Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/173

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153
NATIONAL CHARACTER OF THE WAR.


Under this inspiration the Crusaders assembled at Lyons about St. John's day (June 24, 1209), and Raymond hastened from the scene of his humiliation at St. Gilles to complete his infamy by leading them against his countrymen, offering them his son as a hostage in pledge of his good faith. He was welcomed by them at Valence, and, under the supreme command of Legate Arnaud, guided them against his nephew of Béziers. The latter, after a vain attempt at composition with the legate, who sternly refused his submission, had hurriedly placed his strongholds in condition of defence and levied what forces he could to resist the onset.[1]

The war, it should be observed, despite its religious origin, was already assuming a national character. The position taken by Eaymond and the rejected submission of the Viscount of Béziers, in fact, deprived the Church of all colorable excuse for further action; but the men of the North were eager to complete the conquest commenced seven centuries before by Clovis, and the men of the South, Catholics as well as heretics, were virtually unanimous in resisting the invasion, notwithstanding the many pledges given by nobles and cities at the commencement. We hear nothing of religious dissensions among them, and comparatively little of assistance rendered to the invaders by the orthodox, who might be presumed to welcome the Crusaders as Uberators from the domination or the presence of a hated antagonistic faith. Toleration had become habitual and race-instinct was too strong for religious feeling, presenting almost the solitary example of the kind during the Middle Ages, when nationality had not yet been developed out of feudalism and religious interests were universally regarded as dominant. This explains the remarkable fact that the pusillanimous course of Kaymond was distasteful to his own subjects, who were constantly urging him to resistance, and who clung to him and his son with a fidelity that no misfortune or selfishness could shake, until the extinction of the House of Toulouse left them without a leader.

Raymond Roger of Béziers had fortified and garrisoned his capital, and then, to the great discouragement of his people, had withdrawn to the safer stronghold of Carcassonne. Reginald, Bishop of Béziers, was with the crusading forces, and when they


  1. Pet. Sarnens. c. 15.— Guillem de Tudela, xi., xiv. — Vaissctte, III. Pr. 7,