Albigensians (Albigeois) was the name given to the Cathari (Cathars), or followers of Catharism, in the region of Albi and extended to all such believers in the Midi region of France during the 13th century. Catharism, a Manachaean belief that spread throughout many parts of Europe (the Balkans, Lombardy and central italy, the Rhineland, Catalonia, and Champagne), was particularly strong in the Midi (Albi, Toulouse, Carcasonne) and was considered a heresy by the Catholic Church. As such, its followers, known for their austerity, charity, and high sense of morality, were the objects of a crusade launched by the Catholic Church (1209) and of the Catholic Inquisition (1229). The principal leaders of the Albigensians included many nobles of the languedoc. The crusade called by Pope Innocent III and led by Simon de Montfort, a French military figure, led to brutal massacres and the appropriation of Cathari properties. But, the last Albigensian stronghold, at Montségur, only fell, however, in 1244, and the Cathar Church survived in Languedoc until the 14th century. The involvement of king Louis VIII of France (1226) in the attacks on the Albigensians, and the subsequent Treaty of Paris (1229), gave to the Crown the territories conquered by de Montfort. The crusade against the Albigensians therefore marks the entrance of royal French authority into the regions of southern France.

France. A reference guide from Renaissance to the Present . 1884.

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