12 September 1213

Eight centuries ago this day the crusader army under Simon de Montfort III left their besieged position at Muret to confront the superior allied force of Peter II of Aragon. Like Henry III at Evesham, Peter wasn’t wearing his own armour. Henry had no choice, but Peter was the newly proclaimed defender of chivalry in Languedoc. If he was going to be in the thick of things, it would be as an ordinary knight. It was his last courageous act, for the French knights mowed him and his entire guard down, then routed the rest of the Spanish troops. And so the Albigensian Crusade, the first part anyway, dragged on for another nine years.

The Battle of Muret
The Battle of Muret

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