Waldenese Smothered in a Cave
Waldenses Take refuge in a Cave and are Smothered to Death
The pope determined at last to take such measures as would crush the Waldenses, and put an end forever to the hated sect which defied the authority of the Roman church. Accordingly he sent Albert de Capitaneis, archdeacon of Cremona, to France; who interested the king's lieutenant, and succeeded in raising a large body of troops for the purpose of driving the Waldenses out of their valleys. But when the soldiers arrived they found the houses empty and the place deserted, for the people had heard of their coming and had fled to the mountains, hiding themselves among the rocks and caves.
The archdeacon and lieutenant followed them, however, with the troops, and taking many prisoners, they dashed them headlong from the precipices. A good many escaped for the time from the hands of the soldiers, and hid in the darkest recesses of rocky caves, for as they knew the secret passage-ways they were able to conceal themselves. The archdeacon and lieutenant being, therefore, unable to seize them, they ordered firewood heaped up at the mouths of the caves. When all was ready the piles were lighted, and the people inside were all smothered toe death by the smoke and heat. Upon searching the caves after the fires had gone out, more than 1000 dead bodies were found, many being those of women and children. Altogether 3000 persons were slain during this attack.
After this cruel work, the lieutenant and archdeacon went with the troops to other places in order to attack the Waldenses. But these having heard of the fate of their brethren in the valley, armed themselves; and by fortifying the different passes, and bravely disputing the advance of the soldiers, they inflicted such injuries upon them that the lieutenant was compelled to go back without accomplishing anything.
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