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The Albigensian Crusades (Ann Arbor Paperbacks) Paperback

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Product Details

  • Series: Ann Arbor Paperbacks
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: University of Michigan Press (September 1, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0472064762
  • ISBN-13: 978-0472064762
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #892,509 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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42 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Dianne Foster HALL OF FAME on December 23, 2000
Format: Paperback
THE ALBIGENSIAN CRUSADES by Joseph R. Strayer is really two books inside one jacket. The first book, by Strayer consists of a 174-page overview of the two crusades, one led by Simon de Montfort and the second under the auspices of the French Royals in Paris. The second "book" is an Epilogue by Carol Lansing, that examines heresy versus orthodoxy.
Strayer's book is about 30 years old, and while his writing seems mostly accurate, he is inclined to make generalizations some contemporary historians might not. For example, he says a necessary condition for the growth of "heresy" is a set of fluid economic and social circumstances that lead to uncertainty about personal well-being as well as exposure to people with different ways of thinking. In other words, material conditions go a long way toward explaining a diversity of faiths.
Strayer says the feudalism of the north (France) was virtually nonexistent in Languedoc (Strayer calls it Occitania) and primogeniture was not the hereditary rule. At the death of the father, properties were split up amongst the sons, and the wealth and power of successive generations diluted. Often, the loss of noble wealth and power was augmented. One means was to become a member of the Roman Catholic clergy and the other was commerce. The redistribution of wealth and power led to a new social order where the cities became dominant.
Languedoc, lay at the end of a main trade route that ran through Italy and into the East, and by 1200, the area was more like Italy with it's independent cities based on commercial wealth, than the feudal north with it's huge rural estates owned by landed nobility. New ideas and new people settled in Occitania, bringing diverse religious practices.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By R. Albin TOP 500 REVIEWER on February 10, 2002
Format: Paperback
Strayer mastered the art of distilling complex topics into readable extended essays. His book, On The Medieval Origins of the Modern State, is generally regarded as a minor classic and should be read by everyone with a serious interest in European history. The Albigensian Crusades is organized well, insightful, and written well. In this brief book, Strayer provides the appropriate theological, social, and political background, delivers a concise narrative of the Albigensian Crusades, describes the primary actors very well, and summarizes the remarkably significant consequences of what appears to be an obscure episode in Medieval history. The Albigensian Crusades were motivated primarily by the desire of the Papacy to extinguish heresy in what we now call the South of France. Drawing on the Crusading tradition, and greed, of the northern French nobility, the papacy set in train a process that destroyed the political independence of the indigenous nobility and did eliminate eventually the Cather heretics of the region. The unintended consequences were remarkable. The Albigensian Crusade became the conquest of the south by the Kings of France, whose real authority had been limited to the north. The result was the foundation for the modern boundaries of France and made the French monarchs the most powerful kings in Europe. The Albigensian Crusade and its aftermath largely destroyed the distinctive culture of the south. More urbanized than the north, tolerant of both Christian heretics and Jews, possessing distinctive legal codes and literary traditions, the south more resembled the nascent city-states of Italy than the feudal north.Read more ›
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Brendon Schlitt on October 7, 2000
Format: Paperback
An amazing book detailing the situation in 13th Century Languedoc / Southern France and the major players involved. It paints a great picture of the French monarchy in relation to southern France. This sets the table for most feared instrument in the history of the Roman Church - The Inquisition. A must for any one interested in Church history and the Crusades.
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