MONTSEGUR AND THE CATHARS

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INTRO TO THE CATHAR FAITH
A CRITICAL INTRODUCTION

HISTORY OF MONTSEGUR (Part I)

PRIOR TO 1242

HISTORY OF MONTSEGUR (Part II)
THE SIEGE 1243-1244

HISTORY OF MONTSEGUR (Part III)
THE FALL IN 1244  AND THE AFTERMATH

NAMES OF CATHARS EXECUTED
  
MARCH 1244

MONTSEGUR AND THE NAZI SS-Ahnenerbe
  
1933 - 1944

CATHAR MONTSEGUR LINKS
                  

PETER VRONSKY

 


 


-  INTRODUCTION -
THE HERETIC CATHAR FAITH AND THE SIEGE
OF FORTRESS MONTSEGUR MARCH 1244

The ruins of the Montsegur are perched at a precarious 3000 foot (1,207 m.) altitude in the south of France near the Pyrenees Mountains. Located in the heart of France's Languedoc-Midi-Pyrenees regions, 80 km south-west of Carcassonne, Montsegur dominates a rock formation known as a pog--a term derived from the local Occitan dialect--pueg or puog: peak, hill, mountain. 

In 1243-1244--the Cathars--a mysterious heretical sect  were besieged at Montsegur by ten thousand Royal Catholic French troops.   In March of 1244, the castle finally surrendered and the Cathar defenders were burned en masse in a bonfire at the foot of the pog.

In the days prior to the fall of the fortress, several Cathars allegedly slipped through the French lines carrying away a mysterious "treasure" with them.  While the nature and fate of this treasure has never been identified there has been much speculation as to what it might have consisted of:  from the treasury of the Cathar Church  to esoteric books or even the actual Holy Grail.

Montsegur is often named  as a candidate for the Holy Grail castle--and indeed there are linguistic similarities in the Grail romance written by Wolfram von Eschenbach's Parzival (c. 1200-1210).  In Parzival the grail castle is called Monsalvat,  similar to Montsegur and meaning the same thing:  "safe mountain, secure mountain."  The name of Raymond Pereille, the historic seigneur of Montsegur has slight simularities to  protagonist of Eschenbach's epic, the knight Parzival.   In Jüngerer Titurel (1272) by Albrecht von Scharfenberg, another Grail epic, the first king of the Holy Grail is named Perilla.

Myths and legends apart, the history of Montsegur is in fact both dramatic and mysterious. The siege was an epic event of heroism and zealotry; a Masada of the Cathar faith.



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