Fun_People Archive
17 Jan
Learn Something New Every Day

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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Fri, 17 Jan 97 14:31:23 -0800
To: Fun_People
Subject: Learn Something New Every Day

Forwarded-by: David Brake <>
From: (Matthew Francey)

Browsing the ATHEISM/FREETHINKING fortune cookie file, I stumbled into:

        "Kill them all.  God will select those who should go
         to heaven and those who should go to hell."
          [Abbot Arnold de Citeaux, 1205, when asked by
           the Crusaders what to do with the citizens of
           Beziers who were a mixture of Catholics and Cathars]

Now, I never knew this was so old!  The 'modern' rendition is (of course):
Kill them all and let God sort them out.

So I did some checking around the net and I found another version, and with
a different date:

>"Kill them all; for the Lord knoweth them that are His."
>Arnaud-Amaury, Abbot of Citeaux, 1209, on how to distinguish heretics from

Which, if anything, is more concise and to the point.  This version was
found in a quotes file compiled by one Tim Showalter,

Further digging found more context of the event:

In (by G C H Nullens):

>       a. The facts[:] In July 1209 the army commanded by
>       Arnaud-Amaury, the Abbey of Citeaux took Beziers and
>       massacred around 30,000 local people (or 100,000 according to
>       another source). The defence was under the command of
>       Raymond-Roger Trenceval III, Viscount of Beziers and
>       Carcassonne. He tried to negotiate before the battle but he did
>       get anywhere. He also asked in vain the help of his uncle the
>       Count of Toulouse, Raymond VI. On July 21 the invading army,
>       about 20.000 strong, surrounded Beziers. The bishop of Beziers
>       tried again to negotiate. He was asked to give a list of 222
>       heretics in exchange for stopping the attack. The people
>       -Catholics and Cathars- refused the offer. It was though that the
>       siege would last a long time. However a local skirmish
>       degenerated in full scale battle and the city was invaded the next
>       day, 22 July 1209. The houses were ransacked, the people killed
>       without distinction of age, sex or religion and the town finally was
>       put to flame. Trenceval retreated to Carcassonne. (e)

And it appears that the Cathars were some kind of pacifist types (I'll have
to read more), so I suppose they were especially deserving in being put to

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