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The stage of a tragic siege
From 1232, the castrum of Montségur in the Ariège department became the seat and capital of the Cathar Church. The fortress' population consequently grew, and it housed between 500 and 600 people - religious, civilians, and men-at-arms alike. Some ten years later, in 1243, Hugues des Arcis - a seneschal of the King of France in Carcassonne - and the Bishop of Narbonne besieged the fortress in an attempt to bring down the Cathar heretics. The siege lasted about 11 months and ended tragically with the surrender of the besieged on March 16, 1244, and the execution at the stake of more than 230 Cathars who refused to renounce their faith.
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