Cathar Castles:   
Château de Bram ( The Name in Occitan. Click here to find out more about Occitan. Castèl de Bram)

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Bram was a castrum in the Languedoc, attacked by the army of the French Crusaders. Today there is no trace of the medieval fortifications there.

When Bram fell in 1210, 100 prisoners had their noses cropped, their lips cut off and their eyes gauged out. One man was left with one eye so that he could guide the others away.  With a hand on the shoulder of the one in front, and the one-eyed man at their head, a file of blind prisoners wound its way to Lastours (Cabaret), a visible demonstration of the ineffable mercy of God's Christian Army. 

Today, there is almost nothing to see at Bram remaining from the period, though the street layout preserves the pattern of "circulade", a typical circular village. It lies in the Aude departément.

 

 

 

Bram is a commune in the Aude department in the Languedoc-Roussillon region in southern France. The area is part of the old province of Lauragais.

In 60 BCE, the Romans began construction of a settlement here and called it Eburomagus. They selected the area because of the climate, combining the warmth of the Mediterranean with the freshness of the Atlantic. The present D33 road to the village follows the old Roman road.

The modern town dates from the 12th century, built around its fortress church. The only way into the village was by a gate to the east. Bram is a circulade, its concentric rings once defended by walls and now evidenced by concentric roads.

Bram was a centre of Cathar belief. In 1210, the head of the Crusaders, Simon de Montfort, came here from Montlaur accompanied by the Spanish monk Dominic Guzman (now St. Dominic).

Simon took the citadel of Bram after three days of siege. He then had the nose and upper lip cut from each prisoner, and had their eyes gauged out.. For one he left one eye eye so he could guide this lamentable cohort accross the country to seek refuge at Lastours, the intention being to terrify the Lords of Lastours into surrender.

 

 

The modern arms of Bram
 
The old Arms of Bram

 

It is widely held that the survivors of Montsegur were burnt alive there in 1244 on the famous Prat dels Cremats, but there is some reason to believe that they were brought to Bram and burned there - certainly one was.

A Cathare Parfaite called Alazaïs Raseire, who came from Bram, had been among those who sought refuge Montsegur in the first half of the thirteenth century. After the fall of Montsegur in 1244 Alazaïs was taken back to Bram to be burned alive in public there. (n 2011 the town council changed the name of the rue de la Mairie to rue Alazaïs-Raseire).

This street is named after a Cathare Parfaite called Alazaïs Raseire, originally from Bram.
She was captured at Montsegur, but was returned to Bram to be burned alive

 

By the 17th century Bram had outgrown its walls. Today nothing remains of the castle here or of the city walls

Google map showing the location of Bram

 

 


 


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Google map showing Bram

 

 

 
 

Although the Castle at Bram is long gone, it is commemorated in a street name (near the church)
(The word donjon denotes a castle keep, not a dungeon)

 
 

As Bram is a circulade, most streets curve like this one

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Nowhere in the church is their any mention of the Crusaders'attrocity at Bram, nor any recognition of responsibility.
The same is true of the burning alive of Alazaïs Raseire

 

Saint Roche - a local favourite

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Les suppliciés de Bram, 1960, by Jacques Fauché, oil on wood, 118 x 75cm

A few of the 100 men blinded and mutlilated by the Crusaders at Bram and sent to Lastours, led by a man with one eye..

 

 

 

 

 

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