Montaillou. Cathars and Catholics in a French Village 1294-1324

Le Roy Ladurie E.

In the early 1300’s the village of Montaillou & the surrounding mountainous region of Southern France was full of heretics. When Jacquest Fournier, Bishop of Pamiers, launched an elaborate Inquisition to stamp them out, the peasants & shepherds he interrogated revealed, along with their position on official Catholicism, many details of their everyday life. Basing his absorbing study on these vivid, carefully recorded statements of peasants who lived more than 600 years ago — Clergue, the powerful village priest & shameless womanizer is even heard explaining his techniques of seduction — historian Le Roy Ladurie reconstructs the economy & social structure of the community & probes the most intimate aspects of medieval life: love & marriage, gestures & emotions, conversations & gossip, clans & factions, crime & violence, concepts of time & space, attitudes to the past, animals, magic & folklore, death & beliefs about the other world.