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Roman Betarra was on the road that linked Provence with Iberia.The Romans refounded the city as a new colonia for veterans in 36–35 BC and called it Colonia Julia Baeterrae Septimanorum.The city did not take part in the Girondine ("Federalist") Movement, despite being located in the Gironde Region where this movement had its center.In the repression following Louis Napoléon's coup d'état in 1851, troops fired on and killed Republican protesters in Béziers.In 1551, Béziers became the seat of a Seneschal, being removed from the jurisdicition of the Seneschals of Carcassonne.The city served as a rear base during various wars of the modern period, especially those against the Habsburgs. During the War of the Spanish Succession, the British in 1710 landed an Sète and moved to within a few kilometres of Béziers, before being repulsed by the Duke of Roquelaure.Our men spared no one, irrespective of rank, sex or age, and put to the sword almost 20,000 people.
The Trencavels ruled for the next 142 years, until the Albigensian Crusade, a formal crusade (holy war) authorised by Pope Innocent III. However, they refused and resisted with the Cathars.Later becoming affiliated to the Jacobin Club of Paris, the Bézier organization was accordingly renamed the "Society of the Jacobins"; then, the Abolition of the French Monarchy precipitated two further changes of name: "Society of Brothers and Friends of the Republic" and then "Regenerated Society of the Jacobins, Friends of the Republic".From 1790 to 1800, Béziers was the chief town of the District of Béziers.The town was sacked the following day and in the bloody massacre, no one was spared, not even Catholic priests and those who took refuge in the churches.One of the commanders of the crusade was the Papal Legate Arnaud-Amaury (or Arnald Amalaricus, Abbot of Citeaux).
The invaders burned the Cathedral of Saint Nazaire, which collapsed on those who had taken refuge inside. By some accounts, none was left alive - by others, there were a handful of survivors.