Re-mapping the ‘Great Inquisition’ of 1245–46: The Case of Mas-Saintes-Puelles and Saint-Martin-Lalande
The Case of Mas-Saintes-Puelles and Saint-Martin-Lalande. Open Library
New Approaches to Late Medieval Court Records
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NEW APPROACHES TO LATE MEDIEVAL COURT RECORDS
Re-mapping the ?Great Inquisition? of
1245?46: The Case of
Mas-SaintesPuelles and Saint-Martin-Lalande
MS 609 of the Biblioth?que municipale de Toulouse contains the registry of
the largest known medieval inquisition, the so-called ?Great Inquisition? lead
by two Dominicans at Toulouse between 1245 and 1246. Since its discovery
in the nineteenth century, this registry has remained unedited and is rarely
studied in detail. Yet it has become famous for being the record of a
broad inquisition into the ?general state of the faith?, one that affirms
that Catharism ? the theory of a dualist, organized heretical
counterChurch which brought the Albigensian crusade and eventual inquisition to
the lands of the Count of Toulouse ? was widespread between Toulouse
and Carcassonne. This article argues that the registry does not record
any general survey of Cathar heresy among the population, but rather
it records an inquisition principally aimed at collecting evidence against
village consulates who had no greater or lesser relationship to any ?heresy?
than the rest of the population. This argument is made by challenging the
historiographic bias towards sampling the registry anecdotally, replacing
it with an evaluation based on a combination of macroanalysis and close
reading facilitated by the author?s digital edition of MS 609 and network
Among the largest surviving collections of medieval court records are the documents
from the inquisition into heretical depravity (inquisitio heretice pravitatis) conducted
between May 1245 and August 1246 at Toulouse by the Dominicans Bernard de
Caux and Johan de Saint-Pierre. During this ?great inquisition?1 ? the most expansive
known to historians ? over 5,500 lords, ladies, doctors, tanners, scribes, charcoal
burners, and cow-herders were summoned from across the Lauragais (the verdant
agricultural region between Toulouse and Carcassonne) to the cloisters at
SaintSernin to depose about themselves and others, living or dead, regarding the crimes
of heresy (requisitus de veritate dicendo de se et de aliis, vivis et mortuis, super crimine
heresis et valdesie).
The evidence for this immense inquisition has come down to us in a registry
contained in manuscript 609 of the Biblioth?que de Toulouse (MS 609).2 MS 609
entered professional historiography3 as part of the great wave of documentation
of medieval records by nineteenth-century French ?positivist? historians (Carbonell,
1 The label ?the Great Inquisition? is Mark Gregory Pegg?s (2001) from his, and the only, monograph on
MS 609, The Corruption of Angels: The Great Inquisition of 1245?1246.
2 MS 609 is one of the oldest medieval paper documents extant (254 folios recto/verso with
approximately 34 lines of highly-abbreviated, thirteenth-century notarial script per folio side). Yves
Dossat, in his history of inquisition at Toulouse, which contains the standard technical study of MS
609 (1959: 56?86), argues convincingly that it is a copy of the original registry made around 1260 for
the inquisitors at Narbonne, deemed identical to the original in content if not form; Pegg (2001: 26)
concurs. According to thirteenth-century marginal references in the manuscript, it contains two of an
original ten volumes ? with the exception of references to a few depositions contained in those other
volumes, we do not know what those other volumes contained. My report on MS 609 will be issued
when my edition is complete.
3 This discussion of the state of the art of research on MS 609, like this article, has limited immediate
goals but wider implications for research on heresy and inquisition in the French Midi of the thirteenth
century, i.e. Catharism. The debate on Catharism
(Aberth, 2018: 101?40; Sennis, 2016; Shulevitz,
was sparked around 2000 by the appearance of Pegg?s (2001) monograph and two collections
of debates by French specialists in heresy and inquisition brought together by Monique Zerner (1998,
2001). This article cannot help but get immersed in a debate which is deeply consequential for how
we understand religion and society from the eleventh century onwards
, and also for
how we do source criticism as medievalists
to come to some understanding of ?what
happened? in the past. A single article cannot hope to completely address a subject rife with numerous
contentious issues and at the same time evaluate a single methodological problem. As such, I try to
keep the frame as narrow as possible, focused on a specific research question; I refer the reader to my
more elaborate historiography and analysis of methodologies applied to inquisitorial registries in my
study, available in French and English, Vidit cum hereticis
1978: 173?85) when Charles
: 173) described it as the registry of a
?large inquisition which spanned an entire region?;4 Molinier?s opinion has been
confirmed by generations of historians of heresy and inquisition as a ?general
inquest of the state of religion in the whole diocese? (Wakefield, 1974: 173?74), a
judgement based on the human and geographic scope of the registry (as well as
the great number of denials it contains, as one might expect from general survey).5
By way of demonstration, the 45 folios of depositions from the inhabitants of the
first two village parishes in the manuscript alone (and the subjects of this essay:
Mas-Saintes-Puelles and Saint-Martin-Lalande) contain 668 deponents testifying 685
times about 1,356 distinct persons and 236 places, in recollections going back as far
as the 1180s.6 The registry contains depositions from 106 villages.
When Molinier issued the first report on MS 609, the power of the prevailing
theory of the still-new theory of Catharism7 was already such that, despite the sheer
scale of information contained in the registry, it was relegated to a supporting role in
4 MS 609 was known as ?MS 155? before being re-assigned ?MS 609? in the mid-nineteenth century
Molinier?s brother Auguste (1883
: introduction and 358) when he found the library at
Toulouse ?defectively organized?.
5 C?lestin Douais (1891: 148?62) thought at first that it was an ?enqu?te sur l??tat religieux du pays?, but
later he doubted his conclusion, believing that people came voluntarily to Toulouse under a general
(Douais, 1900: cliv-clv)
. Dossat (1959: 226 n. 70, 233?34) states, citing Douais, that ?il
n?est pas ?tonnant qu?en 1245 les juges se soient tourn?s vers la recherche g?n?rale des partisans de
l?h?r?sie?; Walter Wakefield (1974: 174) states that the two inquisitors conducted a ?general inquest of
the state of religion in the whole diocese? and repeats it in his influential article (from which this article
takes its title) ?Heretics and Inquisitors: The Case of Le Mas-Saintes-Puelles? (1983: 209?26); this has
since been repeated by others, including Abels and Harrison (1979: 221), Lambert (1998: 215?217),
Barber (2013: 195), Given (2001: 2, 35), and Anne Brenon?s student, Patrice Cabirou (1995a: 4).
6 The two villages are represented in MS 609 by a combined 687 deposition documents and 23
recitation documents (a separate confirmation of a deposition containing no extra information).
The 687 depositions include one duplicate and one deposition split into two parts.
7 Catharism is the theory that a dualist, organised, heretical counter-Church developed through the
late twelfth century in parts of western Europe, notably modern south-west France and northern
Italy, and eventually, after years of complaints and sanctions from the papacy against the Count
of Toulouse, brought the Albigensian crusade to the Count?s lands and resulted in the first public
inquisitions into heresy. This theory has been profoundly challenged in the last 20 years: see the most
recent summary of the debate in
. For the traditional Cathar narrative, see
; the most complete rethinkings of this narrative are Pegg (2001, 2007),
. The tone and stakes of the debate can be measured in the recent collection
Cathars in Question
conveying the history of heresy in the Midi. Why this should be merits investigation
beyond the scope of this essay
(Pegg, 2015: 225?79; Pegg, 2016: 21?52)
there are several factors which bear directly on this study. It was Charles Schmidt who
constructed Catharism in his two volume Histoire et doctrine de la secte des Cathares
ou Albigeois (1849), and he noted with self-awareness his innovative ?contribution?
of inquisition depositions to the historiography of medieval heresy. Schmidt did not
know of or consult MS 609 nor any other documents in the south of France, but
rather worked from the document extracts given to him by the curator of the Doat
Collection at the Biblioth?que nationale de France in Paris (Schmidt, 1848: vii?viii,
note 1). The Doat Collection ? copies of selected inquisition documents made in
the seventeenth century for the political operative Jean-Baptiste Colbert ? has since
remained central to defining the relationship of inquisitorial registries to Catharism
due to a series of historiographic coincidences, including the easy paleography of
the large script (transcribed from medieval originals into classical Latin) and early
circulation from its central location of Paris.8 For Schmidt, the Doat documents
reflected not only the heretical Cathar theology he believed was found in the Midi,
but also the sociology undergirding the Cathar sect. The particular Doat depositions
relied upon by Schmidt feature a striking focus on ?heretical sympathies? of nobility
in the lands of the Count of Toulouse (including the Lauragais), one which he found
adhered to the anti-noble medieval polemics and chronicles from which he argues
his Cathar sect and theology.9 The central role of nobility in fostering Cathar heresy
8 No one has yet studied the possible biases operative in Doat?s selective copying and their subsequent
effects on the course of historiography of inquisition and heresy. One hopes that this is investigated
by Peter Biller and his team currently transcribing the earliest depositions, those found in Doat 21?24
(see https://www.york.ac.uk/res/doat). On the processes of the Doat Commission in general terms,
see Caterina Bruschi (2009: 24?26), Peter Biller et al (2010: 3?34), and
: 25?33). For more
general background on Doat and the formation of his collection, see Henri
, 2014). To situate Doat?s mandate more generally within Colbert?s larger ambitions, see
) thrilling monograph The Information Master: Jean-Baptiste Colbert?s Secret State
9 Schmidt (1848: 66?70) explained southern noble susceptibility to heresy by combining anthropology
from Montesquieu and Michelet.
Montesquieu in L?esprit des lois (1875
: vol XIV) established the
?climate thesis?, arguing that the people of southern climates were impetuous, emotional, and less
easy to govern, because of excessive exposure to the sun. Schmidt may have received these ideas
de Bonstetten?s (1824
) modified version of the climate thesis in L?homme du
was for Schmidt the defining social feature of Catharism, and has been carried
forward in historians? use of early inquisitorial registries from the Midi.
Mark Gregory Pegg
(2001b, 2015, 2016)
has demonstrated the continuity of
research methodology from Schmidt to the current generation of scholars who hold
to Catharism and how it deforms our investigation of the content of inquisitional
records.10 He has labelled
(Pegg, 2001b: 191)
one particular methodological
problem as the ?strip-mining? of inquisitorial registries: a method based on raiding
the inquisitorial registries for folio references to match the a priori expectations
of Catharism, from theology to sociology, regardless of the consequences such
fragmentation has on obscuring the reality of the inquisition, its subjects, and any
heresis inquisitors found in the lands of the Count of Toulouse. In his monograph,
the only sustained study of the contents of MS 609, Pegg inverted the logic of
stripmining, using a historio-anthropological method to understand the subjects? beliefs
(and more) from the stories contained in the depositions of MS 609.11
Midi et l?homme du Nord, ou, L?influence du climat. Jules Michelet made Montesquieu?s thesis more
material, arguing that the southerners, specifically the nobility, were inclined to ?les nouveaut?s?, a
mix of ?strange? Semitic, Jewish, and Moorish influences imported from the East via the Mediterranean
mercantilism, habitual of the Midi. For
: Vol 4, 305?325, especially 314?15), the
nobility of the Midi were more consumed with these innovations than with respecting the duties
inherent in their noble status (unlike their counterparts in the north of France); forgetting those
noble obligations led them, among other moral degradations, to conduct war against the Church.
Moreover, such war was the only thing that bound together the fractious, impetuous southern nobles
and their populations. The abbot and future bishop C?lestin
: 283) repeated the same
?sunburn thesis?, in his youthful the?se on the Albigeois, a formula he never returned to again after
: 482?83) poured scorn on his na?ve methodology; this did not prevent Douais from
retaining the anti-clerical roots of Catharism.
10 This is, of course, a matter of what a given historian judges to be insight and innovation. For example,
: 208), in his essay on Schmidt?s influence, determines that ?new Inquisition
records continue to be printed, but these add to our existing knowledge rather than changing it?; his
essay treats almost nothing of the sociology of Catharism, being preoccupied with tracing origins
of Cathar theology. Biller (2010: 100?2) supports innovation insofar as it defends Ca
) ?surplus? and John
) ?field of knowledge? and ?excess?. I explore whether
either of these methods can be usefully applied to MS 609 in Rehr (2018: 22?26).
11 As Pegg and R. I.
make clear, the consequences are far-reaching, for if we misunderstand
the motivations and meanings of crusade and inquisition in the Midi in the first half of the thirteenth
century, then we are wrong about a fundamental episode in the development of religion, politics, and
society in western Europe. Pegg?s dismantling of Catharism, and his work on MS 609, has been subject
to counter-criticism which argues that he treats MS 609 too much in isolation from other sources.
The fact there has only ever been one monograph published on the contents of
MS 609 in the 120 years since Molinier?s catalogue of it ? objectively an extraordinary
document containing details of the lives of over 5,500 people who lived over 750
years ago ? is surprising. There is of course the fact that it has never been edited
to make it widely available for study, despite a variety of attempts.12 This may be
due to the manuscript?s reputation as a massive, difficult volume brimming with
formulaic depositions, judged by historians since as ?dry, terse and repetitive?.13 It may
also result from certain early uses of MS 609 which conveyed to historians its limited
value as a source. The earliest inventory of MS 609 was a fifteen-page summary by the
medievalist abbot and bishop C?lestin
, which he began by remarking
that the manuscript ?ne s?est encore trouv? personne pour le d?pouiller? (d?pouiller:
go over, study, dissect, strip, denude) before concerning himself with summarizing
See articles in
? especially those by Biller, Arnold, and J?rg Feuchter ? and
for summary of fundamentals. This reductive view of Pegg?s work on MS 609 sidesteps his
responses which explain why he thinks those other sources are irrelevant to understanding the lives
and beliefs recorded in MS 609; moreover, no one to date has actually engaged with and tested Pegg?s
anthropological method and the insights it has produced.
12 Until now, beyond footnote fragments, historians have had access to a little known transcription
of the first few folios
and two incomplete transcriptions: the first, organised
midtwentieth century by Austin Evans and Merriam Sherwood at Columbia University, held in the Butler
library under call number BX4890 .B47 1255g, and partially scanned at https://catalog.hathitrust.
org/Record/008400500 (two copies of this transcript are held in the John Mundy Collection
at the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies library in Toronto, Canada, under shelf number F
110?3 through 110?6 ); the second is the personal transcription done by Jean Duvernoy which
circulated among a few people and later made available on his site http://jean.duvernoy.free.fr/text/
listetexte.htm. Duvernoy?s original typescript is now stored with his other papers at the Archives
departementales de l?Aude under shelf number 10 JJ 422?423. Both transcriptions are deeply flawed,
with the unfortunate result that many errors have been transmitted into historiography by historians
who have used them without verifying against the original manuscript
(Rehr, 2018: 16?19)
. For a
history of various attempts, see http://medieval-inquisition.huma-num.fr/MS609/history.
13 Given (2001: 2). Comments on the registry?s style date from when MS 609 first entered the historical
: 154) briefly judging the depositions ?r?dig?es dans la meme forme?,
including those few entries he found useful for his institutional study of French inquisition; Douais
(1891: 149), ?d?abord la difficult? de la lecture; ensuite la longueur d?un document, du reste quelque
peu monotone, puisque, comme dans toutes les enquetes, les memes renseignements y reviennent
souvent?. The same comments have multiplied since the appearance of Pegg?s monograph, which
refocused historians? attention on MS 609, wherein he attributed the ?repetitiveness? to inquisitorial
intention, for example in
Bruschi and Biller (2003
: 17) and
the contents according to categories oriented at theological matters.14 Douais? article
was followed by the work of his student (and editor of the Catholic journal La Croix)
Jean Guiraud: his edition of the Cartulaire de Notre-Dame de Prouille (1907) and
opus Histoire de l?Inquisition au Moyen ?ge (1935) were the first monographs to draw
significantly from MS 609. The latter is famous as the first synthesis of Catharism since
(Dossat: 1967; Amargier and Fortanier, 1979: 217?18)
, and for providing the
rubric for describing Catharism, followed by professional and public historians of
Catharism since, including: compiling exhaustive lists of Cathar ?perfects?, ?deacons?,
and ?bishops? mined chiefly from MS 609 which reify a Cathar Church into the
depositions;15 citing a flurry of citations from MS 609 which exemplify and reflect a
priori Catharist conceptions, while ignoring the multitudinous contradictions from
depositions themselves;16 and a guiding hypothesis, still followed by many Cathar
14 Douais (1891: 150?51) organized his article around six religious categories: ?la distinction des
? h?r?tiques ? et des Vaudois, les doctrines des ? h?r?tiques ?, les observances des ? h?r?tiques ?,
l?organisation de la secte, les livres de la secte, les rapports des h?r?tiques avec la Lombardie?.
: 267; 2016: 278?279) has on numerous occasions tied together the value of MS 609
and the methodology of Guiraud, Duvernoy, Griffe, and Wakefield, but in positivist terms, ?Because
of the concrete nature of the data in inquisitions, these scholars have all been writing history that
amounts to the ?lived religion? of the Cathars?; he exercises the same method in his own limited work
on MS 609
16 Guiraud dedicated one page to acknowledging that he uses inquisitorial depositions, versus 36 pages
on the study of medieval literary sources (1935: Vol. 1, XI?XLVIII). Only a brief note buried in the
second volume (1935: Vol 2, 144) acknowledges the existence of Bernard de Caux and Johan de
SaintPierre as the inquisitors. I refer to this (Rehr, 2018: 16?18) as ?documentary positivism?, an effect in a
field which had, until the 1990s, been largely dominated by religious historians and the untrained, the
inheritance of which must still be reckoned with. Reflections on what role inquisitors had in shaping
testimony are naturally missing from much of the first, rather apologetic, decades of Cahiers de
Fanjeaux (when under the leadership of clerics).
: 9) justifies this in his work referring
directly to Guiraud?s methods, later comparing (Duvernoy, 1979: 7?8) the forensic accuracy of Cathar
depositions to the ?illusions? of later witchcraft accusations.
has exactly one footnote which reports the folio range he draws from;
, in a survey of
?problems? related to Catharism, considers inquisition simply a repressive institution, but is silent
on the question of objectivity of testimony. Anglo-American scholars up through the 1990s evince
no significant reflection either on what role inquisitors in the Midi had in shaping testimony, see
historiographic overview in
, where he notes especially Wakefield?s influental essay on
Mas-Saintes-Puelles, discussed further below. Notwithstanding claims
(Arnold, 2016: 53; Biller, 2016:
that Herbert Grundmann (1961) and Robert
paved the way with early source
criticism of inquisitorial records, it had no effect on Catharism and the positivist plundering of related
scholars today, that the fons and origo of Cathars in the Midi was Southern noble
anti-clericalism, and therefore the focus on seigneurial depositions is of prime
Douais? summary and Guiraud?s lists were the sum of knowledge of the
contents of the registry that passed into the hands of arguably the most influential
proponents of Catharism in the Midi: the cleric-historians of Toulouse who created
and lead the Cahiers de Fanjeaux for decades
, and the savants locaux
(public historians) lead by Jean Duvernoy. Despite the immense productivity of this
generation, the work reified Catharism as an historical object, and MS 609 as a source
for citation, but not study in and of itself.18
It was only over eighty years after Douais published his inventory that the
first articles proceeding primarily from MS 609 emerged, ostensibly reflecting the
historiographic trends of quantitative analysis
(Abels and Harrison, 1979; Semkov,
(Cabirou, 1995b; Roquebert, 1995; Wakefield, 1983)
of these focused exclusively on the depositions from the village of
Mas-SaintesPuelles, the most fully represented village in MS 609, and, as it happens, the first in
the manuscript. The most influential of these articles, Walter Wakefield?s ?Inquisitors
and Heretics: The Case of le
Mas-Saintes-Puelles? (1983), demonstrates the
historiographic power of Catharism to sway the objective reporting of the contents
of MS 609 through biased sampling of source material.19 The most pronounced
17 Guiraud?s development of anti-clericalism in Southern nobility as fons et origo of the Cathars is
found in chapter XI, which depends on recounting stories of territorial conflicts between secular
and ecclesiastic lords and casting them (with no evidence of direct connection) into religious conflict
incited by heretical preaching. It remains to be investigated how the rising anti-clerical environment
(Carbonell, 1979; Amargier and Fortanie, 1979)
at the turn of nineteenth century shaped
the Catharism of Douais and Guiraud (and generations at the influential Catholic Institute of Toulouse
who would go on to form the Cahiers de Fanjeaux).
18 Elie Griffe affirmed and developed further Guiraud?s anti-clericalism (1969: chapter 7, and explicitly
at 172?173) in a succinct trilogy on the Cathars which became a key reference for English-language
scholars of heresy, and the ?noble Catharism? became foundation for influential Cathar scholars
including Malcolm Lambert (1998: 66), Malcolm
? both of whose works are reference
texts on the Cathars, and James B. Given (2001: 124).
19 Wakefield was a student of Austin Evans, and with John Mundy participated in transcribing MS
609. Biller (1994: 44?49) refers to this as the ?Columbia School?, and indeed Wakefield and Mundy
were bound together by a focus on social history and a pronounced pragmatism with respect to
example is Wakefield?s declaration that ?social distinctions are not easy to detect? in
the manuscript, but he in fact passes over them as they do not adhere to his theme.
With his keen eye for social history, he picks out a rare mention of the village consuls
of Mas-Saintes-Puelles from a contemporary royal oath (juramentum), noting their
existence with a single sentence but without either referring to or researching the six
consuls within the depositions (a significant oversight, as we shall see). But, following
the above-noted tendency of Cathar historiography to prioritise nobility, Wakefield
then returns to the theme with longer speculation about possible co-seigneurs of
Mas-Saintes-Puelles that he found in a ?mimeographed booklet, locally produced?
in 1969 at the village, a claim for which there is no evidence in MS 609 nor any
other source extant. Wakefield thus proceeds to render the story of the villagers
who appeared before Bernard de Caux and Johan de Saint-Pierre as the intricate
doings of the seigneurial del Manso clan and heretics, and then other villagers.
Other studies present sample bias in different ways: some have focused entirely on
village seignieurie deeply attached to Cathar heresy as a family affair over generations
at le Mas
; still others purport
a prosopography (Semkov, 1984) of heresy at le Mas,20 or a broader registry-wide
demography of women and their participation in heresy
(Abels and Harrison, 1979)
but without going outside the depositions to corroborate it.
My own curiosity about the contents of the registry was motivated by Pegg?s
arguments and lead eventually to preparing a digital edition of it. While this article
does not directly explore Pegg?s thesis nor the nature of any heresis inquisitors searched
for in the Midi, it does owe its findings to Pegg?s caution to treat the inquisition based
on what was recorded by inquisitors themselves, and not on medieval polemics and
tracts. But where Pegg took an anthropological route to understand the lives and
beliefs of the subjects of the inquisition of 1245?56 and how the first generation
inquisitorial registries. Wakefield produced a source book on medieval heresy with Evans (1969), but
otherwise rested squarely in social history with restrained discussion of theological matters in his
work. See further comments on Mundy at note 73 ? his relationship to Catharism was ambivalent and
often tangential to his interests; the titles of many of his later collections, generally having little to do
with the subject, included ?Cathar? at the behest of his publisher.
20 On Semkov?s prosopography of Mas-Saintes-Puelles see note 41.
of inquisitors shaped that into heresy, I have been absorbed by indications of
whom Bernard de Caux and Johan de Saint-Pierre aimed their inquisition at. What I
discovered during the act of creating a native digital edition21 ? reading, transcribing,
encoding, tagging, and connecting depositions ? was that these Dominicans were
emphatically not conducting a general survey of the faith; rather, the friars Bernard
and Johan collected evidence to incriminate a particular social group in the villages
of the Lauragais: the village consuls. These consuls were not united by any special
relationship to whatever heresis inquisitors believed was rife in the Midi, nor were
they greater or lesser practitioners of any such heresis. Moreover, the friars did this
while consciously ignoring and bypassing numerous opportunities for prosecuting
others for the crime of heresy.
This argument is presented below in two parts, through a study of the two
most represented villages in both MS 609 and the manuscript?s own historiography,
Mas-Saintes-Puelles and Saint-Martin-Lalande (from hereonin respectively referred to
as ?le Mas? and ?Saint-Martin?). A large-scale, comparative study of two villages will, I
hope, allow us to escape the aforementioned problem of low sampling. The first part
of the study presents a macroanalysis of the depositions, a technique facilitated by
my edition of MS 609.22 This macroanalysis looks for patterns of accusations across all
21 There is no consensus on what makes an edition ?natively digital? ? scholarly opinion ranges from
data-centricity to interactive presentation to paradigm shifts
(Boot et al., 2017: 15?24, 37?46)
. It may
best be glossed for purposes here by contrasting the edition of MS 609 to traditional print editions:
the digital edition contains a system of unified markup of features such as people, places, dates
(Rehr, 2018: Annex 2)
which can be queried as a database as easily as the text itself may be read by a
human. The digital edition is hosted by Huma-Num (a consortium funded by the CNRS and various
universities dedicated to providing infrastructure for the digital humanities) at
http://medievalinquisition.huma-num.fr/. To a great degree, the analysis of MS 609, and so the study of heresy and
inquisition, has been limited due to the need to manually process the massive amount of information
contained in the manuscript.
22 All references to MS 609 in this article are to my digital edition, structured as follows:
MS609-011101 where ??111? is the deposition ordinal in the manuscript, and ??01? is the paragraph reference
(optional). Documents on the site follow a standardised format where MS609-0111 would be at
http://medieval-inquisition.huma-num.fr/doc/MS609-0111. The digital edition references the
original folio numbers and presents them high-resolution images. All depositions and all other data
referred to in this article can be downloaded from the website at
depositions using network analysis, a method that I illustrate through comparative
anecdotes for scholars unfamiliar with digital methods (but does not argue from
anecdotes). This part of the study produces a list of the inquisitors? targets in each
village, striking in their identical socio-political constitution as consular families.
Some commentators might be inclined to suggest that this socio-political group
was attracted to, susceptible to, or otherwise friendly to, heresy, effectively displacing
the historiographic blame for the Cathar heresy from nobility to consuls.23 Others
might suggest that the heresy accusations arose from internecine conflicts within
the village.24 The laconic depositions of MS 609 do not allow us much direct access to
inner motivations of the deponents, but the second part of the study proposes several
tests for these problems through a close reading (against inquisitorial formularies),
tests which reveal the specific construction of incriminations in the depositions.
These constructions turn out to be widespread patterns in the depositions, yet are
never discussed in historiography. In these patterns we can clearly see the inquisitor?s
hand selecting evidence and testimony to target the consuls and their families, while
ignoring others who objectively should have been equally incriminated. In this we
find the answer to Wakefield?s (1983: 221?22) open question about why Bernard de
Caux and Johan de Saint-Pierre did not press on every lead they were given. It was
not that they didn?t have time, as some have argued
(Biller, 2010: 107; Bruschi, 2009:
, it was that they recorded precisely what they needed.
The digital edition of MS 609 ? a foundation for a new research methodology
The registry contained in MS 609 is not filled with the verbose records, oft-studied in
undergraduate courses, which have come down to us from the inquisition of villagers
of Montaillou in the early fourteenth century
(Duvernoy, 1965; Ladurie, 1975)
Menocchio the miller two centuries later (Ginzburg, 1980). MS 609 is famously
formulaic, reducing most testimony to a handful of details that the first generation
23 I thank Bob Moore for raising this possible objection.
24 I thank Ian Forrester for raising this possible interpretation at IMC Leeds 2018.
of inquisitors in the lands of the Count of Toulouse thought important.25 Take for
example the deposition of Guilhem Ayalric junior of Saint-Martin:26
Item. Year and day as above. The sworn witness Guilhem Ayalric junior
said that he saw, in the home of Ysarn de Gibel, Bertrand Marti and his
companion, heretics. He saw there with them Bernard Alzeu and Bernard
Martin. The witness and everyone else adored the aforesaid heretics there,
bending three times at the knee saying, ?Bless us good men, pray to God for
us?. This was about 10 years ago. And afterwards the aforesaid Bernard Alzeu
and Bernard Martin asked the witness to accompany the aforesaid heretics
outside the village, but he would not do so.
He did not believe the heretics to be good nor to have good faith ? even
though he once adored them at the insistence of the above-mentioned
Bernard Alzeu and Bernard Martin, nor heard them speak errors of visible
things ? that God did not make them, nor the sacraments of the Church.
He has not seen heretics anywhere else, nor believed [in them], nor gave or
sent [them] anything, nor listened to their preaching.
Item. He said that he was with Bernard Alzeu and with many others at the
Abbey of Saint-Papoul when they wanted to free two heretics held by the
abbot of Saint-Papoul. This was about 4 years ago.
Whatever Guilhem Ayalric might have said to inquisitors at Saint-Sernin, it was
transmuted into a rigid structure describing specific, discrete events in the third
person. This first generation of inquisitors codified who, where, what, and when,
each within a restricted set of categories
(Arnold, 2001: 19?47; Pegg, 2003)
The digital edition, beyond including the usual philological apparatus and historical
notes, encodes this information as ?meta-data?, linking it to a database of similar
instances. In this way the digital edition provides technical methods to traverse,
25 Elements of the following sections on methodology first appeared in different form in chapter 2
?Une nouvelle cartographie d?un ancien territoire? of my m?moire (Rehr, 2018: 39?61).
26 MS609-0589 (http://medieval-inquisition.huma-num.fr/doc/MS609-0589).
search, aggregate, and compare data according to the inquisitors? own methods
and categories. The same occurs with the summary of ?beliefs? found at the end of
depositions: a checklist of the deponents? attitudes towards the heretici,27 what they
heard heretici say, and their belief about those ideas ? always restricted to specific
sacraments (de matrimonio, de baptismo, de resurrectione, de eucharistia) and whether
God made material things (de visibilibus).28
The net effect for the researcher is that rather than selective sampling driven by
historiographic biases, one can query across an entire corpus for large-scale patterns
at a macro-level using a heuristic that mirrors the inquisitors? own categories of guilt.
From the 685 depositions from le Mas and Saint-Martin, featuring over 1,350 people
and 1,281 ?stories?, we can begin to draw out who was named by whom, and for
what. The object is to test for any ?directionality? of incriminations, and if there is
directionality, who its ?targets? were.
A problem of (non-)reciprocal incrimination
It is now axiomatic that the villages of the Lauragais, as with all villages across the
Midi in the thirteenth century, were communities of people who lived in close
proximity regardless of social position
(Cheyette, 2001: 133?43; Pegg, 2001a: 63?73)
This axiom has been derived in part from the above-mentioned studies of MS 609,
wherein thousands of villagers of whatever ?class? in each village demonstrated that
they knew and interacted with each other frequently. Yet when depositions of people
27 This article presents findings from the perspective of the inquisitors, and therefore I use
hereticus/heretica when referring to the depositions to emphasize the hostile, accusatory nature of
depositions. The question of what contemporaries themselves called the heretici is subject to copious
acrimonious discussion, although I am convinced (with Pegg) that MS 609 provides sufficient evidence
that those caught by the term hereticus/heretica were known as bons omes/bonas femnas in Occitan,
boni homines/bonae feminae in the Latin manuscript (i.e. the good men and good women). Whether
the good men and women were always identical to hereticus/heretica needs further exploration, but
research has been blocked by Catharism?s uncritical insistence on using the interpretive rubric of a
church. There is no evidence from the registries, or anywhere in the Midi during this period, that the
term ?Cathar? was ever used: Shulevitz (2019: 6?7) usefully outlines the arguments found in detail in
Pegg (2001b) and
. Despite this absence, Claire
argues for continued use of
?Cathar?, although some of her arguments are based on Duvernoy?s faulty transcription of MS 609 and
as such merit revisiting
(Rehr, 2018: 16?19)
28 The connection between transcription and encoding is elaborated and demonstrated with examples
who should have mentioned each other are scrutinized side by side, the expected
display of reciprocal relationships are not evident. To demonstrate the problem, I
want to return to the deposition of Guilhem Ayalric junior and compare it to the
depositions of Ermengarde Boer of le Mas.
Guilhem Ayalric gave a typically short deposition consisting of two events.
The first cites Bernard Alzeu and Bernard Martin, taking place at the domus of Ysarn
de Gibel. We do not have depositions of any of these three incriminated by Guilhem,
so we cannot test if they would have mentioned him in return in their hypothetical
depositions. However, Guilhem did add a second event to his confession after the
recitation of beliefs (recitations of beliefs are virtually always found at the end of
a deposition, suggesting that this addition was provoked by an inquisitor?s direct
question). This same event was mentioned by eight other deponents at Toulouse,
and concerns an ?armed expedition of village men? from Saint-Martin (and Issel
and Lab?c?de) to ?liberate? two heretici held by the abbot at Saint-Papoul in 1241.
Guilhem only mentions ?Bernardo Alzeu with many others?, however when we
compile all the depositions from Saint-Martin, we obtain a list of 23 people from the
village named as having gone on the expedition (Table 1).
Of those 23 men, nine of their depositions have come down to us. Guilhem
was only implicated by himself, as was Bernard Folc. Several others are only
implicated just once or twice, even where they themselves implicated many others.
Evidently other deponents were able to remember who among their fellow villagers
journeyed with them to Saint-Papoul: Bernard Folc, Peire Faure, Guilhem Arnald,
and Jordan Hugole, each implicated over 10 other people by name; that Guilhem
and others are recorded as mentioning only one or two people thus stands out in
comparison. Even more provocative is the fact that inquisitors repeatedly settled for
?with many others? (cum pluribus aliis), and that none of the depositions from
SaintMartin mention that this was a joint expedition with men from Issel and Lab?c?de.
In short, Guilhem appears in his own deposition, implicates others, and disappears.
If the problems of Guilhem?s incrimination of others and his disappearance
can perhaps be explained away ? and historians do so by arguing that deponents
commonly conspire and lie
(Abels and Harrison, 1979: 221?22; Given, 2001: 125?27)
or that inquisitors didn?t have enough time to pursue all leads
(Biller, 2010: 107;
Bruschi, 2009: 16)
? the depositions of Ermengarde Boer of le Mas are resistant to
such explanations. Ermengarde was deposed two times, the first on 19 May 1245.29
Inquisitors noted in the margin of the first deposition that she was ?suspected and
could say more? (suspecta est ista et possent multa dicere); she had not yet returned
to le Mas after the deposition, as she gave a second deposition three days later.30 Her
first deposition recounts a long life involved in heresis at le Mas: over thirty years
previously she was ?hereticated? by Ysarn de Castres (fuit hereticata) and then later
reconciled to the Church by Saint Dominic. It obviously did not have the required
effect, as she recounts a number of interactions with heretici and many denizens
of le Mas in the thirty years thereafter. Table 2 illustrates the dramatic difference
in incriminations between the first and second depositions. In her first deposition,
Ermengarde mentions a variety of people from le Mas, although only one is known to
historiography: Saramunda, wife of the eldest of the co-seigneurial del Mas brothers,
Bernard senior. However, Ermengarde?s second deposition identifies thirteen members
of the seigneurial family and their in-laws (the de Quirie?s) as well as members of the
?great families? of le Mas, all of whom she evidently socialized with.
Almost all those cited by Ermengarde gave their own depositions in turn at
Toulouse, and often they are among the longest depositions in MS 609. Yet not one
named Ermengarde herself. These same people named 117 other people from le Mas,
chief among them the same seigneurial and ?great families? of the village.31 Despite
her evident long history with heretici and hereticae of le Mas, despite having been
made a ?good little girl?
(Pegg, 2001: 92?103)
with several other important women of
le Mas, and despite being married to a man who was equally sociable with the ?great
families? of the parish, Peire Boer,32 she was only briefly mentioned by three other
29 MS609-0223 (http://medieval-inquisition.huma-num.fr/doc/MS609-0223), MS609-0244
30 Unlike others who gave multiple depositions, there is no note that she was imprisoned after her
first deposition. Cf. the margin notes at the depositions of Sauramunda del Mas, MS609-0231
(http://medieval-inquisition.huma-num.fr/doc/MS609-0231) and Peire Faure of Saint-Martin,
MS609-0454 (http://medieval-inquisition.huma-num.fr/doc/MS609-0454), both of whom were
imprisoned between depositions.
31 This term is discussed below and in note 49.
32 MS609-0230 (http://medieval-inquisition.huma-num.fr/doc/MS609-0230).
people, none of whom she herself had named: Peire Roger,33 Peirona Riqua,34 and
Raimunda Bernarda Gasc.35
The depositions of Guilhem Ayalric and Ermengarde Boer give us two slightly
different cases with which to formulate a testable problem: there is an unexpected
low rate of ?reciprocal incrimination? among certain deponents. At the same time,
we can begin to see from the small numbers presented above that others may be
implicated more often. This ?directionality? of accusations should not surprise us, as
historiography has claimed that heretical activity was centered on, and supported by,
33 MS609-0090 (http://medieval-inquisition.huma-num.fr/doc/MS609-0090).
34 MS609-0230 (http://medieval-inquisition.huma-num.fr/doc/MS609-0230).
35 MS609-0242 (http://medieval-inquisition.huma-num.fr/doc/MS609-0242).
the nobility. This directionality can be tested against large databases using simple
methods for investigating large networks of people.
Macroanalysis ? networks of accusations
Social scientists often investigate the structure of relations between people and
their communities using network diagrams (graphs).36 Graphs are flexible analytical
tools as they only require two sets of objects: nodes and edges. A node can be a
person, an object, an institution, or an event. An edge (tie) describes the relationship
between the nodes: acts of communication, exchanges, or transmission, or bonds of
acquaintances, friends, and family. Edges are classed into two types which then give
their names to the two network graphs: undirected and directed (Figure 1).
An undirected graph tells us which people are connected to others and in what
concentration (degree). These graphs are concerned only with knowing which nodes
are tied together, without determining if those ties are equal. For undirected graphs,
the only goal is to say whether the nodes A and B are connected; it doesn?t matter if A
contacts B or vice versa, or if there is an imbalance in the relationship. This approach
is usually how sociologists create basic diagrams of ?who knows who?, with the
assumption that the given social relations are reciprocal (symmetrical relationships).37
A directed graph on the other hand expresses the nature of relationships between
nodes which may or may not be equal (asymmetrical relationships). We can portray
the quality of the relationship through direction of ties and possibly their frequency
or intensity of ties. For example, A may call B more frequently than B calls A. In terms
of networks of accusations in MS 609, Ermengarde Boer incriminates more people
than incriminate her. A graph of Ermengarde with all edges and nodes connected
to her would look like the simple Figure 2. As we begin to add more people who
in turn incriminate others and are themselves incriminated, the graph grows more
complicated. By applying visualization strategies carefully, we can begin to see
largerscale patterns emerge. This expansion requires setting rules for how to calculate the
edges and the nodes from the digital edition.
In the digital edition, all people are tagged by their role and individual activity
in an event as recorded by the inquisitors in the registry. The roles are categories
(owner, infirmus, participant), explained here in turn:
? participant is someone who interacts with heretici, including adoring them
(adoravit), leading them (duxit), listening to their preaching (predicationem
eorum audivit), believing them (credidit), etc.;
? infirmus is someone unwell or dying and attended by heretici;
? owner is someone who is named as the owner of a location in an event
(for example in domo Guillelmi Vitalis);
37 One could apply this to MS 609 to build a basic, necessarily incomplete, diagram of ?who knows
who? in each village (Guilhem Ayalric?s deposition demonstrates that he did not name family, friends,
or even acquaintances, and as such gives us nothing with which to reconstruct a social world).
The work of many historians who who try to evoke social relations from inquisitorial registers is often
undermined by an assumption that the inquisitor has provided sufficient content for an objective
survey of social relations in a community, like a sociologist or anthropologist.
Saint-Andr? (Cap-de-Porc) de Saint-Nazaire
de Quiri?s (milites)
them naturally ourselves were we pressed to recall memories of events that go back
five, 10, 30, even 50 years. This goes some way to explain why they have not been
identified before, particularly if one is already convinced that the inquisition at
Toulouse was a general survey of the Lauragais. It is only by meticulously comparing
hundreds of depositions in the details of their construction that patterns emerge
which reveal the directing hand of the Bernard de Caux and Johan de Saint-Pierre as
they obtained the testimony they wanted.
A full confession?
On 3 March 1246, inquisitors recorded one brief statement from P. Laurenc
(vel Massota) of le Mas which in one blow incriminated Peire Gauta senior,
Garnier senior, Guilhem Vidal, and the brothers Esteve, Arnald, and Guilhem
Rosengue, for fraternizing with Peire Petit, hereticus, at the home of Peire?s sister,
Rixen.54, 55 The recorded memory is vague, just a list of names dating back 20
54 MS609-0383-01 (http://medieval-inquisition.huma-num.fr/doc/MS609-0383).
55 Elements of the following sections first appeared in different form in chapter 3 ?Accuser les consuls
du Mas et de Saint-Martin? of my m?moire
(Rehr, 2018: 62?80)
years, although Laurenc was sure that he did not see anyone adore two decades
before, nor himself adored. Nor, he claimed, did he see heretics thereafter. The
memory, like so many in MS 609, stretches back through decades to incriminate
just a handful of people ? the people defined in the target list. And in a refrain
now familiar from the macroanalysis above, all of those he incriminated were
themselves deposed at Saint-Sernin ? and yet none remembered to include
Laurenc in their depositions. P. Laurenc?s story brings us to the problem which
can be rapidly comprehended in Table 8, the apparent low incidence of reported
events of heresy.
Of the 117 people who journeyed for two to three days from le Mas and
SaintMartin to give incriminating depositions at Saint-Sernin, 30% only recited one event
from their lives, while 50% recited one or two. Of those depositions, more than 80%
were directed (i.e. 158 out of 186), like that of P. Laurenc (or Guilhem Ayalric), at the
consular families. These numbers represent the intersection of two problems. The first
is the low probability that any given deponent would have had only one or two
incidences of heresis to report from their lives. The lack of reciprocal incriminations,
as we saw with Ermengarde Boer, Guilhem Ayalric, and many others in the graphs,
already tells us that events were under-reported. But from Laurenc?s testimony we
can detect even more under-reporting: only one of the six people he cited, Garnier
senior, reported ever being at Rixen?s domus, and that was 10 years later.56 This means
that 80% of attendees at just one event, in just one deposition, are unreported. If we
extrapolate from this, we are faced with an extraordinary number of unreported acts
of interactions with heretici. The second problem is the low likelihood that so many
deponents would have reported a small number of similar (or the same) events which
implicated the same people. We will see in the next section how the impression of
small groups was created by inquisitors.
The problem of under-reporting throws into relief the significance of how many
depositions actually targeted consular families. We can scrutinize these numbers in
greater detail, by event. Table 9 reports how many events feature accusations against
consular families, how many feature seigneurial families, and how many feature
either of them. Over 60% of events feature consular families, the majority of those
exclusively. P. Laurenc implicated Guilhem de Rosengue and his brothers, one of the
families made famous by Douais (1900, vol 2: 4) (recapitulated by Wakefield) as ?une
des principales familles du Lauraguais? who ?n?avaient cess? de montrer le plus grand
attachement pour l?h?r?sie?. As mentioned, Guilhem himself was questioned, but
never mentioned Laurenc or the Petits.57 Guilhem?s deposition reports four events,
and despite others testifying that he appeared with dozens of people, including the
seigneurial del Mas family, his deposition is solely focused on events which would
indict other consular families: the Vidals, Gautas, Amelhs, and the Garniers. As the
depositions become longer and recount more events ? from one event to five and
56 MS609-0182-07 (http://medieval-inquisition.huma-num.fr/doc/MS609-0182). Garnier incriminates
the Gautas, Vidals, de Rosengues, Amelhs, Gaufreds, de Quiri?s, Godalhs, Alemans, and the del Mas.
57 MS609-0002 (http://medieval-inquisition.huma-num.fr/doc/MS609-0002).
then 10 ? we find the longer depositions come from the consular class, like those
named by Laurenc: Peire Gauta, Guilhem Vidal, and Garnier senior.
In a different way, but to the same effect, Bernard Hugo58 and Johan Cabrigas59
of Saint-Martin should have had many memories to recount as they were implicated
by others frequently. But they managed to escape with deposing just one or two
events about the consuls. In these various ways, the incriminations accumulate
towards the target lists for le Mas and Saint-Martin, as consular families were forced
to confess against each other and their own families, while those outside rarely felt
the reciprocated heat of accusations.
??et plures alios?
There were many credentes who appeared with heretici whose names are unknown,
and can never be known, as Bernard de Caux and Johan de Saint-Pierre were not
interested in recording their details. We saw one example of this above with the
expedition to Saint-Papoul of certain people of Saint-Martin (and Issel and Lab?c?de)
to free two heretici held by the abbot of the monastery there, by payment or by
force.60 The list of those named on the expedition, and the number of times they
are named, proved the same pattern just discussed: a repeated focus on a handful
of people, the consuls of Saint-Martin. But these depositions about the march on
Saint-Papoul demonstrate in another way the obviousness of Bernard de Caux and
Johan de Saint-Pierre?s focus on the consuls. Esteve Faure, chief among those named
on the campaign along with his brothers and uncles, gave the names of six others
58 MS609-0481 (http://medieval-inquisition.huma-num.fr/doc/MS609-0481).
59 MS609-0501 (http://medieval-inquisition.huma-num.fr/doc/MS609-0501).
60 This expedition is related at MS609-0453-7, MS609-0454-2, MS609-0470-4, MS609-0485-2,
MS6090564-2, MS609-0575-4, MS609-0586-2, MS609-0589-3, MS609-0601-2. There is one other deposition
(MS609-0582) which speaks of ?de facto Sancti Papuli?, where Peire de Carras testified that he was
made a faidit because of it. It is unclear if this is in fact the same event. He gives no details regarding
the event, no date, no other names at the event, nor the cause of it as all others did; moreover, no
milites are named on the expedition in the other depositions. It is thus possible that there were other
conflicts with the abbey, which lies only a few kilometers from Saint-Martin. These depositions can be
compared together at
who marched on the abbey, and he added that there were up to 18 others from
SaintMartin.61 Friar Bernard, the inquisitor that day, ignored any names beyond consuls,
settling for ?and many others, up to 18? (et pluribus aliis usque ad X et VIII). Others
similarly questioned gave between one and 15 other names, followed by ?with many
others ?(cum multis aliis de Sancto Martino, cum pluribus aliis, et plures alios, etc).
Why would the inquisitors accept ?and many others? rather than the names of every
possible credens and fautor who were prepared not only to pay to release two heretici,
but prepared to release them from the abbey by force (in universo cum armis)? More
generally, why did Friars Bernard and Johan not insist on obtaining or recording
longer lists of the credentes and fautores which their own manual
111?25; Arnold, 2001: 19?47)
? and council mandates from which they derived their
manual ? made the special object of the inquisitio heretice pravitatis?
This may seem an uncommon type of event by which to judge the habits of the
inquisition at Toulouse. But ?plures alios? was accepted by inquisitors 122 times in
lieu of the names of more credentes, about one out of 5 deposed events. Sometimes,
like in the depositions of the brothers Galhard and Raimund Amelh of Le Mas,62
they reported attending events with between 30 and 60 credentes dating to 12 years
beforehand, but they were stopped by inquisitors before even listing10 of them
(or, the inquisitors told the notaries to only record specific names). The names that
overlap are familiar from our lists: Godalh, Amelh, Gauta, Barrau, de Quiri?s. Even the
senior of the del Mas brothers, Bernard, remembered an event with 40 people, but
the inquisitors stopped recording after only naming two of his brothers, and then
Peire Gauta senior and Guilhem Vidal.63 At other times the numbers of attendees
are smaller, but refer to the same target list. Raimund Causitz remembered adoring
and listening to heretici and accepting the peace with Peire Gauta, Raimund Amelh,
61 MS609-0453-7 (http://medieval-inquisition.huma-num.fr/doc/MS609-0453).
62 ?alios plures usque ad XXX vel XL?, Raimund Amelh, MS609-0134-4 (http://medieval-inquisition.
huma-num.fr/doc/MS609-0134): ?alios plures usque ad LXX et amplius?, Galhard Amelh,
63 MS609-0199-4 (http://medieval-inquisition.huma-num.fr/doc/MS609-0199).
Arnald Godalh, Guilhem Vidal, Esteve de Rosengue, and Bernard and Bertrand de
Quiri?s on several different occasions across a decade, each time with ?many others?.64
The pattern is no different in the depositions of Saint-Martin. Ermessende, wife
of the miles and village seigneur Bernard Mir Arezat, remembered vividly a joke made
at her husband?s expense fourteen or fifteen years beforehand. A number of the
seigneurial family were gathered at Guilhem de Saint-Nazare?s home with consuls
Bernard Alzeu, Ysarn de Gibel, several of the Faure-Verazilhs and ?many others?.65
The joke was recorded by the notary across several precious lines, yet no space was
spared for an untold number of other credentes.
Unsurprisingly, mentions of consular families correlates with ?many others? ? 75%
of mentions of ?plures alios? involved the consular families. The only way for these
families to become so central to the inquisition at Toulouse is not their supposed
greater affiliation with heresy, but that inquisitors made them central.
It might seem as though some of these anonymous ?other people? are just failure
of memory while trying to recall events of the distant past (et plures alios de quibus non
recolat). Or in some cases they were people they did not know (plures alios quos non
novit). These responses interpret the problem incorrectly. Every one of the deponents
who used the term ?plures alios?, in whatever form, can be proven to have
underreported their appearances with heretici. The memories were thus chosen because of
the content they conveyed, even if incomplete, because they suited the inquisitors?
hunt for incriminating evidence against consular families. Others memories, perhaps
more recent, more complete, would have incriminated those who were of far less
concern to inquisitors.
The first inquisitor formularies of the 1240s were not simply devices for
structuring confession. They also controlled the content. A credens, fautor, and
indeed other categories had specific definitions which categorized heretical actions
and in turn controlled what the inquisitors looked for
(Arnold, 2001: 19?47; Pegg,
. The depositions of MS 609 are so consistently and rigorously
64 MS609-0136-1 (http://medieval-inquisition.huma-num.fr/doc/MS609-0136).
65 This joke is at the centre of the chapter ?One Full Dish of Chestnuts? in Pegg (2001b: 114?25).
structured around the same formula that the variations stand out. Some variations
are formal: direct and undecorated with the usual dates, places, and co-actors, as
when Na Flors, wife of Galhard del Mas, simply stated that she ?sent bread and wine
to Bernard de Maireville, hereticus, on behalf of Arnald Godalh?, we don?t know when
or where.66 Less common are the strings of similarly direct but ?off topic? accusations
that Guilhem P. Barba junior made against Peire junior, the son of consul and
scriptor Peire Gauta senior. Barba said that Peire junior stole ponies from the abbey
at le Mas and sacerdotal garments from the church, and moreover he had an affair
with a close blood relative.67 What is rare about these accusations is that they have
nothing to do with any usual heresis. They are more notable because of who these
uncommon accusations are directed at. Whether accusations of theft or tattle-tales,
they implicate the same people.
Peire Raimund Prosat, an acolitus of the Church,68 recalled gambling with some
men of the village in Peire Gauta senior?s workshop 25 years before. According to
Peire, at some point during the game, Bernard de Quiri?s stood up, climbed on a
chest, and proceeded to urinate on Peire Prosat?s tonsure while cursing the Catholic
Church. One of the other gamblers, B. Lapassa, had testified just before Prosat,
but he was recalled to Saint-Sernin to be deposed again for just this one event.
He wearily confirmed a vague memory of it, but couldn?t remember all the details
except that it was indeed at Peire Gauta?s workshop. Bernard de Quiri?s himself
was then recalled to Saint-Sernin seven weeks after his first deposition solely to
account for this story. He recalled that he was provoked by the other gamblers and
consequently urinated on the table in complaint, but he said that if any urine struck
Prosat it was entirely by accident.69
66 Na Flor, MS609-0233 (http://medieval-inquisition.huma-num.fr/doc/MS609-0233).
67 MS609-0266 (http://medieval-inquisition.huma-num.fr/doc/MS609-0266). According to Raimund
Aleman, the horse thieving also involved Bertrand de Quiri?s, and Guilhem del Mas and his scutifer,
Guilhem Moreta, MS609-0084-10 (http://medieval-inquisition.huma-num.fr/doc/MS609-0084).
68 Prosat was tonsured, likely a lay member of the church. No other details are known about him from
MS 609 to shed further light on what acolitus actually meant.
69 It was not random that Prosat?s sole story featured consuls and probi homines. Peire Prosat,
MS6090024-2; B. Lapassa, MS609-0035-1; Bernard de Quiri?s, MS609-0206-1. See comparison of stories
These stories are in themselves interesting for how they take us out of the
suffocating sameness of the formulaic depositions. But it is important to remember
that historians have insisted that the formulaic repetition resulted from the early
inquisition?s focus on a small number of heretical acts, thoughts, and relations,
as well as brothers Bernard and Johan having to process so many people during a
short period. Yet this results in a contradiction: Bernard and Johan left aside untold
numbers of unnamed ?others? who were involved directly and verifiably with the
heretici, yet focused specific effort in gathering whatever information they could
which might build a case of any anti-Church inclination on the part of consuls.
At times, certain deponents stated that they adored the heretici at the request
or entreaty of someone else (adoravit ad preces, ad instanciam, or rarely, compulit),
or they were asked by someone to guide or accompany heretici from one domus
to another, or from one village to another (duxit, associavit). Although numerous
people guided, accompanied, and adored heretici (65 different people from le Mas
and Saint-Martin at one time or another acted as guide), only a handful of people
are recorded by inquisitors as having asked others to do so: Arnald Godalh, Bernard
Alzeu, Ysarn de Gibel and his wife Andrea, Bernard Martin, and other consuls (those
consuls themselves are also cited as guiding and accompanying heretici from place
to place, three to four times more than average). The questions stayed within the
usual diagnostic criteria for identifying credentes and fautores, but the application of
the formulary was intensified when investigating certain people. There was a sliding
scale of responsibility for the persistence of heresy, but that judgement did not come
from the deponents. It was imposed on deponents and the accused by the inquisitors
through specific questions about the consuls and probi homines. Those questions
drew out these extra pieces of incriminating information that could demonstrate a
given person was more inclined or attached to heresy than others. Inquisitors could
then use this evidence to prove that someone deserved greater investigation. To these
three patterns we can add others
(Rehr, 2018: 55?71)
http://medieval-inquisition.huma-num.fr/compare?segments=MS609-0024-2+MS609-00351+MS609-0206-1 Cf. Pegg (2001b: 124?125).
? ?Hereticos non novit?: In the deposition of Bernard Hugo mentioned
above,70 we find the inquisitors completely uninterested in the names of
the heretici, settling for duos hereticos quas non novit. This same pattern is
seen across the depositions: heretics are unknown (non novit) or not recalled
(non recolit), but what is recalled is who attended the event, and they are
always the consuls at the top of the target list.
? Inquisitors? marginal notes: The inquisitors? marginal remarks, unstudied
in aggregate until now with many left out of extant transcriptions, note
occasional punishments or location of current residence. But the greater
part can be linked together to see inquisitors investigating certain ?lies? as
they sought to obtain indicting confessions from and against consuls, with
the greater number of those labelled suspectus est, or hic dicitur catholicus,
being consuls subject to investigation not applying to the thousands of
others named in the manuscript.
? Inquisitors? supplementary questions: The term requisitus/requisita
(?asked about??), frequently found in later inquisitorial registers, indicates a
specific question asked by the inquisitor. It only appears three times in the
685 depositions from le Mas and Saint-Martin. But the inquisitor?s questions
can be seen in other ways which can seem like a spontaneous recollection
or addition by the deponent at the end of a recollection, or at the very end
of the deposition, even after the abjuration. These are often framed as dixit
etiam or postea dixit, or even simply added with et. The seeming randomness
and spontaneity disappears once one correlates the people and acts
mentioned, like the seemingly insubstantial addition that breaks the formula
in very first entry of MS609, ?Et quando ipse testis exivit domum invenit
Willelmus de Rozergue intrantem ad dictos hereticos?.71
? The same stories deposed by different witnesses: Wakefield remarked
that it was difficult to match stories from person to person. But his
con70 MS609-0481 (http://medieval-inquisition.huma-num.fr/doc/MS609-0481).
71 MS609-0001-01 (http://medieval-inquisition.huma-num.fr/doc/MS609-0001).
cern was with recreating specific exact moments in time, rather than
comprehend the motives behind evidence-gathering by the friars from obscure,
half-remembered stories 5, ten, fifteen years old. The overlaps are only
explained when one looks at the attendees who are mentioned in them, and
not the heretici nor the deponents themselves. Inquisitors were only
interested in the people found in the overlap of those stories, often containing
plures alios and hereticos non novit.72
From combined macroanalysis and close reading, a revised picture emerges from MS
609 which makes sense of both the structure and tone of the registry. The central
position of consuls in the inquisitions of Le Mas and Saint Martin were neither an
accident of spontaneous confessions of credentes nor a reflection of consuls having
been more inclined to heresis. Their centrality was solely the result of the investigative
goals of Friars Bernard de Caux and Johan de Saint-Pierre at Saint-Sernin. This alone
explains why the two inquisitors could possibly have conceived of an inquisition
of the entire Lauragais in one short year. This also answers Wakefield?s puzzle: Why
did the inquisitors so frequently overlook leads pointing very clearly to many other
credentes and fautores at Saint-Sernin (Wakefield, 1983: 221?22)? The inquisitors had
very particular goals, but it was not a ?general survey of the faith?. Depositions were
not short because inquisitors didn?t have the time to explore every lead and challenge
every lie. The depositions at Saint-Sernin were short because they recorded exactly
what was needed by inquisitors to incriminate a very particular group of people in
brief period, a group of people they had decided upon before the first deponents
even journeyed to Toulouse. This is a falsifiable claim: the depositions make clear that
when inquisitors wanted to spend time with a credens they could and would do so.
The patterns dominating MS 609 become even more striking when we realize
that depositions were frequently given without the presence of inquisitors Bernard
72 Taking just two examples, depositions corroborating appearances with Bertrand Marti, hereticus, near
the chapel of Saint-Michael, c. 1234 ? c. 1238 or those corroborating the appearances at the bed of
the very ill Guilhem Faure.
de Caux or Johan de Saint-Pierre, a practice noted by both Dossat (1959: 240) and
Wakefield (1993: 65). The investigations focused on specific people, and once
inquisitors turned up a story that could indict those they targeted, it could be easily
followed up by the small staff of notaries who provided the day to day continuity
at Saint-Sernin.73 The inquisitors made their notes so the key events and relations
were later interrogated (and surely the few extant margin notes in MS 609 pale in
comparison to the provisional notes and lists which must have been produced by
the thousands of depositions at Saint-Sernin). Thus many credentes were deposed to
confirm only one or two stories, despite the evidence of decades practicing whatever
heresis the inquisitors believed was occurring in the lands of the Count of Toulouse.
It didn?t matter that scores of credentes and fautores were ignored and sidelined in
each village, nor did it apparently matter who the particular heretici were. Sometimes
it didn?t matter if the evidence was even stricto sensu the heresis inquisitors had set
as their criteria, because they were assailing the character of those consular families
who inquisitors wanted to portray as allied against the Church.
I would conclude with a few considerations on the implications for future
investigations into this study?s findings and historical research methodologies
applied to MS609. The first is the obvious question, ?Why the consuls??. The current
state of research makes this question impossible to answer. Notwithstanding the utter
absence of rural and village consulates from the historiography of Catharism, we lack
even published sources or studies which could shed light on this social group, their
composition, their roles, and their influence, prior to Alphonse de Poitiers, brother of
King Louis IX, assuming the title of Count of Toulouse upon Raimund VII?s death in
73 The key story for every chain of corroborated stories was identified by friars Bernard or Johan.
There were three principal notaries who provided continuity for depositions of le Mas and
SaintMartin: Peire Fresapa, Nepos de Dournia, and Peire Aribert. They were assisted in a few instances
by Bernard de Gaus, B. Petrabuffera, and ?Bartholomie?. Most of these names are found again in the
related sentences recorded in Biblioth?que nationale de France Ms. Lat. 9992
(http://medievalinquisition.huma-num.fr/MS9992/list) and other documents issued at Toulouse and in the Lauragais.
1249.74 I am disinclined to any generalized conclusions drawn from existing studies
of inquisition and consuls or ?urban elites? in the lands of the Count of Toulouse for
several reasons. The first is that little unites these studies outside of resting under
the banner ?inquisition of urban elites?: some feature Catharism and inquisition
as a backdrop to, or means to conduct, principally social and institutional studies
(Mundy, 1985; Mundy: 1990; Mundy 1997; Mundy 2006)
;75 others are
early papal inquisitions at Montauban
where the author pursues a
traditional relationship of inquisition to heresy (Catharism, Waldensian); still others
are episcopal inquisitions which the authors have uncovered were rooted in local
power struggles between bishop and secular ?elites? of Albi
(Biget, 1971; Th?ry, 2002)
The second argument against any generalized answer is the context of this
inquisition itself, which I outline here as a series of provocative observations and
questions to be answered only by returning to regional, royal, and papal archives.
The first begins with a precise historical question to reframe the inquisition: ?Why
prosecute the consuls over milites, across the Lauragais, and to the near exclusion
and ignorance of everyone else who were implicated in heresis by the inquisitors??.76
It is clear from the juramentum from Mas-Saintes-Puelles (and Lavaur, Puylaurens,
Fanjeaux, inter alia) itself that King Louis IX, the milites, and the probi homines of
the Lauragais thought their consuls in the 1240s were important enough that they
should guarantee the oaths with their seals (nos supradicti consules de mandato
74 Administrative and constitutional history of the county of Toulouse has generally started with the
?innovations? to administration brought by Louis IX and Alphonse, which lead Rami?re de Fortanier to
argue that town and village consuls only then flourished and multiplied in the Midi. His argument was
circular in that it depended on the very constitutional documents he credits to Capetian administration.
75 I note that Mundy (1990: 1?4; 1997: 1?5) was equivocal about Catharism toward the end of his career,
declaring that his archival work had only produced confusion about where Christianity ended and
heterodoxy began in families and social groups, to the point where he wasn?t sure what defined either
in the Toulousain of the thirteenth century. His archives at the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies
(Toronto) may hold some indications as to where this equivocation would have taken his research.
76 The questions are formulated with the acknowledgement that we do not know what the other eight of
the original ten volumes contained
(Dossat, 1959: 56?70; Pegg, 2001: 25)
. We can speculate to some
degree based on references in the margins of MS 609 as to contents of missing volumes, together with
BnF MS Lat 9992 (edited at http://medieval-inquisition.huma-num.fr/MS9992/list) which contains
sentences from the same inquisition.
speciali predictorum militum et aliorum hominum universorum de Manso presentem
paginam sigilli nostri munimine duximus roborandam).77 These juramenta were
enacted at the end of Raimund VII?s rebellion against the Louis IX (a rebellion broader
than Raimund VII, allied with England, and extending up to within catapult range
(Le Goff, 2009: 102?08)
). The signees swore to council Raimund should
he become ?belligerent? again, and that, should battle come, they will adhere to the
King in his matters, and Church in its matters: against heretics, their supporters, or
anyone allied against it. Two years later, these very same signees ? milites, consuls,
probi homines ? then travelled by the thousands from this vast region to Toulouse,
in a short period of time and to give depositions against those same consuls. I note
as well here that the memories set down by inquisitors end in 1243, the year of the
oaths, two years before this inquisition. The effect is that this inquisition seems less
and less a ?survey? and more and more ceremonial, processional, and ritualistic.
Going further, it is not clear which power(s) organized, enforced, or compelled
such coordinated action on such a massive scale. If the consuls were chosen, then
by whom and under what criteria? Some historians have observed
2006: 167?69, 188?96, 207?14)
that inquisition is not conducted within
the borders of princes, but rather controlled by those borders. This research
direction, which shifts the study of this inquisition from religious considerations
(i.e., where there was heresy, there was inquisition)78 to earthly considerations,
is suggested by the temporal context of the inquisition itself. To whom were
the consuls and milites of the Lauragais subject by the time of friar Bernard and
Johan?s inquisition ? Louis IX, or his ostensible direct vassal, Raimund VII? Why
did Raimund VII, after fiercely resisting inquisition for 15 years, suddenly seem
to throw his support behind an inquisition which targeted the very consuls and
lords of the Lauragais who swore to the juramenta? Did this change in attitude
77 Many of these juramenta still have their silk-attached consular seals, including J.305.13, 16, 18, 20,
21, 23, 24, 27, 28, 29 and J.306.71. See images by following http://medieval-inquisition.huma-num.
78 Lambert (1998: 71) argues that Cathars ?fade away to the east? of Trencavel territory, arguing from no
evidence beyond the presence (or lack thereof) of crusade and inquisition.
have any relationship to Raimund VII?s concurrent quest to receive papal support
for annulation of one marriage and proposed new marriage, in order to solidify
his claims in Provence? Is there significance to the Lauragais? geographic and
political position at the nexus of ambitions of the kings of France and Aragon
in Languedoc, Frederic II in Provence, and Raimund VII?s defense of his own
patrimony in both?
Finally, returning to the manuscript that provoked these questions, historians
are offered an unusually large and contiguous source with which to test and falsify
the conclusions of this study (and other arguments about its contents). This marks
a rare opportunity in medieval historical research, let alone for the ?Cathar debate?.
The famed difficulty and sheer scale of the manuscript, its historic lack of accessibility,
and the deeply problematic transcriptions available until now, have allowed historians
to judge its contents (and to select extracts from it) by expectations of what it should
contain. The digital edition of MS 609 (and documents related to the social context of
the inquisition) has been constructed in such a way as to maximize the opportunities
for historians to investigate its contents, including by making the edition and its
data available under Creative Commons. The methodology presented in this study,
combining network analysis and close reading, is but one possible approach ? in
this case suited to the question of who accused who. Other techniques, manual or
digital, can be applied to numerous other investigations of the contents of MS 609,
from the apparatus of the inquisitorial record itself to the beliefs and social worlds
of the subjects. But there is a double-edge sword to digital availability: our work
must be rigorous and testable, knowing that it can be submitted to rapid, intense
scrutiny against large samples. With this challenge, our methods must become more
explicit and more fine-grained in argument. The real challenge this poses to old
Cathar historiography is the question of what is to be found in the ?negative space?
in the manuscript: that the immense amount of information which exists outside
the cherry-picked, strip-mined samples (the ?positive space?) that have served to
demonstrate the value of MS 609 until now.
The author would like to thank Jacques Chiffoleau, JaShong King, R. I. Moore, Mark
Pegg, and Julien Th?ry, as well as the two anonymous reviewers, for their comments
and suggestions during the drafting of this article.
The author has no competing interests to declare.
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