Queer Places:
Abbey Saint-Aubin, Place Michel Debré, 49100 Angers, France

Marbodus, Marbod or Marbode of Rennes (c. 1035 – 11 September 1123) was archdeacon and schoolmaster at Angers, France, then Bishop of Rennes in Brittany. He was a respected poet, hagiographer, and hymnologist.

Born in Angers, Marbod was master of the cathedral school in Angers, then bishop of Rennes. Several of his poems speak of handsome boys and homosexual desire but reject physical relations. A poem speaking of ‘the remarkable boy whose beauty sets me on fire’ (translated by Thomas Stehling) is nevertheless titled ‘An Argument Against Sexual Love’ and another is ‘An Argument Against Copulation Between People of Only One Sex’. John Boswell says that it is ‘clear that the bishop did have a lover, to whom he sent an urgent demand to return from a distant city where he was on business if he wished Marbod to remain faithful to him, since strenuous efforts were being made to woo him away’.

Marbod's 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.

At the age of about eighty-eight Marbodus resigned his diocese and withdrew to the Benedictine monastery of St. Aubin at Angers where he died.


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