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Raymond VI

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Count of Toulouse, b. 1156; d. 1222; succeeded his father, Raymond V, in 1195. He was a debauched and sceptical prince, who successively put away three wives, taking as his fourth Jeanne, sister of Richard Coeur de Lion. Loaded with all the benefits of the Church, he showed the greatest benevolence to the heretical Cathares or Albigenses, whom his father had persecuted, refused to molest them, even allowing them to preach before him, and perhaps allied himself with their sect. His court was dissolute, and he took no notice of the reproof of the legate of Innocent III, Pierre de Castelnau, who finally excommunicated him in 1207. But shortly after, an equerry of the count having treasonably killed de Castelnau, Raymond was immediately deposed by the pope. Raymond, frightened into submission, expelled the heretics from his dominions, and on 18 June, 1209, in the presence of the pontifical legate, did public penance before the Church of St-Gilles. When the crusaders, assembled in the north of France, invaded Languedoc, Raymond took part in the Crusade and assisted at the sieges of Beziers and Carcassone in 1209. Returning to Toulouse, Raymond tried to elude his obligations and was excommunicated by the Council of Avignon. He then went to Rome to clear himself of the murder of de Castelnau, and was received by Innocent III, but on his return found his estates entirely overrun by Simon de Montfort. In 1212 he held only Toulouse and Montauban. His brother-in-law, Peter, King of Aragon, came to his rescue, but was killed at the battle of Murat in 1213. In 1215 Simon de Montfort besieged Toulouse and Narbonne. Instead of organizing resistance, Raymond had negotiated with the pontifical legates, who made him the most humiliating propositions. Deprived of his estates, he retired to England, later appearing at the Lateran Council (1215), where he sought to interest Innocent III in his favour. The pope, however, ceded the estates of Raymond to Simon de Montfort, reserving for his son only the Marquessates of Provence and Beaucaire. An exile in Aragon, Raymond VI reassembled his troops, and took Toulouse (7 November, 1217), later defending it successfully against Simon de Montfort, who was killed 25 June, 1218. Before his death Raymond VI had wrested from Amaury de Montfort nearly all the conquests of his father.


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