Item description for The Cathars (The Peoples of Europe) by Lambert...
Overview A comprehensive account of one of the most mysterious medieval heretical sects--against which the Catholic Church launched a crusade to uproot them in the south of France. Assessing a rich amount of international research, THE CATHARS studies the rise and fall of the heresy from the 12th-century Rhineland to 15th-century Bosnia, and the Church's counteractions. 8 photos. 12 map.
Publishers Description This is the first comprehensive account in English of the most feared and the most mysterious of medieval heretics.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.02" Width: 6.03" Height: 0.75" Weight: 1.09 lbs.
Release Date Jul 14, 1998
ISBN 063120959X ISBN13 9780631209591
Availability 0 units.
More About Lambert
Malcolm Lambert was Reader in Medieval History at the University of Bristol until 1991 when he retired to devote himself to writing and research. His previous books are Franciscan Poverty (1961, reissued 1998) and Medieval Heresy (2nd edition, 1992).
Reviews - What do customers think about The Cathars (The Peoples of Europe)?
Strong Content But Lacking In Presentation Aug 10, 2005
I hate to give a book that contains such a wealth of information, such a low rating. However, there are many problems with this book that make it necessary. To begin with, the writing is very dry which makes it difficult to read, although it does improve later in the book. I also didn't care much for the organization. Lastly, the font used is small, and this makes it all the more difficult to read for any length of time. If you are studying the Cathars, then this is undoubtedly a good book to have as a reference. However, this is not a good book for reading about the subject, especially if you are looking for an introduction to the topic.
Compelling tale of heresy.... Dec 20, 2000
THE CATHARS by Malcolm Lambert, is very informative and extremely well documented with primary and secondary material. Mr Lambert was a Reader in Medieval History at the University of Bristol in the U.K. until 1991 when he retired to write.
Lambert says although some think the name Cathar is taken from the Greek word for "pure" it was probably applied by outsiders in reference to a Satanic cat ritual. The Cathars called themselves "perfects" and as far as is known they did not engage in rituals involving cats. In fact, they were vegetarians who avoided animal products. They were persecuted for their belief that Jesus and Satin were brothers, a belief considered heretical by the Catholic Church.
Persecution of the Cathars took many forms, the most violent occurring in France. In the 12th and 13th Centuries, the Capet family (Louis to Phillip the Fair) was in the process of uniting France under it's rule. The southern region, known as Languedoc, was resisting the Capets. At the same time, several Popes (Boniface, Innocent, etc.), were threatened by German Emperors from Frederick Barbarossa to Frederick II. The French Kings offered their protection to the Popes and in exchange, the Popes "authorized" the Capet family to subdue Languedoc, a Cathar stronghold. Their joint venture is known as the Albigensian Crusade.
Later on, the Popes sent church "inquirers" known as Inquisitors to investigate heresy in Languedoc. In reality, "untold numbers of persons" were probably not burned, but many died or were imprisoned. Of the more than 5,000 persons known to have been interrogated by the Inquisitors in Languedoc, about 50 were burned at the stake. Lambert says everything else is speculation since most of the records were destroyed.
In Italy, the Ghibellines were allies of the German Emperors and enemies of the Guelphs who supported the Pope. Although Frederick II had sworn to root out heresy, his "rooting" was lax. Many of the Ghibbilines were Cathars, and since they kept a number of Italian cities friendy to his cause so he had no great incentive to destroy them. When Frederick II died, both the Ghibellines and the Cathars were at risk. Some were burned, but many escaped to Bosnia. The Cathars in Bosnia lived a relatively peaceful existence until Islam crushed the Balkans in the 15th Century.
According to Lambert, the Cathars probably would have died out eventually anyway. They did not believe in sexual reproduction. Also, most people became Cathars owing to family connections and did not really understand the "dual-God" aspects of the religion. The Cathar theology was confusing anyway, and as people became educated, they fell away from Cathar teachings.
Lambert says the Cathars did not take vows of poverty as some have suggested. They were from all walks of life, nobles to maids. The attraction of Catharism lay in it's emphasis on simplicity in this life, and the emotional comfort the 'perfects' offered regarding death and the next life. In an age when many Catholic clergy were distant and aloof, and the emphasis of the church was tithing and the aqusition of material wealth, the Cathar perfects were seen as the "real" Christians. St. Francis of Assis suggested one way to rid the Church of heresy was to preach directly to the people and live exemplary lives of love and compassion.
The Inquisitors became very powerful after the 13th Century, until the 16th Century. Lambert says after the Cathars and other heretics were no longer a threat, "Witchcraft fell under the purview of the inquisitors." The result was "Malleus maleficarum" or the "bible of the witch-hunters." He says the "witch craze spanned the Reformation and blackens the reputations of Catholics and Protestants alike." Burning people was not exclusive to the Catholic Church.
All good writers have a better editor. Dec 24, 1999
This is a wonderful book for academicians to use for research on a little known and less understood culture of the middle ages. It is full of very good and accurate information. But, it is seriously flawed in that it needs a good editing. If the publishers are considering a second printing, I hope they will first submit the manuscript to a professional editor.