Béziers - Where Everybody Was Murdered

Béziers is a peaceful town in southwest France, but it hides a frightening history.

On July 22nd, 1209 AD, the town was at the centre of one of the bloodiest battles of The Crusades . The town was put to the sack by the Christian French army,but the question arose as to how to tell which of the towns inhabitants were damned hereticss and which were good Christians. Simon V Du Montfort (or perhaps a legate of Pope Innocent III) said he had an easy solution. "Kill them all," he said "For the Lord will know his own". And so tens of thousands of men women and children were put to death.

Arnold, abbot of Citeaux describes the carnage, using words that do not befit a monk:

"Our forces spared neither rank nor sex nor age. About twenty thousand people lost their lives at the point of the sword. The destruction of the enemy was on an enormous scale. The entire city was plundered and put to the torch. Thus did divine vengeance vent its wondrous rage."

The author of these words signs off for the evening. The moon has just gone behind a cloud and a dog howls, somewhere in the distance.

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