Cathari (the pure)  

The village of Minerve was the scene of a Cathar massacre in 1210 A.D. during the crusades.  The Cathars sought spiritual freedom and were annihilated by the established Roman Church in the 13th century.

Village Minerve

Minerve, Languedoc

The village of Minerve is located in a remote location in Languedoc.  Cathari (Greek katharos,"pure") is a name assumed by various heretical Christian sects of the Middle Ages.  The Cathars believed that matter is inherently evil and only the spiritual is good; salvation came through conquering the needs of the body. They abstained from marriage and from eating any animal products. The Cathars were considered heretics since their practices were viewed as a mortal threat to the "establishment" (Roman Church).   Around Albi the Cathars were called Albigensains.  They aimed to replace the "corrupt" Church establishment of the time with their own "perfect" elite.  Hence the term Cathari (the pure).  They attracted many who wanted a simple church with spiritual theology.  Converts came from the lesser nobility, artisans, and peasants - those with little or no position or power of the Church. The Cathar population of France was largely rural and was completely suppressed by the end of the 13th century at the cost of about a million innocent lives.


Siege Mentality

This photo of a roadside map illustrates the challenge for the attacking forces in the 13th century; there was no bridge.  The natural terrain offered an excellent venue to defend.  The impregnable fortress village provided good protection during the siege until the only source of water was destroyed by the attackers.  Historical facts of the events do not agree.  Some sources say the village Viscount negotiated a settlement to save the non-Cathar, Christian population; the remaining Cathars were subsequently burned at the stake.  Other accounts indicate that the attackers didn't know who of the defenders were Christian and who were Cathar.  Solution?  Burn them all and let God sort it out!   Either way, this marked the beginning of the Albigensian Crusade (1208-1229) and hard times for the Cathar.

Cathar Memorial

Sign of the times

A memorial stone is located just outside the original Cathar church.  Note the date of 1210.  The remarkable point to be made here is that this stone was placed about 30 years ago!  The spirit of the Cathar culture is still very much alive.

Today the village offers quiet respite for the traveler.



video patrick on minerve

Patrick offers his thoughts on the siege of Minerve.

[Broadband download time about 20 seconds.]

 Return to Menu    Bus Image