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The Albigensian Crusade was a crusade conducted against the Cathars in southern France from 1209-1229 ordered by Pope Innocent III after his the murder of his legate there.


It was conducted largely by France itself and took on a political flavor as it essentially eradicated the unique culture of the Languedoc region, allowing the crown to expand its influence to the area. It was named after the city of Albi Albi, known for its Cathar presence.

The crusade would involve roughly 10,000 soldiers and crusaders would claim to have "put to the sword almost 20,000 people". Lawyer Raphael Lemkin, who coined the word "genocide" in the 20th century, referred to the Albigensian Crusade as "one of the most conclusive cases of genocide in religious history". Because of these efforts, by the middle of the 14th century, any discernible traces of the Cathar movement have been eradicated.

Influence on the Sabbat

Catharism, a dualistic heresy of Christianity, is founded on the idea that there are two gods, one that was good that had created the spirit, and one that was evil that had created the material, physical world. The good god is the one presented in the New Testament of the Bible and the evil god is the one presented in Old Testament. Adherents generally aspired to the spiritual, with their leaders even engaging in vegetarianism and gender equality.

The Cathars would later be the inspiration and basis for the Sabbat Path of Cathari, with followers of the path doing the exact opposite of what the mortals espoused: indulging in the physical. The path is in this way similar to the Road of Night, in that the adherent takes on the demonic, "evil" side in contrast to the piety of a mortal religion.

Prelude to the Inquisition

The Inquisition was established under Pope Gregory IX in 1234 to uproot heretical movements, including the remaining Cathars. The Cathars where killed in the crusade initially, but where later punished in other ways including being forced to make pilgrimages to battle Muslims. 

While few prominent figures joined the Cathars, a small cult remained hidden. Eventually the church turned to torture to root them out.