Synopsis (from book cover):

Did you know that the word “Cathar” has been used only since the 19th century in reference to the 13th century supporters of a faith and a religious practice which the Catholic papacy considered to be dangerously heretical?  Did you know that almost everything that we know about the Cathars comes from interrogations carried out by the Inquisitors in the name of the Catholic Church?  Did you know that, thanks to this religious conflict, the Kingdom of France was able to extend its domination over southern Occitan?

In this book, Claude Lebedel describes as clearly as possible the historic, cultural and religious context, as well as the events which marked this tragedy, cast into the darkness recesses of history between the 13th and 19th centuries, and around which a certain amount of mystery has grown.

Tourists or visitor wishing to follow in the footsteps of the Cathars will find suggestions to help them in their search for a cultural and historical Cathar itinerary.


The book gives a concise but thorough overview of the Cathars and their faith and the persecution of them by the Catholic church.  It sets out the historical context and the players that were involved.  It sets out the basis of the Cathar faith and describes each of the albegensian crusades against them.

The book is illustrated throughout and there are many pictures of the remains of the Cathar fortresses along with maps showing the location of the Cathar strongholds.  It even has a section that gives ideas for an itinerary to follow in the footsteps of the Cathars.

The book is published by Editions OUEST-FRANCE

6 Comments CherryPie on Jan 28th 2013

6 Responses to “Understanding the Tragedy of the Cathars by Claude Lebedel”

  1. Nope. I knew none of that. Is their name somehow related to Cathartic/Catharsis which I think comes from Latin for cleansing or purging (but I failed Latin at school, as I couldn’t see the point of it, and now finally, some point in it has arrived… I should’ve paid more attention :)

    • CherryPie says:

      One of the thoughts are that it comes from the Greek term katharos which means pure. It sounds like you paid more attention than you thought ;-)

  2. jamsodonnell says:

    Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius!

  3. JD says:

    I think I mentioned this book to you once upon a time -
    The Great Heresy by Arthur Guirdham
    fascinating stuff and the quote by Jams is attributed to Arnaud Amalric, Papal Legate and Inquisitor who led/incited the Crusade against the Cathars