led the Crusade ?
Coats of Arms
Coats of arms
Them All ... "
Cathars still exist ?
Cross of Toulouse
Source Documents: Béatrice de Planissolles, Testimony to
de Planissolles was the Chatelaine - the wife of the
Chatelain - at the famous village of Montaillou.
The town is famous largely because of what happened to Beatrice
and the inhabitants of her village. They were all arrested
on the orders of the Bishop of Pamiers on suspicion of Cathar
sympathies - what the Roman Catholic Church regarded as
Béatrice first appeared before the Inquisition
on Saturday 26 July 1320 at the Episcopal Palace in Pamiers.
She had been summoned by Jacques
Fournier, the Bishop of Pamiers, to answer charges
of blasphemy, witchcraft, and heresy, charges which were
not clearly distinguished. Witnesses were called against
Beatrice, but none for her. This was normal in such cases.
Beatrice and witnesses spoke in Occitan,
but the record was transcribed in Latin.
Witnesses against Béatrice, widow of Otho Lagleize of
The year of the Lord 1320, the 19th of June. After it came
to the attention of the Reverend Father in Christ Monsignor
Jacques, by the Grace of God Bishop of Pamiers, that Beatrice,
widow of Otho Lagleize of Dalou, who lived in Varilhes,
held certain sentiments that seemed to hint at the Manichaean
heresy, or touch it, and especially against the sacrament
of the altar, he wished with the assistance of Gaillard
de Pomiès, substitute for My Lord the Inquisitor
of Carcassone, to inform himself about the above-mentioned
facts and received the testimonials that follow.
heresy in this context means Catharism.
manned largely by Dominicans, was well established at Carcassonne.
Guillaume Roussel of Dalou, sworn witness and required
to tell the truth, says:
It was ten years ago, it seems to me, but I do not recall
clearly the season nor the day, I was at the home of this
Beatrice, in her house near the church of Dalou, and there
were Beatrice, two of her daughters of whom one must have
been six or seven years old and the other 4 or 5, and several
other persons around the fire. I do not recall the names
of these last people.
We began to speak of priests and the sacrament of the altar,
which is the concern of the priests. Beatrice said, it seems
to me, that she wondered how, if God was present in the
sacrament of the altar, he could permit himself to be eaten
by priests (or even by a single priest). Hearing this, I
left that house very upset.
The doctrine of Transubstantiation was then still a novelty,
much ridiculed by non-Catholics ever since its formulation
Why have you hidden this for such a long
Because I was never questioned and I did
not think it was bad not to denounce this myself.
For most Inquisitors it was a crime not to denounce one's
friends and neighbours in these circumstances.
Did Beatrice say this in the manner of
It did not seem to me that she said it jokingly,
but that she meant it, or so it seemed from her expression
and her word.
Did Beatrice go willingly to church?
No, not until she was reprimanded by Barthelemy,
a vicar of the said church. After that, she went to church.
Who were the persons very intimate with
this Beatrice, who would have known her secrets?
Grazide, the widow of Bernard Pujol, Bernarde,
the wife of Garsiot, Mabille, the wife of Raymond Gouzy,
Sibille, the servant of Michel Dupont of Foix, Esperte,
wife of Arnaud of Varilhes.
||Inquisitors were also looking
for their victims to name others - it was a necessary part
of the proof of their contrition.
The same year and day as above, Guillaume of Montaut,
rector of the church of Dalou, a sworn witness, was interrogated
about that which precedes, and said,
It was 12 years ago - it seems to
me, though for sure I do not entirely recall the day or
the season - that I was at the church of Dalou and found
there Mabille Vaquier, of Dalou, who is now dead. She said
to me that she had reprimanded this Beatrice, who was the
wife of her uncle, because she did not attend church, and
also because she had heard her speak such an evil utterance
that she was completely astonished. This utterance was the
following: "You believe that what the priests hold
on the altar is the body of Christ! Certainly, if that was
the body of Christ and even if it was as big as this mountain
(gesturing toward Mont Margail), the
priests by themselves would already have eaten it!"
A coomon jibe was that even if the body of Christ had been
as large as the Pyrenees or the Alps, it would already have
Around the same time, the late Jean Roussel
said to me at my home, where we were eating, that he had
heard Beatrice say "You believe that what the priests
have on the altar is the body of Christ! Indeed, if that
was the body of Christ, even if it was as big as this mountain,
the priests would have already eaten it all!" And because
of this, he himself, Jean, had exchanged insulting words
with this Beatrice.
And he said nothing more, though he was interrogated diligently.
Asked if he were motivated or constrained by entreaty, gain,
love or hate in giving this deposition, he said no, but
that it was simply the truth.
Confession of Beatrice, widow of Otho Lagleize of Dalou
The year of the Lord 1320, the Wednesday before the feast
of St. James (23 July 1320), there was sent by the Reverend
Father in Christ Monsignor Jacques, by the Grace of God
Bishop of Pamiers, a letter of citation against Beatrice,
widow of Otho Lagleize, living in Varilhes, of which the
Brother Jacques, by divine aid Bishop of Pamiers, to
his beloved in Christ, curé of Varilhes or his
vicar, greetings in the Lord.
We command you to cite at once, and immediately, Beatrice,
widow of Otho Lagleize, and Jeanne, wife of Guillaume
of Reumaze, Junior, to appear next Saturday before us
in our Seat at Pamiers, in person, to respond to certain
allegations concerning the Catholic faith of which we
wish to know the truth from them and the answers to other
questions as may be reasonable.
Given at our episcopal seat, the Wednesday before the
feast of Saint James the Apostle 1320. Return the letter
with your seal as a sign that you have passed on this
On the Saturday named in this letter, the said Beatrice,
cited by the curé of Varilhes (since this is whose
seal appeared on the back of the letter of citation), appeared
before the aforementioned bishop at his seat. My Lord Bishop
admonished the said Beatrice that she was strongly suspected
of heresy according to information which had been given
to him and that she should reply with pure and complete
verity on all counts against herself as principal and with
others living and dead as witness.
Beatrice was already guilty - it was a crime to be suspected
of heresy (not the same thing as being suspected of the
crime of heresy)
At this admonition and request the said Beatrice said nothing,
neither concerning herself nor concerning others, nor did
she wish to do so. My aforesaid Lord Bishop, wishing to
guide her, to encourage her to tell the truth and hide nothing
and not wishing that she fall into perjury, asked her, without
requiring her to take an oath, if she had ever said that
if the sacrament of the altar was the true body of Christ,
it should not be permitted to be eaten by priests and if
it was as grand as Mont Margail, which is close to Dalou,
it would have long ago been consummed by the priests alone.
She said no.
He asked her if she had seen, received in her home or had
gone to see at any time Pierre, Jacques and Guillaume Authié
or other heretics. She said no, except that she had seen
Pierre Authié, exercising his profession as a notary
and in this capacity he had written the act of sale of an
item of her husband. She had approved this sale by oath
and Pierre had written up the bill of sale and ratified
it. He was not reputed to be a heretic at this time and
she had not seen him otherwise.
Pierre, Jacques and Guillaume Authie were Cathar Parfaits
who had reindroduced the Cathar faith from Italy.
Under questioning by the Lord Bishop, she said she had
been received once for one night at the house of the late
Gaillarde Cuq, but she had not heard her speak of any divinations,
nor seen any evil spells), nor received any evil teaching
My aforementioned Lord Bishop, seeing that this Beatrice
would not of her own will openly say anything concerning
the aforementioned without taking an oath, and wishing to
act with benevolence and to wait for her, assigned to her
the following Tuesday to appear before him at the aforesaid
seat, admonishing her to present herself on that day in
person and to be ready to respond to the above allegations
and others concerning the faith, under her own oath. The
assigned day the said Beatrice accepted of her own free
will, promising by her own oath to appear before My Lord the Bishop for the said assignation, and to respond to the
above allegations under oath and to do all that was necessary
in this same matter. And she was graciously excused until
the said Tuesday by my said Lord Bishop.
That Tuesday the said Beatrice did not appear, although
she was waited for patiently all the day and because of
this my said Lord Bishop held her to be in contempt of court
and accused her of such, ordering and seeing to it that
her failure was noted.
After this, the said Beatrice, sought after by the men
of the Lord Bishop carrying letters to bailiffs, officials
and justices and such as they were, was found by them in
flight, while she was hiding at Mas-Saintes-Puelles, in
the diocese of Saint Papoul and was taken prisoner by the
men of the Lord Bishop and the sergeants of the Court of
Mas-Saintes-Puelles. She was brought to My Lord Bishop and
presented to him the first of August, the same year as above,
with the objects listed below having been found on her person.
These were all shown in the presence of the Lord Bishop
and she acknowledged that they had all been with her and
that she had fled with them. (This list occurs at the end
of her deposition.)
If Beatrice was a Cathar believer she would not have been
prepared to lie on oath, or even to take an oath, something
that all concerned would have been aware of.
This done, my said Lord Bishop, holding her strongly suspect
concerning the Catholic faith, as much by the preceding
information as by her flight and by the objects found on
her, wishing to question her, received from her an oath
to tell the pure, simple and entire truth both concerning
herself as charged as well as concerning others living and
dead as witness, on all questions touching the Catholic
faith. When the oath was taken he interrogated her:
Are you guilty of heresy? Have you had
relations and intimacy with the heretics Pierre, Guillaume,
Jacques Authié, other heretics, worshiping them,
seeing them giving or sending them anything or favoring
them in any manner whatsoever?
No, upon my oath, except for what I have
told you of Pierre Authié, that I ratified a bill
of sale for my husband the knight Bérenger de Roquefort.
After I had married this Bérenger, at our wedding
ceremony, I saw Guillaume Authié dance. This was
24 years ago or so.
"Worship" - According to the Catholic Church,
Cathars "adored" or "worshipped" their
This was a misunderstanding of a Cathar greeting ceremoniy
Do you know other persons, living or dead,
who had any type of relations or intimacy or who committed
anything in life or death related to this crime of heresy?
No. But, when I was a little girl, and I
was staying at Celles, about 6 years before marrying my
first husband, the people went one day to see the body of
Christ at the church there. I heard a mason (I do not know
his name but I think he was called Oudin) ask where the
people were going. Someone replied that they were going
to see the body of Christ. He said "They have no great
need to rush or hurry to see it, because even if the body
of Christ were as big as the Pech de Boulque, it would have
already been eaten many times over as pastry!" And
these words, which I had heard spoken by this man, I cited
sometimes, and repeated at Dalou without adding a word.
I do not remember if it was when the people were going to
see the body of the Lord at Dalou or some other occasion.
It seems to me that it has been 12 years since I cited those
Pech de Boulque = Peak of Boulque, another local mountain.
To which persons and at what other times?
I no longer recall their names.
||Naming witnesses would ensure
that they were called before Inquisitors too.
The 7th of August in the chamber of the episcopal residence,
before the bishop and Gailard de Pomiès:
It was 26 years ago in the month of August
(I do not recall the day) when I was the wife of the late
knight Bérenger of Roquefort, châtelain of
Montaillou. The late Raymond Roussel, of Prades, was the
bursar and the steward of our house which we held at the
castle of Montaillou. He asked me often to leave with him
and go to Lombardy to the Good Christians who were there,
saying to me that the Lord had said that man ought to leave
father, mother, wife, husband, son and daughter and follow
Him and He would give him the kingdom of heaven. And since
the present life is brief and the heavenly kingdom eternal,
it was necessary that man not care about the present life,
in order to inherit the kingdom of heaven. When I asked
him "How could I leave my husband and my sons?"
he replied that the Lord had commanded it, and it was better
to leave a husband and sons whose eyes were infected, than
to abandon Him who lives for all eternity and gives the
kingdom of the heavens.
Beatrice is quoting the New Testament here - the same passages
that Catholic preachers coited to encorage men to go on
When I asked him "How can it be that
God has created such a quantity of men and women if so many
among them will not be saved?" He replied that only
the Good Christians will be saved, and no other, neither
religious, nor priest, nor anyone with the exception of
the Good Christians. Indeed, he said just as it is impossible
for the camel to pass through the eye of a needle, so it
is impossible that those who have riches will be saved.
It is because of this that kings and princes, prelates and
religious and all those who have riches, will not be saved,
only the Good Christians. They remain in Lombardy, because
they do not dare do live here, where the wolves and the
dogs persecute them. The wolves and the dogs are the bishops
and the Preaching Friars who persecute the Good Christians
and chase them from the country.
"Good Christians" = Cathars
"Wolves" = Catholic bishops
"Dogs" = Domiminicans
He said he himself had seen and met several
of these Good Christians. They were such people that when
one had heard them speak, one could not ever leave them
them and if I myself heard them just one time, I would be
When I asked him how we two could flee and
go to the Good Christians, because when my husband found
out, he would follow us and kill us, Raymond replied that
when my husband took a long trip and was a little bit out
of the country we could leave and go to the Good Christians.
I asked him how we would support ourselves when we got there.
He replied that they would take care of us and give us enough
to live. "But", I said "I am pregnant. What
could I do with the infant I am carrying if I leave with
you for the Good Christians?" "If you give birth
to it among them, it will be an angel, and with the aid
of God they will make it a king and a holy being because
it will come without sin, having no contact with the people
of the world, and they will instruct it perfectly in their
sect, and it will know no other."
He told me then that all the spirits sinned
at the beginning by the sin of pride, believing that they
knew more and were worth more than God and for this they
had fallen to the earth. These spirits incarnate themselves
as a result and the world will not be finished before all
of them are incorporated in the bodies of men and women.
This is how the spirit of a baby who was just born is just
as old as the spirit of an old man.
||The Cathar teaching concerning
the Fall of the angels was not then orthodox Catholic belief,
though it is now.
He said furthermore that when the spirits
of men and women who are not Good Christians, leave their
bodies, they enter into the bodies of other men and women
until they have entered nine bodies. If amongst these nine
bodies the body of a Good Christian is not found, the spirit
is damned. If on the contrary it finds the body of a Good
Christian, the spirit is saved.
Beliefs in reincarnation
and the transmigration of souls was standard Cathar belief,
though the details varied among different groups of Cathars.
I asked him how the spirit of a dead man
or woman could enter through the mouth of a pregnant woman
and through there to the mouth of the fruit which she carries
in her womb. He replied that the spirit could enter into
the fruit in the womb of a woman through any part of the
body it wished. When I asked him why infants do not talk
from birth, if they have the old spirits of other people,
he said the God does not wish this. He told me as well that
the spirits of God who have sinned place themselves wherever
they can in order to dwell there.
Beatrice's question about talking shows an advanced capacity
for rational thought.
In connection with demonic possession, the Catholic Church
faced exactly the same sort of problem in providing a satisfactory
answer (since as everyone knew demons were fluent in Latin
He encouraged me then to leave with him
to go to the Good Christians, citing as examples many noblewomen
who had gone. He first told me of Alestra and Serena, two
ladies of Châteauverdun, who painted themselves with
colours to appear to be foreigners, in order not to be recognized
and went to Toulouse. Arriving at an inn, the hostess wished
to know if they were heretics or not, and gave them live
chickens, asking them to prepare them because she had something
to do in the town and left the house. At her return she
found the chickens still living and asked them why they
had not prepared them. They replied that if the hostess
would kill them they would prepare them, but that they would
not kill them. The hostess hearing this, went to tell the
Inquisitors that two heretics were at her inn. They were
arrested and burned. When they had to go to the pyre, they
asked for water to wash their faces, saying that they did
not wish to go to God painted thus.
The willingness to kill animals provided a simple way of
identifying Cathars as they would not kill animals (other
Killing chickens was almost a standard test, and the refusal
to kill was sufficient evidence to justify burning alive.
I said to Raymond that they would have done
better to abandon the heresy that caused them to be burned
and he said that the Good Christians do not feel the fire,
because the fire which burns them can do them no harm.
Many people were at a loss to understand how Cathars could
so consisistently opt to burn alive rather than abandon
Raymond told me again that one of these
two women, at the moment of leaving her house in Châteauverdun
had an infant in the cradle and she wished to see it before
leaving. She embraced it, the infant laughed and and as
she began to leave the place where it was lying, she returned
again to him. The infant began to laugh and this merry-go-round
began again so often that she could not leave him. She finally
ordered the nurse to take away the child and thus she left.
And Raymond told me this to encourage me
to do the same!
He told me as well that Stephanie, the wife
of the late Guillaume Arnaud, one of the ladies of Châteauverdun
had left all and gone to the Good Christians. Prades Tavernier,
who had recently become a heretic and was called André,
had left with her. He said this to convince me to leave
but I told him that if 2 or 3 women of my rank left with
us, I would have an excuse, but that I would not leave with
him, while still young, because people would say of us that
we left the country to satisfy our lust.
After having spread his heretical discourse
to me quite liberally at several times and places and asked
me to part with him, there came one night when we had dined
together and he entered secretly into my bedroom and hid
himself under my bed. I put the house in order and lay down
to sleep and when all was quiet and everyone asleep and
I myself was sleeping, Raymond came out from under my bed,
placed himself next to me and began to act as if he wished
to know me carnally. I said "What is this?" He
said to be quiet. I replied "What, churl, remain quiet!"
and began to cry and call my sevants who slept near me in
the chamber, saying to them that there was a man in my bed.
Hearing this, he left both bed and chamber.
The next morning, he said to me that he had done badly to
hide himself close to me. I told him "I see now that
all your invitations to go to the Good Christians are only
intended to possess me and sleep with me. If I did not fear
that my husband would not believe that I have done nothing
dishonest with you, I would send you immediately to the
It was normal at this time for servants to sleep in their
master's or mistress's bed chamber.
We did not speak any further of questions
of heresy and a while later Raymond left our house and returned
to his home at Prades.
Have you believed and do you believe
still that which he told you concerning the Good Christians,
concerning the sin of the spirits in the sky and the reincarnation
Have you ever revealed the propositions
of Raymond to anyone?
No, except to a Friar Minor of the convent
of Limoux, in sacramental confession.
||Friar Minor = Franciscan.
There was a Franciscan convent (friary) at Limoux.
Has anyone else heard the heretical propositions
that you heard from this Raymond?
I do not recall that there was anyone else
Alazais Gonelle, from the diocese of Alet,
often came to my house to talk to me and she told me on
the part of this Raymond that it would be good for us to
leave for Lombardy and the Good Christians, because they
alone would save our souls, since one could only be saved
in their sect. If I wished to leave with Raymond, she herself,
Alazais, would leave with us and she knew that if some of
us left for Lombardy and the Good Christians, Algée
of Martre, from Camurac in the diocese of Alet, would leave
Alet = Alet-les-Bains
Lombardy was a place of refuge for Cathars. The local animosity
to the papacy meant that the Church authorities had less
freedom than elsewhere to persecute people for holding religious
views other than Roman Catholic ones.
This Alazais was the concubine of Guillaume
Clerge, the brother of the rector of Montaillou and this
Algée is the sister of the mother of the rector.
But I have never seen Algée.
What do you understand by these Good Christians
whom Raymond and this Alazais cite constantly?
By 'Good Christians' I understand heretics.
About 25 years ago, I was living in Montaillou
and one day in the month of July, Alazais, the wife of Bernard
Ribas of Montaillou knocked on my door. I went to see what
she wanted. She said that she wanted vinegar. I ordered
it to be given to her. She then said that she did not want
any, but that she wished to speak to me. I said that I could
not and she left. The same day she came back to my house
and knocked on the door. I sent to know what she wanted
and she said that her daughter was sick and asked me to
come down to her house, because her daughter wished very
much to see me. I said to her that I could not come down
to her house, because it was only a short time since I had
come from childbed. This Alazais came again to my house,
the same day, asking and supplicating that I would come
to see her daugher, which I did not wish to do.
The same day, I had made a "re-dyed"
candle for the church of Saint Marie de Carnesses. I called
for a woman who lived with the rector of Montaillou, Pierre
d'Espéra [Espéraza ?] (this woman was from
Limbrassac) and we went together to the church. In the descent
from Montaillou, we met this Alazais who was driving 2 geese;
she asked me to come to her house to see her daughter Guillemette
(the wife of Pierre Clergue of Montaillou). I said that
I could not go, and she said that her brother Prades Tavernier
was there and wished to speak with me because Stephanie,
the wife of Guillaume Arnaud of Châteauverdun, had
been charged with a message that he wished to give to me.
Saint Marie de Carnesses = the church of Montaillou,a pilgrimage
destination. The candle is for the rite of purification
(ritual cleansing of sin) after childbirth
But since it was well known that Prades
Tavernier had left the country with Stephanie to travel
to the heretics, I asked Alazais to leave me, because I
did not wish to talk to Prades. She left me then and I did
not see Prades Tavernier nor speak to him after he departed
the country with Stephanie.
About 21 years ago, about one year after
the death of my husband, I wished to go to confess at the
church of Montaillou during Lent. When I was there, I went
to Pierre Clergue, the rector, who listened to confessions
behind the altar of Saint Mary. As soon as I had kneeled
down before him, he embraced me, saying to me that there
was no other woman in the world that he loved so much as
me. In my stupefaction I left without being confessed.
"Solicitation" was a very common clerical crime,
though very rarely punished. Confession boxes were introduced
much later to try to reduce the incidence of solicitation.
Later, towards Easter, he came to visit
me several times, and asked me to give myself to him. I
said to him one day when he was soliciting me in my own
home that I would rather give myself to 4 men than to one
priest, because I had heard that a woman who had been known
carnally by a priest could not see the face of God. To which
he responded that I was stupid and ignorant, because the
sin was the same for a woman to be known by her husband
or by any other man, equally whether the man was her husband
or a priest. It was an even greater sin with a husband,
he said because the spouse believed she did not sin with
a husband, but she had a conscience with other men. The
sin was therefore greater in the first case.
The beliefs ascribed here to Pierre Clergue are prima
facie evidence that he was a Cathar believer.
I asked him how he could talk thus, being
a priest, because one said in church that marriage had been
instituted by God and that it was the first sacrament, instituted
by God between Adam and Eve, so that there would be no sin
when spouses knew one another. He replied "If it was
God who instituted marriage between Adam and Eve and if
he created them, why did he not guard them from sin?"
I understood then that he was saying that God did not create
Adam and Eve and had not instituted marriage between them.
He added that the Church taught many falsehoods. The ecclesiastics
said this, because they were not inspired by respect or
fear. Indeed, in part the Gospel and the Pater, and all
the other texts of Scripture were "affitilhas",
a word that one uses in the vulgar tongue to designate words
that one adds to what one has heard. I replied to him that
because of this the ecclesiastics plunged the people into
||affitilhas = apocryphal gloss.
Exactly the same charge made by many modern scholars.
The 8th of August 1320, in the Chamber of the bishop's
palace, before the bishop and Gaillard of Pomiès.
Speaking of marriage, he said to me that
many of the rules governing it did not proceed from the
will of God, who had not forbidden wedding one's own full
sister nor another blood relative, since in the beginning
brothers knew their sisters. But when many brothers had
only one or two beautiful sisters each one wished to have
them. As a result there was bloodshed between them and that
is why the Church has forbidden a brother to know carnally
his sister or blood relative. But before God the sin is
the same, whether it concerns a stranger, a sister or another
relative because the sin is just as bad with a wife as with
another, to the point where it is almost greater between
man and wife because one does not confess it and is united
We have only Beatrice's word that Pierre Clergue believed
this, but it is a fact that many patriarchs of the Old Testament
committed incest without any divine disapproval.
He added that marriage was perfect and accomplished
when one person promised his faith to another. What one
does in Church to the spouses, such as nuptial benediction
was only secular pomp and had no value and had only been
instituted by the Church for the glory of this world.
He told me as well that a man and woman
could commit freely any sort of sin while they lived in
the world and live according to their good pleasure. It
was sufficient to be received into the sect of the Good
Christians at one's death to be saved and be absolved of
all the sins committed in this life. He said this was justified
because Christ had said to his apostles to leave father,
mother spouse and children and all that they possessed to
follow Him, in order to have the kingdom of heaven. Peter
replied to Christ, "If we, who have left all and followed
You, we have the kingdom of heaven, what will be the fate
of those who are sick and cannot follow You?" The Lord
replied to Peter that his "friends" would come
and impose their hands on the heads of the sick. The sick
would be cured, and, once cured, would follow him and have
the kingdom of heaven.
All this further indicts Pierre Clergue as a Cathar.
As Beatrice would have known, it was only by fingering
others that she might hope to receive a small punishment
rather than death.
These "Friends of God" the rector
said were the Good Christians, who are called heretics.
The imposition of hands that they give to the dying saves
them and absolves them of all their sins.
To prove that it would be better for the
world if brother were to marry sister he told me "Look,
we are four brothers. I am a priest and do not wish to marry.
If my brothers Guillaume and Bernard had wed Esclarmonde
and Guillemette, our sisters, our house would not have been
ruined by having to give them a dowry. Our house would have
remained intact. With one woman who could have entered into
the house for Raymond, our brother, we would have had enough
spouses and our house would have been more rich. It is thus
better that the brother wed the sister or the sister the
brother, because when she leaves the paternal house with
a large sum to wed a stranger the house will find itself
Catharss sometimes described themselves as the Friends
This has always been a justification for close blood marriages,
but anyone raised in the countryside will be aware of the
With these arguments and many others, he
influenced me to the point that during the octave of Saints
Peter and Paul I gave myself to him one night in my house.
This happened again often, and he saw me then during one
and a half years, coming to spend the night two or three
times per week in my house near the chateau of Montaillou.
I myself went twice to his house, to unite myself to him.
He also knew me carnally one year on the night of Christmas
and he nevertheless said mass the next day, even though
there were other priests present.
That night of the Nativity, when he wished
to have relations with me, I said to him "How can you
wish to commit such a grave sin on such a holy night?"
He replied that the sin of having commerce with a woman
was the same on the night of the Birth of the Saviour as
on any other night. Since, both at that time and others,
he said mass the next day after having known me the preceding
night, without being confessed (because there was no other
priest,) I often asked him how he could celebrate mass after
having committed such a sin the preceding night. He replied
that the sole valid confession is that which one makes to
God, who knows the sin before it is committed and who alone
can absolve it. But the confession that one makes to a priest
who does not know it until the moment it is spoken and who
has no power to absolve is worth nothing and is only done
for the pomp and ostentation of the world. Because God alone
can absolve sins, man does not have the power.
He added that I ought not confess the sin
which I committed with him to another priest, but to God
alone, who knew it and could absolve me, which no man could
do. To incite me to believe that neither the Sovereign pontiff
nor the other bishops nor the priests who depend on them
have this power, he alleged that St. Peter was not a pope
in this life, but as soon as he had died his bones were
thrown into a pit where they remained for a number of years.
When they were discovered they were washed and placed on
the throne on which the Roman pontiffs sat. Just as the
bones of St. Peter did not have the power to absolve when
they were enthroned and made apostolic, neither Peter, who
had become "apostolic" nor the Roman pontiffs
who had been made Popes on that throne could absolve. Only
the Good Christians who suffered persecutions and death,
like Saints Lawrence, Stephen and Bartholemew, could absolve,
but not the bishops nor the priests subject to the Roman
church, who were heretics and persecutors of the Good Christians.
God had taken this ability from them and retained it for
Himself and transmitted it only to the Good Christians whom
he had known and announced in advance would suffer persecution.
"he alleged that St. Peter was not a pope in this
life, but as soon as he had died his bones were thrown into
a pit where they remained for a number of years" -
it is astonishing how early oral traditions like this survived
into the Middle Ages and beyond, despite the efforts of
the Roman Church to suppress them.
"priests subject to the Roman church, who were heretics
and persecutors of the Good Christians" - a distinctively
I asked him then, if the confession made
to priests was worth nothing, and they had no power to absolve,
why he himself heard confessions, made absolution and imposed
penances. This priest told me that it was necessary for
him and the other priests to act thus, even though it was
worth nothing, because without it they would lose their
revenues, and no one would give them anything if they did
not do as the Church prescribed.
A common observation of Catholic priests into modern times,
often voiced publically only after leaving the Church.
But only the Good Christians and those who
were received by them after having adored them could absolve
other men of their sins. And it was not necessary for those
who wished to be absolved by them to confess to them, it
sufficed to give oneself to God and to the Good Christians,
and they would absolve them solely by the imposition of
||"Adored" - According
to the Catholic Church, Cathars "adored" or "worshipped"
This was a misunderstanding of a Cathar greeting ceremoniy
He told me all this and what follows at
my house, from time to time near a window which looked over
the road, during which time I deloused his head, sometimes
by the fire, sometimes when I was in bed. We guarded against
being heard by others when we talked of this subject. I
do not recall well if Sibille my servant, the daughter of
Arnaud Teisseyre of Montaillou, who became the concubine
of Raymond Clergue, heard anything.
This priest told me that God had only created
spirits, those which can neither be corrupted or destroyed,
because the world of God would live eternally. But all the
bodies which one sees and one senses, that is to say the
sky and the earth and all that is found therein, with the
sole exception of spirits, these were created by the devil,
who rules the world. Because it was he who made them all
- he who could not make anything stable and solid - these
things are the prey of corruption.
He told me one time that God in the beginning
made a man who talked and walked. Upon seeing this man,
the devil made the body of another man, who could not walk
or talk. God said to him "Why do you not make your
man the sort who can walk and talk?" The devil replied
that he could not, and asked God to make his man walk and
talk. God replied that he would do so willingly, since what
he would put in this man would be from Him, God. The devil
replied that he would like that. God then breathed into
the mouth of the man that the devil had made and this man
began to walk and talk. Because of this, the spirit of man
is from God and the body is from the devil.
||More confirmation of the priest's
He told me also that God had made all the
spirits of heaven and that these spirits sinned by the sin
of pride, wishing to be equal to God. By reason of this
sin they fell from the sky through the air and onto the
earth. They dwell and penetrate into the bodies they meet,
indiscriminately, whether into the bodies of brute beasts
or the bodies of men. And these spirits who are in the bodies
of brutes are also endowed with reason and knowledge just
as those in human bodies, except that they cannot talk when
they dwell in the bodies of brute beasts. And the fact that
the spirits who are in the bodies of brutes are endowed
with reason and knowledge can be seen because they flee
what is noxious to them and seek what is profitable. This
is why it is a sin to kill such a brute beast or a man,
because each one as well as the other has a spirit endowed
with reason and understanding. He said also that it was
necessary for these spirits to enter into a human body to
do penance for this sin of pride and that this must be done
before the world is finished. It is only in human bodies,
he said, that the spirits can do penance for this sin. They
cannot do it in the bodies of brute beasts.
||All, apparently, conventional
He told me also that if these spirits who
have thus sinned can enter into the body of a Good Christian
they rejoice greatly because when they leave that body they
will return to the sky from which they fell. If they have
not entered into the body of a Good Christian, but into
another man or another woman, when they leave the body,
they enter, if they can, into the body of another man or
woman and so on up to nine bodies (if they do not enter
into the body of a Good Christian man or woman).
But, if in these nine bodies which they
enter successively there is not the body of a Good Christian
man or woman, upon leaving the ninth body they are totally
lost and can never more do penance. He told me that all
this is true in a general manner, but when spirits who consent
to the betrayal of Christ, as was the case of Judas and
other Jews, leave their bodies, they are immediately lost
and cannot do penance later. They will no longer enter into
human bodies to do penance. But those who were present at
the betrayal of Christ, without consenting, enter into nine
bodies, like the others.
This priest told me also that only those
spirits who enter into the body of Good Christians will
be saved and no others, whether Christian, Jew or Saracen.
According to what he said, all the Good Christians, those
who adore them, believe in them and enter into their sect
will be saved. And he said his mother Mengarde was saved,
because she had done much good to the Good Christians, and
na Roqua and Raymond Roché her son, who were imprisoned
for a while because of heresy, drew all their subsistence
from her house. His mother did so much good for these two
because they were heretics and believers.
Clearly Cathar beliefs, though different Cathar groups
favoured different details - eg sometimes 7 rather than
Could there be a connection here with the idea of "nine
"Adored" - According to the Catholic Church,
Cathars "adored" or "worshipped" their
This was a misunderstanding of a Cathar greeting ceremoniy
This priest told me also that those spirits
who were in the heavens and sinned in rebelling against
God divided themselves - certain ones of them plotted and
rebelled against God and those were the first to leave the
heavens. Their sin was as grave as hell and they are demons.
But there were other spirits who did not plot the revolt
against God nor rebelled overtly, but who wished to follow
those who engineered this revolt. These ones fell onto the
earth and into the air and are incorporated into the bodies
of men and animals, do penance and are saved or damned,
as was said previously.
He told me also that the Good Christians
do not believe that God can make the seeds of those things
born on the earth increase, bloom and multiply. If this
was so, God would also be able to make a seed grow as well
on bare rock as in arable soil and seeds thrown on the rock
would grow just as well as those thrown into the soil. But
this happens, he said because the earth is fertile, and
God intervenes in no way.
At least from a secular point of view, Beatrice is voicing
better reasoned questions than the professional theologian
philosophers of her time.
He told me also that the Good Christians
do not believe that Christ took human flesh from the holy
Virgin, nor that he descended to take human flesh from her,
because before Saint Mary was born, Christ existed for all
eternity. He only hid himself (s'adombra) in the blessed
Mary, without taking anything from her. Explaining this
word (adombration) this priest told me that the wine in
the tun is within its shadow without taking anything from
it, but is merely contained. Just so Christ dwelled in the
Virgin Mary, without taking anything from her, but was simply
in her as the contained is within the container.
Not in itself heretical - medieval philophers considered
this a possibility: they expressed it differently, as water
passing through a pipe.
He told me also that Christ, although he
dined with his disciples, never ate or drank, although it
seemed as if he did so.
||A characteristically Dualist
He told me also that since the outrage of
crucifixion was performed on Christ on the cross, no one
should adore or venerate the cross.
||A Characteristically Dualist
He told me also that to swear falsely on
the Gospels was not a sin, but only to swear falsely by
||According to other Cathar souces,
answearing was sinful.
He told me that the church of God exists
only where there is a Good Christian, because he is the
Church of God, but anywhere else there is no Church of God
and the other men are not the Church of God.
He told me also that when the Good Christians
are burned for their faith, they are martyrs of Christ.
He told me also that when these Good Christians
have received someone into their sect, they should afterwards
neither eat nor drink, except cold water, and, when these
people then die of starvation, they will be the saints of
||Apparently a reference to the
Either Beatrice or the scribe seems to have missed out important
He told me also that the fire in which the
Good Christians were burnt did not make them suffer, because
God assisted them so that they would not suffer the fire
nor have great pain.
The said Raymond Roussel told me of a man
who was gravely ill, when a priest came to him and asked
if he wished to see and receive the body of the Lord. This
man replied that he wished to see the body of the Lord more
than anything else in the world. This priest went to seek
the body of the Lord and bring it to this sick man. He took
it out of its case and held it in his hands, showing it
to the sick man and asked him about the articles of faith,
especially if he believed that this was indeed the body
of Christ. The ill man, indignantly replied to the priest
"You stinking villainous churl, if that which you hold
were the body of Christ, and even if it was as big as a
large mountain, you and your fellow priests would have long
since eaten it!" And he refused to receive the body
of the Lord.
Pierre Clergue, the rector told me that
this world here, which the devil made, grows corrupt, dwindles
to nothing and will destroy itself entirely, but before
that happens, God will reassemble his friends and draw them
to himself, so that they will not see the tumult that there
will be at the end and destruction of the world.
||For this paragraph, the subject
has switched from Pierre Clergue to Raymond Roussel.
When I left the country of Alion to contract
marriage with my second husband, Otho Lagleize of Dalou,
this rector told me that he was displeased that I was going
down to the low country, because I could never save my soul
there, since no one would dare henceforth to speak to me
of the Good Christians or to come see me to save my soul.
I was going to live with wolves and dogs, of which, he said,
none will be saved. He called dogs and wolves all the Catholics
who were not of the sect of the Good Christians.
He told me as well that if one day my heart
inclined me to be received in the sect of the Good Christians,
that I should let him know at once, because he would see
to it that there was a Good Christian to receive me into
the sect and save my soul. I told him that I did not wish
to be received into such a sect, but that I wished to be
saved in the faith where I found myself, citing my sister
Gentille, who used this phrase first.
And these heretical arguments continued
between us during approximately two years, and this priest
taught me all of this.
These errors and these heresies that the
rector of the church of Montaillou, Pierre Clergue, told
you and taught you, did you believe them and do you still
Last year, when I left the country of Alion
(Montaillou), from Easter until the following August, I
believed these errors plainly and perfectly to the point
where I would not hesitate to undergo any pain for their
defense. I believed that they were true, as taught by this
priest, who, because he was a priest, I believed to speak
the truth. But when I was at Crampagna [Campagna ?] with
my second husband and I heard the preaching of the Preachers
and the Minors, and I dwelt among faithful Christians, I
abandoned these errors and heresies and I confessed to the
tribunal of penance to a Franciscan
of the convent of Limoux, in the church of Our Lady of Marseille,
where I had gone to see my sister Gentille, who lives in
Limoux and was the wife of the late Paga of Post. This confession
I made 15 years ago and for about 5 years I remained believing
these heresies without confessing them, though I confessed
in that time other sins I had committed.
Preachers = Dominicans
Minors = Franciscans
church of Our Lady of Marseille or Marceille lies just
At the time when I believed in these heresies,
I did not see (neither before nor since) a heretic that
I knew to be a heretic, although I believed them to be the
good men, because they suffered matyrdom for God and also
because of what this priest had taught me, that it was only
in their sect that one could be saved.
|I have great regret at having
heard these heretical remarks and more to have believed these
heresies and I am ready to undergo the penance which My Lord Bishop would like to impose on me for this.
The 9th of August 1320 in the chamber of the bishop's
palace, before the bishop and Gaillard de Pomiès.
Nineteen years ago on the Assumption of
Saint Mary (15 August 1301) I left Prades in the country
of Alion, where I lived in a house near the church and came
to Crampagna to wed Otho Lagleize. Before I left Prades,
Bernard Belot of Montaillou, who later died in the Wall
of Carcassonne, came to find me and told me that the rector
of Montaillou, Pierre Clergue, mourned much for me, because
I was going to the low country where I would not have the
Good Christians to save my soul. The Good Christians did
not trust the people of the low country at all, and no one
there dared to speak of them and their life. Because of
this the priest had fear that I would lose my soul when
I descended into the low country where there are no Good
Christians. Bernard told me also that the Good Christians,
if they dared, would ask me to see them, because no one
could be affirmed in their faith without having seen them
and heard them speak. I told him that I did not wish to
see them and that I did not have the heart to do it. He
told me then to send them something as a sign of recognition,
because when one of them received a kindness from another
he would to pray to God for him. These Good Christians,
he told me only pray for someone from whom they receive
something. I asked him "And what should I send them?"
He told me that it would suffice to send them anything if
one wished them to pray God for you. I gave him 5 Parisian
sous, a coin then in circulation, to bring to these Good
Christians and I said "I do not know who will receive
this money, but may it be for the love of God."
"the Wall of Carcassonne" - a closed prison where
the prisoners were immurred on a diet of bread and water
until they died - typically after a few months.
At the time when I was living at Montaillou
and Prades, a rumour ran about among the believers that
the heretics frequented the houses of the brothers Raymond
and Bernard Belot, who lived together, and of Alazais den
Riba, sister of the heretics Prades Tavernier, and of Guillaume
Benet, brother of Arnaud Benet of Ax, who were all from
Montaillou. And it was said that they served as guides to
these heretics and knew their itineraries.
The same year when I sent this money to
the heretics by the intermediary of Bernard Belot, I was
at Crampagna with Guillaume Othon my second husband, toward
the feast of Saint Michael in September. Bernard Belot came
to see me at Crampagna, in the house or domain called Carol,
where I lived at that time, and told me that the rector
of Montaillou greeted me and was sending to me through him
the act of marriage for my first marriage, in which was
found the assignation of my dowry. I had left this document
in deposit with the rector. Since I had no need to concern
myself with this document, having already paid the heirs
of my first husband, I thought that this Bernard was bringing
me a message from the rector and I spoke to him in secret.
He said that the rector greeted me and asked me to recall
the remarks that he had made between us concerning the sect,
the state and the way of life of the good men. I told him
that I did not wish to remember them, and that, on the contrary,
it displeased me greatly to have already heard or spoken
of them. I told him it was worth more to hear the remarks
of the Preaching Friars and the Minor Friars, than to speak
of the sect and way of life of the heretics. Bernard told
me that my heart had quickly changed and that the remarks
that the rector and he had made to me had been lost. They
had suspected immediately, he told me, when I descended
into the low country that they had lost their good words.
I told him that in the future he should not send me any
more messages of this type, because if my husband knew it,
no good would come of it. "In the future, do not return,
because if you come to the house, my husband will think
at once something evil on my account, either evil conduct
or some other evil thing."
It was then that he left me, malcontent
with my response and saying that they could not believe
that their good words could be so quickly lost.
Twelve years ago, I was gravely ill at Varilhes
in the house of the late Otho, my husband. This priest came
one day to the synod at Pamiers and he entered into my house
to visit me. When he was with me he seated himself at the
head of the bed on which I was resting and asked me how
I was, feeling my hand and arm. I told him that I was gravely
ill. He then said to my late daughter Béatrice, who
was present, to leave the chamber because he wished to speak
to me alone. When she had left, he asked me how my heart
was. I told him that it was very weak and that I had great
fear of the remarks that had passed between us (I understand
by that the heretical remarks above, which this priest had
taught me). I had such fear that I did not dare to confess
these sins to any priest, out of fear that he would judge
me suspect concerning the faith. He told me to have no fear
about that, because God, who knew my sin and alone could
absolve sins, would remove it from me, and that it was not
necessary to confess to any priest. He told me also that
I would be quickly healed, and that he, when he descended
to Pamiers, would see me and that we would speak together
concerning these remarks. This said, he left me and after
I did not see him again. He sent me all the same an engraved
flask of sugar.
About 21 years ago, I was at Montaillou
after the death of my first husband. One day, near Christmas,
I was at the house of Alazais Maury of Montaillou. As we
were warming ourselves at the fire Gauzia, the wife of Bernard
Clergue, came by, and asked Alazais in my presence if Guillemette,
the widow of Pierre Faure of Montaillou, was dead. Alazais
said yes, that she was buried. Gauzia said then "And
did you do well?" Alazais replied 'Yes, by my faith,
well." Gauzia said again "And you did well, well?
Nothing was lacking?" Alazais replied that all was
done "well" and there was no obstacle to doing
it. Gauzia then said "Thanks be to God!" This
said, she sat down near the fire. As for myself, I did not
understand why they exchanged these words between themselves,
nor what they meant, but later, several days after, I found
Alazais, I do not remember where and I asked her what the
words that I had heard exchanged between her and Gauzia
meant . She told me that it meant nothing special. I told
her that, on the contrary, one did not say such words for
nothing. She told me that she did not dare to reveal to
me what they meant, because she had fear that I would denounce
her. I promised her by my faith to guard her secret. She
told me then that the Good Christians had come to the house
of this sick woman, Guillemette and had received her into
their sect, to make her a Good Christian. After this, they
told her to eat or drink nothing except for cold water,
which she did, neither eating nor drinking anything except
cold water. She remained thus for nearly 15 days, until
Again, Beatrice seems to describing the Endura,
though she seems not to understand it fully.
From this moment, this Alazais began to
see me and she spoke to me of the Good Christians, saying
that they were holy and good men and it was necessary to
have confidence in them rather than in the clerics, because
they withstood many persecutions for Christ, and that the
clerics did not withstand persecutions, but enjoyed the
pleasures of the world.
She said that no one should leave the sect
of the Good Christians for any danger or misfortune which
might threaten. She said also that one could only be saved
in this sect or belief, and whatever sins a man had committed
in this present life, as long as he was received by them
at the end, would be remitted and he would be saved.
She said also that the Good Christians did
not dare to show themselves because the Church persecuted
them and destroyed them and that it was a great kindness
to give them gifts, that she herself and Raymond Maury her
husband often gave them alms, embracing poverty by depriving
themselves of nourishment to be able to give it to them,
and often sending them wheat and other things they had,
and always the best. I asked her then "These Good Christians
accept wheat?" She said yes, and I gave her a quarter
bushel (boisseau de village d'un quart de farine de froment)
of wheat flour to give to the good men on my part. I do
not know, in any case, whether she gave this wheat to them
||embracing poverty (Mark 12,44)
Because of the remarks that I had heard
on the subject of these heretics from the mouth of Raymond
Rousel and the priest, I believed that what Alazais told
me concerning the Good Christians was true, and it was for
this reason that I gave them wheat through her. After this,
I did not talk anymore of these heretics to Alazais.
About the same time, certain people said
that Raymond Azéma, the son of Alazais, wife of Pons
Azéma, travelled with the heretics. One night at
the beginning of the evening, I was at her house and Raymond
arrived, carrying a sack, which seemed to be full of something,
and he departed quickly. I asked Alazais where her son was
going at such an hour. She told me that he was going somewhere.
I asked her to be more precise, and she replied that I was
"cilhard", that is to say, that I had large eyebrows
and she would not tell me where her son was going. I said
"And why not?" She told me that I could not keep
a secret. I assured her to the contrary and asked her also
what her son was carrying in his sack. She told me in truth
that her son was carrying food in his sack and when I insisted
and asked her several times to whom was he carrying the
food, she finally told me that he took it to the good men,
whom the others call heretics, and moreover that these were
good and holy men, who endured much persecution for Christ.
Furthermore, one ought not abandon one's faith for any human
fear, because all that one saw in the world was of the devil,
who ruled the world, who had made it, and all this would
be destroyed and lost like spider webs, with the sole exception
of the spirits, which God had made. She told me also that
men could only be saved in their faith and belief and even
more that it would suffice for salvation if one were received
into their sect at the end, no matter what sins one had
committed in one's life. She said that this was a great
thing that one could save one's soul by believing in these
men and dying in their house. I said nothing to this, unless
I said that no good would come to her son if he was arrested
carrying his sack to the Good Christians. Later, I did not
speak to her of this subject. This same Raymond drowned
in the Douctuyre near the church of Our Lady of Vals.
to have large eyebrows = to be nosey
Characterist Cathar beliefs
People accused of Cathar belief would often incriminate
dead people, as they were beyond the power of the Inquisition.
About 20 years ago, when I was living at
Prades, I went one day, I do not remember exactly when,
to Caussou to visit Ava my sister, the wife of Verèze,
who was recovering from childbirth. The following Sunday
I went to the church of Unac, which is the parish church
of Caussou. When I was there, Raymonde, the widow of Guillaume-Bernard
of Luzenac, who had also come there, embraced me and kissed
me (because she was of my family) and said to me near to
the entrance of the church "And you, cousin, who are
in the good country, have you not seen the good men again?
As for me, if I were there, I would see them gladly."
I asked her who she called "good men"; she replied
that they were the Good Christians. I told her that I had
not seen any, and I did not wish to see them. She told me
that if I saw them and heard them just once, I would never
again want to hear anything else and having heard them one
time, I would always be in a good state, wherever I went.
We said nothing more on this subject but we went into the
church and heard mass.
The 12th of August before the bishop and Gaillard de Pomiès.
While my husband was still living, Raymond
Clergue alias Pathau, the natural son of Guillaume Clergue
(himself the brother of Pons Clergue who was the father
of Pierre Clergue the curé of Montaillou), took me
one day by force in the chateau. One year later, at the
death of my husband Bérenger de Roquefort, he maintained
me publicly. This did not hinder the curé, Pierre
Clergue, from soliciting me, even though he knew that his
first cousin Raymond had possessed me.
"How can you ask that?" I replied.
"You know well that your cousin Raymond has had me.
He will reveal all!" The rector replied that such things
should not be committed by force, nor would it hinder in
anyway. "I know well what has gone on, but I can be
more useful to you and give you more gifts than that bastard!"
He told me also that they could both maintain me, he, the
curé and Raymond. I told him that I would not permit
that at any price, because there would be misunderstandings
between them because of me and each of them would vilify
me because of the other.
And after the priest had possessed me I
had no more relations with this Raymond, although he tried
from time to time. There was after this time a hidden hatred
between Raymond and the priest because of this, which nevertheless
I knew of.
Guillaume Clergue = the brother of Pons Clergue who was
the father of Pierre Clergue the curé of Montaillou
Her objections arew practical rather than moral!
When I was at Dalou, after having contracted
marriage with my second husband, Otho Lagleize, a marriage
which took place at the Assumption of Saint Mary, this priest
came to Dalou at the following harvest and told people that
he was at Limoux. Entering my house, he said to me that
my sister Gentille, who dwelt at Limoux greeted me, and
I let him enter. We went together into the cellar, and he
knew me carnally while Sibille the daughter of the late
Arnaud Teisseyre, guarded the door of the cellar.
She had brought me the preceding day a present
from the rector, a blouse made in the style of Barcelona,
which had one red and one yellow ruffle at the collar, and
told me that he would come the following day. In order that
no one would find us, and if someone did appear he would
not believe that anything bad had happened between the rector
and me, this servant placed herself near the open door to
the cellar, in which we were uniting ourselves, the priest
and I. This sin committed, I led him out of the house. When
we were by the exterior door, I told him that I had given
5 sous to Bernard Belot. "Did he tell you?" He
told me that he had indeed told him and that I had done
well to give him those 5 sous. I thought concerning those
5 sous that I had given them to Bernard so that he would
take them for my part to the heretics and I believe that
is what this priest understood also.
When he came to see me at Varilhes, when
I was sick, as was said, and told me to remember the remarks
that we had had together at Montaillou concerning the Good
Christians, and that it was not necessary for me to confess,
he told me also that he held the people of Montaillou beneath
his feet because of the Inquisition. I replied "How
indeed! You now persecute the Good Christians and their
believers, you who usually wish them so much good?"
He replied that he continued to wish them well, but that
he wished to avenge himself on the churls of the district
who hated him, in any manner he could and that later he
would arrange it well with God.
red and yellow - the colours of Catalonia and Aragon
About 12 years ago, I was at Dalou. One
day, a priest brought the body of the Lord to the house
of Pont de Dalou, where Pierre du Pont, who wished to take
communion, was dwelling. I went to this house and saw and
heard the priest interrogate the sick man concerning the
articles of faith, and also ask him if he believed that
this was the true body of Christ, by which we make our salvation.
The sick men said that he believed it and devoutly took
the body of Christ into his hands. I returned to my house
with Grazide Pujol of Dalou. On the road I told her that
the body of the Lord would have been better received if
this man had also said what he said above that if the body
of the Lord was what the priests say it is, and if it was
as large as a mountain, it would have already been eaten
by the priests alone. Grazida told me to be quiet, because
if someone heard me say words of this sort, they could be
taken ill. I replied that I had said nothing bad, but that
I was citing the words of the bad man who had said them.
Have you ever believed that the true body
of the Lord was not in the sacrament of the altar?
Have you said to anyone these words or
I do not recall but if I do recall I will
confess to it.
Have you spoken to other people concerning
the heretical remarks which were taught you by Raymond Roussel,
this priest and other persons named above? Have you instructed
any other person, whom you have not already named?
Have you heard heretical remarks from
other persons named above by you?
Has anyone ever told you that the devil
was the beginning and maker of corporeal creatures, in the
sense that he was not made or produced by God or by someone
else, but that he was by himself and in himself a beginning,
the same as the good God is a beginning, not made nor produced
by any another of the spirits?
I have not heard it said. These men never
told me either that God had made the devil, or the contrary.
Have you ever heard it said by these persons
that there is a good God and an evil God?
No. They call God, he who made the spirits,
and the devil they call creator of the world aand the one
who who directs the world. I have not heard him called "hylé".
Have you heard these people or others
say that the good God made 10 worlds and that evil God 10
other worlds and that the evil God with his 10 worlds and
those who are in these worlds fought against the good God
and his world and the things which are in these worlds of
God and that he was in part the vanquisher of the good God
and had conquered a portion of his worlds?
Have you heard said by these people or
by others that the spirits are from the substance or the
parts of God?
No, only what I have said above.
The 13th of August in the Chamber of the Bishop's Palace,
before the Bishop alone.
Have you heard these persons or others,
whoever they might be, say that there are two spirits in
man, of which one inclines the man to the evil (and this
is of the devil) and the other to do well (and this is of
the part of God)?
Have you heard them say that all the spirits
created by God were of the same nature and condition?
This priest told me that all the spirits
were created by God in heaven in the same condition; but
some of them adhered to God and rested in heaven with him,
others rebelled against God (and these were sent to hell
and are demons); others, although they did not rebel against
God, nevertheless followed the rebels, and they fell on
the earth and in the air, and these are the spirits which
enter into the bodies of brute beasts and men and women,
as was said.
Have you heard them say that the devil,
moved by pride and envy against God has made this world
and all that is found in it, except the spirits, to appear
to be equal to God?
No, but only that the devil has made all
visible things. Why he made them, I never heard.
Did you hear them say that the scriptures
of the Old Testament are not of the good God?
Not particularly, unless it was when this
priest told me that all the scriptures, with the exception
of the Gospels and the Pater, were "affitilhas"
Have you heard that the Son descended
into the Virgin Mary and hid himself in her?
I heard this priest say that it was not
the Father who descended, but that he sent the Holy Spirit
who hid himself in the Virgin Mary.
Do they call the Mother of God Saint Mary,
because according to this priest, the Holy Spirit did not
take human flesh from her?
Did you hear him or any others say that
Christ was dead?
This priest said that indeed he had been
crucified, but I do not recall hearing him say that he was
When he spoke to you of Jesus Christ have
you ever heard him call him true man?
This priest called him true God, but I do
not recall having heard him call him true man.
Did he say that Jesus Christ was resurrected
from the dead?
He said indeed that Christ was resurrected,
but I do not recall if he said that he was resurrected from
Have you heard him say that Christ would
judge the good and the evil in the last Judgement?
That all the men resurrected with their
bodies would come to the Judgement of Christ?
He said "We will all come to the Judgement
of Christ in which there will be many called and few chosen"
and those few chosen would be only the Good Christians,
and those who were received by them upon their death. Even
if one has believed in the Good Christians during his life,
if one was not received into their sect at the end one will
not be saved.
He said also that no one, of any order,
state, or condition whatsoever, Good Christians excepted,
and those whom they received at their demise, will be saved.
And although he said that all would come to the Judgement
of Christ, I never heard him say, either to other believers
or heretics that men would rise or come to the Judgement
of Christ with their own bodies.
||"We will all come to the
Judgement of Christ in which there will be many called and
few chosen" (Matthew. 20, 16)
This priest or the other believers, did
they deny the baptism of water, confirmation, the sacrament
of the altar, of ordination or extreme unction?
I never heard them speak of the other sacraments,
nor deny them, except those of penitence and mariage.
And she said nothing more concerning the Manichaean sect.
sect" in this context denotes the Cathars.
The 22nd of August in the chamber of the bishop's palace,
before the bishop and Brother Gaillard de Pomiès.
Mengarde, the widow of Pons Clergue, told
me one time, after the death of my first husband, in her
house, while we were talking of na Roqua and her son Raymond
Roché, who had been imprisoned for heresy, that a
man who did good for them was a good man. I replied that
that was well, because na Roqua was an honest woman. Mengarde
then said to me, "If you only knew, it is good to do
good to this Roqua". Paying attention to these words,
I thought that Mengarde had told me this because she agreed
with na Roqua concerning heresy.
||na Roquana = Dame Roqua, or
At the time when I was living in Prades,
after the death of my first husband, I was living in a small
house touching that of Jean Clergue, rector of Prades at
the town-house (l'hôtel) of Pierre Gulihem of the
said place. Since this house was next to that of the curé
all that passed in one could be heard in the other. Pierre
Clergue, curé of Montaillou, who had come to see
me, told me that he would send me Jean, his student, whose
family name I have forgotten the following night to seek
me to sleep with him the following night. I agreed to this.
|I was thus at my house at the
time of the first sleep (primum sommpnium), awaiting this
student. He arrived and I followed him through a very dark
night and we arrived at the church of Saint Peter of Prades,
where we entered. We found Pierre Clergue who had made a bed
in the church. I said to him "Alas! How can we do such
a thing in the church of St. Peter?" He replied "Oh
what a great shame it will be to St. Peter (O que gran dampnagge
y aura sent Peire?!" This said, we placed ourselves on
the bed and slept together in the church and that night he
knew me carnally in church. Later, before dawn, he himself
took me from the church and back to the door of the house
where I was living.
I had asked him at the beginning of our
relations "What shall I do if I become pregnant from
you? I will be dishonoured and lost." He told me that
he had an herb and if a man carries this herb when he is
with a woman, he cannot engender nor can the woman conceive.
I said to him "What is this herb? Is it the same that
the cowherds put over the pots of milk when they are sent
to the rennet, which prevents the milk from curdling while
it is in the pot?" He told me to not worry about what
herb it was, but that it was an herb with this virtue, and
that he had it.
After this, when he wished to possess me,
he carried something rolled up and threaded in a sac of
linen, the size and length of an ounce or of the first joint
of my little finger, with a long thread that he passed around
my neck. And this thing which he said was an herb hung down
between my breasts just to the beginning of the stomach.
He placed it thus always when he wished to know me and it
rested at my neck until he arose. When he wished to rise,
he took it off my neck. And if sometimes, in one night,
this priest wished to know me two times or more, he would
ask me, before we united, where the herb was. I would take
it, finding it by the thread which I had around my neck
and place it in his hand. He would take it and place it
before the opening of my stomach, the thread passing between
my breasts. It was thus that he united with me, and no other
way. I asked him one day to let me have this herb. He told
me that he would not do so, because then I could give myself
to some other man without conceiving. He would not give
it to me, in order that I would abstain out of fear of the
consequences. He did this above all in thinking of his cousin
Raymond Clergue, alias Pathau, who had once maintained me,
before this priest, his first cousin, had me, because they
were jealous of each other.
He told me also that he did not wish that
I should have a child by him while my father, Philippe de
Planissolles, was alive, because that would be a great shame
for him, but that after his death he would very much like
for me to bear a child of his.
After this, the same year as above, the 25th of August,
the said Béatrice appeared for questioning in the
bishop's palace of Pamiers before the said Lord Bishop,
assisted by Brother Gaillard de Pomiès, substitute
of the Lord Inquisitor of Carcassonne, in the presence of
the religious person Brother Guillaume Séguier, prior
of the convent of the Preachers of Pamiers, of the discrete
person master Bernard Gaubert, jurist and me the below-written
notary. Since she was gravely ill and confined to bed, and
seemed indeed to be near death, my said Lord Bishop told
her that if she had concealed anything concerning the heresy
in the confession she had made above, concerning her self
or others, or if she had accused a person against truth
and justice she should avow and reveal it or again she could
disculpate the person whom she might have accused against
justice. And My Lord Bishop enjoined her to do this at the
peril of her soul. She replied, by disculpating this rector
and accusing the above mentioned Raymond Roussel concerning
the articles below:
Although she had said in her above confession that the
rector had told her that God alone created the spirits and
all the bodies that one saw and one sensed, those of the
earth and the sky and all those which are found there, but
that it was the devil, who directs the world, with the exception
of the spirits, since the spirits live eternally, but that
the corporeal things will be destroyed and corrupted, she
said now, with a better memory returning to her, that it
was not the rector who had told her this, but the said Raymond
Roussel, and that near to the door of the chateau of Montaillou.
That which she said had been told to her by the rector
- that Christ did not descend from heaven and did not take
flesh from Saint Mary, but that the Holy Spirit only hid
itself in her, in explaining the word "adombrationis"
in the manner above - was in fact not told her by the rector,
but by Raymond Roussel and that in the same place as the
All the rest, together or in detail that she has confessed
concerning the fact of heresy against herself, this rector
and the other persons, both living and dead, and which is
contained in these confessions above, she said in her own
words, at peril of her soul, was true.
|The above were read to her intelligibly and
in the vulgar tongue. Those heretical articles which she had
avowed in her preceding confessions above against herself,
and the said rector and Raymond Roussel, she confirmed entirely
and simply, and said they were true, except those which she
had retracted in her preceding confession (not concerning
the articles themselves, but concerning the person who had
taught them to her.)
||The vulgar tongue = Occitan
|Asked if she had instructed any other person
in all these articles or any of them, if not as she had deposed,
she said no.
Why did you flee when you were cited by
my said Lord Bishop and told to appear under accusation
I fled out of the fear that I had for My Lord Bishop, because of what I had committed in the matter
of heresy, and above all because the lord, when I appeared
before him the first time, named to me my father Philip,
who had been accused of this crime. I realized for some
time before My Lord Bishop cited me, that he was going to
do it, and I sent therefore to Barthélemy Amilhac,
a priest who for a certain time has conducted himself badly
with me, to discuss with him and take counsel with him to
know what I ought to do if I were cited for heresy by My Lord the Bishop. He came to Varilhes, where I was living,
but without entering into the town, and we talked together.
I told him that I understood that My Lord had interrogated
witnesses against me in the matter of heresy and that I
was afraid of being cited concerning this subject. I asked
if it seemed to him more expedient to flee than to appear
for this citation. He told me "Do you feel you are
guilty?" I said no, and that he would know if I had
committed something of this sort, because I would have told
it to someone I loved so well.
Barthélemy then told me that it would
be better to appear, since I did not feel I was guilty,
because he said, My Lord Bishop would not do any injustice
to me. This said, he left me. Then, when I appeared, as
cited by My Lord, I was terrified and upon my return to
Varlihes, I thought about fleeing and I got together the
things I wished to bring with me. I did not say to anyone
that I wished to flee.
On the contrary, I said to my daughter Condors
that I would return to My Lord Bishop on the day he had
assigned me. I made the promise to her, embraced her and
fled toward Belpech in the diocese of Mirepoix. Arriving
there, I sent for Barthélemy, this priest, at Mézerville,
where he lived. He came at once to find me at Belpech.
Arriving and seeing my trousseau of clothes,
which I had brought with me, he said "Why have you
come here? What do you intend to do, thus carrying so many
clothes with you?" I took him aside, and told him that
I had been cited by My Lord Bishop, that I had appeared,
and that he had told me that I had said the body of the
Lord was not in the sacrament of the altar, and that if
it had been as big as a mountain, it would have already
been eaten by the priests alone. He also said that I had
seen Pierre, Guillaume and Jacques Authié the heretics,
that I had heard them and I believed in them, and that I
had consulted the late Gaillarde Cuq, sorcerer and divineress
and committed sorcery on her advice. Although I did not
feel that I was guilty, I wished to flee nevertheless and
go to Limoux to my sister Gentille, to hide myself there.
He replied that I was wrong to flee and
I should return and appear before My Lord the Bishop. I
replied that I would not do this for anything, even he he
were to give the all the bishopric of Pamiers. The priest
said to me "If this is the case and I cannot retain
you, take this money" and he gave me 8 silver pieces
(octo turonenses argenti - tournois d-argent). We ate together
and he said to me again that he would not abandon me unless
I wished it, before I reached Limoux, but that he would
take me there after the Feast of the Invention of Saint
Stephen, a festival for which he had to be at Mézerville,
because it was the feast of the altar of the church there.
Meanwhile, he would pawn or sell a book or procure the money
by some other means, so that we could travel together to
Limoux. From there, he said to me that we could go to Mas-Saintes-Puelles,
which was far away and where no one would seek me. This
festival having passed, we left together. I rejoiced to
hear it and we left, myself, this priest and a sergeant
of Belpech whose name I do not know, for Mas-Saintes-Puelles,
where I was arrested by the men of My Lord Bishop and taken
||Feast of the Invention of Saint
Stephen = 5 August
Certain objects, strongly suggestive of having been used
by her to cast evil spells, were found among her affairs,
and she acknowledged them as hers, such as: two umbilical
cords of infants, found in her purse, linens soaked with
blood which seemed to be menstrual, in a sack of leather,
with a seed of cole-wort and seeds of incense slightly burned;
a mirror and a small knife wrapped in a piece of linen;
the seed of a certain plant wrapped in a muslin, dry piece
of bread that is called "tinhol" (millet bread?),
written formulas, numerous morsels of linen -- because of
these objects there was a strong suspicion that this Beatrice
was a witch and familiar with casting spells. She was asked
by My Lord Bishop for what purpose she possessed the above
mentioned articles and replied as follows:
There was a very thin line between traditional folk remedies
The Inquisitors seem to have missed the possible significance
of the bread - Cathar believers often carried around bread
that had been blessed by Parfaits.
I have the cords of the male children of
my daughters, and I preserve them, because a Jewess, since
baptised, told me that if I were tocarry them with me and
I has a lawsuit with anyone, I would not lose. That is why
I took the cords of my grandchildren and preserved them.
I have not yet had the occasion to verify their efficacy.
These linens stained with blood are the
menstrual blood of my daughter Philippa because this baptized
Jewess told me that if I were to save her first blood and
give it in a drink to her husband or another man, he would
never care for any another woman. This is why a long time
ago, when my daughter Philippa, who was young, had her first
period, I looked at her face and seeing that she was flushed,
asked her what the matter was. She told me that she was
losing blood through her vulva. I remembered the words of
the baptised Jewess and cut a morsel of the undergarment
of my daughter, which was stained with blood, and since
there did not seem to be enough, I gave my daughter another
morsel of linen so that when she had her period, she would
stain and fill this material. This she did, then I dried
this fabric, with the intention, when her husband would
wed her, to give it to him to drink, by expressing it from
the cloths, which I would soak. Philippa wedded that year
and I intended to give it to her fiancé to drink,
but I thought that it would be better to await the consummation
of the marriage, and that it should be Philippa herself,who
should give it to drink to her husband. And since, when
I was arrested, the marriage between Philippa and her husband
had not yet been consummated, and we had not had the wedding,
I did not give it to him to drink.
I did not put these cloths with grains of
incense with a view to casting spells. It is by chance that
I have them at all. My daughter had a headache this year
and she said that incense cured this malady better than
anything else. That is why grains of incense are in my possession
in my sack. I did not intend to do anything with them but
The mirror and the wrapped knife, no more
than the morsels of linen, are not destined for casting
spells or enchantments. As for the seed enveloped in muslin,
it is the seed of a plant that is called ive. It was given
to me by a pilgrim who told me that it would be efficacious
against the falling sickness. Since my grandson, son of
my daughter Condors suffered from this that year, I wished
to have some. But my daughter told me that she brought him
to the church of Saint Paul, where he was cured of this
malady and she did not wish me to do anything to her son
for his malady. Thus I did not use it.
||The falling sickness = epilepsy
Have you cast any evil spells, taught
them or learned them from anyone?
No. I believed sometimes, that Barthélemy
the priest had cast some sort of spell on me, because I
loved him so much and I wished too much to be with him,
to the point that when I made his acquaintance, my periods
ceased. I asked him several times about this, but he always
And since she had plainly avowed in the matter of heresy
and sorcery, as much concerning herself as concerning others,
living or dead, that she had great repentance at having
committed this and wished to return to the unity of the
Church and the Catholic faith; that she demanded absolution
and was ready also to the the penance that My Lord Bishop
would judge to be good to impose on her by reason of the
above mentioned faults.
For these reasons, My said Lord Bishop , having received
from her the abjuration of heresy and the promise under
oath which follows according to the forms of the Church,
gave her the absolution of sentence that she had incurred
for the crimes of heresy and witchcraft, if she would plainly
confess and repent of that which precedes. Failing this,
it was not the intention of My Lord Bishop , as he told
her, to absolve her of these charges. The said Béatrice
was commanded nevertheless, if she recalled in the future
anything concerning heresy, to bring forth her avowals as
much against herself as against others living or dead.
The fact that Beatrice was prepared to swear was itself
good evidence that she was no true Cathar believer.
The tenor of this abjuration and this sworn statement under
oath is the following:
"I, Béatrice, appearing for questioning before
you, Reverend father in Christ My Lord Jacques, by the
Grace of God Bishop of Pamiers, abjure entirely all heresy
against the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy
Roman Church, and all beliefs of heretics, of whatever
sect condemned by the Roman Church and especially the
sect to which I held, and all complicity, aid, defense
and company of heretics, under pain of what is rightfully
due in the case of a relapse into judicially abjured heresy;
Item, I swear and promise to pursue according to
my power the heretics of whatever sect condemned by the
Roman Church and especially the sect to which I held,
and the believers, deceivers, aiders and abetters of these
heretics, including those whom I know or believe to be
in flight by reason of heresy, and against any one of
them, to have them arrested and deported according to
my power to My said Lord Bishop or to the Inquisitors
of the heretical deviation at all time and in whatever
places that I know the existence of the above said or
any one of them.
Item, I swear and promise to hold, preserve and
defend the Catholic faith that the Holy Roman Church preaches
Item, I swear and promise to obey and to defer
to the orders of the Church, of My Lord the Bishop and
the Inquisitors, and to appear on the day or days fixed
by them or their replacements, at all times and in whatever
place that I receive the order or request on their part,
by messenger or by letter or by other means, to never
flee nor to absent myself knowingly or in a spirit of
contumaciousness and to receive and accomplish according
to my power the punishment and the penance that they have
judged fit to impose on me. And to this end, I pledge
my person and all my worldly goods.
After which, the same year as above, the 5th of March the
said Beatrice appeared for questioning before My said Lord Bishop and the religous person Brother Jean de Beaune of
the order of the Preachers, Inquisitor of the heretical
deviation, in the kingdom of France appointed by the Apostolic
See, in the chamber of the bishopric. Under faith of the
oath taken by her, she said and confessed that the extract
of her deposition was sufficient for the present case and
asked for judgement to be passed according to these facts
and that she be shown mercy. And My Lord Bishop thus concludes
the present affair.
|And My said Lord Bishop and Inquisitor assigned
to the said Beatrice a day to hear definitive sentence concerning
that which precedes, the Sunday following 8th of March before
terce, in the house of the Preachers of Pamiers.
||"House of the Preachers"
= Dominican Friary
Made the year and date above, in the presence of the religious
persons Brother Gaillard de Pomiès, Prior of the
Convent of the Preacher Brothers of Pamiers, Arnaud du Carla,
of the same convent, Brother Peter, companion of my said
Lord Inquisitor, David and Bernard de Centelles, monks of
Fontfroide of the order of Cîteaux and My Lord Germain
of Castelnau, Archdeacon of the church of Pamiers, witnesses
for those convoked, and of us, Guillaume Peyre-Barthe, notary
of My Lord the Bishop and Barthélemy Adalbert, notary
of the Inquisition, who assisted us in that which precedes
and recited it and wrote it.
And the Sunday assigned to the said Beatrice, she appeared
in the cemetery of Saint Jean Martyr de Pamiers, and was
given sentence by My Lords the Bishop and the Inquisitor
as follows: "Sachent tous, etc.". See this sentence
in the Book of sentence of the Inquisition.
And I, Rainaud Jabbaud, cleric of Toulouse, sworn to the
service of the Inquisition, have on the order of My Lord the Bishop, faithfully corrected the above confessions against
Beatrice was condemned to the Wall on March 8, 1321. She lived
to see her sentence commuted to the wearing of double yellow
crosses on July 4, 1322 having survived immurred for over
Amilhac, priest and husband, was condemned to the Wall at
on the 8th of March 1321, the same day as Beatrice. Barthélemy
had his sentence commuted on the same day as well in his case
to simple penitence, without having to wear the yellow
The translation above is based on that of Nancy P. Stork. (©
1996). A few changes have been made - eg preferring English name
spellings rather than French for Occitan names, when the occitan
form is not used.
Anotations are the web-master's.
Click on the following link for Barthélemy
Click on the following link for more source
documents concerning Cathar Belief