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Peter Abelard

Middle Ages - Lords and Ladies

Peter Abelard
The Middle Ages encompass one of the most exciting periods in English History. The names of famous Medieval people scatter the History books. What were these important people of the Middle Ages famous for? The famous people of the Middle Ages included Artists, Clerics, Crusaders, Diplomats, Explorers, Religious Leaders, Military Leaders, Philosophers & Theologians, Scientists, Physicians, Engineers, Mathematicians, Writers & Poets and Reformers who featured in the  Medieval period from 1066 - 1485.

The following biography information provides basic facts and information about the key dates and events in the life of Peter Abelard who was famous as a Medieval scholar and his tragic love affair with the beautiful Heloise.

Short Biography profile and facts about the life of Peter Abelard
The following biography information provides basic facts and information about the life and history of Peter Abelard a famous Medieval character of the Middle Ages:

  • Nationality: French
  • Also known as: Abeillard and Abailard
  • Lifespan: 1079 - 1142
  • Time Reference: Peter Abelard lived during the reigns of the English Kings - Henry I , King Stephen and King Henry II
  • Date of Birth: He was born in Pallet near Nantes in Brittany
  • Family connections : He was the son of a wealthy lord called Berengar, his mother's name was Lucia
  • Early Life and Education: Peter Abelard was brought up at his wealthy father's castle. He received an excellent education and studied with  famous Medieval teachers such as Roscelin the Nominalist and William of Champeaux. He then moved to Paris where he became a teacher at the Cathedral school of Notre Dame (it later bacame the University of Paris)
  • Career: He was a brilliant scholar and teacher of philosophy, rhetoric, theology, and literature. He later became a monk and the Abbot at the Abbey of St. Gildas de Rhuys, near Vannes, Brittany
  • Vow of Celibacy: French Medieval scholars of the Middle Ages had to swear a vow of celibacy
  • Date of Death: Peter Abelard died at Chalon-sur-Saone in 1142, and was buried at the Paraclete
  • Accomplishments or why Peter Abelard was famous: Peter Abelard was prominent in a number of religious and political disputes, which culminated in his famous controversy with Bernard of Clairvaux. The story of his life and love of  Heloise was chronicled in Abelard's autobiographical writing and the lovers letters. 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.

Peter Abelard
The story and biography of Peter Abelard which contains interesting information, facts & the history about the life of this Medieval Scholar of historical importance.

The Love Affair between Heloise and Peter Abelard
The love affair between Peter Abelard and  Heloise. Peter Abelard was a brilliant scholar at the Cathedral School which later became a University in Paris. Abelard was charismatic, highly intelligent and handsome. As a teacher at the Notre Dame University school Peter Abelard had sworn a vow of celibacy he was therefore in a position of total trust. The love affair between Peter Abelard and Heloise started at the home of Abbot Fulbert, the uncle of Heloise. Abbot. Peter Abelard was nearly twenty years older than Heloise.

Abbot Fulbert eventually discovered that Peter Abelard and Heloise 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.

Peter Abelard is castrated
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. Peter Abelard was prominent in a number of religious and political disputes, which culminated in his famous controversy with Bernard of Clairvaux. But he would be forever remembered in association with Heloise. 

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