Why is it called the "Albigensian" Crusade?

Albi is a French city on the Tarn River that flows into the Garonne, which empties into the Gironde estuary and, finally, into the Atlantic. In the 13th century, if you lived in the region in or around Albi, you were an Albigés (Albigensian in English, Albigeois in French) according to the local language you spoke. Along with Carcassonne and Béziers, Albi was one of the chief cities in the land owing fealty to the viscounts of Trencavel.


The territory ruled by the Trencavels lay squarely in the middle of the county of Toulouse. The Crusade dreamed up by Pope Innocent III was directed at the Trencavel holdings. When the count of Toulouse, the original target of the Crusade, slithered back into the leadership of the crusaders, Viscount Raimond-Roger Trencavel tried the same ploy, but -- lacking the prestige that accrued to Raimond of Toulouse -- to no avail. Arnaud Amaury, head of the Cistercian order and in charge of the Crusade, wanted to settle an old grudge. Unlike many other lords over the years, the Trencavels had not been generous (putting it mildly) to the Cistercians, who now were literally out for blood.

Even before the Crusade, a Benedictine prior -- Geoffroi du Breuiil --began to use Albigés as a synonym for heretics living in or about Albi under the jurisdiction of the viscount. According to Cardinal Henri de Marcy – a Cistercian papal legate --- the Albigés led lives of apostolic simplicity; did not practice baptism; marriage; or he other sacraments; and ridiculed priests. To Marcy and the pope, they were definitely heretics.

After the first year of the Crusade, Albigeois became the French appellation for all so-called heretics found in the path of the crusading invaders. No matter how confusing this misnomer can be, it can always be clarified, says historian Mark Pegg, adding “unfortunately, so many modern scholars do not seem to care” that people living elsewhere back then were given a misleading, geographical label. For this reason, Lawrence Marvin, a military historian, preferred to call the Crusade the Occitanian War, an event that took place where the locals all spoke Occitan (Provençal) in most of what is now southern France.1 of 330[Test

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