by ANTHONY W. MARTIN
Heresy, Crusade and Inquisition in Southern France 11001250 by Walter Wakefield (Allen (St Unwin, 15.25)
This is a comprehensive, welldocumented, clearly-written account of the heresies in the Languedoc region in the 12th and 13th centuries.
Professor Wakefield is fully at home in his subject, and makes his reader share his own familiarity with the character and problems of the Mediterranean world in relation to those of the Church. He contrasts the simplicity and austerity of the "Believers" with the luxury and extravagance of prominent figures in the Languedoc hierarchy.
In a fascinating chapter he shows the influence of the Crusaders and pilgrims in linking the Bogomils of Bulgaria with the "Believers" of Southern France. Their preoccupation with the problem of how a good God can tolerate evil in His world led them to the Manichee theory of a creation under the dual control of spirit and matter eternally opposed to each other.
This does indeed provide an answer of a kind, though the moral principles resulting from an identification of evil with material things could have led to far-reaching consequences which, unfortunately, are not considered in this work.
Professor Wakefield draws the contrast between a northern France feudalised by the Normans, and the south with its lack of any strong centralised authority, its conflicts between landowners, clerical and secular, and the towns with their tradition of government by elected consuls.
The author's researches led him to question the numbers of Cathars, and to conclude that they were rendered more important by the climate of anticlericalism which was so strong in the south of France, where the nobility resented the growing estates or the Church and,, though for the most part orthodox in religion, were radical enough politically to provide shelter for the Cathars if only in an attempt to show their independence. In particular this is to be seen in the persons of Counts Raymond VI and VII of Toulouse, whose extremely shifty characters contrast with the determination of Pope Innocent III and St Dominic and the single-mindedness of Simon de Montfort.
Montfort's difficulties, too, arc examined. A more able general than either of the counts, he was hindered by the terms of the Indulgence which the Pope had offered to intending Crusaders. Since 40 days' service would earn them the Indulgence they required, Montfort could never count with certainty on having a sufficiency of followers on a longterm basis and his conquests proved ephemeral in the extreme — not fully secured till the French monarchy of Louis IX took the field and brought Toulouse into its own area of control.
Equally interesting and revealing is Professor Wakefield's examination of the organisation and proceedings of the early Inquisition and the ways in which its methods became established by precedent — almost by accident — into the forms used against later heresies.
This is backed by the appendices giving the "Chronicle of William Pelhisson," an extremely important contemporary account of the Dominicans' work in the Languedoc, as well as a "Manual for Inquisitors," two "Sentences by Inquisitors," and a "Testimony against a Cathar " These, together with the formidable bibliography, and the references given at the end of each chapter, make this a highly authoritative work and one to be strongly recommended.