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On this date in 1244, 220 men, women and children were burned by Crusaders below the fallen citadel of Montsegur.  These people were adherents to a non-Roman version of Christianity known as Catharism.  This was the final major act in a persecution which had persisted for decades.

We have all heard versions of the phrase "Kill them all; God will know his own."  The phrase was first uttered in 1209, just prior to the fall of the town of Beziers; the speaker was the Papal Legate Arnaud-Armery.  Beziers was a town divided between Catharists and Catholics.  The day before the town fell, the legate was asked by his military leaders how they were supposed to distinguish between Catharists and Catholics.  His reply resulted in the massacre of 15-20,000 townspeople.

Below the fold, a video which explores the remains of the citadel at Montsegur.


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