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by rose marie
February 17, 2011
The above photograph shows the memorial at the church square in Minerve, in the heart of the Minervois.
This is a historical Cathar site and it is quite strange to see this sculpture in front of the “adversary” church.
The dove depicted the Freedom in Cathar believe and was also the sign for the Feminine power within their religious environment. Looking at Minerve which is situated on a perch in the middle of deep ravines, it would have seemed nearly impossible to take a naturally fortified city like this but water and/or food have always been the cause for the final surrender.
Underneath you will find a short history review:
With the backing of God and the Pope, with men hungry for loot and blood, Simon de Montfort laid siege, to the impregnable fortress village. And to speed things along he attacked St Rustique’s well, the principal water source, found at the base of the village. Four catapults were set up around the village, -three towards the city gates and the fourth – the largest named “Malevoisine” to destroy the well.
The village was well protected with double surrounding walls, and overhanging ledges; but this did not stop the fear that Montfort gave. For the Viscount Guilhem of Minerve knew that the 200 men of his garrison couldn’t resist the onslaught, if the gates should fall. And as the walls gave in of St Rustique’s well, he negotiated the town’s surrender. He saved the villagers and himself, but 140 Parfaits who had taken refuge, were burnt at the stake, because they refused to deny their faith. The burning of parfaits was the first in the crusade, a terrible act that was to be repeated for another 34 years until the fall of Montsegur.
The village is a hodge-podge of narrow alleys, topped by a simple 12th century church that always seems closed. Nearby is a charming museum full of figurines showing the history of the Cathars and Minerve.
The stone memorial in the photograph is often used to indicate cathar elements.
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