Document Type

Honors Project


The Albigensian Crusade in Occitania (1208-1229), which targeted the Cathar heretics as well as their orthodox compatriots, impelled an otherwise disparate set of Occitan noblemen to unite in opposition to the invasion. This newfound cohesion gave birth to an Occitan political community whose members were united by common fears, goals, and virtues. Through my analysis of the second portion of the chanson de geste, The Song of the Cathar Wars, authored by an anonymous poet sympathetic to the Occitans, I suggest the emergence of this Occitan community based upon (1) the portrayal of the French crusaders as well as the Occitan resistance fighters, (2) the way the anonymous poet framed the conflict in terms of conquest rather than crusade and (3) the characteristics and ideals attributed each side, most notably paratge. The question of whether an Occitan 'nation' or community existed during the Albigensian Crusade retains its relevance today in light of recent Occitan movements whose goals range from inspiring an Occitan cultural renaissance to attempting to create a modern Occitan nation separate from France.

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