Item description for The Yellow Cross: The Story of the Last Cathars' Rebellion Against the Inquisition, 1290-1329 (Vintage) by Rene Weis...
Overview Remarkable for both its details about life in a medieval village and the tragic story it recounts, "The Yellow Cross" is an achievement of scholarship and historical narrative. The author re-creates the Cathars' final struggle and offers a moving portrait of a people and their day-to-day lives.
Publishers Description The Yellow Cross""is a harrowing tale of a desperate people in a small corner of France who defied the kings of Europe and the Pope. The Cathars, whose religion was based on the Gospels but contradicted the tenets set forth by Rome, found themselves the focus of ruthless repression. In systematic waves of brutal persecution, thousands of Cathars were captured, summarily tried, and burned at the stake as heretics. Yet so ardent was their faith that during the years 1290 to 1329, the Cathars rose up one last time. Rene Weis tells the dramatic and moving story of these thirty years, offering a rich medieval tale of faith, adventure, sex, and courage. Having spent years exploring a rich trove of untouched information, including trial records and interrogation transcripts, Weis creates a remarkably detailed portrait of the last great gasp of the movement and the day-to-day life of the individual Cathars in their villages. This is an exceptionally vivid re-creation of a fascinating, and otherwise lost, world.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 0.75" Width: 5.25" Height: 8" Weight: 0.95 lbs.
Release Date Aug 13, 2002
Edition Vintage Books
ISBN 0375704418 ISBN13 9780375704413
Availability 1 units. Availability accurate as of Oct 24, 2016 06:41.
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More About Rene Weis
Rene Weis is Professor of English Literature at University College London. He is the author of numerous scholarly publications and of "Criminal Justice: The True Story of Edith Thompson," published to critical acclaim in Britain in 1988.
Reviews - What do customers think about The Yellow Cross: The Story of the Last Cathars' Rebellion Against the Inquisition, 1290-1329 (Vintage)?
The work of a genius May 23, 2005
An exceptional presentation based heavily on historical records. Weis refrains from undue speculation and lets the records speak. Nevertheless, his exquistive writing helps bring the story to life. Ironically, the Inquisitions own detailed records from 1290-1329 were preserved and enabled Weis to recreate many of the activities in the village of Montaillou, France.
Cathar religion is not the focus of this history, but elements of Cathar thought and practice are unavoidably present. The pluses and minuses of being a Cathar are presented, at least for the residents of Montaillou. Despite the asceticim of Cathar spiritual leaders, the sexual promiscuity of some Cathars is not glossed over.
Sadly, in this case, the reason for the Inquistions interest in Montaillou seems to have been, not primarily their religious difference but the reluctance of people in that area to pay the Church's taxes.
I read this book in 3 days, but I took a break after every 2 chapters or so because following all the detail challenged my focus. The amount of detail Weis was able to assemble is staggering. To his credit, he kept the story flowing. I've never read history at this fine a granularity. I never before was aware what life in medieval Europe might be like.
Weis seems superhuman. How he assimilated so many facts and presented it so clearly and vividly is far beyond my understanding. A work of this quality and power seem to me very rare [Another book on Montaillou, by Ladurie, may be even more detailed, enough to perhaps be of interest only to academicians, but apparently makes a heavily pro-Church interpretation]. Even if the Cathars are not your interest, I'd recommend this book for its extraordinary presentation of life in a medieval village. I've never before felt this connected to people of the Middle Ages: I'm very impressed by them.
The Folks We Know the Best from the Middle Ages Aug 5, 2004
Be forewarned: This is not a book for people who know nothing of the Middle Ages, the Inquisition, the Cathars or the small Langdocien village called Montaillou. If you are one of those, plese do yourself a favor in seeking out 'Montaillou' by Emmanuel le Roy Durie first. Drawing extensively on Inquisition documents (in their original latin) as well as his own research sur place, Mr Weis offers an astounding plunge into the everyday lives of people like you or I in the 13th century. Through a fluke of history, the implantation of a heresy known as Catharism or Albighensiesm in this small village, we know more about it, mu_ch more, than any other town, large or small; from the time. The ever-vigilant eye of the Inquisition fell upon it for a couple of decades, leaving a treasure trove of infomation for enterprising scolars like Weis. Who lived where, who slept with whom? Why? Who ate what? A priori, not the stuff of exciting crime fiction, but given the elevated stakes (no pun intended, burning at the stake was an everyday reality for these humble people!) Do yourself a favor. Get to know them. For me these folks are as real as my physical neighbours, and my life is all the richer for it. Do yourself a favour. Buy this book and give it time. For the properly prepared reader, it offers a world of richness to savour and savour again!