Balderich of Bourgueil

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Balderich von Bourgueil (Latin also Baldericus Burgulianus or Baldericus Burguliensis , fr.Baudri de Bourgueil , more rarely Balderich von Dol ; * 1046 - † January 7, 1130 in Préaux ) was a French abbot , bishop , writer and poet in the 11th and 12th centuries Century.


Balderich was born in 1046 in Meung-sur-Loire , a few kilometers downstream from Orléans . He came from a family of medium provenance about which little is known.

After initial studies in Angers with a certain master Hubert , Balderich's talent for the muses, especially for poetry in the classical tradition, emerged. His other teachers include a Rainald , Marbod and Frodo and possibly the famous Berengar von Tours .

Balderich became a Benedictine monk and was promoted to prior of the Saint-Pierre monastery in Bourgueil in 1079 . The convent was opposite the mouth of the Vienne on the right bank of the Loire - between Tours and Saumur .

In 1089 he was elected abbot of the monastery by the local chapter.

The abbot's richest literary creative period fell in the years of his abbat's between 1089 and 1107. The abbot paid tribute to friends and acquaintances in numerous poems. Balderich was among others. also an up-close eyewitness to the foundation of the Fontevraud monastery , which was founded around 1100 just a short distance away on the other bank of the Loire.

With its founder Robert von Arbrissel , to whom he later dedicated a literary prose work, namely his biography, on the order of Petronilla von Chemillé , Fontevraud's first abbess, he should have known personally.

But Balderich also often stayed in Tours , Blois , Angers , Saumur and the other centers of the Loire Valley and associated with various greats of his time, above all Countess Adele von Blois , to whom he dedicated a long, panegyric, enthusiastic ode.

His sometimes amorous poem to a nun named Konstanze , whom he adored ardently, is particularly famous .

In 1095 he took part in the famous Council of Clermont , at which Pope Urban II banned King Philip I of France and Bertrada von Montfort for bigamy and called for the first crusade.

Balderich was not free from vanity and ambition. Bishop Ivo von Chartres even accused him of simonistic practices because in 1095 he tried to acquire the bishopric of Orléans with the support of the badly reputed Bertrada von Montfort. In this election Balderich came away empty-handed.

In 1107 he was elected Metropolitan of Dol in Brittany at the Council of Troyes at the instigation of Pope Paschal II . Balderich was subsequently not satisfied with this choice. He could not cope with the mentality of the British-speaking population in northern Brittany, he called the Bretons "scorpiones" .

The rest of Balderich's life story has only survived in fragments. He often left his episcopal see, where he did not feel safe, and went to neighboring regions, e.g. B. Normandy or England . In addition, three trips to Rome are attested (1108, 1116, 1123). In 1120 he was removed from office by the papal legate. He retired to Saint-Samson-sur-Rille.

On January 7, 1130 Balderich died in Les Préaux .


Balderich von Bourgueil was a gifted poet who left several prose works and numerous lyrical poems. After a period of monastic contempt for the world, his work stood on the threshold of the rediscovery of ancient authors. Balderich's works are exemplary for this reorientation, which is also provided with the catchphrase "Renaissance of the 12th Century" .

The diversity of the 256 Carmina, most of which are preserved in hexameters or elegiac distiches in just a single codex, range from small poetic forms such as riddles, titles and epigrams to odes comprising over 1000 verses, and the like. a. with themes of cosmology and mythology. The majority of the collection is made up of rhyming letters to real or fictional people. The Ovid reception dominates.

In an attempt to give his works splendor and beauty, Balderich went above all else in elegant wording and perfect metrics and rhyming. He himself said that "a song becomes ugly when the rhythm is lacking, not unlike a noble story which loses value if it is not narrated carefully and which loses its nobility if it is not adorned with a sophisticated style" .

When trying to stylize as artistically as possible, he was not always meticulous with his literary models. Sometimes it tended to be tiresome. Nevertheless, one learns many details of life at that time in his poems, which would have to remain unrecognized due to the other sources.

Balderich's prose work, to which he devoted himself mainly in later years, includes "The Four Books of the History of Jerusalem" (Historiae Hierosolymitanae libri IV), a chronicle of the first crusade based on the accounts of eyewitnesses, several hagiographies (including about Robert von Arbrissel , Saints Valerian and Hugo von Rouen , and finally a letter to the monks of Fécamp and other letters to English and Norman monasteries.



  • Codex Vaticanus Reginensis Latinus 1351, 12th century (poems)
  • MS Bibl. Mun. Tours 891.
  • MS BN Paris lat. Nouv. acqu. 870.


  • Vita Roberti, PL Volume 166, Paris 1844.
  • Charles Thurot (ed.): Baldrici episcopi Dolensis Historia Jerosolimitana, in: Recueil des Historiens des Croisades . Autores occidentales, Vol. 4., 1879, pp. 1-111 .
  • Ph. Abrahams: Baldericus Burguliensis, Les oeuvres poétiques 1046 - 1130, Paris, 1926.
  • K. Hilbert: Baldricus Burgulianus Carmina, Heidelberg, 1979.
  • J.-Y. Tilliette: Baudri de Bourgueil, Poèmes. 2 vols., Paris 1998 a. 2002.
  • A. Le Huërou: Baudri de Bourgueil, Oeuvres en prose (Textes hagiographiques), Paris, 2013.

Secondary literature

A small selection of secondary literature (in alphabetical order of the author's name):

  • G. Bond: The loving subject: desire, eloquence and power in Romanesque France, Philadelphia, 1995.
  • G. Bond: Jocus amoris: The Poetry of Baudri of Bourgueil and the Formation of the Ovidian Subculture, in: Traditio 42 (1986), pp. 143-193.
  • J. Dalarun: L'impossible sainté. La vie retrouvée de Robert d'Arbrissel, fondateur de Fontevraud, Paris, 1985.
  • L. Delisle: Notes sur les poésies de Baudri, abbé de Bourgueil, Romania, 1872, pp. 23-50.
  • P. Grillo: Vers une édition du texte français de l'Historia Jerosolimitana de Baudri de Dol, in: Autour de la Première Croisade, pp. 9–16.
  • M. Otter: Baudri of Bourgueil, To Countess Adela, in: Journal of Medieval Latin 11, 2001, pp. 60-141.
  • H. Pasquier: Un poète latin du XIième siècle: Baudri, Abbé de Bourgueil, Archevêque de Dol, 1046-1130, Paris 1878.
  • C. Ratkowitsch: Baudri von Bourgueil, a poet of 'inner emigration', in: Mittellateinisches Jahrbuch 22, 1987, pp. 143-165.
  • K. Hilbert: Studies on the Carmina des Baudri von Bourgueil, Diss. Heidelberg 1967.
  • M. Sanson: Baldericus Burguliensis: Lettere amorose e galanti, Rome, 2005.
  • O. Schumann: "Baudri von Bourgueil as a poet," in studies on Latin poetry of the Middle Ages, Vol. 3. Munich, 1931, pp. 885-896.
  • J.-Y. Tilliette: Note sur le manuscrit des poèmes de Baudri de Bourgueil, Scriptoria 37, (1983), pp. 241-245.
  • J.-Y. Tilliette: Le retour du grand Pan, in: Studi Medievali, Seria terza 37 (1996), pp. 65-93.
  • C. Thurot, Recueil des Historiens des Croisades, Historiens occidentaux, Vol. 4, Paris, 1879, pp. 1–111.
  • J. v. Walter: The first traveling preachers in France, Leipzig 1903, Reprint Aalen 1972.


  • CD: Carmina Gallica: Chansons latines Du XIIe siècle: Pierre de Blois, Hildebert de Lavardin, Philippe le Chancelier, Baudri de Bourgueil, Hilaire d'orléans Et Anonymes, Harmonia Mundi, 2003.

Web links

  • Werner Robl: Ad puerum mirandi ingenii - To a gifted boy. A poem by Balderich von Bourgueil, 1046-1130, dedicated to the young Peter Abelard? ( online ( Memento from August 29, 2007 in the Internet Archive ))

Individual evidence

  1. "Haud dissimiliter quaelibet nobilis historia nisi urban recitetur, vilescit; nisi disertus eam coloraverit a stylus noblitate sua deperit ..." Balderich of Bourgueil: Vita Hugonis, Prolog, in: PL band 166, column 1163rd