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Murder Triggers a Crusade – 1208

Murder Triggers a Crusade – 1208

The count and the papal legate had meeting full of strife, and on the legate’s return from Toulouse, someone from the count’s escort killed him. At that, the Pope declared a crusade against the Cathars.

On this day in 1208 the murder of the papal legate Pierre de Castelnau became a pretext for a crusade against the Cathars. The Cathars were Manicheans, i.e. the supporters of a dualistic belief that in the world there exists a struggle between good and evil, where evil is part of the material world (the body and everything related to the physicality), and the good is part of the spirit world (the soul).

The ideal for Cathars was a life of renunciation of material and physical things, including sexuality and eating meat. They came into conflict with the Catholic Church. Pope Innocent III sent his legate to southern France, where the seat of the Cathars was, to speak there with the ruling Count of Toulouse.

The count and the papal legate had meeting full of strife, and on the legate’s return from Toulouse, someone from the count’s escort killed him. At that, the Pope declared a crusade against the Cathars, promising anyone who joins the Crusaders forgiveness of sins and a part of the Cathar lands. The Crusaders were able to destroy the Cathars after 20 years.

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