Apr. 25th, 2012

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I've already suggested that the dislocation in architectural styles at the Baslilica of Saint Nazaire embodies the political upheaval caused by the Albigensian crusade in the early years of the 13th century.  But there are additional pieces of evidence scattered around the church which hark back to Carcassone's bloody past.

If there's one name synonymous with the Albigensian Crusade, it's Simon de Montfort, the man who profited most from the Trenscheval family's demise.  Appointed Viscount of Beziers and Carcassone, de Montfort didn't get to enjoy his new-found status for very long: he was killed at the Siege of Toulouse in 1218 (and many people would probably say, 'Phew! He had it coming!' after the horrors of Beziers...).  De Montfort used to be buried in the Basilica of Saint Navarre, but his corpse was moved, evidently, by his son.  A tombstone does, however remain here, though sadly, I was so busy gawping at the Romanesque nave that I neglected to find it!

Instead, I stumbled across this.  It's called the 'Siege Stone', and it depicts one of the local sieges, perhaps the Siege of Carcassone itself, with the defenders to the right, and the besiegers to the left.  You can see the curve of a curtain wall at the top, with a tower beneath:- 

 It's a valuable source  for military historians, as well as being a sobering reminder of Carcassone's tragic past...


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