In 1209 Simon of Montfort led a war against the Cathars of Languedoc after Pope Innocent III preached a crusade condemning them as heretics. The suppression of heresy became a pretext for a vicious war that remains largely unstudied as a military conflict. Laurence Marvin here examines the Albigensian Crusade as military and political history rather than religious history and traces these dimensions of the conflict through to Montfort's death in 1218. He shows how Montfort experienced military success in spite of a hostile populace, impossible military targets, armies that dissolved every forty days, and a pope who often failed to support the crusade morally or financially. He also discusses the supposed brutality of the war, why the inhabitants were for so long unsuccessful at defending themselves against it, and its impact on Occitania. This original account will appeal to scholars of medieval France, the Crusades and medieval military history.
• A major contribution to the history of the crusades and to the history of warfare in the High Middle Ages • Sheds light on the political and military history of the Albigensian Crusade • Will appeal to scholars of medieval France, the Crusades and medieval military history
1. Introduction; 2. The campaign of 1209; 3. Simon of Montfort and the campaign of 1210; 4. The campaigns of 1211; 5. Drawing the noose: the campaign year of 1212; 6. The athlete of Christ triumphs: late 1212 through Muret 1213; 7. From Muret to Casseneuil: September 1213 to December 1214; 8. The two councils and Prince Louis's crusade, January–December; 9. The southern counterattack begins: February 1216 to Fall 1217; 10. The second siege of Toulouse and end of the chief crusader: 1217 to 1218; Aftermath and epilogue.
Review of the hardback: 'An impressive and detailed … account that is particularly valuable because so much attention is devoted to a military dimension that is too often underplayed in the literature.' The Historical Association
Review of the hardback: '… a welcome addition to the historiography of the crusade.' The Tablet
Review of the hardback: 'It is a useful, highly readable and informative study that will no doubt find an important place on the bookshelves of scholars of the Albigensian crusade and provoke further debate about the use of sources in the study of the conflict.' The Medieval Review
Review of the hardback: 'Marvin's book is a most welcome addition to crusade scholarship.' Journal of Military History
'This highly accessible work is a benchmark for the writing of military and political history on the regional level … The great achievement of this text is to interweave military history into the broader patterns of medieval society in which wars were fought … all future discussions of the Albigensian crusade will have to begin with this study.' David Bachrach, H-France Review
'[Marvin's] description of the battle of Muret in 1213 is exemplary in its precision. His estimation, description, and praise of the martial skill of Simon de Monfort are reliable and learned … Marvin's clarity of purpose and candid perspective make The Occitan War a worthy contribution to scholarship.' The Journal Of Ecclesiastical History