Montségur

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For the castle, see Château de Montségur.
Montségur
Montsegur.pòg1.jpg
Coat of arms of Montségur
Coat of arms
Montségur is located in France
Montségur
Montségur
Coordinates: 42°52′20″N 1°50′03″E / 42.8722°N 1.8342°E / 42.8722; 1.8342Coordinates: 42°52′20″N 1°50′03″E / 42.8722°N 1.8342°E / 42.8722; 1.8342
Country France
Region Midi-Pyrénées
Department Ariège
Arrondissement Foix
Canton Lavelanet
Government
 • Mayor (2008–2014) Michel François
Area1
 • Land 37.16 km2 (14.35 sq mi)
Population (2008)2
 • Population 108
 • Density 2.906/km2 (7.53/sq mi)
INSEE/Postal code 09211 / 09300
Elevation 630–2,365 m (2,067–7,759 ft)
(avg. 918 m or 3,012 ft)

1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Montségur is a commune in the Ariège department in southwestern France.

It is famous for its fortification, the Château de Montségur, that was built on the ruins of one of the last strongholds of the Cathars. The present fortress on the site, though described as one of the "Cathar castles," is actually of a later period. It has been listed as a historic site by the French Ministry of Culture since 1862.

History[edit]

The earliest signs of human settlement in the area date back to the stone age, around 80,000 years ago. Evidence of Roman occupation such as Roman currency and tools have also been found in and around the site. Its name comes from Latin mons securus, which evolved into mont ségur in Occitan, which means "safe hill".

In the Middle Ages the Montségur region was ruled by the Counts of Toulouse, the Viscounts of Carcassonne and finally the Counts of Foix. In 1243–44, the Cathars (a religious sect considered heretical by the Catholic Church) were besieged at Montségur by 10,000 troops at the end of the Albigensian Crusade. In March 1244, the Cathars finally surrendered and approximately 220 were burned en masse in a bonfire at the foot of the "pog" (mountain) when they refused to renounce their faith. Some 25 actually took the ultimate Cathar vow of consolamentum perfecti in the two weeks before the final surrender.

Later a new fortress was built by royal forces to guard the southern frontier.

Population[edit]

Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1962 97 —    
1968 167 +72.2%
1975 143 −14.4%
1982 131 −8.4%
1990 124 −5.3%
1999 117 −5.6%
2008 108 −7.7%

Popular culture[edit]

English heavy metal band Iron Maiden have a song named "Montségur" on their album Dance of Death about the massacre of the Cathars.

The Russian black metal band.[1]

The French guitarist, Pierre Bensusan, composed and performs the piece "Montségur."[2]

See also[edit]

References[edit]