Date of Award

May 2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Merry E Wiesner-Hanks

Committee Members

Martha Carlin, Neal Pease


Believers, Catharism, Family, Medieval Languedoc, Religion, Women


This master’s thesis means to contribute to scholarship on the nature of lived Catharism in later medieval Languedoc. The study uses depositions from the inquisition registers of Jacques Fournier and Geoffroy d’Ablis, as well as Bernard Gui’s Liber sententiarum (book of sentences) to examine and compare how men, women, and families who were friends, relatives, accomplices, believers, and defenders of Cathar perfecti (the Cathar spiritual elite) participated in and supported the sect during the “Authié revival” from 1300 to 1308 by means of a case study on the Benet family from Montaillou and Ax.

The study argues that although the participation of men and women manifested in different forms, credentes (believers) of both sexes were capable of involvement in Catharism to similar degrees, clearly working to perpetuate the sect and support its ministers. In doing so, the study reinforces earlier scholarship on the “family heritage” of later Catharism. The thesis argues that during this resurgence the perfecti became dependent on networks of households of believers whose members served as guides, messengers, and advisors to the heretical preachers until the majority of the Authié heretics were burned at the stake after the Carcassonne inquisition from 1308 to 1309, and the final perfectus, Guilhem Belibaste, was executed in 1321.