Arnaldus Amalrici

views updated


Called also Arnaud-Amaury, archbishop of Narbonne; b. southern France, c. 1160; d. Cistercian abbey of Fontfroide, Sept. 26, 1225. He was from Languedoc nobility, and his cousin was vice count of Narbonne; he was buried at Cîteaux. He entered the monastery of Cîteaux, became abbot of Poblet, in Catalonia (Gallia Christiana 6:61); and, in 1199, of Grandselve, in Languedoc. Finally, in 1201 at Cîteaux, he was elected abbot general of the order, which, since the days of St. Bernard, had been involved in the intellectual controversy with the albigenses. Toward the end of 1203, Pope Innocent III appointed the Fontfroide monks Raoul and peter of castelnau as missionaries and papal legates for Languedoc, which was threatened by heresy. On May 31, 1204, Arnaldus was commissioned to join them (A. Potthast, Bibliotheca historica medii aevi n.2229), but he could not begin his mission until March 1207, after the general chapter of 1206 at Cîteaux, in which his order gave the enterprise its strong support. The failure of their efforts because of the opposition of the southern clergy and the nobility, led by Raymond VI of Toulouse, culminated in the murder of Peter of Castelnau on Jan. 14, 1208, for which Raymond was believed to have been responsible. With a papal commission, Arnaldus began a crusade against the Albigenses, mustering an army at Lyons in June 1209; they captured Béziers on July 22 and perpetrated a bloody massacre. It was there that Arnaldus is said to have uttered the infamous words: "Kill them all. God knows his children." The authenticity of this statement is questionable; none of the chroniclers (e.g., Pierre de Vaux-Cernay) or accounts (Chanson de la Croisade ) mention it, although they did not shrink from horrors (e.g., they report a genuine statement of Arnaldus, encouraging the crusaders with: "Do not worry. I believe very few will be converted."). Pope Innocent tried to change the course of events by reprimanding his legate and by negotiating personally with Raymond VI in 1209; but ultimately (1211) Innocent excommunicated Raymond. On March 12, 1212, Arnaldus replaced Archbishop Berenger II of Narbonne (who either resigned or was deposed); but then, because he also ruled the duchy of Narbonne, Arnaldus came into conflict with simon de montfort l'Amaury, who claimed Narbonne on March 21, 1215. Against Simon's bid for power Arnaldus defended even his former enemy Raymond VI at the Lateran Council of 1215 and excommunicated Montfort in 1216. As papal legate, Arnaldus had led the French troops into the battle of Navas de Tolosa, in which the three united Spanish kings defeated the Moors (July 16, 1212). He succeeded in separating Raymond VII and his knights from the Albigenses at the Synod of Montpellier (Aug. 25, 1224); nevertheless, under pressure by the French king, the agreements resulting from the negotiations were rejected by Honorius III.

Bibliography: petrus de vaulx-cernay, Hystoria Albigensis, ed. p. guÉbin and e. lyon, 3 v. (Paris 192639). Literature. a. luchaire, Innocent III: La Croisade des Albigeois (3d ed. Paris 1911). c. j. von hefele, Histoire des conciles d'après les documents originaux (Paris 190738) 5.2:12601303. p. belperron, La Croisade contre les Albigeois (Paris 1942). a. borst, Die Katharer (Stuttgart 1953). f. niel, Albigeois et Cathares (Paris 1956). a. sabarthÈs, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques, ed. a. baudrillart et al. (Paris 1912) 4:420. a. posch, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner (Freiburg 195765) 1:888.

[h. wolfram]