Nursery Rhymes


Middle Ages - Lords and Ladies

Short Biography profile and facts about the life of Heloise
The following biography information provides basic facts and information about the life and history of Heloise, who was famous as the lover of Peter Abelard.

Their tragic love story culminated in the castration of Peter Abelard (1079-1142).

  • Nationality: French

  • Also Known as: Helose, Heloisa, and Helouisa
  • Lifespan: 1101 - 1164
  • Time Reference: Heloise lived during the reigns of the English Kings - Henry I , King Stephen and King Henry II
  • Date of Birth: She was born in 1101
  • Family connections : She was the niece of Abbot Fulbert the Canon of Notre Dame
  • Married: Heloise secretly married Peter Abelard
  • Early Life and Education: Heloise was educated at the Convent of Saint Mary in Argenteuil. She then studied philosophy, theology, and literature in Paris. The Abbot Fulbert then arranged for Heloise to continue her studies with Peter Abelard, who had been given board at the home of Abbot Fulbert
  • Who was Peter Abelard? He was a brilliant scholar and teacher at the University of Paris
  • The love affair between Peter Abelard and Heloise: The ill-fated love affair produced a son, a secret marriage and ended in her uncle's revenge when Abelard was attacked and castrated. Peter Abelard became a monk and Heloise became a nun
  • Career: Heloise was a philosopher, Medieval scholar, Prioress at the Convent of Saint Mary in Argenteuil and Abbess of Paraclete in 1129
  • Date of Death: Heloise died on May 15, 1164
  • Accomplishments or why Heloise was famous: The story of Abelard and Heloise was chronicled in Abelard's autobiographical writing and the lovers letters and in the autobiography of Peter Abelard.. Heloise became famous after the story of Peter Abelard and Heloise was sung by the Medieval minstrels and troubadours of the Middle Ages
  • Nearly six hundred years after the deaths of Peter Abelard and Heloise Josephine Bonaparte ordered that the remains of Abelard and Heloise be entombed together at the Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris in 1817.

The Love Affair between Heloise and Peter Abelard
The love affair between Peter Abelard and Heloise: As a teacher at the Notre Dame University Peter Abelard had sworn a vow of celibacy he was therefore in a position of total trust. Their love affair started at the home of Abbot Fulbert, the uncle of Heloise. Abbot Fulbert eventually discovered that they were lovers. Abelard and Heloise were parted. But Heloise was pregnant. The couple fled to the family home of Peter Abelard. It was unknown for scholars to wed as a wife and family would be a serious impediment to an academic career. The couple had a son. Peter and Heloise returned to Paris and were married in secret. They lived separately keeping up a pretence that their affair had finished. Heloise was sent to the Convent of Saint Mary in Argenteuil - but although she wore the clothes of a nun she did not take the veil. Fulbert was furious and sought revenge on Peter Abelard.

As a terrible retribution for his affair with Heloise Peter was attacked in Paris and castrated. He then turned to the Dominican order, entered the abbey of St. Denis and became a monk. Heloise had no alternative but to take the veil, become a nun and give up her son. The Convent of  Saint Mary in Argenteuil was taken over and Heloise moved to the convent Paraclete where she became the abbess. Peter Abelard and Heloise wrote many letters to each other and although their physical relationship had ended Heloise encourage Peter Abelard in his career. They loved each of until the end of their days.

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