Sunday, 15 September 2019


Joseph de Ca'th Lon & The Grandma in Albanyà
Today, The Grandma has received the visit of a closer friend, Joseph de Ca'th Lon. They have travelled together to L'Alt Empordà, Girona to visit Albanyà Astronomical Observatory.

Joseph loves Astronomy and The Grandma loves tortoises and because of this this visit has been very interesting for them. They have been talking about the Zond 5, the Soviet spacecraft that was is launched on a day like today in 1968, becoming the first spacecraft to fly around the Moon and re-enter the Earth's atmosphere. This spacecraft had a special crew, two Russian tortoises.

During the trip from Barcelona to Albanyà, The Grandma has started to read a new novel titled King's Ransom and written by Ed McBainand; and she has also studied a new lesson of her Ms. Excel course.

19. Sharing Documents (III) (Spanish Version)

Zond 5, in Russian Зонд 5, was one of the spacecraft of the Soviet Zond program. It became, in September 1968, the second spaceship to travel to and circle the Moon, and was the first to return safely to Earth after doing so. It carried the first terrestrial organisms to the vicinity of the Moon, including two tortoises, fruit fly eggs, and plants. The tortoises underwent biological changes during the flight, but it was concluded that the changes were primarily due to starvation and that they were little affected by space travel.

The Zond spacecraft was a version of the Soyuz 7K-L1 crewed lunar-flyby spacecraft. It was launched by a Proton-K carrier rocket with a Block D upper-stage to conduct scientific studies during its lunar flyby.

More information: Russian Space Web

Out of the first four circumlunar missions launched by the Soviet Union there was one partial success, Zond 4, and three failures. After Zond 4's mission in March 1968, a follow-up, Zond 1968A, was launched on 23 April. The launch failed when an erroneous abort command shut down the Proton rocket's second stage. The escape rocket fired and pulled the descent module to safety.

In July, Zond 1968B was being prepared for launch when the Block D second-stage rocket exploded on the launchpad, killing three people, but leaving the Proton first-stage booster rocket and the spacecraft itself with only minor damage.

Soviet Union launched Zond 5
The Zond 5 mission was originally planned to fly cosmonauts around the Moon, but the failures of Zond 1968A and Zond 1968B led the Soviets to send an uncrewed mission instead, from fear of the negative propaganda of an unsuccessful crewed flight.

Two Russian tortoises or Agrionemys horsfieldii were included in the biological payload, weighing 0.34–0.4 kilograms each pre-flight. Soviet scientists chose tortoises since they were easy to tightly secure. There were also two tortoises used as control specimens and four more in a vivarium. Twelve days before launch, the two space-bound tortoises were secured in the vehicle and deprived of food and water; the control tortoises were similarly deprived. The food deprivation was a part of pathomorphological and histochemical experiments.

The biological payload also included fruit fly eggs, cells of wheat, barley, pea, pine, carrots and tomatoes, specimens of the wildflower species Tradescantia paludosa, three strains of the single-celled green algae Chlorella, and one strain of lysogenic bacteria. The purpose of sending a variety of terrestrial lifeforms was to test the effect of cosmic radiation on them. The Russian Academy of Sciences stated that a mannequin equipped with radiation sensors occupied the pilot's seat.

More information: NASA

Kazan Optical and Mechanical Plant had developed the AFA-BA/40 imager, which was installed on the spacecraft, giving it the ability to image the Earth. Zond 5 also contained proton detectors. Zond 5 could transmit some of its data back to ground stations, although data stored onboard and collected after return to Earth has less noise. 

Zond 5 launched on 14 September 1968 at 9:42.10 UTC, from Site 81 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome. The thrust of the third-stage rocket was terminated at 160 kilometres, which was the start of a 251-second coast. Block D, the upper-stage rocket, ignited and burned for 108 seconds, placing the spacecraft into a parking orbit of 191 by 219 kilometres. Fifty-six minutes into the parking orbit the Block D fired a final time for the trans-lunar injection. After this maneuver, the launch was announced to the world.

Mission Control discovered issues with Zond 5's attitude and traced the issue to a contaminated star tracker. Heat caused some of the interior coating to outgas, which delayed an attitude correction on the way to the Moon. The maneuver was performed 325,000 kilometres from Earth using the Sun and the Earth as reference points.

More information: Space Centre

On 18 September, the spacecraft flew around the Moon, although it did not orbit it. The closest distance was 1,950 kilometres. On the way back from the Moon, another star tracker failed. The spacecraft also erroneously switched off the guided reentry system. The Soviet government had deployed eight ships to the Indian Ocean prior to the launch, as a precaution in case the spacecraft could not reach Soviet territory; only three of them had rescue helicopters on board.

On 21 September, the reentry capsule entered the Earth's atmosphere. The primary landing zone was in Kazakhstan, but instead Zond 5 splashed down in the Indian Ocean and was recovered by the Soviet vessels Borovichy and Vasiliy Golovin.  

The crew of Zond 5, No. 37 & No. 22
It landed at −32°38' latitude and 65°33' longitude, 105 kilometres from the nearest Soviet naval ship. The landing occurred at night, which impaired recovery efforts.

Zond 5 became the first spacecraft to circle the Moon and return to Earth. The entire journey took 6 days, 18 hours and 24 minutes. Although the ballistic reentry would probably have been lethal for human occupants, it did not appear to affect the biological specimens, which were alive when the descent module was opened four days after landing. USS McMorris shadowed the Soviet recovery ships, collecting intelligence, but left shortly after the spacecraft was brought on board the Soviet ship.

High-quality photographs of the Earth, the first photos of their kind, were taken at a distance of 90,000 kilometres. British astronomer Bernard Lovell, considered Britain's top space expert, said that the Zond 5 mission showed that the Soviets were ahead in the Space Race. The British Interplanetary Society believed that the USSR would be able to send cosmonauts around the Moon within a matter of months.

More information: Discover Magazine

In October 1968, sources in the U.S. claimed the mission was not as successful as the Soviets advertised. The mission had been intended to fly closer to the Moon, and its actual distance did not allow for useful lunar photography. They also said that the angle at which the spacecraft reentered the atmosphere was too steep for a cosmonaut to have survived. The sources indicated that the spacecraft landed in the Indian Ocean when the planned location was in Soviet territory, which was a factor in the recovery taking ten hours.

The official Soviet news agency, TASS, announced in November 1968 that the flight had carried living animals. The tortoises were dissected on 11 October after fasting for 39 days. The flying tortoises, identified as No. 22 and No. 37, had lost 10% of their body weight during the trip, but showed no loss of appetite. The control tortoises lost 5% of their weight.

Comparison of analyses of blood from the space-travelling tortoises and the control specimens revealed no differences. Another analysis showed the flying tortoises had elevated iron and glycogen levels in their liver and that the flight also affected the internal structures of their spleens. The authors concluded that the changes in the flight tortoises were primarily due to starvation, with the space travel having little effect. In November 1968, it was announced that the spacecraft was planned as a precursor to a crewed lunar spacecraft. The Soviets made this announcement a month before the planned Apollo 8 flight, in an attempt to show they were close to being able to carry out a crewed trip to the Moon.

The Zond 5 return capsule is on display at the RKK Energiya museum, located in Moscow Oblast, Russia.

More information: The Vintage News

May this house stand until an ant drinks
the ocean and a tortoise circles the world.

Jonathan Carroll

Saturday, 14 September 2019


Isadora Duncan
Today, The Grandma has taken a walk along Montjuïc, the famous Jewish mountain, in Barcelona. It is a wonderful and amazing place where you can find as things as you wish -museums, gardens, Olympic installations, restaurants, cable cars...

The Grandma has visited El Mercat de les Flors, a place of reference in scenic arts, especially dance and theatre.

While The Grandma has been visiting this interesting cultural equipment, she has been thinking about Isadora Duncan, the American French dancer who changed this world more than a century ago and died on a day like today in 1927.

Before visiting Montjuïc, The Grandma has read a new chapter of Thomas Hardy's Far from the Madding Crowd and she has also studied a new lesson of her Ms. Excel course.

19. Sharing Documents (II) (Spanish Version)

Angela Isadora Duncan (May 26, 1877 or May 27, 1878-September 14, 1927) was an American and French dancer who performed to acclaim throughout Europe. Born in California, she lived in Western Europe and the Soviet Union from the age of 22 until her death at age 50, when her scarf became entangled in the wheels and axle of the car in which she was riding.

Isadora Duncan was born in San Francisco, the youngest of the four children of Joseph Charles Duncan (1819–1898), a banker, mining engineer and connoisseur of the arts, and Mary Isadora Gray (1849–1922). Her brothers were Augustin Duncan and Raymond Duncan; her sister, Elizabeth Duncan, was also a dancer. Soon after Isadora's birth, her father was exposed in illegal bank dealings, and the family became extremely poor.

Her parents divorced when she was an infant, and her mother moved with her family to Oakland, California, where she worked as a seamstress and piano teacher. From ages six to ten, Isadora attended school, but she dropped out, finding it constricting. As her family was very poor, she and her three siblings earned money by teaching dance to local children.

Isadora Duncan
In 1896, Duncan became part of Augustin Daly's theater company in New York, but she soon became disillusioned with the form and craved a different environment with less of a hierarchy. Her father, along with his third wife and their daughter, died in 1898 when the British passenger steamer SS Mohegan ran aground off the coast of Cornwall.

Duncan began her dancing career at a very early age by giving lessons in her home to neighbourhood children, and this continued through her teenage years. Her novel approach to dance was evident in these early classes, in which she followed her fantasy and improvised, teaching any pretty thing that came into her head. A desire to travel brought her to Chicago, where she auditioned for many theater companies, finally finding a place in Augustin Daly's company. This took her to New York City where her unique vision of dance clashed with the popular pantomimes of theater companies. In New York, Duncan took some classes with Marie Bonfanti but was quickly disappointed in ballet routine.

Feeling unhappy and unappreciated in America, Duncan moved to London in 1898. She performed in the drawing rooms of the wealthy, taking inspiration from the Greek vases and bas-reliefs in the British Museum. The earnings from these engagements enabled her to rent a studio, allowing her to develop her work and create larger performances for the stage. From London, she traveled to Paris, where she was inspired by the Louvre and the Exposition Universelle of 1900.

More information: Isadora's Legacy

In 1902, Loie Fuller invited Duncan to tour with her. This took Duncan all over Europe as she created new works using her innovative technique, which emphasized natural movement in contrast to the rigidity of tradition ballet.

She spent most of the rest of her life touring Europe and the Americas in this fashion. Despite mixed reaction from critics, Duncan became quite popular for her distinctive style and inspired many visual artists, such as Antoine Bourdelle, Auguste Rodin, Arnold Rönnebeck, and Abraham Walkowitz, to create works based on her.

Duncan disliked the commercial aspects of public performance, such as touring and contracts, because she felt they distracted her from her real mission, namely the creation of beauty and the education of the young. To achieve her mission, she opened schools to teach young women her philosophy of dance

Isadora Duncan
The first was established in 1904 in Berlin-Grunewald, Germany. This institution was the birthplace of the Isadorables (Anna, Maria-Theresa, Irma, Liesel, Gretel, and Erika), Duncan's protégées who would continue her legacy. Duncan legally adopted all six girls in 1919, and they took her last name. After about a decade in Berlin, Duncan established a school in Paris that was shortly closed because of the outbreak of World War I.

In 1914, Duncan moved to the United States and transferred her school there. A townhouse on Gramercy Park was provided for its use, and its studio was nearby, on the northeast corner of 23rd Street and Fourth Avenue, now Park Avenue South.

Duncan had been due to leave the United States in 1915 aboard the RMS Lusitania on its ill-fated voyage, but historians believe her financial situation at the time drove her to choose a more modest crossing. In 1921, Duncan's leftist sympathies took her to the Soviet Union, where she founded a school in Moscow. However, the Soviet government's failure to follow through on promises to support her work caused her to return to the West and leave the school to her protégée Irma.

In 1924, Duncan composed a dance routine called Varshavianka to the tune of the Polish revolutionary song known in English as Whirlwinds of Danger.

Breaking with convention, Duncan imagined she had traced dance to its roots as a sacred art. She developed from this notion a style of free and natural movements inspired by the classical Greek arts, folk dances, social dances, nature and natural forces as well as an approach to the new American athleticism which included skipping, running, jumping, leaping and tossing.

More information: The Vintage News

Duncan's philosophy of dance moved away from rigid ballet technique and towards what she perceived as natural movement. To restore dance to a high art form instead of merely entertainment, she strove to connect emotions and movement: I spent long days and nights in the studio seeking that dance which might be the divine expression of the human spirit through the medium of the body's movement. She believed dance was meant to encircle all that life had to offer -joy and sadness.

Duncan took inspiration from ancient Greece and combined it with an American love of freedom. Her movement was feminine and arose from the deepest feelings in her body. This is exemplified in her revolutionary costume of a white Greek tunic and bare feet.

Isadora Duncan
In both professional and private life, Duncan flouted traditional mores and morality. She was bisexual and an atheist, and alluded to her communism during her last United States tour, in 1922–23: she waved a red scarf and bared her breast on stage in Boston, proclaiming, This is red! So am I!

Duncan bore two children, both out of wedlock. The first, Deirdre Beatrice, by theatre designer Gordon Craig, and the second, Patrick Augustus, by Paris Singer, one of the many sons of sewing machine magnate Isaac Singer. Both children drowned in the care of their nanny in 1913 when their runaway car went into the Seine.

In 1921, after the end of the Russian Revolution, Duncan moved to Moscow where she met the acclaimed poet Sergei Yesenin, who was 18 years her junior. On May 2, 1922, they married, and Yesenin accompanied her on a tour of Europe and the United States. However, the marriage was brief, and in May 1923 he left Duncan and returned to Moscow. Two years later, on December 28, 1925, Yesenin was found dead in his room in the Hotel Angleterre in St Petersburg in an apparent suicide.

More information: The Vintage News

On the night of September 14, 1927, in Nice, France, Duncan was a passenger in an Amilcar CGSS automobile owned by Benoît Falchetto, a French-Italian mechanic. She wore a long, flowing, hand-painted silk scarf, created by the Russian-born artist Roman Chatov, a gift from her friend Mary Desti, the mother of American film director Preston Sturges. Desti, who saw Duncan off, had asked her to wear a cape in the open-air vehicle because of the cold weather, but she would only agree to wear the scarf. As they departed, she reportedly said to Desti and some companions, Adieu, mes amis. Je vais à la gloire!; but according to the American novelist Glenway Wescott, Desti later told him that Duncan's actual parting words were, Je vais à l'amour. Desti considered this embarrassing, as it suggested that she and Falchetto were going to her hotel for a tryst.

Her silk scarf, draped around her neck, became entangled around the open-spoked wheels and rear axle, pulling her from the open car and breaking her neck. Desti said she called out to warn Duncan about the scarf almost immediately after the car left. Desti brought Duncan to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Duncan was cremated, and her ashes were placed next to those of her children in the columbarium at Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. On the headstone of her grave is inscribed École du Ballet de l'Opéra de Paris.

Duncan is known as The Mother of Dance. While her schools in Europe did not last long, Duncan's work had impact in the art and her style is still danced based upon the instruction of Maria-Theresa Duncan, Anna Duncan, and Irma Duncan, three of her six adopted daughters.

More information: BBC

The dancer's body is simply 
the luminous manifestation of the soul.

Isadora Duncan

Friday, 13 September 2019


The Grandma visits Gavà, El Baix Llobregat
Today, The Grandma has been in Gavà participating in a new course about the importance of new technologies and digitalization in Logistics.  It is a very interesting theme and she has wanted to know more things about it. The Grandma has spent a fantastic day because she has been sharing this course with some old friends from Gavà and Begues and they have been talking about past experiences, present chances and future dreams.

Before going to Gavà, The Grandma has read a new chapter of Thomas Hardy's Far from the Madding Crowd and she has also studied a new lesson of her Ms. Excel course.

19. Sharing Documents (I) (Spanish Version)

Logistics is generally the detailed organization and implementation of a complex operation. In a general business sense, logistics is the management of the flow of things between the point of origin and the point of consumption in order to meet requirements of customers or corporations.

The resources managed in logistics may include tangible goods such as materials, equipment, and supplies, as well as food and other consumable items.

The logistics of physical items usually involves the integration of information flow, materials handling, production, packaging, inventory, transportation, warehousing, and often security.

Logistics management is the part of supply chain management that plans, implements, and controls the efficient, effective forward, and reverse flow and storage of goods, services, and related information between the point of origin and the point of consumption in order to meet customer's requirements. The complexity of logistics can be modeled, analyzed, visualized, and optimized by dedicated simulation software. The minimization of the use of resources is a common motivation in all logistics fields. A professional working in the field of logistics management is called a logistician.

The term logistics is attested in English from 1846, and is from French logistique. The Oxford English Dictionary defines logistics as the branch of military science relating to procuring, maintaining and transporting material, personnel and facilities. However, the New Oxford American Dictionary defines logistics as the detailed coordination of a complex operation involving many people, facilities, or supplies, and the Oxford Dictionary on-line defines it as the detailed organization and implementation of a complex operation. As such, logistics is commonly seen as a branch of engineering that creates people systems rather than machine systems.

According to the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (previously the Council of Logistics Management), logistics is the process of planning, implementing and controlling procedures for the efficient and effective transportation and storage of goods including services and related information from the point of origin to the point of consumption for the purpose of conforming to customer requirements and includes inbound, outbound, internal and external movements.

More information: Project Manager

Academics and practitioners traditionally refer to the terms operations or production management when referring to physical transformations taking place in a single business location (factory, restaurant or even bank clerking) and reserve the term logistics for activities related to distribution, that is, moving products on the territory.

Managing a distribution center is seen, therefore, as pertaining to the realm of logistics since, while in theory the products made by a factory are ready for consumption they still need to be moved along the distribution network according to some logic, and the distribution center aggregates and processes orders coming from different areas of the territory. That being said, from a modeling perspective, there are similarities between operations management and logistics, and companies sometimes use hybrid professionals, with for example a Director of Operations or a Logistics Officer working on similar problems.

Furthermore, the term supply chain management originally refers to, among other issues, having an integrated vision of both production and logistics from point of origin to point of production. All these terms may suffer from semantic change as a side effect of advertising.

Inbound logistics is one of the primary processes of logistics concentrating on purchasing and arranging the inbound movement of materials, parts, or unfinished inventory from suppliers to manufacturing or assembly plants, warehouses, or retail stores.

Outbound logistics is the process related to the storage and movement of the final product and the related information flows from the end of the production line to the end user.

One definition of business logistics speaks of having the right item in the right quantity at the right time at the right place for the right price in the right condition to the right customer. Business logistics incorporates all industry sectors and aims to manage the fruition of project life cycles, supply chains, and resultant efficiencies.

The term business logistics has evolved since the 1960s due to the increasing complexity of supplying businesses with materials and shipping out products in an increasingly globalized supply chain, leading to a call for professionals called supply chain logisticians.

More information: Flash Global

In business, logistics may have either an internal focus (inbound logistics) or an external focus (outbound logistics), covering the flow and storage of materials from point of origin to point of consumption. The main functions of a qualified logistician include inventory management, purchasing, transportation, warehousing, consultation, and the organizing and planning of these activities. Logisticians combine a professional knowledge of each of these functions to coordinate resources in an organization.

There are two fundamentally different forms of logistics: one optimizes a steady flow of material through a network of transport links and storage nodes, while the other coordinates a sequence of resources to carry out some project.

Logistics automation is the application of computer software or automated machinery to improve the efficiency of logistics operations. Typically this refers to operations within a warehouse or distribution center with broader tasks undertaken by supply chain management systems and enterprise resource planning systems.

Industrial machinery can typically identify products through either barcode or RFID technologies. Information in traditional bar codes is stored as a sequence of black and white bars varying in width, which when read by laser is translated into a digital sequence, which according to fixed rules can be converted into a decimal number or other data. Sometimes information in a bar code can be transmitted through radio frequency, more typically radio transmission is used in RFID tags. An RFID tag is card containing a memory chip and an antenna which transmits signals to a reader. RFID may be found on merchandise, animals, vehicles and people as well.

When we talk about 'smart transportation,'
it is more than moving cargo from A to B.
Digitization within transport and logistics means 
seamless service to our customers, visibility in the supply chain, 
and driving a more efficient business.

Soren Skou

Thursday, 12 September 2019


The Grandma arrives to Muret
After commemorating September 11, the Catalan National Day, today, The Grandma has visited Muret, near Tolosa in Occitania. She has arrived to this beautiful town to commemorate another tragic date, September 12, the Battle of Muret.

Catharism, from the Greek καθαροί, that means the pure ones, was a Christian dualist or Gnostic revival movement that thrived in some areas of Southern Europe, particularly what is now northern Italy and southern France, between the 12th and 14th centuries. The followers were known as Cathars and are now mainly remembered for a prolonged period of persecution by the Catholic Church, which did not recognise their belief as being Christian.

Catharism appeared in Europe in Languedoc in the 11th century and this is when the name first appears. The adherents were sometimes known as Albigensians, after the city Albi where the movement first took hold.

The Grandma loves Catharism and Cathar History and she has wanted to homage this Occitan community visiting Muret, the little town where on a day like today in 1213, the Crusader army of Simó IV de Montfort defeated the Catharist, Aragonese and Catalan forces of Pere II El Catòlic, King of Aragon and Count of Barcelona, in the well-known Battle of Muret.

This was the begining of the end of the Cathars, but not Catharism because as The Grandma always remembers something lives as time as the last person who remembers it and nowadays we still remember Cathars and their incredible and important influence over our current cultures, especially Occitan and Catalan ones.

During the travel from Barcelona to Muret, The Grandma has read a new chapter of Thomas Hardy's Far from the Madding Crowd and she has also studied a new lesson of her Ms. Excel course.

18. Macros (II) (Spanish Version)

Muret is a commune in the Haute-Garonne department, of which it is a subprefecture, in Occitania. Its inhabitants are called Muretains. It is an outer suburb of the city of Tolosa (Toulouse) and is the largest component of the intercommunality of Muretain.

Muret is generally known for the Battle of Muret (1213) and as the birthplace of Clément Ader (1841-1925), inventor and aviation pioneer. It is also the birthplace of the Niel family from which Adolphe Niel, Marshal of France and Minister of War, was derived.

More information: Ville de Muret (French Version)

The Albigensian Crusade or the Cathar Crusade (1209–1229), in Occitan Crosada dels albigeses, was a 20-year military campaign initiated by Pope Innocent III to eliminate Catharism in Languedoc.

The Crusade was prosecuted primarily by the French crown and promptly took on a political flavour, resulting in not only a significant reduction in the number of practising Cathars, but also a realignment of the County of Tolosa in Languedoc, bringing it into the sphere of the French crown and diminishing the distinct regional culture and high level of influence of the Counts of Barcelona.

The Battle of Muret, 1213
The Cathars originated from an anti-materialist reform movement within the Bogomil churches of Dalmatia and Bulgaria calling for a return to the Christian message of perfection, poverty and preaching, combined with a rejection of the physical to the point of starvation.

The reforms were a reaction against the often scandalous and dissolute lifestyles of the Catholic clergye. Their theology, neo-Gnostic in many ways, was basically dualist. Several of their practices, especially their belief in the inherent evil of the physical world, conflicted with the doctrines of the Incarnation of Christ and sacraments, initiated accusations of Gnosticism and brought them the ire of the Catholic establishment. They became known as the Albigensians, because there were many adherents in the city of Albi and the surrounding area in the 12th and 13th centuries.

Between 1022 and 1163, the Cathars were condemned by eight local church councils, the last of which, held at Tours, declared that all Albigenses should be put into prison and have their property confiscated. The Third Lateran Council of 1179 repeated the condemnation. Innocent III's diplomatic attempts to roll back Catharism were met with little success. After the murder of his legate Pierre de Castelnau, in 1208, Innocent III declared a crusade against the Cathars. He offered the lands of the Cathar heretics to any French nobleman willing to take up arms.

More information: Cathar

From 1209 to 1215, the Crusaders experienced great success, capturing Cathar lands and perpetrating acts of extreme violence, often against civilians.

From 1215 to 1225, a series of revolts caused many of the lands to be lost. A renewed crusade resulted in the recapturing of the territory and effectively drove Catharism underground by 1244.

The Albigensian Crusade also had a role in the creation and institutionalization of both the Dominican Order and the Medieval Inquisition. The Dominicans promulgated the message of the Church to combat alleged heresies by preaching the Church's teachings in towns and villages, while the Inquisition investigated heresies. Because of these efforts, by the middle of the 14th century, any discernible traces of the Cathar movement had been eradicated.

Derived in part from earlier forms of Gnosticism, the theology of the Cathars was dualistic, a belief in two equal and comparable transcendental principles: God, the force of good, and the demiurge, the force of evil. Cathars held that the physical world was evil and created by this demiurge, which they called Rex Mundi. Rex Mundi encompassed all that was corporeal, chaotic and powerful. 

The Cathar understanding of God was entirely disincarnate: they viewed God as a being or principle of pure spirit and completely unsullied by the taint of matter. He was the God of love, order, and peace. Jesus was an angel with only a phantom body, and the accounts of him in the New Testament were to be understood allegorically.

Visiting the exposition about Cathars
As the physical world and the human body were the creation of the evil principle, sexual abstinence, even in marriage, was encouraged. Civil authority had no claim on a Cathar, since this was the rule of the physical world.

Accordingly, the Cathars refused to take oaths of allegiance or volunteer for military service. Cathar doctrine opposed killing animals and consuming meat.

Cathars rejected the Catholic priesthood, labelling its members, including the pope, unworthy and corrupted. Disagreeing on the Catholic concept of the unique role of the priesthood, they taught that anyone, not just the priest, could consecrate the Eucharistic host or hear a confession. They rejected the dogma of the Real presence of Christ in the Eucharist and Catholic teaching on the existence of Purgatory.

Catharism developed its own unique form of sacrament known as the consolamentum, to replace the Catholic rite of baptism. Instead of receiving baptism through water, one received the consolamentum by the laying on of hands. They regarded water as unclean because it had been corrupted by the earth, and therefore refused to use it in their ceremonies. The act was typically received just before death, as Cathars believed that this increased one's chances for salvation by wiping away all previous sins.

After taking the sacrament, the recipient became known as perfectus. Prior to becoming a perfect, believing Cathars were encouraged but not required to follow Cathar teaching on abstaining from sex and meat, and most chose not to do so. Once an individual received the consolamentum, these rules became binding.

Cathar perfects often went through a ritual fast called the endura. After receiving the consolamentum, a believer would sometimes take no food and rely only on cold water, a practice eventually resulting in death. The procedure was typically performed only by those close to death already. Some members of the Church claimed that if a Cathar upon receiving the consolamentum showed signs of recovery, the person would be smothered to death in order to ensure entry into Heaven. This did sometimes happen but there is little evidence that it was common practice.

More information: Learn Religions

Despite Cathar anti-clericalism, there were men selected amongst the Cathars to serve as bishops and deacons. The bishops were selected from among the perfect.

The Cathars were part of a widespread spiritual reform movement in medieval Europe which began about 653 when Constantine-Silvanus brought a copy of the Gospels to Armenia. In the following centuries a number of dissenting groups arose, gathered around charismatic preachers, who rejected the authority of the Catholic Church. These groups based their beliefs and practices on the Gospels rather than on Church dogma and sought a return to the early church and the faith of the Apostles. They claimed that their teaching was rooted in Scripture and part of Apostolic tradition. Sects such as the Paulicians in Armenia, Bogomils from Bulgaria and the Balkans, Arnoldists in northern Italy, Petrobrusians in southern France, Henricans in Switzerland and France, and Waldensians of the Piedmont area on the border of France and Italy, were violently persecuted and repressed.

Cathars and the Consolamentum
The Paulicians were ordered to be burned to death as heretics; the Bogomils were expelled from Serbia and later subjected to the Inquisition and the Bosnian Crusade; Peter of Bruys, leader of the Petrobrusians, was pushed into a bonfire by an angry mob in 1131; A number of prominent 12th century preachers insisted on it being the responsibility of the individual to develop a relationship with God, independent of an established clergy. Henry of Lausanne criticized the priesthood and called for lay reform of the Church. He gained a large following. Henry's preaching focused on condemning clerical corruption and clerical hierarchy, although there is no evidence that he subscribed to Cathar teachings on dualism. He was arrested around 1146 and never heard from again. Arnold of Brescia, leader of the Arnoldists, was hanged in 1155 and his body burnt and thrown into the Tiber River, for fear, one chronicler says, lest the people might collect them and honour them as the ashes of a martyr. The Waldensians, followers of Peter Waldo, experienced burnings and massacres.

Although these dissenting groups shared some common features with the Cathars, such as anti-clericalism and rejection the sacraments, they did not, except perhaps the Paulicians and Bogomils, subscribe to Cathar dualist beliefs. They did not specifically invoke dualism as a tenet. The Cathars may have originated from the Bogomils, as some scholars believe in a continuous Manichaen tradition which encompassed both groups. That view is not universally shared.

More information: Cathar Castles

By the 12th century, organized groups of dissidents, such as the Waldensians and Cathars, were beginning to appear in the towns and cities of newly urbanized areas. In western Mediterranean France, one of the most urbanized areas of Europe at the time, the Cathars grew to represent a popular mass movement, and the belief was spreading to other areas. One such area was Lombardy, which by the 1170s was sustaining a community of Cathars.

The Cathar movement was seen by some as a reaction against the corrupt and earthly lifestyles of the clergy. It has also been viewed as a manifestation of dissatisfaction with papal power. In Cologne in 1163, four Cathar men and a girl who had traveled to the city from Flanders were burned after refusing to repent. Burnings for heresy had been very uncommon, and in the past had sometimes taken place at the behest of noblemen over the objections of leading Catholic clergy. After this event however, they grew more frequent.

Catharism continued to spread. Cathar theology found its greatest success in the Languedoc.

The Cathars were known as Albigensians because of their association with the city of Albi, and because the 1176 Church Council which declared the Cathar doctrine heretical was held near Albi. The condemnation was repeated through the Third Lateran Council of 1179. In Languedoc, political control and land ownership was divided among many local lords and heirs. Before the crusade, there was little fighting in the area and it had a fairly sophisticated polity. Western Mediterranean France itself was at that time divided between the Crown of Aragon and County of Barcelona; and the County of Tolosa.

The Albigensian Crusade, 1209-1229
On becoming Pope in 1198, Innocent III resolved to deal with the Cathars and sent a delegation of friars to the province of Languedoc to assess the situation.

The Cathars of Languedoc were seen as not showing proper respect for the authority of the French king or the local Catholic Church, and their leaders were being protected by powerful nobles, who had clear interest in independence from the king. At least in part for this reason, many powerful noblemen embraced Catharism despite making little attempt to follow its strict lifestyle restrictions. In desperation, Innocent turned to Philip II of France, urging him to either force Raymond to deal with the heresy or depose him militarily. By 1204, he offered to bless those willing to go on a military campaign against the Cathars with the same indulgence given to crusaders travelling to the Holy Land. However, Philip was engaged in conflict with King John of England, and was unwilling to get involved in a separate conflict in the Languedoc. Hence, the plan stalled.

One of the most powerful noblemen, Count Raymond VI, Count of Tolosa, did not openly embrace Cathar beliefs, but was sympathetic to Catharism and its independence movement. He refused to assist the delegation. He was excommunicated in May 1207 and an interdict was placed on his lands. Innocent tried to deal with the situation diplomatically by sending a number of preachers, many of them monks of the Cistercian order, to convert the Cathars. They were under the direction of the senior papal legate, Pierre de Castelnau. The preachers managed to bring some people back into the Catholic faith, but for the most part, were renounced. Pierre himself was extremely unpopular, and once had to flee the region for fear that he would be assassinated.

More information: Camí dels Bons Homes

On January 13, 1208, Raymond met Pierre in the hope of gaining absolution. The discussion did not go well. Raymond expelled him and threatened his safety. The following morning, Pierre was killed by one of Raymond's knights. Innocent III claimed that Raymond ordered his execution; William of Tudela blames the murder entirely on an evil-hearted squire hoping to win the Count's approval.

Pope Innocent declared Raymond anathematized and released all of his subjects from their oaths of obedience to him. However, Raymond soon attempted to reconcile with the Church by sending legates to Rome. They exchanged gifts, reconciled, and the excommunication was lifted. At the Council of Avignon (1209) Raymond was again excommunicated for not fulfilling the conditions of ecclesiastical reconciliation. After this, Innocent III called for a crusade against the Albigensians, with the view that a Europe free of heresy could better defend its borders against invading Muslims. The time period of the Crusade coincided with the Fifth and Sixth Crusades in the Holy Land.

At the Battle of Muret on 12 September 1213 the Crusader army of Simó IV de Montfort defeated the Catharist, Aragonese and Catalan forces of Pere I El Catòlic, Count of Barcelona, at Muret near Tolosa.

The Battle of Muret, 1213
Simó IV de Montfort was the leader of the Albigensian Crusade to destroy the Cathar heresy and incidentally to join the Languedoc to the crown of France. He invaded Tolosa and exiled its count, Raymond VI.

Count Raymond sought assistance from his brother-in-law, Pere I El Catòlic Count of Barcelona (aka Pere II King of Aragon), who felt threatened by de Montfort's conquests in Languedoc, which de Montfort pledged to the crown of France. He decided to cross the Pyrenees and deal with Montfort at Muret.

On 10 September, Pere's army arrived at Muret, and was joined by a Tolosan militia. He chose to position his army so their right flank was protected by the Saudrune River, and the left protected by a marsh. He left the militia to assault the walls of the city.

Simó de Montfort led an army of 1,000–1,700 French Crusaders, including a small contingent of knights brought by his ally, the Viscount of Corbeil. Montfort had 900 cavalry, of which 260 were knights. His 300–700 infantry stayed behind at Muret to hold the town and tie down the Toulousain militia.

Pere I El Catòlic had brought 800 to 1,000 Aragonese cavalry, joined by a militia of 2,000–4,000 infantry from Tolosa and cavalry from the counts of Comminges and Foix. Pere's combined forces possibly numbered 2,000 cavalry and 2,000–4,000 infantry.

More information: War on the Rocks

Montfort led his knights and horse sergeants out of the walled town and divided his cavalry army into three lines, with his half-brother William of Barres commanding the first line and Montfort himself commanding the third for purposes of tactical command and control. Pere had arranged his men in the same formation, with the Count of Foix commanding the first line and Pere disguising himself in a borrowed suit of armor in the second line. Once deployed, Pere's army remained stationary and waited for the Crusaders' approach.

Crossing a stream, William of Barres' cavalry rode for the center of the Count of Foix's line, with the second Crusader line following him. The coalition's first line was crushed by the impetus of the charge and the Crusaders broke through to the second. At the same time, Montfort maneuvered his unit to outflank the coalition cavalry from the left and crashed into them. Confused and disorganized, the coalition cavalrymen began to retreat.

More information: BBC

Pere may have been killed in the initial clash or the Crusaders may have headed for his standard in the second line during the battle, seeking to kill him. According to one contemporary account, he shouted Here is your King!, but was not heard. Knowledge of his death contributed to the rout of his army.

Montfort's first two lines pursued the defeated coalition cavalry, while Montfort himself rallied his third line and kept them in reserve in case the pursuers encountered resistance. This proved unnecessary, as the fleeing cavalrymen put up no such effort.

Montfort then returned to the besieged Muret. The militia from Tolosa renewed their assault on the city. When they saw the Crusader horsemen returning and learned that Pere had been killed they broke and fled their fortified camp toward the Garonne River, but were slaughtered in the rout.

This would be the last major battle of the Albigensian Crusade, which did not officially end until the 1229 Treaty of Paris. In addition, with de Montfort's victory as well as the death of Pere El Catòlic, the ambitions of Aragon Crown and Catalan County in Languedoc were effectively ended.

Our Father, which art in Heaven. Hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.

The Cathar Pater Noster

Wednesday, 11 September 2019


Ara digueu: La ginesta floreix,
arreu als camps hi ha vermell de roselles.

Amb nova falç comencem a segar
el blat madur i, amb ell, les males herbes.

Ah, joves llavis desclosos després
de la foscor, si sabíeu com l'alba
ens ha trigat, com és llarg d'esperar
un alçament de llum en la tenebra!

Però hem viscut per salvar-vos els mots,
per retornar-vos el nom de cada cosa,
perquè seguíssiu el recte camí
d'accés al ple domini de la terra.

Vàrem mirar ben al lluny del desert,
davallàvem al fons del nostre somni.

Cisternes seques esdevenen cims
pujats per esglaons de lentes hores.

Ara digueu: Nosaltres escoltem
les veus del vent per l'alta mar d'espigues.

Ara digueu: Ens mantindrem fidels
per sempre més al servei d'aquest poble.

Inici de Càntic en el Temple, Salvador Espriu

Now say: The broom tree blooms, 
everywhere the fields are red with poppies.
With new scythes we'll thresh 
the ripened wheat and weeds.

Ah, young lips parting after dark,
if you only knew how dawn
delayed us, how long we had to wait
for light to rise in the gloom!

But we have lived to save your words,
to return you the name of every thing,
so that you'd stay on the straight path
that leads to the mastery of earth.

We looked beyond the desert,
plumbed the depth of our dreams.

Turned dry cisterns into peaks 
scaled by the long steps of time.

Now say: We hear the voices
of the wind on the high sea of crested grain.

Now say: We shall be ever faithful 
to the people of this land.

Beginning of Canticle in the Temple, Salvador Espriu

Donec Perficiam