The beautiful Cathars of Languedoc

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The ideas of the beautiful  Cathars of Languedoc spread across western Europe

Cathar comes from the Greek: καθαροί, katharoi, "the pure [ones]"

They built on the dualistic theology of Manichaenism

Which they blended with the eastern Christianity of Byzantium

They were ascetic: believing the matetial world was the evil realm of Satan

Whilst the world of the spirit was the beautiful realm of good God(s)

Within each individual this battle between Good and Evil was mirrored

This syncretic blend of religions denied the vengeful Jehovah of the Old Testament

And was anathema to the powerful in Rome who launched an Inquisition and the Aligensian Crusade

This attempt at the genocide of an idea led to tens of thousands being massacred

For instance, Simon de Montefort decreed than a hundred Cathars should have their eyes, lips and noses removed

A Cathar with one eye led them back to their village as a warning

Cathars were strictly non-violent and this left them vulnerable to the hyper-violence of their age

From 1200 AD until 1250 AD thousands were burnt alive for refusing to recant or to take communion

It took hundreds of years to wipe out the human traces of this beautiful religion

Now a few of their castles remain in the mountains of Languedoc

But their ideas have never died but have come alive again in a new age: veganism,  vegetarianism, mysticism, equality of the sexes, living in the moment, alternative medicine

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

For the beautiful Cathars of Languedoc.

◄ Tomorrow belongs to me

A slight rewrite of psalm 137. ►

Comments

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John Marks

Sun 16th Dec 2018 16:37

Yes Jacob. Islamophobes and other empty-headed bigots would do well to study the history of the imposition of colonialism, commerce and (a particular form of) Christianity around the world.. The Byzantines, for instance, feared the barbarity of western European crusaders much more than they did the threat from the Muslim Turks. Voltaire in his novel 'Candide' mocked how European colonists used the cross as a justification for their crushing of native civilizations (the Aztecs, the Incas, the Mayans, the Hopi, the Caribs, the Navajo...the list goes on) throughout the Americas. This was just a continuation of the history of the Inquisition's crushing of 'heretics' like the Cathars in Europe.

Big Sal

Sun 16th Dec 2018 12:11

When Christopher Columbus landed near the Taino, he soon demanded a hawk's belly full of gold be delivered to him daily in order to extort the local population of all their valuables. Every person that didn't pay tribute had their hands cut off one by one. He decimated them with more than just disease.

Leopold of Belgium also did the same thing for the Congo's rubber trees - demanded payment and those that didn't suffered the same fate of mutilation.

I'm a student of history in all its brutal forms, but this piece, John has an ephemeral feel to it, as not many care about the past and its atrocities. If here for only a moment - but so worth the time to read and learn.💔

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