Montaillou: Cathars and Catholics in a French Village, 1294-1324 - Emmanuel Le Roy LadurieLondon: Scolar Press, 1978, Hardback in Dust Wrapper.
Condition: Very Good — in Very Good Dust Wrapper. Unlaminated dust wrapper a little edgeworn and faded with slightly more fading to the spine. Previous owners' name to the first blank.
Contains: Maps ; Photographic end papers & blanks;
From the cover: “Between 1318 and 1325 Jacques Fournier, Bishop of Pamiers, later Pope Benedict XII at Avignon, carried out an inquisition in a village in the Pyrenees, in what was then the independent Comte de Foix. Montaillou was a small community of some 250 souls, farmers and shepherds, of no particular interest except that it became the subject of this extraordinarily detailed and exhaustive inquisition. As a result of Fournier’s tireless interrogation we know more about Montaillou than we know about any other medieval village in the world.
Fournier’s motive was the elimination of heresy, in particular the Cathar or Albigensian heresy. The migrant shepherds of Montaillou, moving their flocks seasonally from the mountains to the Spanish plains, were a fuel line for its dissemination. But his enquiries went beyond heretical matters, and he ended by uncovering all the secrets of the village, great or small. Everything was written down: the wanderings and intimate life of the shepherd Maury, the numerous sexual liaisons of the priest Pierre Clergue, the romantic passions of the chatelaine Beatrice de Planissoles. The structure of village relationships was exposed, in particular the way in which the secular power was linked to the power of the priesthood in the tyrannical Clergue family. And the rites attending death, the superstitions, crimes, lore and mythology of a remote mountain people were noted and recorded.
On the basis of Fournier’s Register Professor Le Roy Ladurie has produced an outstanding work of’total history’, a vivid and elaborate study of the social, economic and religious life of a medieval village. He describes in detail the practices and beliefs of the Cathars, but they are not the subject of the book. It is the village, its people and its ethnic identity which is its true subject, and no doubt the reason for its remarkable success in France. Now translated into English, the interest and value of Montaillou to historians and sociologists will be very great, and the ordinary reader will gain from it an unprecedented insight into the world of seven centuries ago.”