Chapter Five

- chapter 5 index -
pg. 1 - Lizard | pg. 2 - Prince Rupert Awakes | pg. 3 - Tears of Glass | pg. 4 - Go Polonius or Kneel
pg. 5 - Rainbows' Ends and Gold | pg. 6 - Prophets Chained for Burning Masks
pg. 7 - Frederick II & The Cathars | pg. 8 - Bolero - The Peacock's Tale
pg. 9 - The Battle of Glass Tears | pg. 10 - Big Top

- page index -
Montsegur | Reels of Dream Unrolled

site index

    Alta Vista Translations
  Translate from  

Frederick II and the Cathars

"He avoided setting out on a Crusade either against the Muslims in Palestine or the Gnostic Cathars in southern France. As he repeatedly refused to go to war, Pope Gregory IX expelled him from the church in 1227.

Frederick II did not see much sense in fighting against the Cathars or Muslims. He was an ally of the Cathars and frequently met messengers of this Gnostic Christian community to support their revolt against the Catholic church and the French kingdom."

- The Catholicism

"Cathar refugees from southern France had come to Italy, spreading even more virulent forms of Catharism, in which it was taught that two principles, the good God and the evil, coexisted in more or less eternal rivalry, one ruling the world of the spirit, the other that of th flesh. Although, later on, the north Italian heretics tended to side with the Hohenstaufen, their sole defence against the papacy and its inquisition, it was clear how bitter an opponent of heresy Frederick was: he saw heresy as a denial of royal authority, since heretics questioned the accepted relationship between God and man, in which he, as divinely appointed monarch, was the pivotal figure."

Frederick II
by David Abulafia
(p. 155)

"It is plain that Averroism had much in common with the ancient theories of the Alexandrian Gnosis. The Albigensis and other sects of the time, especially that called the Brotherhood of the Holy Ghost, had already done much to familiarise the West with these essentially Eastern speculations.
Frederick had indeed every reason to feel an interest in the works of Averroes. His mind was naturally keen and of a speculative cast. He showed little inclination to subject his curiosity to the restraints of custom or ecclesiastical authority, and was thus at least as likely as any of the wise and noble of his day to indulge his passion for what promised to be both original and curious. We are to remember also that he stood in close relation with the peculiar religious opinions already noticed, which were then so prevalent both in south-eastern France and the adjoining parts of Spain. His brother-in-law, who died so suddenly at Palermo, was Count of Provence, and, whatever place the unfortunate Alphonso may have held with regard to the heresy so common in his dominions, we may feel sure that among the host of Provencal knights who formed his train when he came to Sicily there must have been some at least who were adherents of the Albigensian party. No religious opinion ever made so striking a progress among the wealthy and noble as this, and none was ever commended in a way more fit to win the sympathy and interest of a youthful monarch inclined to letters and gallantry. The doctrine of Albigenses was in fact a late revival of the Gnosis of Alexandria. It flattered the pride of those who desired distinction even in their religion. Its representatives and advocates were no repulsive monks or sour ascetics but men of birth and breeding, who excelled in manly exercises, and were famous for their success in the courts of love and in the gay saber . It would not have been wonderful if Frederick himself had become an Albigensian. He is known to have caught a taste for Provencal poetry if nothing more, and it is certain that he remained, to the close of his life, and even beyond it, a grateful and sympathetic figure among those who, after the great persecution, still represented Albigensian doctrine.

Albertus Stadensis speaks of a heretical sect which appeared at Halle in 1248. They abused the clergy, the monastic orders and the Pope, but their preachers exhorted them to pray for the Emperor Frederick and his son Conrad, qui perfecti et justi sunt . Among the Albigenses and Cathari generally the word perfecti was used in a technical sense to indicate those who had been received into complete fellowship as opposed to the credentes who were still on probation. As applied therefore to the Emperor and his son it would seem to indicate at least certain leanings to these opinions on Frederick's part. This might explain the action he certainly took in trying to detach the Sicilian clergy from the see of Rome and to set up a national or imperial church in which he pretended to the earthly headship.

Something of this may have been due to the influence of his wife Constantia, whose father, Don Pedro of Aragon, had fallen gallantly in 1213 under the walls of Murel, during an expedition in which he led the Spanish to aid the Counts of Toulouse and Foix the champions of the Albigensian party."

- Enquiry into the Life and Legend of Michael Scot
by Rev. J. Wood Brown
p. 108-112)

return to page index
site index


"By the beginning of 1240 most Cathars leaders took refuge at Montsegur as most of the other castles had been taken by the crusaders.

- The End of the Cathars

"At the castle of Montsegur in the foothills of the Pyrenees the Cathar faith withdrew into the sky. Perched on the top of a cigar-shaped rock the castle-cum-church sits 4,000 feet above the village. It is so high and so completely surrounded by empty space that though it has a vantage over everything it defends nothing but itself. Here the last Cathar lord Raymond of Perelle maintained a garrison to preserve the lives of 200 perfects.

In the spring of 1243, under the command of the seneschal of Carcassonne, an army of several thousand set up camp in the field below and gave notice they would stay till the Cathars to surrendered. A huge pyre was built in the fields with deliberate solemnity. By the end of the summer a trebuchet designed by the Bishop of Albi, with much difficulty, was installed upon a ledge within range of the castle and the ceaseless barrage began. A party was dispatched one midnight to destroy the catapult but the morning showed only their corpses hanging from the working machine.

In January a Basque shepherd led a party of crusaders through the night to take the barbican. Feeling their way along the cliffs, apparently several members of this party fainted when the dawn sun revealed the precipitousness of the route by which they had come. But the barbican fell. Two month later Raymond of Perelle surrendered."

- The Albigensian Heresy

"The Parfaits had the choice between adjuring their religion and being burned at the stake. All the Cathars chose to die as well as some soldiers and members of their family who received first the Consolamentum. On the morning of March 16, after a religious service, 205 Cathars, men and women, walked to their horrible death singing. They were burned together in a field nearby known at the present time as "Le Champs des Crémats". The catholic priests among the crusaders were singing too: a Te Deum of shame. From that day Montsegur became the symbol of oppression."

- The End of the Cathars

"Though it was not the very last Cathar stronghold to fall, there is about Montsegur still a strange peace of a belief resigned to its death. The rocks seem ghostlier than the clouds. The place is quiet and empty, so full of wind and light no human ghosts remain. Raised by the extraordinary geography of rock, hill and chasm Montsegur seems to stand as nature's own monument to a murdered faith."

- The Albigensian Heresy

Montsegur Castel del Monte
"At first, this remote refuge seems to have been used only as centre of pilgrimage, but from 1233 onwards it became the heart of the resistance movement. The origin of this fortress is a mystery as it was not constructed according to any accepted plan of defense. It guarded no main route and protected no fertile district; it seemed more fitted for a sanctuary, secluded in its wild forbidding surroundings."

- Churches War on the Cathars
"Notwithstanding the name and appearance Castel del Monte contradicts every rule of military architecture; there is no moat, no drawbridge and no defensive postings ; no horrible dungeons ; no space for the troops. There is not even a trap door to escape, an underground passage to safety, a secret way to sound the alarm. Indeed it was not planed to defend a territory"

- Castel del Monte
"It is thought that it may once have been a Celtic temple.
The incisive observations of Fernand Niel in his book, Montsegur, the Holy Mountain (Montsegur, la montagne inspiree), prove that the layout of the edifice lends itself to plotting with astonishing accuracy the principal positions of the sun in its ascendancy. An ancient Manichaean temple consecrated to sun worship, Montsegur became the Mount Tabor of the Cathari by means of a spiritual affiliation which today is practically impossible to deny."

- Churches War on the Cathars
"The geometry of this building, based on the obsessive repetition of the number eight, has been studied considering the shade cast by its components during the spring and summer solstices. It has been proved that the dimensions of this building are all derived from the movement of the sun, that is by the shades projected on the floor by the external walls during particular days and hours. Considering these theories, Castel del Monte has much more in common with a pagan, sophisticated temple than a simple example of military Architecture."

- Caste del Monte by Giovanni Succi

Castel del Monte

return to page index
site index

"And reels of dream unrolled . . ."

This is the central image and idea of Lizard. Through humanistic and intellectual reawakening, Europe was undergoing soul alchemy. "Reels of dream" are new ideas (dreams, concepts) introduced and disseminated (unrolled) into Europe via the translation of officially forbidden Greek and Arabic texts and the Cathar heresy. Also a description of the alchemical White Swan, Peter Sinfield uses the word "reels", as opposed to "scrolls", to evoke the image of the cinema. In the inner world of the cinema, reels of film are unrolled and inner brightness is used to project an image on a surface, an image often erroneously mistaken for reality. In the White Swan stage…

"…the alchemist begins to experience the inner world as being light filled - the initial inner brightness which is often erroneously mistaken for true illumination. This is merely a first conscious encounter with the etheric world, and in comparison with physical sense experience is for many souls so overpowering as to be pictured as bright white light. The alchemical tradition recognised this and symbolised this stage as the White Swan. The swan is a bird which is rarely seen in flight, but rather swimming upon lake or river, gracefully moving on the surface of water- in soul terms, on the soul's surface, its etheric interface with the physical."

The swell of music at the end Prince Rupert Awakes represents this initial inner brightness, an overpowering bright white light.

- The Birds In Alchemy by Adam McLean

Lizard ~ Prophets Chained for Burning Masks return to
chapter & page index
Lizard ~ Bolero - The Peacock's Tale

Sign the Dreambook Dreambook Read the Dreambook

Chapter One The Metaphysical Record In The Court Of the Crimson King In The Wake Of Poseidon Lizard The King In Yellow The Sun King Eight
The Lake Which Mirrors the Sky In the Beginning Was the Word In the Beginning was the Word...side two Eros and Strife Dark Night of the Soul...Cirkus Dark Night of the Soul...Wilderness Big Top Islands
Islands Two Footnotes in the Sand Still Still 2
Works Lyrics
Gallery Guestbook
Links Discography E-mail:
Peter Sinfield
Jon Green
Page One

Return to the Song Soup On Sea Homepage

These Pages Created and Maintained using Arachnophilia
Copyright © 1998 - 2001 ~ Jon Green /All rights reserved