Catharism was the most successful heresy of the Middle Ages. The Cathars taught that the world is evil and must be transcended through a simple life of prayer, work, fasting and non-violence. They believed themselves to be the heirs of the true heritage of Christianity and completely rejected the Catholic Church and all its trappings, regarding it as the Church of Satan. Alarmed at the success of Catharism, the Church founded the Inquisition and launched the Albigensian Crusade to exterminate the heresy. Martin recounts the Cathars' story and the myths associated with them.
Sean Martin is the author of the bestselling The Knights Templar: The History and Myths of the Legendary Military Order (2nd edition, 2009), and has appeared in a number of Templar-related TV programmes, including The Trial of the Knights Templar (Channel 5) and The Templars' Lost Treasure (National Geographic).
His other books include The Gnostics: The First Christian Heretics (2nd edition, 2010), The Cathars: The Most Successful Heresy of the Middle Ages (2005) and Andrei Tarkovsky (new edition, 2011), a study of the great Russian director. His latest book is New Waves in Cinema (2013).
As a filmmaker, he co-directed the documentary Lanterna Magicka: Bill Douglas and the Secret History of Cinema (2009, released on DVD and Blu-Ray by the BFI), the short film A Boat Retold, featuring writers Robert Macfarlane and Ian Stephen (2013), and the feature film Folie à Deux (2012).
He is also a poet, and won the 2011 Wigtown Poetry Prize. He lives in Edinburgh.