Cathars and Catholics in a French Village 1294-1324


The village of Montaillou was the last stronghold of the cult of Catharism in medieval France. Under the Inquisition of Bishop Fournier members of this sect were persecuted and some burnt at the stake, and the interrogations about the way they lived were chronicled in a Register. From this document Ladurie has reconstructed an intruging account of everyday peasant life in a medieval village. Montaillou gives us a unique glimpse into how people really lived 700 years ago: from their homes and the food they ate to their body language and attitudes to sex.

EMMANUEL LE ROY LADURIE was born in 1929. He has had a distinguished career, serving as Administrateur Général of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (1987-94); member of the Institute (Academy of Moral and Political Sciences). He is a professor at the Collège de France and chair of the department of the History of Modern Civilization.

'Fascinating ... a Chaucerian gallery of vivid medieval persons' Hugh Trevor-Roper, Sunday Times

'It is so good, so human that, as at the end of a great novel, one is sorry to leave the endearing company of the Clergue brothers, of the smiling Pierre Maury, of the generous Béatrice, the saintly Authié brothers, the rascally Bélibaste' Richard Cobb, New Statesman

'Sheer brilliance in the use of a unique document to reconstruct in fascinating detail a previously totally unknown world, the mental, emotional, sexual life of late thirteenth-century peasants in a remote Pyrenean village' Lawrence Stone, New York Review of Books


  • Fascinating ... a Chaucerian gallery of vivid medieval persons
    Hugh Trevor-Roper, Sunday Times

About the author

Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie

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