A plum is a fruit of the subgenus Prunus of the genus Prunus. The subgenus is distinguished from other subgenera in the shoots having terminal bud and solitary side buds, the flowers in groups of one to five together on short stems, the fruit having a groove running down one side and a smooth stone. Mature plum fruit may have a dusty-white waxy coating; this is an epicuticular wax coating and is known as "wax bloom". Dried plum fruits are called "dried plums" or prunes, although, in many countries, prunes are a distinct type of dried plum having a wrinkled appearance. Plums may have been one of the first fruits domesticated by humans. Three of the most abundant cultivars are not found in the wild, only around human settlements: Prunus domestica has been traced to East European and Caucasian mountains, while Prunus salicina and Prunus simonii originated in Asia. Plum remains have been found in Neolithic age archaeological sites along with olives and figs; the name plum derived from Old English plume or "plum, plum tree," which extended from Germanic language or Middle Dutch, Latin prūnum, from Ancient Greek προῦμνον, believed to be a loanword from Asia Minor.
In the late 18th century, the word, was used to indicate "something desirable" in reference to tasty fruit pieces in desserts. Plums are a diverse group of species; the commercially important plum trees are medium-sized pruned to 5–6 metres height. The tree is of medium hardiness. Without pruning, the trees can reach 12 metres in spread across 10 metres, they blossom in different months in different parts of the world. Fruits are of medium size, between 2 and 7 centimetres in diameter, globose to oval; the flesh is juicy. The fruit's peel is smooth, with a natural waxy surface; the plum is a drupe. Plum cultivars include: Damson Greengage Mirabelle Satsuma plum Victoria Yellowgage or golden plum Different plum cultivars When it flowers in the early spring, a plum tree will be covered in blossoms, in a good year 50% of the flowers will be pollinated and become plums. Flowering starts after 80 growing degree days. If the weather is too dry, the plums will not develop past a certain stage, but will fall from the tree while still tiny, green buds, if it is unseasonably wet or if the plums are not harvested as soon as they are ripe, the fruit may develop a fungal condition called brown rot.
Brown rot is not toxic, some affected areas can be cut out of the fruit, but unless the rot is caught the fruit will no longer be edible. Plum is used as a food plant by the larvae of some Lepidoptera, including November moth, willow beauty and short-cloaked moth; the taste of the plum fruit ranges from sweet to tart. It can be eaten fresh or used in jam-making or other recipes. Plum juice can be fermented into plum wine. In central England, a cider-like alcoholic beverage known as plum jerkum is made from plums. Dried, salted plums are used as a snack, sometimes known as salao. Various flavors of dried plum are available at Chinese grocers and specialty stores worldwide, they tend to be much drier than the standard prune. Cream, ginseng and salty are among the common varieties. Licorice is used to intensify the flavor of these plums and is used to make salty plum drinks and toppings for shaved ice or baobing. Pickled plums are another type of preserve available in Asia and international specialty stores.
The Japanese variety, called umeboshi, is used for rice balls, called onigiri or omusubi. The ume, from which umeboshi are made, is more related, however, to the apricot than to the plum. In the Balkans, plum is converted into an alcoholic drink named slivovitz. A large number of plums, of the Damson variety, are grown in Hungary, where they are called szilva and are used to make lekvar, plum dumplings, other foods; as with many other members of the rose family, plum kernels contain cyanogenic glycosides, including amygdalin. Prune kernel oil is made from the fleshy inner part of the pit of the plum. Though not available commercially, the wood of plum trees is used by hobbyists and other private woodworkers for musical instruments, knife handles and similar small projects. Plum has many species, taxonomists differ on the count. Depending on the taxonomist, between 19 and 40 species of plum exist. From this diversity only two species, the hexaploid European plum and the diploid Japanese plum, are of worldwide commercial significance.
The origin of these commercially important species is uncertain but may have involved P. cerasifera and P. spinosa as ancestors. Other species of plum variously originated in Europe and America; the subgenus Prunus is divided into three sections: Sect. Prunus – leaves in bud rolled inwards.
The commune of Agen is the prefecture of the Lot-et-Garonne department in Nouvelle-Aquitaine in southwestern France. It lies on the river Garonne 135 kilometres southeast of Bordeaux; the city of Agen lies in the southern department Lot-et-Garonne in the Aquitaine region. The city centre lies on the east bank of the Garonne river close to the Canal de Garonne halfway between Bordeaux and Toulouse. Agen features an oceanic climate, in the Köppen climate classification. Winters feature cool to cold temperatures while summers are mild and warm. Rainfall is spread throughout the year； however, most sunshine hours are from March–September. From Occitan Agen, itself from Latin Aginnum, from a Celtic root agin- meaning "rock or height"; the town has a higher level of unemployment than the national average. Major employers include the pharmaceutical factory UPSA; the old centre of town contains a number of medieval buildings. The twelfth century Agen Cathedral, dedicated to Saint Caprasius, is one of the few large churches in France with a double nave, a regional trait found in the Church of the Jacobins in nearby Toulouse.
The Saint Hilaire church, dedicated to the theme of the Holy Trinity which the Saint in question did a lot to defend, is notable for its unusual statues in front of the Church – Moses on the right, St Peter on the left. The Fine Arts museum, Musée des Beaux Arts contains artefacts and sculptures from prehistoric times onwards; the art gallery contains several hundred works, including several by Goya, others by Bonnard and Seurat. The collection contains a large number of works by artists who lived locally; the museum is made up of twenty or so rooms. The Canal des Deux Mers, which joins the Mediterranean with the Atlantic, crosses the river Garonne at Agen via the town's famous canal bridge; the municipal theatre "Théâtre Ducourneau" presents theatre, classical concerts. The smaller "Théâtre du jour" has a resident theatre company presenting a variety of recent or older plays. There are two cinemas, one a commercial multiscreened affair, the other an arts cinema run by a voluntary organization.
The latter organizes film festivals every year. Rugby is popular in the town, the local team, SU Agen, is enthusiastically supported; the town serves as the base for the Team Lot-et-Garonne cycling team. The Gare d'Agen connects Agen with Bordeaux as well as Périgueux, it is around an hour around an hour from Bordeaux. The TGV train to Paris take three hours and thirteen minutes with a stop in Bordeaux. Agen is connected, to both Toulouse and Bordeaux; the Agen Airport is serviced by Airlinair service to Paris Orly 6 days a week. It is used for business and leisure flying. Agen close to Bordeaux. Agen is the seat of a Roman Catholic diocese that comprises the Département of Garonne, it is a suffragan of the archdiocese of Bordeaux. Agen is twinned with: Tuapse, Russia Dinslaken, Germany Llanelli, United Kingdom Toledo, Spain Corpus Christi, United States As place of birthBernard Palissy, potter – according to some accounts, he may have been born in Saintes Joseph Justus Scaliger, scholar Pierre Dupuy, scholar Joseph Barsalou, physician Godefroi, comte d'Estrades and marshal Bernard Germain Étienne comte de La Ville-sur-Illon La Cépède, naturalist Jean Baptiste Bory de Saint-Vincent, naturalist Jacques Jasmin, Provençal poet Victor Rabu, architect who built many important churches in Montevideo, Uruguay Joseph Chaumié, politician William Grover-Williams racer and SOE agent Michel Serres and author Jacques Sadoul, author Jean Cruguet, jockey who won the U.
S. Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing. Alain Aspect, physicist Francis Cabrel, singer-songwriter and guitarist Bernard Campan and film director Emmanuel Flipo, artist Stéphane Rideau, actor Aymeric Laporte, footballerAs residenceNostradamus lived in Agen from 1531 until at least 1534, he was married to a local woman with. Agen is the "capital of the prune", a local product consumed as a sweet, either stuffed with prune purée or in pastries, or as a dessert, e.g. prunes soaked in Armagnac, a type of brandy. On the last weekend of August, a prune festival comprises rock concerts, circuse performances and prune tastings; the first Jews settled in the town in the twelfth century AD. They were expelled from the town in 1306. A number of Jews returned to the town in 1315, a "Rue des Juifs" is documented since this period. In 1968, about 600 Jews lived in the town, though most of them emigrated to the town from North Africa. A Jewish synagogue still exists in the town. SU Agen Lot-et-Garonne, a French rugby union club based in Agen Agenais, or Agenois, a former province of France INSEE statisticsNotes site de la ville office de tourisme Diocese of Agen – Catholic Encyclopædia article
Ivory Coast or Côte d'Ivoire the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire, is a country located on the south coast of West Africa. Ivory Coast's political capital is Yamoussoukro in the centre of the country, while its economic capital and largest city is the port city of Abidjan, it borders Guinea and Liberia to the west, Burkina Faso and Mali to the north, Ghana to the east, the Gulf of Guinea to the south. Before its colonization by Europeans, Ivory Coast was home to several states, including Gyaaman, the Kong Empire, Baoulé; the area became a protectorate of France in 1843 and was consolidated as a French colony in 1893 amid the European scramble for Africa. It achieved independence in 1960, led by Félix Houphouët-Boigny, who ruled the country until 1993. Stable by regional standards, Ivory Coast established close political and economic ties with its West African neighbors while at the same time maintaining close relations to the West France. Ivory Coast experienced a coup d'état in 1999 and two religiously-grounded civil wars, first between 2002 and 2007 and again during 2010–2011.
In 2000, the country adopted a new constitution. Ivory Coast is a republic with strong executive power vested in its president. Through the production of coffee and cocoa, the country was an economic powerhouse in West Africa during the 1960s and 1970s, though it went through an economic crisis in the 1980s, contributing to a period of political and social turmoil. Only around 2014 has GDP per capita in the country again reached the level of its peak in the 1970s. In the 21st century, the Ivorian economy is market-based and still relies on agriculture, with smallholder cash-crop production being dominant; the official language is French, with local indigenous languages widely used, including Baoulé, Dan and Cebaara Senufo. In total there are around 78 languages spoken in Ivory Coast. There are large populations of Muslims and various indigenous religions. Portuguese and French merchant-explorers in the 15th and 16th centuries divided the west coast of Africa roughly, into four "coasts" reflecting local economies.
The coast that the French named the Côte d'Ivoire and the Portuguese named the Costa Do Marfim—both mean "Coast of Ivory"—lay between what was known as the Guiné de Cabo Verde, so-called "Upper Guinea" at Cap-Vert, Lower Guinea. There was a Pepper Coast known as the "Grain Coast", a "Gold Coast", a "Slave Coast". Like those, the name "Ivory Coast" reflected the major trade that occurred on that particular stretch of the coast: the export of ivory. Other names included the Côte de Dents "Coast of Teeth", again reflecting the trade in ivory. One can find the name Cote de Dents used in older works, it was used in Duckett's Dictionnaire and by Nicolas Villault de Bellefond, for example, although Antoine François Prévost used Côte d'Ivoire. In the 19th century, usage switched to Côte d'Ivoire; the coastline of the modern state is not quite coterminous with what the 15th- and 16th-century merchants knew as the "Teeth" or "Ivory" coast, considered to stretch from Cape Palmas to Cape Three Points and, thus now divided between the modern states of Ghana and Ivory Coast.
It retained the name through French rule and independence in 1960. The name had long since been translated into other languages, which the post-independence government considered troublesome whenever its international dealings extended beyond the Francophone sphere. Therefore, in April 1986, the government declared that Côte d'Ivoire would be its formal name for the purposes of diplomatic protocol, since officially refuses to recognize or accept any translation from French to another language in its international dealings. Despite the Ivorian government's request, the English translation "Ivory Coast" is still used in English by various media outlets and publications; the first human presence in Ivory Coast has been difficult to determine because human remains have not been well preserved in the country's humid climate. However, newly found weapon and tool fragments have been interpreted as a possible indication of a large human presence during the Upper Paleolithic period, or at the minimum, the Neolithic period.
The earliest known inhabitants of Ivory Coast have left traces scattered throughout the territory. Historians believe that they were all either displaced or absorbed by the ancestors of the present indigenous inhabitants, who migrated south into the area before the 16th century; such groups included the Kotrowou, Zéhiri, Ega and Diès. The first recorded history appears in the chronicles of North African traders, from early Roman times, conducted a caravan trade across the Sahara in salt, slaves and other goods; the southern terminals of the trans-Saharan trade routes were located on the edge of the desert, from there supplemental trade extended as far south as the edge of the rain forest. The more important terminals—Djenné, Timbuctu—grew into major commercial centres around which the great Sudanic empires developed. By controlling the trade routes with their powerful military forces, these empires were able
France the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean, it is bordered by Belgium and Germany to the northeast and Italy to the east, Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic and Indian oceans; the country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Toulouse, Bordeaux and Nice. During the Iron Age, what is now metropolitan France was inhabited by a Celtic people. Rome annexed the area in 51 BC, holding it until the arrival of Germanic Franks in 476, who formed the Kingdom of Francia.
The Treaty of Verdun of 843 partitioned Francia into Middle Francia and West Francia. West Francia which became the Kingdom of France in 987 emerged as a major European power in the Late Middle Ages following its victory in the Hundred Years' War. During the Renaissance, French culture flourished and a global colonial empire was established, which by the 20th century would become the second largest in the world; the 16th century was dominated by religious civil wars between Protestants. France became Europe's dominant cultural and military power in the 17th century under Louis XIV. In the late 18th century, the French Revolution overthrew the absolute monarchy, established one of modern history's earliest republics, saw the drafting of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, which expresses the nation's ideals to this day. In the 19th century, Napoleon established the First French Empire, his subsequent Napoleonic Wars shaped the course of continental Europe. Following the collapse of the Empire, France endured a tumultuous succession of governments culminating with the establishment of the French Third Republic in 1870.
France was a major participant in World War I, from which it emerged victorious, was one of the Allies in World War II, but came under occupation by the Axis powers in 1940. Following liberation in 1944, a Fourth Republic was established and dissolved in the course of the Algerian War; the Fifth Republic, led by Charles de Gaulle, remains today. Algeria and nearly all the other colonies became independent in the 1960s and retained close economic and military connections with France. France has long been a global centre of art and philosophy, it hosts the world's fourth-largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and is the leading tourist destination, receiving around 83 million foreign visitors annually. France is a developed country with the world's sixth-largest economy by nominal GDP, tenth-largest by purchasing power parity. In terms of aggregate household wealth, it ranks fourth in the world. France performs well in international rankings of education, health care, life expectancy, human development.
France is considered a great power in global affairs, being one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council with the power to veto and an official nuclear-weapon state. It is a leading member state of the European Union and the Eurozone, a member of the Group of 7, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the World Trade Organization, La Francophonie. Applied to the whole Frankish Empire, the name "France" comes from the Latin "Francia", or "country of the Franks". Modern France is still named today "Francia" in Italian and Spanish, "Frankreich" in German and "Frankrijk" in Dutch, all of which have more or less the same historical meaning. There are various theories as to the origin of the name Frank. Following the precedents of Edward Gibbon and Jacob Grimm, the name of the Franks has been linked with the word frank in English, it has been suggested that the meaning of "free" was adopted because, after the conquest of Gaul, only Franks were free of taxation.
Another theory is that it is derived from the Proto-Germanic word frankon, which translates as javelin or lance as the throwing axe of the Franks was known as a francisca. However, it has been determined that these weapons were named because of their use by the Franks, not the other way around; the oldest traces of human life in what is now France date from 1.8 million years ago. Over the ensuing millennia, Humans were confronted by a harsh and variable climate, marked by several glacial eras. Early hominids led a nomadic hunter-gatherer life. France has a large number of decorated caves from the upper Palaeolithic era, including one of the most famous and best preserved, Lascaux. At the end of the last glacial period, the climate became milder. After strong demographic and agricultural development between the 4th and 3rd millennia, metallurgy appeared at the end of the 3rd millennium working gold and bronze, iron. France has numerous megalithic sites from the Neolithic period, including the exceptiona
Spain the Kingdom of Spain, is a country located in Europe. Its continental European territory is situated on the Iberian Peninsula, its territory includes two archipelagoes: the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa, the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. The African enclaves of Ceuta, Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera make Spain the only European country to have a physical border with an African country. Several small islands in the Alboran Sea are part of Spanish territory; the country's mainland is bordered to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea except for a small land boundary with Gibraltar. With an area of 505,990 km2, Spain is the largest country in Southern Europe, the second largest country in Western Europe and the European Union, the fourth largest country in the European continent. By population, Spain is the fifth in the European Union. Spain's capital and largest city is Madrid. Modern humans first arrived in the Iberian Peninsula around 35,000 years ago. Iberian cultures along with ancient Phoenician, Greek and Carthaginian settlements developed on the peninsula until it came under Roman rule around 200 BCE, after which the region was named Hispania, based on the earlier Phoenician name Spn or Spania.
At the end of the Western Roman Empire the Germanic tribal confederations migrated from Central Europe, invaded the Iberian peninsula and established independent realms in its western provinces, including the Suebi and Vandals. The Visigoths would forcibly integrate all remaining independent territories in the peninsula, including Byzantine provinces, into the Kingdom of Toledo, which more or less unified politically and all the former Roman provinces or successor kingdoms of what was documented as Hispania. In the early eighth century the Visigothic Kingdom fell to the Moors of the Umayyad Islamic Caliphate, who arrived to rule most of the peninsula in the year 726, leaving only a handful of small Christian realms in the north and lasting up to seven centuries in the Kingdom of Granada; this led to many wars during a long reconquering period across the Iberian Peninsula, which led to the creation of the Kingdom of Leon, Kingdom of Castile, Kingdom of Aragon and Kingdom of Navarre as the main Christian kingdoms to face the invasion.
Following the Moorish conquest, Europeans began a gradual process of retaking the region known as the Reconquista, which by the late 15th century culminated in the emergence of Spain as a unified country under the Catholic Monarchs. Until Aragon had been an independent kingdom, which had expanded toward the eastern Mediterranean, incorporating Sicily and Naples, had competed with Genoa and Venice. In the early modern period, Spain became the world's first global empire and the most powerful country in the world, leaving a large cultural and linguistic legacy that includes more than 570 million Hispanophones, making Spanish the world's second-most spoken native language, after Mandarin Chinese. During the Golden Age there were many advancements in the arts, with world-famous painters such as Diego Velázquez; the most famous Spanish literary work, Don Quixote, was published during the Golden Age. Spain hosts the world's third-largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Spain is a secular parliamentary democracy and a parliamentary monarchy, with King Felipe VI as head of state.
It is a major developed country and a high income country, with the world's fourteenth largest economy by nominal GDP and sixteenth largest by purchasing power parity. It is a member of the United Nations, the European Union, the Eurozone, the Council of Europe, the Organization of Ibero-American States, the Union for the Mediterranean, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the Schengen Area, the World Trade Organization and many other international organisations. While not an official member, Spain has a "Permanent Invitation" to the G20 summits, participating in every summit, which makes Spain a de facto member of the group; the origins of the Roman name Hispania, from which the modern name España was derived, are uncertain due to inadequate evidence, although it is documented that the Phoenicians and Carthaginians referred to the region as Spania, therefore the most accepted etymology is a Semitic-Phoenician one.
Down the centuries there have been a number of accounts and hypotheses: The Renaissance scholar Antonio de Nebrija proposed that the word Hispania evolved from the Iberian word Hispalis, meaning "city of the western world". Jesús Luis Cunchillos argues that the root of the term span is the Phoenician word spy, meaning "to forge metals". Therefore, i-spn-ya would mean "the land where metals are forged", it may be a derivation of the Phoenician I-Shpania, meaning "island of rabbits", "land of rabbits" or "edge", a reference to Spain's location at the end of the Mediterranean. The word in question means "Hyrax" due to Phoenicians confusing the two animals. Hispania may derive from the poetic use of the term Hesperia, reflecting the Greek perception of Italy as a "western land" or "land of the setting sun" (Hesperia
Subprefectures in France
In France, a subprefecture is the administrative center of a departmental arrondissement that does not contain the prefecture for its department. The term applies to the building that houses the administrative headquarters for an arrondissement; the civil servant in charge of a subprefecture is the subprefect, assisted by a general secretary. Between May 1982 and February 1988, subprefects were known instead by the title commissaire adjoint de la République. Where the administration of an arrondissement is carried out from a prefecture, the general secretary to the prefect carries out duties equivalent to those of the subprefect; the municipal arrondissements of Paris and Marseille are divisions of the city rather than the prefecture, so are not arrondissements in the same sense. List of subprefectures of France List of arrondissements of France
The Albigensian Crusade or the Cathar Crusade was a 20-year military campaign initiated by Pope Innocent III to eliminate Catharism in Languedoc, in southern France. The Crusade was prosecuted by the French crown and promptly took on a political flavour, resulting in not only a significant reduction in the number of practising Cathars, but a realignment of the County of Toulouse in Languedoc, bringing it into the sphere of the French crown and diminishing the distinct regional culture and high level of influence of the Counts of Barcelona; the Cathars originated from an anti-materialist reform movement within the Bogomil churches of Dalmatia and Bulgaria calling for a return to the Christian message of perfection and preaching, combined with a rejection of the physical to the point of starvation. The reforms were a reaction against the scandalous and dissolute lifestyles of the Catholic clergy in southern France, their theology, neo-Gnostic in many ways, was dualist. Several of their practices their belief in the inherent evil of the physical world, conflicted with the doctrines of the Incarnation of Christ and sacraments, initiated accusations of Gnosticism and brought them the ire of the Catholic establishment.
They became known as the Albigensians, because there were many adherents in the city of Albi and the surrounding area in the 12th and 13th centuries. Between 1022 and 1163, the Cathars were condemned by eight local church councils, the last of which, held at Tours, declared that all Albigenses should be put into prison and have their property confiscated; the Third Lateran Council of 1179 repeated the condemnation. Innocent III's diplomatic attempts to roll back Catharism were met with little success. After the murder of his legate Pierre de Castelnau, in 1208, Innocent III declared a crusade against the Cathars, he offered the lands of the Cathar heretics to any French nobleman willing to take up arms. From 1209 to 1215, the Crusaders experienced great success, capturing Cathar lands and perpetrating acts of extreme violence against civilians. From 1215 to 1225, a series of revolts caused many of the lands to be lost. A renewed crusade resulted in the recapturing of the territory and drove Catharism underground by 1244.
The Albigensian Crusade had a role in the creation and institutionalization of both the Dominican Order and the Medieval Inquisition. The Dominicans promulgated the message of the Church to combat alleged heresies by preaching the Church's teachings in towns and villages, while the Inquisition investigated heresies; because of these efforts, by the middle of the 14th century, any discernible traces of the Cathar movement had been eradicated. Derived in part from earlier forms of Gnosticism, the theology of the Cathars was dualistic, a belief in two equal and comparable transcendental principles: God, the force of good, the demiurge, the force of evil, they held that the physical world was evil and created by this demiurge, which they called Rex Mundi. Rex Mundi encompassed all, corporeal and powerful; the Cathar understanding of God was disincarnate: they viewed God as a being or principle of pure spirit and unsullied by the taint of matter. He was the God of love and peace. Jesus was an angel with only a phantom body, the accounts of him in the New Testament were to be understood allegorically.
As the physical world and the human body were the creation of the evil principle, sexual abstinence was encouraged. Civil authority had no claim on a Cathar; as such, the Cathars refused to take oaths of volunteer for military service. Cathar doctrine opposed killing animals and consuming meat. Cathars rejected the Catholic priesthood, labelling its members, including the pope and corrupted. Disagreeing on the Catholic concept of the unique role of the priesthood, they taught that anyone, not just the priest, could consecrate the Eucharistic host or hear a confession, they rejected the dogma of the Real presence of Christ in the Eucharist and Catholic teaching on the existence of Purgatory. Catharism developed its own unique form of "sacrament" known as the consolamentum, to replace the Catholic rite of baptism. Instead of receiving baptism through water, one received the consolamentum by the laying on of hands, they regarded water as unclean because it had been corrupted by the earth, therefore refused to use it in their ceremonies.
The act was received just before death, as Cathars believed that this increased one's chances for salvation by wiping away all previous sins. After taking the sacrament, the recipient became known as perfectus. Prior to becoming a "perfect", believing Cathars were encouraged but not required to follow Cathar teaching on abstaining from sex and meat, most chose not to do so. Once an individual received the consolamentum, these rules became binding. Despite Cathar anti-clericalism, there were men selected amongst the Cathars to serve as bishops and deacons; the bishops were selected from among the perfect. The Cathars were part of a widespread spiritual reform movement in medieval Europe which began about 653 when Constantine-Silvanus brought a copy of the Gospels to Armenia. In the following centuries a number of dissenting groups arose, gathered around charismatic preachers, who rejected the authority of the Catholic Church; these groups based their beliefs and practices on the Gospels rather than on Church dogma and sought a return to the early church and the faith of the Apostles.
They claimed that their teaching was rooted in part of Apostolic tradition. Sects such as the Paulicians in Armen