ImageEsclarmonde’s Diary

    December 1310



            My country, Occitan, was a divided country between the Crown of Aragon and the county of Toulouse. The people were Albigensian because they lived near the city of Albi, or because of the 1176 Church Council held near Albi, that declared the Cathar doctrine heretical. The county had sophisticated and powerful nobles, who resented papal authority and the taxes the church weighed upon all the people of Occitan to protect the Cathar’s.

            My Aunt Corba told me that Raimond Roger  known as the Count de Foix and the great hero of the South, a man who in his youth had romanced and won the hand of Etienette de Penautier, the prettiest woman in the Languedoc was my father. Remembered by his subjects as “Raymond Drut” or ”Raymond the Beloved,” the people had great respect of him but in the autumn of 1290, the Count became lost during a hunting party.  Tired and drunk from the day, he spotted a building with high white walls and banged on its gate to demand entrance. He was surprised when a pretty abbess, Na Ermingarda came to the door.

            Opening the door just enough to see who was there, Na, with head down, said, “My mother explained that no man was allowed in the abbey.”

            Forcing the door open, the Counthe slurred, “This is my land abbess and if you and the other nuns want to keep living here then you will let me stay the night.” Na reluctantly agreed. She turned to leave for evening prayers when Raymond grabbed her roughly, threw her down on the dirt floor, ripped her habit and raised her skirts. He clamped his hand on her mouth to prevent her from screaming and thrust his fingers deep inside her.