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Related: heresy - 1100s - France - religion

Cathars being expelled from Carcassone in 1209.


In the summer of 2005, I spent some time in the land of the Cathars, in southern France. The Dutch word ketter, which means heretic is derived from cathar.

Catharism was a religious movement with Gnostic elements that originated around the middle of the 10th century, branded by the contemporary Roman Catholic Church as heretical. It existed throughout much of Western Europe, but its home was in Languedoc and surrounding areas in southern France.

The name Cathar most likely originated from Greek catharos, "the pure ones". One of the first recorded uses is Eckbert von Schönau who wrote on heretics from Cologne in 1181: "Hos nostra germania catharos appellat." --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cathar [Aug 2005]

The world was evil
Catharism was based on the idea that the world was evil. This was a distinct feature of older versions of Gnosticism and Neoplatonism, such as Manicheanism and the theology of the Bogomils, and the appearance of this idea in Catharism was probably due to the influence of these older Gnostic lines of thought. According to the Cathars, the world had been created by an evil deity known to the Gnostics as the Demiurge. The Cathars identified the Demiurge with the being the Christians called Satan. Earlier Gnostics, however, did not identify the Demiurge with Satan. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cathar#Beliefs [Aug 2005]

The God of the Old Testament was the Devil
They believed that the God of the Old Testament was the Devil, since he had created the world. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cathar#Beliefs [Aug 2005]

Women were equals
Women were treated as equals, because their physical form was irrelevant; their soul could have been a man's soul before, and it might once again become one. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cathar#Beliefs [Aug 2005]

Cathar Perfects were also vegans. They were required to avoid eating anything considered to be a by-product of sexual reproduction, including cheese, eggs, milk and butter. Having said this, they were allowed to eat fish, as little was then known about the mating habits of marine creatures which were generally believed to simply appear spontaneously in the sea. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cathar#Beliefs [Aug 2005]

Free love
The idea [of free love] has appeared various times in history such as among the Cathars of Medieval France. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_love [Aug 2005]

The last Cathars and Cathar influence
The last Cathar Perfect, Guillaume Bélibaste, was executed in 1321. Other movements, such as the Waldensians and the pantheistic Brethren of the Free Spirit survived into the 14th and 15th century, until they were gradually replaced by, or absorbed into, early Protestant sects, such as the Hussites. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cathar#Suppression [Aug 2005]

In 1163 bedacht Eckbert van Schönau de term kathaar. Het woord ketter is verwant met Kathaar. Men geloofde indertijd dat de duivel op aarde zou verschijnen in de vorm van een kat. Duivelaanbidders zouden deze kat dan vereren door hem te kussen, vooral op zijn anus (Walter Map - diaken in Oxford in 1180). --http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katharen#Naamgeving [Aug 2005]

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