The Friar of Carcassonne
Revolt Against the Inquisition in the Last Days of the Cathars
By Stephen O'Shea
(Walker & Company, Hardcover, 9780802719942, 304pp.)
Publication Date: September 27, 2011
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In 1300, the French region of Languedoc had been cowed under the authority of both Rome and France since Pope Innocent III 's Albigensian Crusade nearly a century earlier. That crusade almost wiped out the Cathars, a group of heretical Christians whose beliefs threatened the authority of the Catholic Church. But decades of harrowing repression-enforced by the ruthless Pope Boniface VIII , the Machiavellian French King Philip the Fair of France, and the pitiless grand inquisitor of Toulouse, Bernard Gui (the villain in The Name of the Rose)-had bred resentment. In the city of Carcassonne, anger at the abuses of the Inquisition reached a boiling point and a great orator and fearless rebel emerged to unite the resistance among Cathar and Catholic alike. The people rose up, led by the charismatic Franciscan friar Bernard Délicieux and for a time reclaimed control of their lives and communities. Having written the acclaimed chronicle of the Cathars The Perfect Heresy , Stephen O'Shea returns to the medieval world to chronicle a rare and remarkable story of personal courage and principle standing up to power, amidst the last vestiges of the endlessly fascinating Cathar world.
Praise for The Perfect Heresy :
"At once a cautionary tale about the corruption of temporal power…and an accounting of the power of faith …It is also just a darn good read."-Baltimore Sun
"An accessible, readable history with lessons …that were not learned by broad humanity until it saw 20th-century tyrants applying the goals and methods of the Inquisition on a universal scale."-New York Times
Stephen O'Shea is an historian and the acclaimed author of Sea of Faith: Islam and Christianity in the Medieval Mediterranean World, The Perfect Heresy: The Revolutionary Life and Death of the Medieval Cathars, and Back to the Front: An Accidental Historian Walks the Trenches of World War I. He lives in Providence, Rhode Island.