I'm a Subject Matter Specialist (by vocation and avocation) in defence affairs, technology, and history with a current concentration on WW1, notably because of the Protected content milestone.
I'm wondering if there are any of you in the Internations community that have an interest in arms, armour, and the military history that seems to seep from every pore in this region.
There are a number of "private" war museums around here, not to speak of the more official variety like that of the Brussels war museum.
There are also militaria 'bourses' -usually on Sundays- scattered throughout the Toulouse area.
The military and geopolitical history of this part of the world is really an eye opener, and not just because of the bloody swath carved by the scabrous Simon de Montfort. (Of the "Kill them all. God will know his own" infamy.")
For example, Protected content to have been a pivotal time and not only by virtue of the Cathar massacres, etc.. It was when the crossbow was first introduced thus giving unprecedented power to the peasant/serf. For the first time an ordinary person could unhorse a heavily armoured knight with what was essentially the first armour-piercing weapon.
Pope Innocent III decided that these weapons were most un-Christian so, by edict, declared them to be illegal. The world's first attempt at "Gun Control" and you can see how successful THAT was! Odd how he didn't feel the "Holy Water Sprinkler", a spike-studded mace, didn't seem to qualify under the same rubric.
There are many more such examples of fame and folly throughout this lovely country.
And JIC you think this military history is restricted just to armies, arms, and armour keep in mind the civil corollaries. For example, those crossbow bolt heads (AKA 'quarrels') had to be handmade by local blacksmiths. Imagine the local liege (AKA slum landlord) ordering all blacksmiths in his area to provide a quota of crossbow bolt heads...at their own expense. And woe and betide those that failed to deliver!
There's just so much more to explore, including such minutiae as the design and development of the many fortresses we see here. For example, how in the name of all that's holy did 'they' get the building stones up to such places as Montsegur?
Would love to have a lively exchange(s) on the subject and welcome any suggestions.
Conflict Studies Group