The Cathar Period
Lord of Cabaret during the Cathar period was Peir Rotgiers (Peter-Roger)
- or rather he was the most important of the Lords of cabaret.
His castles and village sheltered Cathar 'Perfects' during the
Cathar wars (Albigensian Crusade) and Cathar bishops are known to
have stayed in Cabaret, including Arnaud Hot, Pierre Isarn and Guiraud
the Cathar Crusade this was one of the most ardent centres of resistance
to the French Crusaders, In 1209 it was besieged unsuccessfully,
de Montfort. The Song of the Cathar Wars makes no mention of
this unsuccessful siege, but relates what happened in Spring 1210
at laisse 41. One of Simon de Montfort's lieutenant, Bouchard de
Marly, whom Simon had appointed as the new lord of nearby Saissac,
rode out with an inadequate military escort:
Bouchard was holding Saissac, which had been given to him by simon.
He and Fifty Frenchmen went out in arms one day
and encountered the men of Cabaret.
There were at least ninety of these: horse, foot
and fourteen archers, and they encircled the French
and attacked and pressed them hard.
But our Frenchmen kept close-ranked and in good order
and were not alarmed by their threats and shouting,
so that many were killed on both sides.
In the end, sadly, it was Bouchard's men who suffered defeat,
and he himself was captured and taken away.
As for those who died, they are forgotten.
May God receive their souls in his glorious heaven
when this world comes to its end
the Summer, The Song of the Cathar Wars laisse 54-56 reports the
Lord of Cabaret, Peir Rotgiers (Peter-Roger), riding out by moonlight
to burn trebuchets at Carcassonne that had been loaded onto carts
next to the river Aude, to take to Termes.
It was at Cabaret that a line of a hundred men appeared on foot,
having snaked their way from Bram,
their eyes torn out, their noses cropped and their lips cut off
by the Holy Catholic soldiers of Christ carrying out what they described
as "God's Business". They were sent to Lastours to horrify
and terrify the people there.
In March 1211, a few months after the fall of Termes,
a new crusader army arrived at Carcassonne. Peter-Roger de Cabaret
feared that he could not withstand a siege like that of Termes.
Taking a massive risk he released his prisoner Bouchard de Marly,
gave him fine clothes, a fine palfrey and his castle at Cabaret.
Simon's banner now flew over another Cathar stronghold. (The Song
of the Cathar Wars laisse 62-65)
By 1223 the position had changed significantly and Simon de Montfort
and his crusaders were more hated than ever. Pierre-Roger recovered
his property. Once again Cabaret became the foremost centre of resistance
against the French invaders. The Lords of Lastours lead resistance
to the Crusaders between 1220 to 1229, a period therefore known
as the Guerre de Cabaret. The Cathar bishop of Carcassonne,
Pierre Isarn, was given refuge here until 1226 and it became the
seat of his bishopric..
1227, the castles were again besieged, unsuccessfully, this time
by Humbert de Beaujeu during the Guerre de Cabaret. After the Council
in 1229 the Seigneurs of Cabaret were obliged to abandon their stronghold.
It was then confiscated by Humbert.
The population was moved to a new settlement called Riviere, on
the site of the terraces between the Old Church and the river.
In 1238 orders were given for Lastours to be transformed into a
royal fortress. The Seigneurs of Cabaret regained it, briefly, when
they accompanied their liege Lord, Trencavel, in his attempted re-conquest
Riviere was abandoned in turn in 1836, when the populace was moved
to present location of the village of Lastours.
1211. Release of Bouchard de Marley & Surrender of Cabaret.
A l'intrar de caresma, cant baicha la freidor
E comensa a venir lo dous temps de Pascor,
Si movon li crozat e li ostejador,
Que somonitz los an nostre prezicador.
L'avesque de Tholosa, cui Dami-Dieus honor !
En an dedins la vila receubut per senhor
A gran procecio com un emperador.
Del devet los absols, si qu'ieu cugé laor
Que aguessan patz faita per totz temps de bon cor;
Mas pois vi ques mescleron per mot granda iror.
L'avesque anec en Fransa prezicar cascun jorn,
E crozan se li princep, H baro elh comdor
El cavaler de lai.
Lo coms P. d'Ausurra, Rotberts de Cortenai,
El chantres de Paris, si col libres retrai,
Vengron ab mot gran ost devas Paris en sai.
A Carcassona intrero en lo pais de sai.
E aujatz de Jhesu quinhas vertutz i fai,
Aisi coma lo libres vos ditze \'os retrai.
Aicels de Cabaretz s'en deron gran esglai ;
Lo senher P. Rogiers gran matinet s'en vai
An Bochart, que es près, en la cambra on jai :
« Bochart, » so li a dit, « vos estes, ben o sai,
« De mot granda natura e proz om e verai ;
« Vos no faretz ja causa que a faire no fai,
« E si ieu vos solvia no sai si i trobarai
« Merce ni cauziment, mas tôt o assajarai.
Ane no fi traïcio ni no la perchasai.
Doncas, » ditz P. Rogiers , « vos no siretz près
« E mi e mo castel vos Ihivre atrazai. » [mai],
Apelè .1. maestre, dels fers traire lo fai,
Tondrel fai e banhar tôt suavet, e mai
Una mot bêla rauba e un palafre bai
Li a fait amarvir, c'anc nol mes en assai.
Gant aiso viu Bochartz sapchatz mot en fo jai.
Mais non ac tant gran joia des aicel temps en sai
Que de maire nasquet.
Senhors, tôt en aisi com denant vos ai dit
Lo senhor de Cabaretz no[s] mes pas en oblit :
Un maestre apela, dels fers gitar lo fist,
E de mot richa rauba noblament lo vestit.
Un palafre amblan, c'anc om gensor non vit,
Li donè a chivager ; e can fo be vestit
Très donzels per solatz a chivau li amarvig,
E el anè ab lui tro a deforas per guit ;
Mas ans que s'en anesson nis fossan départit
De Ihui e del castel l'a del tôt revestit
E Ih'en fist omenatge senes tôt contradit.
En Bochartz li promist elh juré elh plevit (p. 38)
Que de las soas partz no sera ja trait,
Ni, can venra a la fin, quel plaitz er devezitz,
Nol tindra om per fol nin sera escarnitz. _
E el no i falhit doncas, que ben lo atendit j
So que promes l'avia.
Cant lo coms de Montfort e l'autra baronia
E li un e li autre an la noela auzia
Que mesira Bochartz es souts e que venia,
No vos cal demandar s'ilh agron alegria.
Tuit van encontra lui a aicela vegia.
Can so [s'jentrebaizé, pregan lo que lor dia
Si el s' es ostatgetz, e el ditz que no mia,
« Ans avem lo castel e la nostra bailia,
< E soi totz souts e quites co auziretz d'aital guia :
« Mosenher P. Rotgiers m'a dat la senhoria
« De trastot son castel que contra nos ténia,
« E a preza amistat am mi e gran paria ;
« Es eu li ai promes, si Dieus mi benazia,
« Qu'ilh en sera trop mielhs a trastota sa via,
Doncas, » ditz lo coms fortz, « ben gran tort
« Si no Ih'en era melher la nostra companhia.
« Ja mais nulhs om de vos alunhar nol devria.
Oi Dieus ! » dizon trastuit, « dama santa Maria,
« Co a fait gran proeza e granda cortezia !
< No a baro en Fransa, ni cug que mais i sia,
« Que l'agues comensea. »
Tota aisela noit tro en la matineia
A mesira Bochart gran joia demeneia ;
E l'endema tan tost co l'alba es crebeia
En es ves Gabaretz lo plus de l'ost aleia.
Lai fon lor acordansa dicha e devizeia ;
Bochartz l'a tôt primer, vezent de totz, parleia,
Que als us e als autres de totas partz agreia.
La senha al comte fort an sus la tor montea ;
Lo castel establiron ladoncs nostra crozeia ;
Aisi fo Gabaretz comquis esta vegeia.
Ar vejatz cals vertutz i fo doncs demonstreia :
Que si tota la gent que en est mon fo neia
Esteso tôt entorn e enviro asetgeia
Nol prezeran ja ilh una poma peleia ;
Mas contra la ost de Crist no a castel dureia,
Ni ciutatz que ilh trobon ; tan no es enserreia.
E per so fa que fols qui am crozatz guerreia,
Cane om no s'en gauzi can venc a la fineia,
Que non fos cofondutz.
1211. Release of Bouchard de Marley & Surrender of Cabaret.
Count Peter of Auxerre, Robert of Courtenay and the precentor of
Paris, as the book says, brought a very strong force from the Paris
region and entered Carcassonne. Hear what a miracle Jesus did there,
as the book tells you -
The men in Cabaret were very alarmed at the arrival of this contingent,
and one morning very early Peter Roger, lord of Cabaret, went to
see his prisoner Sir Bouchard in the room where he lay in irons.
'Bouchard,' he said, 'I know you have a noble heart, you are a
true and valiant man and would never do anything that should not
be done. I don't know whether I shall meet with thanks and compassion
if l set you free, but I am going to take the risk.'
'I have never done or commanded anything dishonourable'
'Well then,' said Peter Roger, 'you are no longer a prisoner, and
here and now I make over to you my castle and myself.' He sent for
a smith and had Bouchard released from his irons, had him given
a comfortable bath and his hair cut, and besides this he gave him
very handsome clothes and a bay palfrey, for he was not joking but
in good earnest. You can imagine Bouchard's delight. Never had he
known such happiness since the day his mother gave him birth.
My lords, just as I have been telling you, the lord of Cabaret
omitted nothing: he summoned a smith and had Sir Bouchard freed
from his irons and nobly clad in rich robes; he gave him a pacing
palfrey to ride, the handsomest ever seen; and when he was properly
dressed he gave him three young noblemen on horseback for an escort
and himself rode with him out of the castle. Before they went, he
invested him with the castle and with himself and did him unconditional
homage. Sir Bouchard promised him on oath that he for his part would
never betray Peter Roger's trust, and that when his case was finally
settled no one should think him a fool or laugh at him for releasing
Sir Bouchard. Nor did Bouchard break his word, for he kept his promise
You need not ask whether the count de Montfort and his lords were
glad when they heard that Bouchard was free and would soon be with
them. They all went at once to welcome him. When they had met and
kissed, they begged him to say whether or not he had given hostages,
and he said no, indeed he had not.
'On the contrary, I am absolutely free and we have command of the
castle. Listen, and I'll tell you how it happened: my lord Peter
Roger has given me the lordship of his whole castle which he was
holding against us, and has established friendship and a close alliance
with me. And I, God grant me his blessing! have promised him that
he shall be the better for this all his life long, and I will give
him twice as much as he now possesses.'
'In that case,' said the Count de Montfort, 'it would be very wrong
if our company were not to be good to him. Not one you must hold
him at arm's length.'
'Ah God'; said they all, 'blessed Mary! What a noble deed he has
done, what an act of courtesy! There's not a man in France, I'm
sure there never will be, who could have done this.'
Sir Bouchard celebrated his release all that night till dawn, and
at ñrst light the majority of the force entered Cabaret.
There the terms of the agreement were-announced and discusssed.
Bouchard spoke fist, in the hearing of them all, and the agreement
was fully accepted by all parties on both sides. Count Simon's banner
was raised on top of the tower.
That is how Cabaret was taken, and how our crusaders manned its
See what a miracle it was, for if all the people ever born in the
world surrounded that fortress, the defenders would think them worth
less than a peeled apple, it is so strong. But against the host
of Christ no castle, no Citadel can stand, however strong its battlements.
Only a fool opposes the crusaders, a fool who may rejoice at first
but in the end must be defeated.
Lastours from a distance
The route up to Lastours
|Cabaret - courtyard
Cabaret - courtyard, blind arcades