Baudry of Bourgueil Biography | Poet
Baudry of Bourgueil (Baldric of Dol, Balderich von Bourgueil) (1046 or 1047-1130), archbishop of Dol, historian and poet, was born at Meung-sur-Loire, where he passed his early days. Educated at Meung and at Angers, he entered the Benedictine abbey of Bourgueil, and in 1079 became abbot of this place, but his time was devoted to literary pursuits rather than to his official duties. Having failed to secure the bishopric of Orleans in 1097, he became archbishop of Dol in 1107, and went to Rome for his pallium in 1108. The bishopric of Dol had been raised to the rank of an archbishopric during the 10th century by Nomenoé, king of Brittany, but this step had been objected to by the archbishops of Tours. Consequently the position of the see was somewhat ambiguous, and Baudry is referred to both as archbishop and as 538bishop of Dol. He appears to have striven earnestly to do something for the education of the ignorant inhabitants of Brittany but his efforts were not very successful, and he soon abandoned the task. In 1116 he attended the Lateran council, and in 1119 the council of Reims, after which he paid a visit of two years’ duration to England. Returning to France he neglected the affairs of his diocese, and passed his time mainly at St Samson-sur-Risle in Normandy. He died on the 5th or 7th of January 1130.
Baudry wrote a number of Latin poems of very indifferent quality. The most important of these, from the historical point of view, have been published in the Historiae Francorum Scriptores, tome iv., edited by A. Duchesne (Paris 1639-1649). Baudry’s prose works are more important. The best known of these is his Historiae Hierosolymitance, a history of the first crusade from 1095 to 1099. This is a history in four books, the material for which was mainly drawn from the anonymous Gesta Francorum, but some valuable information has been added by Baudry. It was very popular during the middle ages, and was used by Ordericus Vitalis for his Historiae ecclesiasticae; by William, archbishop of Tyre, for his Belli sacri historia; and by Vincent of Beauvais for his Speculum historiale. The best edition is that by C. Thurot, which appears in the Recueil des historiens des croisades, tome iv. (Paris, 1841-1887), Other works probably by Baudry are Epistola ad Fiscannenses monachos, a description of the monastery of Fécamp; Vita Roberti de Arbrissello; Vita S. Hugonis archiepiscopi Rothomagensis; Translatio capitis Gemeticum et miracula S. Valentini martyris; Relatio de scuto et gladio, a history of the arms of St. Michael; and Vita S. Samsonis Dolensis episcopi. Other writings which on very doubtful authority have been attributed to Baudry are Acta S. Valeriani martyris Trenorchii; De visitatione infirmorum; Vita S. Maglorii Dolensis episcopi et Vita S. Maclovii, Alectensis episcopi; De revelatione abbatum Fiscannensium; and Confirmatio bonorum monasterii S. Florentii. Many of these are published by J.P. Migne in the Patrologia Latina, tomes 160, 162 and 166 (Paris 1844).
See Histoire littéraire de la France, tome xi. (Paris, 1865-1869); H. von Sybel, Geschichte des ersten Kreuzzuges (Leipzig, 1881); A. Thurot, “Études critiques sur les historiens de la première croisade; Baudri de Bourgueil” in the Revue historique (Paris, 1876).
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