Montfort, Simon de
, c.1160-1218, count of Montfort and earl of Leicester. A participant in the Fourth Crusade (1202-4), he did not join in the sack of Constantinople, but instead proceeded to Syria. He later led the crusade against the Albigenses
. Capable, ambitious, and fanatically religious, he commanded the Crusaders who remained in S France after the taking (1209) of Carcassone and, with papal approval, was elected viscount of Béziers and of Carcassone by the armies. In 1211 he attacked the remaining territories of Raymond VI
of Toulouse and overran all but Toulouse and Montauban. Pope Innocent III attempted to make him recognize Peter II
of Aragón as overlord, but in 1213 Simon defeated Peter and Raymond at Muret. He was proclaimed lord of Toulouse and Montauban by the Crusaders (1215), and his title was confirmed by the pope at the Lateran Council. Raymond recaptured (1217) some of his territories, and Simon renewed the warfare; he was killed while besieging Toulouse. Through his mother he claimed the English earldom of Leicester, to which his right was intermittently recognized by King John. His son was Simon de Montfort, the leader of the English barons.
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