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Cordes, a shelter against hatred

The ramparts | Aristoi / CC-BY-SA
Medieval city Cordes-sur-Ciel medieval city

Cordes-sur-Ciel foundation is closely linked to Cathars history. Cathars? Good Christians, according to them. Heretics, for the Catholic church. Their doctrine coming from the East derived from Catholicism, but it denied Jesus’ divinity.

For Cathars, there are two gods. One who rules on a pure world, the other one on a material world imprisoning men.

The «Good Men» led a life of total abstinence which had to bring them to the original purity. They also refused all the traditional sacrament (wedding, baptism) and criticized the opulence and the laxity of Catholics religious.

This Cathar scourge spread in Toulouse area, mostly. Because in Languedoc, in this 12th century, the Church had slacken their customs. So Cathars found disciples everywhere. But the Church could not tolerate that. They had to react. Do you remember?

The pope sent his legate in 1204, Pierre de Castelnau, to speak with the count of Toulouse Raymond VI.

According to the pope, this one was too much indulgent with Cathars who proliferated on his lands. In vain. Raymond didn’t care. Furthermore, Castelnau was murdered by Raymond’s squire, the next day... the war could begin.

The famous Crusade against Cathars. A Crusaders army coming from Northern France, led by the famous Simon de Montfort. Béziers fell the first, after a terrible slaughter. Lastours, Termes, Puivert followed... Raymond finally lost his Toulouse county.

Whoosh, Montfort get it back. But Raymond would come back with his son, Raymond VII! To reconquer his lands and even besiege Montfort in Toulouse, in 1218.

After his dad’s death, Raymond VII continued the struggle. Like a mad man. He wanted revenge! Crusaders were going to pay for his dad’s death.

He would spend his life defending Cathars. And that’s how Raymond founded Cordes: a brand new city which would protect his lands and welcome all the persecuted Cathars. The bastide dates back to 1222.

People rushed here in a body! We had at that time 5000 inhabitants!

Because Raymond gave them privileges, of course... You know what? Lots of weaving workshops were founded at that time, where young Cathars were trained. Because a Cathar had to learn a manual job, to be a «Good man»!

The Catharism resisted in Cordes until 1312. The Catholic church would bring it to heel...

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I'm fond of strolls and History, with juicy and spicy details!