Castles and Manor Houses Home Page

Cathar Castles
Château de Muret
Demolished Medieval Cathar Castle in France

submit to reddit



Castle of Muret ( The Name in Occitan. Click here to find out more about Occitan. Castèl de Murèth)


The Battle of Muret was fought on 12 September 1213. It started as a siege of the castle castle there, but ended as an open battle - one of the very few of the Cathar Crusades. Muret is located near to the City of Toulouse

The Crusader army of Simon IV de Montfort defeated the Aragonese and Catalan forces of King Peter II of Aragon, who had come to the aid of the Occitan forces of his vassal Raymond VI, Count of Toulouse.

Muret is a commune in the Haute-Garonne department in south-western France. Today It is an outer suburb of the city of Toulouse, though it does not belong to Greater Toulouse, which it declined to join. It lies Southwest of Toulouse and is the largest component of the intercommunality of Muretain.

Today there is no vestige of the Medieval castle there, and the battlefield has been largely built over.

See separate sections below on:

Address / Maps / Location




The Battle of Muret:
illustration from the Grandes Chroniques de France


James McDonald
Tel from the US: 010 33 468 201142
Tel from the UK: 01 33 468 201142
Tel from France: 0468 201142
Tel other: + 33 468 201142


Google Maps


Small scale map showing the location of
Château de Muret

Google map showing the location of
Château de Muret

Large scale map showing
Château de Muret



The Battle took place outside the castrum of Muret, now the centre of of much larger town, so much of the battlefield lies below modern housing.





By September 1213, the town of Muret was back in the hands of the Occitan lords. About 30 crusader knights remained within the castle. They knew they could not resist for long. They sent a message to Simon de Montfort who was at Fanjeaux to come to their rescue. Simon assembled as many knights as possible among the crusaders who had not yet gone back to France after their 40 days of annual duty and they rode hotfoot to Muret. The king of Aragon ordered his men to withdraw from the town to allow Simon's troop to enter the citadel (planning to trap them there). The following day, Simon launched a sudden attack. The Meridionals were not well organised. Together with thousands Catalans, Aragonese and Occitans, the king of Aragon died in the field of battle. Simon's victory was complete.

Simon IV de Montfort was the leader of the Albigensian Crusade, sent to destroy the Cathars and seize the lands of the Occitan lords. His crusaders' strength:

Cavalry : about 900 knights and sergeants, split into 3 battles of 300 men each.

  • 1st squadron: (vanguard) : Guillaume de Contres and Guillaume des Barres.
  • 2nd squadron: Bouchard de Marly
  • 3rd squadron: (reserve) led by Simon de Montfort

Infantry: about 700 crossbowmen and spearmen defending the castle and protecting the access for the cavalry.


Raymond VI of Toulouse sought assistance from his brother-in-law, King Peter II of Aragon. On 10 September, Peter's army arrived at Muret, and was joined by a Toulousain militia. He positioned his army so their right flank was protected by the Saudrune River, and the left protected by a marsh. He left the Toulousain militia to assault the walls of the castle. Aragonese and Occitan strength:

Cavalry: about 2,200 knights and sergeants.

  • 1st group: about 200 Aragonese plus 400 men under the Count of Foix.
  • 2nd group: about 700 Aragonese led by the King of Aragon.
  • 3rd group: about 900 men led by the Counts of Toulouse and Comminges. They were probably not fully prepared, possibly not yet mounted.

Infantry: less than 10,000 men. Some attacked the castle, others stayed encamped or followed the cavalry.


Simon de Montfort's 870 mailed cavalry included 270 knights, making the small force of exceptional quality. King Peter of Aragon had brought 800 to 1,000 Aragonese cavalry, joined by a militia from Toulouse and allied armies brought by the Counts of Comminges and Foix. King Peter of Aragon's combined forces possibly numbered 4,000 cavalry, with thirty to forty thousand infantry.

Montfort divided his army into three squadrons, and then led them across the Garonne to meet the Aragonese forces. Raymond, advised a defensive posture in order to weaken the advancing enemy with bowshot and javelins. Peter rejected this suggestion as unknightly and dishonourable.

Peter rode to the front line, forsaking his royal armour for the plain armour of an ordinary knight (a common practice for fighting kings of the time), an ordinary knight donning the king's armour.

When de Montfort's first squadron charged the field, the Aragonese cavalry was crushed and Peter himself was unhorsed. He is reported to have cried out, "I am the king!" but it is not clear why - according to one account he was embarrassed by the poor fighting ability of the knight wearing the royal armour. According to another report he was expecting to be taken prisoner rather than be killed. In any case he was killed. With the realisation that their king had been killed, the Aragonese forces broke in panic and fled, pursued by Montfort's Crusaders.

According to the Crusader chroniclers the coalition army numbered almost 34 000 men and de Montfort's army only 2,100, but it seems likely that the imbalance has been exaggerated - as it almost always was by the victorious side in medieval battles.

This was one of the very few open battles of the Cathar Wars - the local forces must have known that they were no match for Simon's army. Simon was a brilliant military strategist, tactician and leader, commanding a highly organised aggressive and experienced hierarchical army. The local forces were poorly organised, uncoordinated and more concerned with paratge, cortezia and convivienza than military victory. Peter must have known that the tactics of the Count of Toulouse would have ensured victory, but imagined that God would ensure victory (the same mistake that Simon would make at Toulouse five years later).




A monument to Peter II marked the spot where tradition holds that he fell in battle near the modern tourist office. Shamefully, a modern French highway has been build over it - the French are not keen on reminders that they annexed this territory after killing the suzerain of these lands in defeating the House of Toulouse. The monument has been moved to a spot nearby, on a traffic roundabout.

"... bed ni centenari dera batalho de Muret en Pedro Aralounes Catala le Gadouoas cayown pera a defenso debas libertas ded... 1213,"

.. in commemoration of the battle of Muret and Pedro of Aragon "The Catholic" who died defending our liberty 1213."

There is another reminder of the battle, as Dominic Guzmán, now St Dominic was there. Churchmen like Dominic and Arnaud Amaury played a prominent role in military sieges - Senior churchmen were often the chief engineers for siege engines, and Arnaud had been supreme commander of the Crusade in the early days. But less warlike senior churchmen would generally retire from open battles.

Dominic had taken part in the Catholic Crusaders' Council of War that preceded the battle of Muret. But during the battle he retired to safety. He supposedly spent the battle kneeling before an altar in the church of Saint-Jacques, praying for the triumph of the Catholic arms. When Simon de Montfort won the battle, he regarded his victory as miraculous, and attributed it to Dominic's prayers. In gratitude for this victory, the Simon erected a chapel in the church of Saint-Jacques, According to Catholic tradition has it was here in the church of Saint-Jacques as he prayed for victory that the Virgin Mary first gave Dominic a chaplet of beads, the prototype of the ones now used so extensively within the Catholic Church. (This tradition is a late and unreliable, and sits ill with the earlier use of identical prayer beads by Moslems). Nevertheless a plaque in the chapel assures us that:

Dans ce sanctuaire pendant la Bataille de Muret
Le 12 Septembre 1213 La Vierge Marie recommanda a
St. Dominic de réciter et précher La Rosaire.

In this sanctuary during the Battle of Muret
on 12 September 1213 the Virgin Mary advised
St Dominic to recite and preach the Rosary.



Pietro II d'Aragón - King Peter II of Aragon


The arms of Pietro II d'Aragón - King Peter II of Aragon


Monument to Pietro II d'Aragón - King Peter II of Aragon







Saint Dominic chapel in the Eglise St Jacques in Muret.




En conmemoración del VII centenario de la batalla de Muret, en donde el rey Pedro, aragoneses, catalanes, lenguadocianos y gascones cayeron en defensa de las Libertades. Dedicado el 12 de septiembre de 1213 - 1913"


In the VII Centenary Commemorations of the Battle of Muret, where in the King Pedro of Aragon, Catalan and Gasconlenguadocianos fought in defense of liberty. Dedicated September 12, 1213 - 1913 "


Monument now at 43.468375, 1.323930

Site of castle 43.461944, 1.331070

Site of Battle 43.467049, 1.314610





You can join small exclusive guided tours of Cathar Castles
led by an English speaking expert on the Cathars
who lives in the Languedoc
(author of

Selected Cathar Castles. Accommodation provided. Transport Provided.

Cathar Origins, History, Beliefs.
The Crusade, The Inquisition, and Consequences

Visit the Cathar Tours Website for more information




Road in Muret commemorating Peter II, King of Aragon


Obelisk marking the Battle of Muret

Memorial to Peter II, King of Aragon,

killed at the Battle of Muret


The two memorials together, side by side


The two memorials have been moved to a traffic roundabout!


A reminder that Muret was the gateway to the territories of the Count of Comminges, ally of Raymond, Count of Toulouse and Peter, King of Aragon.


Art Catalogue, Muret Exhibition, 2013




Eglise St Jacques in Muret

in characteristic Toulouse brick


Eglise St Jacques in Muret

in characteristic Toulouse brick


Caunes Marble inside the Eglise St Jacques in Muret


Saint Dominic depicted on a stained glass window inside the Eglise St Jacques in Muret


An angel dressed a Dominican, depicted on a stained glass window inside the Eglise St Jacques in Muret



Memorial plaque in the Eglise St Jacques in Muret.

It reads









Interior, Eglise St Jacques in Muret, facing East


Interior, Eglise St Jacques in Muret, facing West


Saint Dominic chapel in the Eglise St Jacques in Muret.


Memorial plaque in the Eglise St Jacques in Muret.


Relics of Saint Dominic, Eglise St Jacques in Muret.


La battaille de Muret, 1960, by Jacques Fauché, oil on wood, 197 x 99 cm

Peter is shown on the right, being run-through by a knight's lance. He is (incorrectly) shown wearing his royal crown and bearing the arms of Aragon.





The death of King Peter II is still remembered in Aragon.


A French stamp commemorating the battle of Muret on the 800th anniversary.
Unusually, the heraldry is accurate.


The Battle of Muret, fresco by Francesco Allegrini in the Sala Galileo (History)


Maps of the Battle of Muret in 1213


The exact location of events during the battle is disputed.

Below are a number of alternative maps illustrating the battle.

We have tried to credit the authors wherever possible, but not all are known. If you are able to provide further information, please contact the webmaster.


Battle overlaid on a modern map of Muret -


Schematic from by Brian Charles Lilley ?

Roux-Perino (p181)


Sumption p 168


Plano de Muret en 1213, obra de F. X. Hernández.





I want to   a   in      






Castles and Manor Houses on Facebook

Castles and Manor Houses on Twitter

Castles and Manor Houses on Tumblr

Castles and Manor Houses on Reddit


   ::::   Link to us   ::::   Castle and Manor Houses Resources   :::    © C&MH 2010-2016   :::   :::   Advertising   :::