Concept

Château de Montségur

Summary
The Château de Montségur (English: Castle of Montsegur; Languedocien: Castèl de Montsegur) is a former fortress near Montségur, a commune in the Ariège department in southern France. Its ruins are the site of a razed stronghold of the Cathars. The present fortress on the site, though described as one of the "Cathar castles," is actually of a later period. It has been listed as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture since 1862. The ruins of Montségur are perched at a precarious altitude in the south of France near the Pyrenees. Located in the heart of France's Languedoc-Occitanie regions, southwest of Carcassonne, Montségur dominates a rock formation known as a pog — a term derived from the Languedocien dialect of Occitan — puòg or puèg, meaning "peak, hill, mountain." The top of the ruin is reached by a path and is 170m above the road. The earliest signs of human settlement in the area date back to the Stone Age. Evidence of Roman occupation such as Roman currency and tools have also been found in and around the site. Its name comes from Latin mons securus, which evolved into mont ségur in Occitan, which means "safe hill". In the Middle Ages the Montsegur region was ruled by the Counts of Toulouse, the Viscounts of Carcassonne and finally the Counts of Foix. Little is known about the fortification until the time of the Albigensian Crusade. In about 1204, Raymond de Péreille, one of the two lords of Montségur, the other being his cousin Pierre-Roger de Mirepoix, decided to rebuild the castle that had been in ruins for 40 years or more. Refortified, the castle became a center of Cathar activities, and home to Guilhabert de Castres, a Cathar theologian and bishop. In 1233 the site became "the seat and head" (domicilium et caput) of the Cathar church. It has been estimated that the fortified site housed about 500 people when in 1241, Raymond VII besieged Montsegur without success. The murder of representatives of the inquisition by about fifty men from Montsegur and faidits at Avignonet on May 28, 1242, was the trigger for the final military expedition to conquer the castle, the siege of Montségur.
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