...literally, the tongue of Oc. The place name refers to the region of southwestern France, mainly the eastern section that borders the Mediterranean. In this region, before French won out (or was imposed!), the natives spoke Occitan. And it was in this region that the Christian religious sect of Catharism took root, and flourished during the 13th Century. There are dualistic and gnostic elements to this sect, which the dominant religion of the time, Roman Catholicism considered a "heresy." And the age being what it was, what better way to fight the heresy than through a crusade and an inquisition. I thought it was an expression that had originated in the Vietnam War, but, alas, human nature being what it is, it is attributed to Simon de Montfort, who carried the Papal banner in suppressing the Cathars: "Kill them all, and God will recognize his own." Henri Gougaud has specialized in Cathar history, and this book includes a brief account of the bloody efforts to suppress them that lasted most of a century.
But the real reason for buying this book is the brilliant photography of Gerard Sioen. I first became familiar with his work in Provence plurielle et singuliere .. Sioen has put countless kilometers on his motorbike, waiting for the light to be perfect, and that is truly what distinguishes him from many other photographers. Overall, there are 166 quality photographs. A few are of people, but the overwhelming majority is landscapes, and the ruins of castles, in all the seasons. Some others are of towns and churches, but "modern" life is always kept at a distance. The great cathedral at Albi is featured, as is the "red city" (and we are not talking politics, but color), Toulouse. Other prominent cities include Beziers, Carcassonne, Foix, and Narbonne. The ruins of the castle at Puilaurens is on the cover. Written in French.
The box has some wear, but the book itself is in very good condition.