Introduction

Ximene Trencavel is a Cathar. The hallmark of Cathar culture is the ritual performance of the Courts of Love.

The Courts of Love are a woman’s world. Sometimes men are excluded whilst women advise each other on how to best manage their affairs of the heart. When men are invited to attend they are expected to express their admiration for one of the women present, not necessarily their own wife.

Cathars regard marriage as a mere legal contract associated with the inheritance of material wealth. To them affairs of the heart are far more important.

“In the Courts of Love the expressions of admiration were presented as perfect unrequited love, but the possibility remained that the lady praised might eventually succumb. In practice, everybody knew that many of the ladies did succumb but only at a time and location of the ladies choice.
In the Cathar culture, sexual pleasure is simply God’s way of giving a sample of what union with him (or her) might be.

The most dangerous woman in the world