Battle of Muret
|Part of the Albigensian Crusade|
The Battle of Muret: illustration from the Grandes Chroniques de France
Kingdom of France
| Crown of Aragon
County of Toulouse
County of Comminges
County of Foix
Viscounty of Carcassonne
|Commanders and leaders|
|Simon IV de Montfort
Bouchard de Marly
Guillaume des Barres
Guillaume de Contres
|Peter II of Aragon ( †)
Raymond VI, Count of Toulouse
Raimond-Roger, Count of Foix
|Casualties and losses|
Simon IV de Montfort was the leader of the Albigensian Crusade to destroy the Cathar heresy and incidentally to join the Languedoc to the crown of France. He invaded Toulouse and exiled its count, Raymond VI. Count Raymond sought assistance from his brother-in-law, King Peter II of Aragon, who felt threatened by Montfort's conquests in Languedoc. He decided to cross the Pyrenees and deal with Montfort at Muret.
On 10 September, Peter's army arrived at Muret, and was joined by a Toulousain militia. He chose to position his army so their right flank was protected by the Saudrune River, and the left protected by a marsh. He left the Toulousain militia to assault the walls of the city.
Simon de Montfort led an army of 870 French Crusaders, along with a small contingent of knights brought by his ally, the viscount of Corbeil. Simon de Montfort's 870 mailed cavalry included 270 knights, making the small force of exceptional quality. King Peter of Aragon had brought 800 to 1,000 Aragonese cavalry, joined by a militia from Toulouse and armies brought by the counts of Comminges and Foix. King Peter of Aragon's combined forces possibly numbered 4000 cavalry, with thirty to forty thousand infantry.
Montfort divided his army into three squadrons, and then led them across the Garonne to meet the Aragonese forces. Peter's ally and brother-in-law, Count Raymond, advised a defensive posture in order to weaken the advancing enemy with bowshot and javelins. Peter rejected this suggestion as unknightly and dishonorable. King Peter rode to the front line, forsaking his royal armour for the plain armour of a common soldier. His army was disorderly and confused. When Montfort's first squadron charged the field, the Aragonese cavalry was crushed and Peter himself was unhorsed. He cried out, "I am the king!" but was killed regardless. With the realization that their king had been killed, the Aragonese forces broke in panic and fled, pursued by Montfort's Crusaders.
- Paladilhe, Simon de Montfort et le drame cathare, p. 227.
- Peter of Vaux de Cernay, Historia Albigesis
- Also called Murel, Murell, or Morel.
- Jonathan Sumption. The Albigensian Crusade, 2000
- William of Puylaurens, Chronica, trans. W.A. Sibly and M.D. Sibly, 2003. §§ XX-XXI.
- Hoffman Nickerson, Warfare in the Roman Empire, the Dark and Middle Ages, to 1494 A.D., 1925