The Yellow Cross

The Story of the Last Cathars' Rebellion Against the Inquisition, 1290-1329

Publisher: Vintage
The Yellow Cross is a harrowing tale of a desperate people in a small corner of France who defied the kings of Europe and the Pope. The Cathars, whose religion was based on the Gospels but contradicted the tenets set forth by Rome, found themselves the focus of ruthless repression. In systematic waves of brutal persecution, thousands of Cathars were captured, summarily tried, and burned at the stake as heretics. Yet so ardent was their faith that during the years 1290 to 1329, the Cathars rose up one last time.

René Weis tells the dramatic and moving story of these thirty years, offering a rich medieval tale of faith, adventure, sex, and courage. Having spent years exploring a rich trove of untouched information, including trial records and interrogation transcripts, Weis creates a remarkably detailed portrait of the last great gasp of the movement and the day-to-day life of the individual Cathars in their villages. This is an exceptionally vivid re-creation of a fascinating, and otherwise lost, world.


Chapter 1

When B?atrice de Planisolles arrived in Montaillou to be married, the village counted some thirty-five separate family names and nearly fifty families, if the different branches of the same family are counted separately. The family names of Montaillou in the last decade of the thirteenth century were...
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“There can be fewer better guides than this beautiful book, which lets an almost forgotten people, even through the filter of time and the Inquisition, speak for themselves.” —The Washington Post Book World

"In a feat of inspired scholarship, Weis transports us back to that world, conveying all of the high drama of ecclesiastical interrogations, covert ceremonies, and fiery martyrdom. . . . A book that will long haunt its readers."--Booklist

"This book reanimates the real world of the Cathars of seven hundred years ago in a way that is fresh, utterly modern, and pulsates with life."–Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie, author of Montaillou

"It succeeds enthrallingly . . . a moving evocation of an almost inconceivable faith."--The Times (London)