Dol Cathedral, 5bis Place de la Cathédrale, 35120 Dol-de-Bretagne, France
Baldric of Dol (c. 1050 – 7 January 1130) was abbot of Bourgueil from 1079 to 1106, then bishop of Dol-en-Bretagne from 1107 until his death. Marbodius of Rennes' verses, like those of Baudri of Bourgueil (Baldric of Dol) (one of his students) and Hildebert of Lavardin (to whom Marbod dedicated a work), exemplify a tradition of medieval poetry which celebrated same-sex friendship while generally denouncing the wickedness of sexual relations.
Baldric of Dol was born at Meung-sur-Loire, where he passed his early days. After a course of studies at the school of Angers, he entered the Abbey of Bourgueil in Anjou, where he became abbot in 1079. In addition to his various official duties, he was an active participant in the loose association of regional Latin literary writers known today as the Loire School. In 1107 he received from Pope Paschal II the see of Dol. He assisted at all the councils held in his day, traveled several times to Rome, and left an account of a journey to England. He exercised considerable activity as bishop in reforming monastic discipline. The last years of his life were spent in retirement.
Balderic's poetic oeuvre was written almost entirely while abbot at Bourgueil. The 256 extant poems are found almost exclusively in a single contemporary manuscript which is most likely an authorized copy. They consist of a wide range of poetic forms ranging from epitaphs, riddles and epistolary poems to longer pieces such as an interpretative defense of Greek mythology and a praise poem for Adela of Normandy that describes something very like the Bayeux Tapestry within its 1,368 lines. His thematics are dominated by two great topics: desire/friendship (amor) and game/poetry (iocus). His constant citations and interpretations reveal a deep knowledge and appreciation of Ovid that was rare for the age. Balderic's most valuable work from the second part of his career is his "Historiae Hierosolymitanae libri IV", an account of the First Crusade, based in part on the testimony of eyewitnesses, and submitted for correction to the Abbot Peter of Maillezais, who had accompanied the Crusaders. Among his other works are poems on the conquest of England and on the reign of Philip I; lives, in Latin, of his friend Robertus de Arbrissello, of St. Valerian, and of St. Hugh of Rouen; finally a letter to the monks of Fécamp Abbey which contains some valuable material relating to Breton manners, and to English and Norman monasteries.
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