The Occitan War: A Military and Political History of the Albigensian Crusade, 1209-1218

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Overview

In 1209 Simon of Montfort led a war against the Cathars of Languedoc after Pope Innocent III preached a crusade condemning them as heretics. The suppression of heresy became a pretext for a vicious war that remains largely unstudied as a military conflict. Laurence Marvin here examines the Albigensian Crusade as military and political history rather than religious history and traces these dimensions of the conflict through to Montfort's death in 1218. He shows how Montfort experienced military success in spite of a hostile populace, impossible military targets, armies that dissolved every forty days, and a pope who often failed to support the crusade morally or financially. He also discusses the supposed brutality of the war, why the inhabitants were for so long unsuccessful at defending themselves against it, and its impact on Occitania. This original account will appeal to scholars of medieval France, the Crusades and medieval military history.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Recommended." -Choice

"Marvin's book is a most welcome addition to crusade scholarship." -Rebecca Rist, Journal of Military History

"It is a useful, highly readable and informative study that will no doubt find an important place on the bookshelves of scholars of the Albigensian crusade and provoke further debate about the use of sources in the study of the conflict." -Chris Jones, The Medieval Review

"This highly accessible work is a benchmark for the writing of military and political history on the regional level...The great achievement of this text is to interweave military history into the broader patterns of medieval society in which wars were fought...all future discussions of the Albigensian crusade will have to begin with this study." -David Bachrach, H-France

"...a worthy contribution to scholarship." -Mark Gregory Pegg, Speculum

"...an essential addition to the growing field of scholarship on medieval Occitania and military history during this period." -Natasha Hodgson, Canadian Journal of History

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521872409
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/2008
  • Pages: 356
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Meet the Author

Laurence W. Marvin is Associate Professor of history at the Evans School of Humanities, Berry College, Georgia.

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction; 2. The campaign of 1209; 3. Simon of Montfort and the campaign of 1210; 4. The campaigns of 1211; 5. Drawing the noose: the campaign year of 1212; 6. The athlete of Christ triumphs: late 1212 through Muret 1213; 7. From Muret to Casseneuil: September 1213 to December 1214; 8. The two councils and Prince Louis's crusade, January–December; 9. The southern counterattack begins: February 1216 to Fall 1217; 10. The second siege of Toulouse and end of the chief crusader: 1217 to 1218; Aftermath and epilogue.

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  • Posted January 31, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    EXCELLENT OVERVIEW This book is touted as a military and politic

    EXCELLENT OVERVIEW
    This book is touted as a military and political rather than religious history. Hence I assumed it would deal with the strategy and tactics of Simon de Montfort and the crusading forces and that of the southern French lords as well as the political designs of Pope Innocent III. However, it is largely a retelling and explanation of the three original sources of the Albigensian Crusade: “The Song of the Cathar Wars, “The History of the Albigensian Crusade” by Peter les Vauz-de-Cernay, and “The Chronicles of William of Puylaurens”. The scholarship is excellent, the prejudice of the original authors is absent, and it is very readable. However, the original sources as translated by Shirley and Sibly are not difficult to understand and the prejudice of the original authors helps understand the medieval mindset. This book would be most attractive to those that do not want to read the three original sources or want to refresh their memory of them.

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