Château de Puivert
The Château de Puivert is a so-called Cathar castle situated in the commune of Puivert, in the Aude département of France. The castle has been classified as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture since 1902; this building, on top of a hill overhanging the village and its lake, reaches an elevation of 605 m. The site is in 60 km south of Carcassonne and 45 km east of Foix; the construction of the present castle dates from the 12th century. The first mention is in 1170; these lords were accused as heretics. In November 1210, the castle was subjected for three days to a siege by the army of Thomas Pons de Bruyère, lieutenant of Simon de Montfort; the castle subsequently became the property of the northern barons. All, left of this older castle is a few sections of wall to the east. A collapse of the natural dam on the lake at the foot of the site caused the destruction of part of the town of Mirepoix, 30 km to the north, in Ariège in 1279. According to legend, this was because a certain Dame Blanche wanted to daydream on the lake shores, which were inaccessible in bad weather.
She asked that the water level be lowered and work undertaken to accomplish this goal led to the collapse. At the start of the 14th century, Thomas de Bruyère and his wife Isabelle de Melun had the new castle built to the east of the old castle; the remains of the old castle are still visible. The coat-of-arms of Isabelle de Melun, the daughter of a Grand Chamberlain of France, still exists in the'new' castle; the building was given a picturesque character that can still be seen today. The castle was classified as a monument historique in 1907; the castle is owned. Thanks to its well preserved keep it has been a location for many films, including The Ninth Gate and Le Peuple migrateur. On the fourth floor of the keep is the minstrels' room, it is so called because eight fine sculptures of musicians with their instruments are represented in the room. Legend has it that the town of Puivert welcomed a great gathering of troubadours in the 12th century; the instruments seen in the room are the bagpipes, tambourin, lute, portable organ and the bowed hurdy-gurdy.
Elsewhere in the town is a museum showing the musical tradition of the region from this period. The castle's functions were military: lookout and defence, unlike many buildings of the era which had religious goals; the curtain wall extends for 175 m, pierced with arrow slits. It is rectangular in plan; the moat which separated it from the plateau is invisible today. The entrance to the courtyard is through a square gate tower, situated in the centre of the east wall. Five of the original eight towers remain: a smooth round tower in the northeast corner a rough round tower in the middle of the north wall a square tower, with a windowed turret on the eastern side joining the two top floors remains of a round tower in the southeast the keep; as well as the central gateway in the east wall, there are two other doorways: one in the northwest corner defended by the keep another to the south of the keep giving access to the older castle. The surface area of the site is large: 3200 m² inside the walls.
The best preserved part of the castle, the square keep. It adjoined the manor house. On the west of the tower can be seen pieces of perpendicular masonry, from which it can be deduced that the buildings were joined in this area; the keep comprises: two lower levels: underground, with barrel vaulting a third floor: the chapel is accessible through a doorway with a broken arch. The room is decorated with small columns and shields; the ceiling is rib-vaulted. A fourth floor: a rib-vaulted room, the culs-de-lampe sculpted with non-religious figures playing musical instruments - the Minstrels' Room, it is well lit, thanks to three windows resembling those of the chapel. The fifth and top floor: a defensive platform surrounded with crenellations, provides views of the Quercob region. Puivert: the town with some history Cathar castles List of castles in France Cathars Albigensian Crusade Châteaux médiévaux de l'Aude: Guide du visiteur, 25 sites du pays cathare. AUÉ, Michèle. Discover Cathar Country. Vic-en-Bigorre, France: MSM.
ISBN 2-907899-44-9. MICHELIN Green Guide: Languedoc, Tarn Gorges p317 Official web site of the Château de Puivert Ministry of Culture database entry for Château de Puivert Ministry of Culture photos Puivert on cathares.org Château de Puivert window
Louis XIV of France
Louis XIV, known as Louis the Great or the Sun King, was a monarch of the House of Bourbon who reigned as King of France from 1643 until his death in 1715. Starting on 14 May 1643 when Louis was 4 years old, his reign of 72 years and 110 days is the longest recorded of any monarch of a sovereign country in European history. In the age of absolutism in Europe, Louis XIV's France was a leader in the growing centralisation of power. Louis began his personal rule of France in 1661, after the death of his chief minister, the Italian Cardinal Mazarin. An adherent of the concept of the divine right of kings, Louis continued his predecessors' work of creating a centralised state governed from the capital, he sought to eliminate the remnants of feudalism persisting in parts of France and, by compelling many members of the nobility to inhabit his lavish Palace of Versailles, succeeded in pacifying the aristocracy, many members of which had participated in the Fronde rebellion during Louis' minority. By these means he became one of the most powerful French monarchs and consolidated a system of absolute monarchical rule in France that endured until the French Revolution.
Louis encouraged and benefited from the work of prominent political and cultural figures such as Mazarin, Louvois, the Grand Condé, Turenne, Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban, André Charles Boulle, Molière, Boileau, La Fontaine, Marais, Le Brun, Bossuet, Le Vau, Charles, Claude Perrault, Le Nôtre. Under his rule, the Edict of Nantes, which granted rights to Huguenots, was abolished; the revocation forced Huguenots to emigrate or convert in a wave of dragonnades, which managed to destroy the French Protestant minority. During Louis' long reign, France was the leading European power, it fought three major wars: the Franco-Dutch War, the War of the League of Augsburg, the War of the Spanish Succession. There were two lesser conflicts: the War of Devolution and the War of the Reunions. Warfare defined the foreign policy of Louis XIV, his personality shaped his approach. Impelled "by a mix of commerce and pique", Louis sensed that warfare was the ideal way to enhance his glory. In peacetime he concentrated on preparing for the next war.
He taught his diplomats that their job was to create tactical and strategic advantages for the French military. Louis XIV was born on 5 September 1638 in the Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, to Louis XIII and Anne of Austria, he was named Louis Dieudonné and bore the traditional title of French heirs apparent: Dauphin. At the time of his birth, his parents had been married for 23 years, his mother had experienced four stillbirths between 1619 and 1631. Leading contemporaries thus regarded him as his birth a miracle of God. Sensing imminent death, Louis XIII decided to put his affairs in order in the spring of 1643, when Louis XIV was four years old. In defiance of custom, which would have made Queen Anne the sole Regent of France, the king decreed that a regency council would rule on his son's behalf, his lack of faith in Queen Anne's political abilities was his primary rationale. He did, make the concession of appointing her head of the council. Louis' relationship with his mother was uncommonly affectionate for the time.
Contemporaries and eyewitnesses claimed. Both were interested in food and theatre, it is likely that Louis developed these interests through his close relationship with his mother; this long-lasting and loving relationship can be evidenced by excerpts in Louis' journal entries, such as: "Nature was responsible for the first knots which tied me to my mother. But attachments formed by shared qualities of the spirit are far more difficult to break than those formed by blood." It was his mother who gave Louis his belief in the absolute and divine power of his monarchical rule. During his childhood, he was taken care of by the governesses Françoise de Lansac and Marie-Catherine de Senecey. In 1646, Nicolas V de Villeroy became the young king's tutor. Louis XIV became friends with Villeroy's young children François de Villeroy, divided his time between the Palais-Royal and the nearby Hotel de Villeroy. On 14 May 1643, with Louis XIII dead, Queen Anne had her husband's will annulled by the Parlement de Paris.
This action made Anne sole Regent of France. Anne exiled some of her husband's ministers, she nominated Brienne as her minister of foreign affairs. Anne nominated Saint Vincent de Paul as her spiritual adviser, which helped her deal with religious policy and the Jansenism question. Anne kept the direction of religious policy in her hand until 1661. Anne wanted to give her son a victorious kingdom, her rationales for choosing Mazarin were his ability and his total dependence on her, at least until 1653 when she was no longer regent. Anne protected Mazarin by arresting and exiling her followers who conspired against him in 1643: the Duke of Beaufort and Marie de Rohan, she left the direction of the daily administration of policy to Cardinal Mazarin. The best example of Anne's statesmanship and the partial change in her heart towards her native Spain is seen in her keeping of one of Richelieu's men, the Chancellor of France Pierre Séguier, in his post. Séguier was the pers
Château de Roquefixade
The Château de Roquefixade is a ruined castle built on a cliff overlooking the village of Roquefixade, situated 8 km west of Lavelanet French département of Ariège. There are records of a castle on the site going back to 1180, though the present ruins are more modern. While marketed in the tourist industry as one of the so-called Cathar castles, the ruins are than this. Despite this, the site did provide a place of refuge for the Cathars at the time of the Albigensian Crusade. A natural cleft in the cliff face has been filled in by an arch supported by ramparts; this cleft is the origin of the name of the village, the castle: roca fisada in Catalan. The remains of the castle walls cling to the rock circling an impressive keep built at the highest point of the site. At the end of the 13th century, Roquefixade became a stronghold at the end of a line of royal fortresses built along the Corbières hills, to keep watch on the territory of the Count of Foix; the keep was remodelled in the 14th century, other alterations were made in the 15th and 16th centuries.
The castle survived until 1632 when the French king Louis XIII rested in the area on his way to Toulouse for the execution of the Henri II, Duke of Montmorency who had risen against Richelieu. Louis took the opportunity to order the destruction of Roquefixade, it now serving no purpose and being costly to maintain,Château de Roquefixade has been listed since 1995 as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture. Cathar castles List of castles in France Ministry of Culture database entry for Château de Roquefixade Laurence Cabrol, "Roquefixade, la citadelle du vertige", Ariege News, 22 May 2006
Philip IV of Spain
Philip IV of Spain was King of Spain and Portugal as Philip III. He ascended the thrones in 1621 and reigned in Spain until his death and in Portugal until 1640. Philip is remembered for his patronage of the arts, including such artists as Diego Velázquez, his rule over Spain during the Thirty Years' War. On the eve of his death in 1665, the Spanish Empire had reached 12.2 million square kilometers in area but in other respects was in decline, a process to which Philip contributed with his inability to achieve successful domestic and military reform. Philip IV was born in Royal Palace of Valladolid, was the eldest son of Philip III and his wife, Margaret of Austria. In 1615, at the age of 10, Philip was married to 13-year-old Elisabeth of France, although the relationship does not appear to have been close. Philip had seven children by Elisabeth, with only one being a son, Balthasar Charles, who died at the age of sixteen in 1646; the death of his son shocked the king, who appears to have been a good father by the standards of the day.
Elisabeth was able to conspire with other Spanish nobles to remove Olivares from the court in 1643, for a brief period she held considerable influence over Philip. Philip remarried following the deaths of both Elisabeth and his only legitimate heir, his choice of his second wife, Maria Anna known as Mariana, Philip's niece and the daughter of the Emperor Ferdinand, was guided by politics and Philip's desire to strengthen the relationship with Habsburg Austria. Maria Anna bore him five children, but only two survived to adulthood, a daughter Margarita Teresa, born in 1651, the future Charles II of Spain in 1661 — but the latter was sickly and considered in frequent danger of dying, making the line of inheritance uncertain. Perceptions of Philip's personality have altered over time. Victorian authors were inclined to portray him as a weak individual, delegating excessively to his ministers, ruling over a debauched Baroque court. Victorian historians attributed the early death of Baltasar to debauchery, encouraged by the gentlemen entrusted by the king with his education.
The doctors who treated the Prince at that time in fact diagnosed smallpox, although modern scholars attribute his death to appendicitis. Historians' estimation of Philip improved in the 20th century, with comparisons between Philip and his father being positive — some noting that he possessed much more energy, both mental and physical, than his diffident father. Philip was idealised by his contemporaries as the model of Baroque kingship. Outwardly he maintained a bearing of rigid solemnity. Philip had a strong sense of his'royal dignity', but was extensively coached by Olivares in how to resemble the Baroque model of a sovereign, which would form a key political tool for Philip throughout his reign. Philip was a fine horseman, a keen hunter and a devotee of bull-fighting, all central parts of royal public life at court during the period. Philip appears to have had a lighter persona; when he was younger, he was said to have a keen sense of humour and a'great sense of fun'. He attended'academies' in Madrid throughout his reign — these were lighthearted literary salons, aiming to analyse contemporary literature and poetry with a humorous touch.
A keen theatre-goer, he was sometimes criticised by contemporaries for his love of these'frivolous' entertainments. Others have captured his private personality as'naturally kind and affable'; those close to him claimed he was academically competent, with a good grasp of Latin and geography, could speak French and Italian well. Like many of his contemporaries, including Olivares, he had a keen interest in astrology, his handwritten translation of Francesco Guicciardini's texts on political history still exists. Although interpretations of Philip's role in government have improved in recent years, Diego Velázquez's contemporary description of Philip's key weakness — that'he mistrusts himself, defers to others too much' — remains relevant. Although Philip's Catholic beliefs no longer attract criticism from English language writers, Philip is still felt to have been'unduly pious' in his personal life. Notably, from the 1640s onwards he sought the advice of a noted cloistered abbess, Sor María de Ágreda, exchanging many letters with her.
This did not stop Philip's becoming known for his numerous affairs with actresses. By the end of the reign, with the health of Carlos José in doubt, there was a real possibility of Juan José's making a claim on the throne, which added to the instability of the regency years. During the reign of Philip's father, Philip III, the royal court had been dominated by the Sandoval noble family, most strikingly by the Duke of Lerma, Philip III's principal favorite and chief minister for all of his reign. Philip IV came to power as the influence of the Sandovals was being undermined by a new noble coalition, led by Don Baltasar de Zúñiga. De
Carcassonne is a French fortified city in the department of Aude, in the region of Occitanie. A prefecture, it has a population of about 50,000. Inhabited since the Neolithic period, Carcassonne is located in the Aude plain between historic trade routes, linking the Atlantic to the Mediterranean sea and the Massif Central to the Pyrénées, its strategic importance was recognized by the Romans, who occupied its hilltop until the demise of the Western Roman Empire. In the fifth century, it was taken over by the Visigoths, its strategic location led successive rulers to expand its fortifications until the Treaty of the Pyrenees in 1659. Its citadel known as the Cité de Carcassonne, is a medieval fortress dating back to the Gallo-Roman period, was restored by the theorist and architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc in 1853, it was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 1997. Carcassonne relies on tourism but counts manufacturing and wine-making as some of its other key economic sectors. Carcassonne is located in the south of France, about 80 kilometres east of Toulouse.
Its strategic location between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea has been known since the neolithic era. The town's area is about 65 km2, larger than the numerous small towns in the department of Aude; the rivers Aude and the Canal du Midi flow through the town. The first signs of settlement in this region have been dated to about 3500 BC, but the hill site of Carsac – a Celtic place-name, retained at other sites in the south – became an important trading place in the 6th century BC; the Volcae Tectosages fortified the oppidum. The folk etymology – involving a châtelaine named Lady Carcas, a ruse ending a siege, the joyous ringing of bells – though memorialized in a neo-Gothic sculpture of Mme. Carcas on a column near the Narbonne Gate, is of modern invention; the name can be derived as an augmentative of the name Carcas. Carcassonne became strategically identified when the Romans fortified the hilltop around 100 BC and made the colonia of Julia Carsaco Carcasum; the main part of the lower courses of the northern ramparts dates from Gallo-Roman times.
In 462 the Romans ceded Septimania to the Visigothic king Theodoric II who had held Carcassonne since 453. He built more fortifications at Carcassonne, a frontier post on the northern marches. Theodoric is thought to have begun the predecessor of the basilica, now dedicated to Saint Nazaire. In 508 the Visigoths foiled attacks by the Frankish king Clovis. Saracens from Barcelona took Carcassonne in 725, but King Pepin the Short drove them away in 759-60. A medieval fiefdom, the county of Carcassonne, controlled its environs, it was united with the County of Razès. The origins of Carcassonne as a county lie in local representatives of the Visigoths, but the first count known by name is Bello of the time of Charlemagne. Bello founded a dynasty, the Bellonids, which would rule many honores in Septimania and Catalonia for three centuries. In 1067, Carcassonne became the property of Raimond-Bernard Trencavel, viscount of Albi and Nîmes, through his marriage with Ermengard, sister of the last count of Carcassonne.
In the following centuries, the Trencavel family allied in succession either with the counts of Barcelona or of Toulouse. They built the Basilica of Saints Nazarius and Celsus. In 1096, Pope Urban II blessed the foundation stones of the new cathedral. Carcassonne became famous for its role in the Albigensian Crusades, when the city was a stronghold of Occitan Cathars. In August 1209 the crusading army of the Papal Legate, Abbot Arnaud Amalric, forced its citizens to surrender. Viscount Raymond-Roger de Trencavel was imprisoned whilst negotiating his city's surrender and died in mysterious circumstances three months in his own dungeon; the people of Carcassonne were allowed to leave – in effect, expelled from their city with nothing more than the shirt on their backs. Simon De Montfort was appointed the new viscount, he added to the fortifications. In 1240, Trencavel's son in vain; the city submitted to the rule of the kingdom of France in 1247. Carcassonne became a border fortress between France and the Crown of Aragon under the Treaty of Corbeil.
King Louis IX founded the new part of the town across the river. He and his successor Philip III built the outer ramparts. Contemporary opinion still considered the fortress impregnable. During the Hundred Years' War, Edward the Black Prince failed to take the city in 1355, although his troops destroyed the Lower Town. In 1659, the Treaty of the Pyrenees transferred the border province of Roussillon to France, Carcassonne's military significance was reduced. Fortifications were abandoned, the city became an economic centre that concentrated on the woollen textile industry, for which a 1723 source quoted by Fernand Braudel found it "the manufacturing centre of Languedoc", it remained so until the Ottoman market collapsed at the end of the eighteenth century, thereafter reverting to a country town. Carcassonne was the first fortress to use hoardings in times of siege. Temporary wooden ramparts would be fitted to the upper walls of the fortress through square holes beneath the rampart itself, it provided protection to defenders on the wall and allowed defenders to go out past the wall to drop projectiles on attackers at the wall
The Château d'Aguilar is a 12th-century castle, one of the so-called Cathar castles, located in the commune of Tuchan in the Aude département of France. The design of the castle witnesses the practical military thinking of the 12th century; the castle consists of an inner keep built in the 12th century, surrounded by an outer pentagonal fortification from the 13th century. This fortification is oriented such; the keep and the inner hexagonal fortification is flanked at each corner with semi-circular guard towers, each equipped with archery outlooks. The strategic location of the castle on a hill overhanging the plain of Tuchan allows supervision of the Corbières. Despite this, the castle is accessible from the plains because of its low elevation of 321 metres. There is a small underground chapel of Saint-Anne; the earliest building at this location belonged to the count of Fonnollède since 1021. In the 13th century, the keep that had replaced earlier buildings was bequeathed by the viscounts of Carcassonne to their vassal, the Ternes.
In 1210, it was invaded and occupied by Simon de Montfort, whose soldiers took and held the owner Raymond de Termes in a dark dungeon in the Carcassonne. Militarily, the castle lay dormant for the next 30 years, until Raymond's son Oliver de Termes took back the castle in the brief revolt against the crusaders. Aguilar became the refuge of many faydits, Cathar lords without strongholds. In 1246, a royal garrison was installed to supervise the Aragon frontier. Olivier, however made an alliance with king Louis IX, who purchased the castle from him in 1260. Despite the heavy fortifications, the castle would be continually under siege by opposers to the French or Spanish rulers until the 16th century; when the border was pushed back to the south of Roussillon by the treaty of the Pyrenées, the castle lost its strategic importance, was abandoned in 1569. Today it is in decrepit condition. Since 1949, it has been listed as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture. List of castles in France The "Commune de Tuchon" and Aguilar Ministry of Culture database entry for Château d'Aguilar Ministry of Culture photos The Château de Aguilar on the Cathar Castles page
Château de Puilaurens
The Château de Puilaurens is one of the so-called Cathar castles in the commune of Lapradelle-Puilaurens in the Aude département. The castle is located above the villages of Lapradelle and Puilaurens. There is a path from Axat to the castle; the castle has been listed as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture since 1902. List of castles in France Dieltiens, Dominique. Le château de Puilaurens. Lille 3. OCLC 988575289. Ministry of Culture database entry for Château de Puilaurens "Chateau de Puilaurens". Les Sites Pays Cathare