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Kill them all, said the Abbot, and Saddam said much the same

[ by Charles Cameron — personally, i don’t at all mind the fact that both saddam and the abbot are no longer around, given the brutality of their acts ]

Saddam reveals himself {upper panel] to be plausibly mediaeval [lower panel]:

He also puts himself in the judgment seat the Abbot reserves for God…


The massacre of Béziers, and the Albigensian Crusade of which it was the opening salvo, came about, I’d suggest, fundamentally because the good people of Languedoc — home of the Troubadours as well as the Cathars or Albigensians — found the leaders of the Cathars, known as the Perfecti, to be humbler, poorer, and less ostentatious than the Abbots and Bishops, leaders of the Catholic Church, who tended to be among the “fat cats” of their day.

Understandably, the Church disliked this almost unavoidable comparison, but was unwilling to relinquish its personal and institutional wealth — hence the Abbot’s instruction, Kill them all, God will sort out his own, which somehow made the massacre tolerable, theologically speaking.


Reading, for the Cathars:

  • Le Roy Ladurie, Montaillou: The Promised Land of Error
  • 2 Responses to “Kill them all, said the Abbot, and Saddam said much the same”

    1. Cheryl Rofer Says:

      Thanks, Charles. I’ve seen the saying attributed to Domenic, in a later crusade against the southern French, in 1236. This makes sense.

    2. .Charles Cameron Says:

      Hi Cheryl, and Happy New Year!
      I don’t think anyone knows for sure — Amalric wrote a brief account of Béziers for the Pope that doesn’t include it, perhaps unsurprisingly, hence the possibility of attributing it elsewhere — it was attributed to Amalric by the chronicler Caesarius of Heisterbach, another Cistercian, who reported it as something he’d not heard first hand..
      Details by WIki..

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