Photographer's Note

Of Romans, Moors and Cathars in Beziers
What a history this old town have experienced.
Beziers is located on a small bluff above the river Orb, about 10 km from the Mediterranean Sea. At Béziers the Canal du Midi spans the river Orb.
In the photo the bridge in the foreground was a part of the Roman highway Via Domitia at the same time as the town exported white wine to Roma. (Two dolia discovered in an excavation near Rome are marked, "I am a wine from Baeterrae and I am five years old.")
And note: The bridge is still in daily use... after more than 2.000 years.

Between the Romans and the Cathars the town was even occupied by the Moors between 720 and 752.

At the top of the hill the Cathedral St Naizaire who was central under the campaign agaist the Cathars in 1209. As described in Wiki:

Béziers was a Languedoc stronghold of Catharism, which the Catholic Church condemned as heretical and which Catholic forces extirpated in the Albigensian Crusade. Béziers was the first city to be sacked, on July 22, 1209. Béziers' Catholics were given the opportunity to leave before the Crusaders besieged the city. However, they refused and fought with the Cathars. In a sortie outside the walls, their combined force was defeated, and pursued back into town. In the bloody massacre which followed, no one was spared, not even those who took refuge in the churches. The commander of the crusade was the Papal Legate Arnaud-Amaury (or Arnald Amalaricus, Abbot of Citeaux). When asked by a Crusader how to tell Catholics from Cathars once they'd taken the city, the abbot famously replied, "Kill them all, God will know His own" - "Neca eos omnes.Deus suos agnoscet".
The invaders fired the cathedral of Saint Nazaire, which collapsed on those who had taken refuge inside. The town was pillaged, and burnt. None were left alive. (A plaque opposite the cathedral records the 'Day of Butchery' perpetrated by the 'northern barons'.) A few parts of the Romanesque cathedral St-Nazaire survived, and repairs started in 1215. The restoration, along with that of the rest of the city, continued until the 15th century.

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Additional Photos by Jack R Johanson (jrj) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4529 W: 494 N: 7430] (34843)
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