharism'. (58) We may also read these depositions for what the recorded memories within them reveal about space and the effects of the Albigensian Crusade.

In the first instance, the very procedure of inquisitorial questioning invited people to locate their memories in particular places and sites. The standard range of questions included demands for information about location as well as activity: 'did you ever see a heretic?' followed by 'where?' and other specific questions designed to uncover participation in ritual practice, or knowledge about networks within places and contexts deeply familiar to the individual deponents. (59) Sometimes the mere appearance of unknown people in out-of-the-way places was enough to implicate them as heretics. On January 16, 1246, two men told Bernard de Caux that three years ago they were looking after their cows in the woods, when they heard a dog barking. They went to investigate and saw two strangers in the wood. The deponents told Bernard de Caux that they immediately knew the strangers to be heretics. (60) There is no evidence for this assertion, other than that the strangers were not known to the cowherds and were seen in a fairly hidden location.

When deponents admit to having seen specific heretics, they are often said to have been in domestic spaces, and homes in particular. On July 3, 1245, Willelmus de Verdrilh told the inquisitors that about fifteen years ago she had seen two unknown men in domo Foncii Rogerii and that the men ate with him. (61) On July 1, 1245, W. Pelisser said that twenty years ago he saw in the home of Petrus Quidera (near Avignonet) Petrus' brother and various other family members all eating and drinking together. This rather benign family activity was important in setting the scene for more nefarious association, as Pelhisser's subsequent long list of various 'credentes' shows. (62) Domestic spaces were clearly utilized for heretical preaching, too. One man, Petrus Gauta senior, claimed that about twelve years ago he had seen in the house of Willelemi de Canast a number of people, including women and the son of one Garnier and that this group was listening to preaching. (63) Likewise, Ramundus de Quiders claimed that Johannes Cambiaire and his associates had preached in a house to which many men and women had come, (64) and Esclarmonda Bret said that many times in her husband's house heretics had been present and had preached there, but that her husband was not himself a heretic. (65) B. Pelisser was careful to say that twenty-five years ago when he went into a house where heretics were, he did not want to be there and left without speaking with any of them, (66) while conversely, there was an audience of twenty to hear the heretical words preached by Guilhelm de Solier in a home some twenty-five years earlier. (67)

Just as many depositions reveal the itinerancy of those accused of heretical practices over the last twenty years or so, and the references to flight give some indication of the forced movements of suspected heretics during and after the crusade itself. One deponent said that she remembered heretics fleeing the land for Montsegur some thirty years previously, (68) as did R. Bordeira twenty years earlier: the date of the latter's deposition was July 14, 1245, so he remembered seeing refugees in 1225.69 One man remembered back to 1209, at the height of the military phase of the Albigensian Crusade, that he saw a woman fleeing the land. (70) There are frequent mentions of people being seen in collective hiding places like Montsegur and Cabaret, which became the refuges of those who were displaced from the villages and towns of the region as they fell, and who remained there until these places, too, were emptied. (71)

Individuals also went into hiding, and some of the depositions reveal the very isolated circumstances in which some Cathars found themselves. The testimony of Martin de Caselles, for example, tells of a Good Woman who was in hiding in a wood with her daughter, who lived with her after being brought by her son to be baptized. (72) Another woman remembered her sister leaving the castrum some twenty-five years ago to live in the woods with her heretical husband. (73) Some of these refugees were sheltered by others in the community: Lady Biverne Golairan of Avignonet was one deponent who told the inquisitors that she had given shelter to a homeless Good Woman and her socia in 1230. Anne Brenon has noted the pathetic case of Arnalda de Lamota, whose deposition about her own flight was reported first to Friar Ferrer and then, in abbreviated form, to Bernard de Caux and Jean de St Pierre. (74) Arnalda told the inquisitors that she had stayed in a variety of houses--sometimes for a few days, sometimes for a few weeks, sometimes a few months--over the course of a period of some twenty years before being captured. Sometimes she was alone and sometimes she was with her sister. Arnalda was assisted by various people, one of whom was Guilhelm Garnier, who built her and her sister temporary dwellings in the woods (cabins or tents) and who sometimes led them from one safe place to another. Arnalda's sister died in a dug-out in the woods near Lanta, but Arnalda continued to live in isolation and even continued providing the consolamentum to other fugitives.

In contrast to the above depositions which emphasize the displacement of Cathars and suspected heretics are the many depositions in which the deponent remembers the very public face of Cathar preaching and pastoral work before the crusade. For instance, ante adventum crucesignatorum, one deponent remembered a Cathar good man being led to the house of a sick man in which there were also a number of other people, including two knights. Another deponent said that before the crusade he had seen heretics 'and Waldensians' publicly. (75) The testimonies in Toulouse BM MS 609 therefore go some way to illustrate the transformation of Catharism from a very public and in some ways mendicant operation, to a fragmented and private affair, practised by individuals, often isolated and in hiding. Just as James Given argued that the effect of the inquisition was to create such enormous 'social stress and social strain' that Catharism could no longer thrive, I suggest that the crusade itself created the spatial conditions--from public space to private hiding place, from communal ritual to individual clandestine ritual--that inquisitors eventually found so helpful to their work. (76)


The extent to which the displacement of people helped the thirteenth-century inquisitors to construct the heretics and heresies they then sought to eradicate is one of the questions the longer study, of which this essay is a preliminary part, will ultimately investigate. Likewise, the extent to which premodern studies of displacement can illuminate the experience of the medieval refugee is also a bigger aim of this study. What this essay has attempted to show is that such questions can be approached through narratives that emphasize space and memory. These themes were certainly brought together in powerful ways after the Albigensian Crusade. The three sources I have outlined here indicate that in the construction of memories about the crusade and how it was played out, space could be deployed as a central idea in all sorts of ways. For Pierre des Vaux-de-Cernay, the crusade was very much about the creation of orthodox space in a place where the very earth had become corrupted by heresy. For those who came before the enqueteurs in the 1247 enquete, descriptions of spatial disruption in the form of loss of property, community, and land were important in bearing witness to past wrongs and in allowing pragmatic restitution. In the inquisitorial records, Bernard de Caux and Jean de St Pierre asked deponents to tell of the spaces in which heretical activity was carried out, while the deponents themselves anchored their own memories of people and practices of the past in terms of location and itinerancy. Overall, both those who were displaced in various ways by the Albigensian crusade and its aftermath, and those who wrote about the traumatic history of the region, found in the set of discourses around the idea of space a powerful means of remembering and describing the long upheaval of their war.

(1) For overviews of the historiography see most recently, Laurence W. Marvin, The Occitan War: A Military andPolitical History of the Albigensian Crusade, 1209-1218 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008); Mark Pegg, A Most Holy War: The Albigensian Crusade and the Battle for Christendom (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007); Elaine Graham-Leigh, The Southern French Nobility and the Albigensian Crusade (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 2005); for earlier accounts focusing on the political consequences of the crusade, see Joseph Strayer, The Albigensian Crusades (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1972, reissued with introduction by Carol Lansing, 1992); Walter L. Wakefield, Heresy, Crusade, and Inquisition in Southern France, 1100-1250 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1974; and Jacques Madaule, The Albigensian Crusade: An Historical Essay (New York: Fordham University Press, 1967). For memories of the Albigensian crusade as part of a longer historical trajectory, see Andrew Roach, 'Occitania Past and Present: Southern Consciousness in Medieval and Modern French Politics', History Workshop Journal, 43 (Spring, 1997), 1-37; Emily McCaffrey, 'Memory and Collective Identity in Occitanie: The Cathars in History and Popular Culture', History & Memory, 13.1 (2001) 114-38; McCaffrey, 'Imagining the Cathars in Late-TwentiethCentury Languedoc', Contemporary European History, 11 (2002), 409-27. McCaffrey's latter article also contains critiques of Pierre Belperron's La croisade contre les Albigeois et l'union du Languedoc a la France, 1209-1249 (Paris: Pion, 1942).

(2) By displacement, I mean the forced relocation of individuals and groups from their homes. Issues surrounding displacement and even refugee status are rarely discussed in medieval contexts, although larger literatures exist dealing with later historical episodes. For a recent overview of historical approaches to refugees and displaced people, see Greg Burgess, Refuge in the Land of Liberty: France and its Refugees, From the Revolution to the End of Asylum, 1787-1939 (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008). See also the important forthcoming book by Maya Jasanoff, Liberty's Exiles: American Loyalists in the Revolutionary World (New York: Random House, 2011). The itinerancy of heretics in the region has been recently studied by Caterina Bruschi, The Wandering Heretics of Languedoc (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009).

(3) This research is currently funded by an Australian Research Council Discovery Grant for 2008-2011. The longer project will consider a larger sample of the enquete literature; all the narrative sources; the pertinent inquisitorial testimonies; and, to a lesser degree, the relevant troubadour poetry. For some useful overviews of the sources in general, see the collected essays in La Croisade albigeoise. Actes du colloque du Centre d'Etudes Cathares, Carcassonne, 4, 5 et 6 octobre 2002, organise avec le concours du Conseil General d'Aude (Carcassonne: Centre d'Etudes Cathares, 2004).

(4) For overviews of the progress of the crusade, see Pegg, A Most Holy War; Marvin, The Occitan War; and Michel Roquebert, L'Epopee cathare, 5 vols (Toulouse: Privat, 1970-); the crusade is covered in the first three volumes.

(5) For the Third Lateran Council, see G. D. Mansi, and others, eds, Sacrorum Conciliorum nova et Amplissima Collectio (Florence-Venice, 1759-98), XXII, cols 231-33 (canon 27); for Ad abolendam, see Emil Friedberg, ed., Corpus Iuris Canonici, 2 vols, (Leipzig, 1881), vol. II, X.V.7.9; for Vergentis in senium, see Friedberg, ed., Corpus Iuris Canonici, vol. II, X.V.7.10, and for some useful commentary, see Walter Ullman, 'The Significance of Innocent III's Decretal Vergentis', in Etudes de droit canonique dediees a Gabriel le Bras, 2 vols (Paris: Sirey, 1965), I, pp. 729-41.

(6) Friedberg, ed., Corpus Iuris Canonici, vol. II, X.V.7.10.

(7) Kenneth Pennington, '"Pro peccatis patrum puniri": A Moral and Legal Problem of the Inquisition', Church History, 47.2 (1978), 137-54.

(8) Petri Vallium Sarnaii (Pierre des Vaux-de-Cernay), Historia Albigensis, eds P. Guebin and E. D. Lyon, 3 vols (Paris, 1926, 1930, 1939) [hereafter PVC], [vol] I, [section] 64: 'ipsum et fautores ejusdem de castris Domini depellendo et auferendo terras eorum, in quibus relegatis hereticis habitatores catholici subrogentur [my italics].

(9) See 'On the Cathars, the Albigensians, and Good Men of Languedoc', Journal of Medieval History, 27.2 (2001), 181-95; Pegg, The Corruption of Angels: The Great Inquisition of 1245-1246 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001). I have not yet been able to access the work of Hilbert Chiu, 'The Intellectual Origins of Medieval Dualism' (unpublished master's thesis, University of Sydney, 2009), in which an argument against the existence of Catharism is also raised.

(10) For the papal letters relating to the Albigensian Crusade, see Rebecca Rist, The Papacy and Crusading in Europe, 1198-1245 (New York: Continuum, 2009).

(11) See Claude Devic and J. Vaissete, eds, Histoire generale de Languedoc, 16 vols (Toulouse: Privat, 1872-), VIII, p. 558. For the legal discussions around this issue, see Jessalynn Bird, 'Paris Masters and the Justification of the Albigensian Crusade', Crusades, 6 (2007), 117-55.

(12) Bird, 'Paris Masters', p. 126.

(13) See PVC, II, 570-72.

(14) Norman Tanner, ed. and trans., Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils (London: Sheed and Ward, 1990), p. 218.

(15) See Jean-Louis Biget, 'La Depossession des Seigneurs meridionaux modalites, limites, portee', in La Croisade albigeoise. Actes du colloque du Centre d'Etudes Cathares, Carcassonne, pp. 261-99, and Graham-Leigh, The Southern French Nobility.

(16) Pegg, A Most Holy War, p. 29. See also Frederic Cheyette, Ermengard of Narbonne and the World of the Troubadours (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2001).

(17) Jorg Feuchter, Ketzer, Konsuln und Busser: die stadtischen Eliten von Montauban vor dem Inquisitor Petrus Cellani (Tubingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2007).

(18) The links between heresy and disease are explained in R. I. Moore, 'Heresy as Disease', in The Concept of Heresy in the Middle Ages (11th-13th Centuries), eds W. Lourdaux and D. Verhelst (Proceedings of the International Conference, Louvain 1973, Mediaevalia Lovanensia ser.1 studia 4 Louvain, 1976), pp. 1-11. See also Beverley Kienzle, Cistercians, Heresy, and Crusade in Occitania, 1145-1229: Preaching in the Lord's Vineyard (Woodbridge: York Medieval Press, 2001). Earlier crusade preaching tended to focus on ideas of 'cleansing' through liberation and defence. See Penny Cole, 'Christians, Muslims, and the "Liberation" of the Holy Land', Catholic Historical Review, 84.1 (1998), 1-10; for an example, see Pope Eugenius III's crusading bull, Quantum praedecessores, issued on 1 December 1145 (Patrologiae Cursus Completus, series Latina, ed. J.-P, Migne, 221 vols (Paris, 1844-64), vol. 180, col. 1064).

(19) For a useful overview of the text, see the English translation by W. A. and M. D. Sibly, The History of the Albigensian Crusade. Peter of les Vaux-de-Cernay's Historia Albigensis (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 1998), pp. xix-xlvi. The Latin text may be found in the edition prepared by Pascal Guebin and Ernest Lyon (see n. 8, above). A useful survey of the manuscript diffusion of the Historia is to be found in Pascal Guebin and Ernest Lyon, 'Les Manuscrits de la Chronique de Pierre des Vaux-de-Cernay', Le Moyen Age, 2nd series, 14 (1910), 221-34. For accounts of the text and its relation to other sources, see Yves Dossat, 'La Croisade vue par les chroniqueurs', Cahiers de Fanjeaux, 4 (1969), 221-59; Christopher Kurpiewski, 'Writing Beneath the Shadow of Heresy: The Historia Albigensis of Brother Pierre des Vaux-de-Cernay', Journal of Medieval History, 31 (2005), 1-27; and Martin Aurell, 'Les Sources de la croisade albigeoise: bilan et problematiques', in La Croisade albigeoise. Actes du colloque du Centre d'etudes Cathares, Carcassonne, pp. 21-38.

(20) PVC, I: 8: 'Hec Tolosa, tota dolosa, a prima sui fundatione, sicut asseritur, raro vel nunquam fuit expers hujus pestis vel pestilentie detestabilis, hujus heretice pravitatis ...'

(21) PVC, I: 27.

(22) PVC, I: 92: 'Siquidem illi qui in castris inter Biterrim et Carcassonam positis habitabant timore exercitus fugerant, castra sua vacua relinquentes: quidam tamen, qui non notabantur de heretica pravitate, reddiderunt se nostris.'

(23) PVC, I: 98: 'Egressi sunt igitur omnes nudi de civitate, nichil secum preter peccata portantes'. See also Marvin, The Occitan War, p. 51.

(24) PVC, I: 141: '... multos de proditoribus illis ceperunt et patibulis suspenderunt: plures enim ex ipsis, visis nostris, fugerant'.

(25) PVC, II: 312: 'Audientes burgenses castri quod dicitur Sanctus Marcellus quod comes noster, recuperatis pluribus castris, ad obsidendum eos properaret, timore ducti, miserunt ad eum, supplicantes ut eos in pacem recipere dignaretur et ipsi voluntati ejus traderunt castrum; comes autem, scelera eorum recogitans et perversitates inauditas, nullo modo voluit componere cum eis, sed, nuntios eorum ad ipsos remittens, mandavit quod pacem ejus vel concordiam nulla prece vel precio possent aliquando adipisci: quod audientes dicti homines, fugientes castro suo.'

(26) PVC, II: 326: 'Ex quo enim ceperunt Avelanetum, non invenerunt qui auderet eos in aliquo castro, licet fortissimo, expectare: timor quippe magnus irruerat super omnes habitatores terre illius.'

(27) PVC, I: 192: 'vacuum'.

(28) PVC, I: 193: 'invenitque illud hominibus vacuum et victualibus plenum'.

(29) PVC, I: 245: 'Inde terram comitis Fuxi penetrans, castella ipsius plurima devastavit, ipsum etiam burgum Fuxi totum combussit. Peractis igitur circa Fuxum octo diebus destructisque arboribus vineisque exstirpatis, comes noster Apamias est reversus.'

(30) PVC, I: 144: 'ad preceptum comitis extirpabant vineas Cabareti'.

(31) PVC, II: 423: 'Proposuit igitur frequenter equitare ante Tolosam cum exercitu quem habebat, ut et munitiones que circa Tolosam erant multe et fortes everteret, arbores decorticaret, segetes et vineas exstirparet (tempus siquidem messionis instabat) ... quia vero non possemus omnia sigillatim exprimere, istud breviter dicimus, quod infra paucos dies decem et septem munitiones everterunt nostri, segetes etiam Tolose, vineas et arbores ex parte maxima destruxerunt.'

(32) PVC, I: 234: 'nudis pedibus cum corpore Christi de civitate egressi sunt Tolosana'.

(33) PVC, I: 98.

(34) Janet Shirley, trans., The Song of the Cathar Wars (Aldershot: Ashgate, 1996), p. 26, Laisse 33. For the best edition of the Canso see Eugene Martin-Chabot, ed. and trans., La Chanson de la Croisade Albigeoise (Paris: Societe d'Edition "Les Belles Lettres", 1960).

(35) Shirley, Song of the Cathar Wars, p. 13, Laisse 5.

(36) London, British Library, MS Cotton Nero E. II, pt. 2, fol. 20v.

(37) PVC, II: 388.

(38) Most famously around such strongholds as Montsegur.

(39) PVC, I: 189. The career of Olivier de Termes is well known. See for instance A. Peal, 'Olivier de Termes and the Occitan Nobility in the Thirteenth Century', Reading Medieval Studies, 12 (1986), 109-80; G. Langlois, Olivier de Termes, le Cathare et le croise (vers 1200-1274) (Toulouse, 2001).

(40) For the category of the faidit, see Jean Duvernoy, 'Cathares et Faidits en Albigeois vers 1265-1275', Heresis, 3 (1984), 5-34; and P. Menard, 'Rotiers, soldadiers, mainadiers, faidits, arlots, Reflexions sur les diverses sortes de combattants dans la Chanson de la croisade albigeoise', Perspectives medievales, 22 (1996), 155-79.

(41) The enquetes were not, of course, confined to the south of France and they were an administrative model which subsequently developed a long history in French law. The enquetes have often been seen as examples of the expansion of Capetian royal justice during the reign of Louis IX, and of the saintly persona of Louis himself: Louis' biographer, Jean de Joinville saw the King's preference that the enqueteurs should find in favour of the petitioners (especially widows, orphans, and paupers) as prima facie evidence of this most Christian king's sense of social justice (Jean de Joinville, Histoire de Saint Louis, ed. Natalis Wailly (Paris, 1884). For literature on the enquetes, see Joseph Strayer, 'La Conscience du roi: les enquetes de 1258-1262 dans la seneschaussee de Carcassonne-Beziers', in La Faculte de droit et des sciences economiques, ed., Melanges Robert Aubanas (Montpellier, La Societe d'Histoire du droit et des institutions des anciens pays de droit ecrit, 1984), pp. 725-36; William Chester Jordan, Louis IX and the Challenge of Crusade: A Study in Rulership (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1979); and Robert Bartlett, 'The Impact of Royal Government in the French Ardennes: The Evidence of the 1247 Enquete', Journal of Medieval History, 7 (1981), 83-96.

(42) Louis IX and the Challenge of Crusade, pp. 236-46. This is an appendix entitled 'The Enquetes: Petitioners and Decisions'. Jordan reports that there are 12,000 enquete cases with recoverable judgments from throughout France (8000 from the enquetes of Louis IX and 4000 from the enquetes of Alphonse of Poitiers). For more recent studies of some of these cases (and others), see also Claude Gavraud, ed., L 'Enquete au Moyen Age (Rome: Ecole francaise de Rome, 2009).

(43) The Carcassonne cases may be found in Leopold Delisle, ed., Recueil des historiens de Gaules et de la France, 24 vols (Paris, 1904), XXIV, pp. 296-319 (Querimoniae Carcassonensium) [hereafter Qcar].

(44) Jordan, Louis IX and the Challenge of Crusade, p. 238.

(45) For the 1258-62 enquete, see Delisle, Recueil des historiens des Gaules et de la France, XXIV (testimony, pp. 541-614; decisions pp. 618-91). Also, Strayer, 'La conscience du roi', and Walter Wakefield, 'Friar Ferrier, Inquisition at Caunes, and Escapes from Prison at Carcassonne', The Catholic Historical Review, 58.2 (1972), 220-37.

(46) Qcar, no. 82.

(47) Qcar, no. 84.

(48) Qcar, no. 54.

(49) Qcar, no. 13.

(50) Qcar, no. 22.

(51) Qcar, no. 80.

(52) Qcar, no. 42.

(53) Strayer, 'La Conscience du roi'.

(54) Qcar, no. 81 (translation by Jordan, Louis IX and the Challenge of Crusade, p. 243).

(55) Qcar, no. 35.

(56) Michael Clanchy, From Memory to Written Record, Ch. 8, passim. See also Cheyette, Ermengard of Narbonne.

(57) Graham-Leigh, The Southern French Nobility, esp. pp. 10-16. See also Thomas N. Bisson, 'Unheroed Pasts: History and Communication in Southern Frankland before the Albigensian Crusade', Speculum, 65 (1990), 281-308.

(58) See Pegg, The Corruption of Angels; Pegg, 'On the Cathars, the Albigensians, and Good Men of Languedoc'; Pegg, 'Questions About Questions: Toulouse 609 and the Great Inquisition of 1245-1246', in Texts and the Repression of Medieval Heresy, eds Peter Biller and Caterina Bruschi (York: York Medieval Press, 2002), pp. 111-25; R. Abels and E. Harrison, 'The Participation of Women in Languedocian Catharism', Reading Medieval Studies 61 (1979), 215-51; and Yves Dossat, Les Crises de l'inquisition toulousaine au XIIIe siecle (1233-1273) (Bordeaux: Imprimerie Biere, 1959).

(59) Pegg, 'Questions About Questions', passim; James Given, Inquisition and Medieval Society: Power, Discipline and Resistance in Languedoc (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1997), especially the section entitled 'Inquisitors and their Techniques', pp. 23-90.

(60) Toulouse, BM MS 609, fol. 117v.

(61) Toulouse, BM MS 609, fol. 52 r.

(62) Toulouse, BM MS 609, fol. 53 v.

(63) Toulouse, BM MS 609, fol. 12 r.

(64) Toulouse, BM MS 609, fol. 18 v.

(65) Toulouse, BM MS 609, fol. 62 r.

(66) Toulouse, BM MS 609, fol. 52 r.

(67) Toulouse, BM MS 609, fol. 110 r.

(68) Toulouse, BM MS 609, fol. 52 v.

(69) Toulouse, BM MS 609, fol. 60 v.

(70) Toulouse, BM MS 609, fol. 26 v.

(71) Toulouse, BM MS 609, fol. 180 v.

(72) Toulouse, BM MS 609, fols 237v-38 r.

(73) Toulouse, BM MS 609, fol. 251 r.

(74) Anne Brenon, Les Femmes cathares (Paris: Perrin, 1992), pp. 13-57. For the statements made to Friar Ferrer, see Paris, Bibliotheque nationale, Collection Doat 23, fols 1-49b; for the Lauragais deposition, see Toulouse BM MS 609, fols 201b-03 b.

(75) Toulouse, BM MS 609, fols 250r and 250v.

(76) 'Social Stress, Social Strain and the Inquisitors of Medieval Languedoc', in Christendom and Its Discontents: Exclusion, Persecution, and Rebellion, 1000-1500, eds Scott L. Waugh and Peter D. Diehl (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), pp. 67-85. For a similar argument, see Pegg, The Corruption of Angels.

Megan Cassidy-Welch

School of Historical Studies

The University of Melbourne
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