Week 24 – the Albigensians, Magna Carta, King Philip IV

What did the Albigensians believe?

The Albigensians were like Manichaeans; they believed in two gods, where one was good and one was evil. They believed the spirit is good, but the matter is evil and that the bodies are prisons of the souls. This is why they believed pregnant women are possessed by the devil, trapping even more souls in new bodies. They were often ascetic, meaning they lived in self-denial, denying goods to themselves. They were also vegan.

There were the Perfect and the Believers. The Perfect lived exactly how they should live according to the Albigensian faith, when the Believers only believed it should be that way, but didn’t live 100% according to it.

What was the significance of the Magna Carta

It all started with the growth of common law. There were multiple things that happened before Magna Carta, but the most important contribution to the making of Magna Carta happened when John I was the king of England. He had a conflict with Pope Innocent III, because the Pope chose a new archbishop John didn’t like. This has gone for a while, leading to John taking all of the Church’s lands and giving it to his friends. In response to this, Pope declared him illegitimate, which meant he lost all his properties and anyone could have them. John realised he couldn’t fight back and said he will give everything back if Pope withdraws this. He also basically handed England over to him in exchange. Pope agreed, but the people were furious about John giving England away, so they have created Magna Carta. Its significance is that the king is subject to the law and cannot do whatever he sets his mind to.

What was the significance of King Philip IV of France?

During his time, there were first kingdom-wide representative assemblies established. They were intended to give formal support to the monarch during times of crisis. These assemblies weren’t as significant as the English Parliament. There also was a serfdom in decline; industries in the towns drew people away from agriculture and there was a growth of business classes – clergy, nobility, commoners.

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