Move over, Shakira, there’s a new BAB (badass bitch)™ in town. And by “new” I mean she was born roughly 700 years ago, and by “town” I mean medieval England, but still, potato/potabo. Enter Isabella of France, wife of King Edward II of England. Gurl had some mad haters in her time, and the shade they were throwing in the 14th century casts a longass shadow. Even though she was noted for her beauty, intelligence, and diplomacy, just because, like *one* time, she usurped her husband’s throne, probably had him murdered, and co-ruled with her lover, she has forever been labeled as The She-Wolf of France, and drawn as a manipulative, sadistic, vain, femme fatale. Whatever. Fuckem. Bitches Get Stuff Done.
So our weebaby scandalite is born probably in 1295, daughter of King Philip Eye-Vee of France, ruler of the most powerful state in Western Europe at the time. All of her brothers became kings, and, as was customary, Isabella was promised as an infanta to Edward II (New Moon) of England. Edward’s father (Edward Twilight, whom you know from the 1995 pre-meltdown Mel Gibson classic, Braveheart as “that old guy in the crown”), for some reason which Wikipedia did not make clear to me, tried to dissolve the union several times before his death. But, once he kicked it in 1307, the 23-year-old Edward and the 12-year-old Isabella were free to pursue wedded bliss.
Why? Because Edward was gayer than Christmas, that’s why.
Well, no—Edward was most likely bisexual, as he and Isabella did eventually have four children, and he had at least one illegimate son by an unknown woman (which I like to imagine means she was a ghost, kind of like Patrick Swayze was that one time), and there is considerable scholarly debate over whether Edward actually had romantic relationships with men (fueled not least by issues of interpreting concepts of medieval sexuality, homosexuality, and male friendship [and for an awesome introduction to these queries, plus a bit of academic titillation, check this nifty volume]). But still, the warning signs were there right from the start that Edward’s spankbank wasn’t filled exclusively with sweet, sweet ladybits.
Just quick, let’s have a tidge of context about Edward: though he was a strapping young buck, the heir apparent apparently shied from traditional kingly pursuits such as jousting, hunting, warfare, bloodshed, mayhem, and dick-measuring contests, in favor music, poetry, and “rural crafts.” Edward had a special little hole (in his heart) that was plugged by a nobleman named Piers Gaveston. Apparently, “as soon as the king’s son (Edward II) saw him, he fell so much in love that he entered upon an enduring compact with him”—which is sweet and all, but hanging on the arm of another dude like you’re the hottest wife in Stepford is 200% not cool in 1300. Edward I banished Gaveston a bunch of times to try to unhook his whore talons from Edward II, but I guess as soon as the king kicked it, Jr. saw this as an opportunity to not only marry his supahrich child-bride, but also debut his boytoy in one big ol’ “fuck you, dad, you’re dead” fell-swoop.
At her marriage banquet, Izzie watched all her presents given to Gaveston (I mean really, one man can only use so many chip n’ dips), and at her coronation, the halls were hung with custom tapestries bearing the coats of arms of Edward and Gaveston. …If TLC had gone all Four Weddings on that biznass, I’m pretty sure even Isabella’s sister wives would have given her pity points. That shit’s rough.
Isabella apparently resigned herself to a life of neglect and humiliation in the wake of her husband’s brazen hussiness. She befriended Gaveston’s wife and I assume they spent lots of hours bitching about their sham marriages in their finely illuminated Burn Book of Hours.
BUT, after merely four winters of discontent, in 1312, tensions between Edward and his barons over Gaveston’s power in court had reached a boiling point. After being banished once again by the peerage, and recalled once again by Edward, Piers was finally kidnapped by a couple of earls, who handed him over to a couple of Welshmen, who promptly rid the world of that turbulent puff.
Sidenote: This is in direct opposition to what I remember of the
stunning, delicate, cinema vérité death of a character based on Gaveston in the aforementioned Braveheart, in which Edward I pushes his son’s lover out a window, squealing like a piglet. No, now I find there’s a dignity in truth afforded to the poor soul, knowing he was in fact taken out to the ass end of Wales and beheaded by a couple of sheepfuckers.
Anyway, Edward was so distraught by Gaveston’s murder that he went all Norman Bates and kept his corpse around for a while before the Church finally forced him to bury it (Ew. Ew. Ew. EwewewEW.). But, with his lover gone in an arguably tragic turn of events, Edward had to pull it together. He put on his big-boy jerkin and favorite Bobbi Brown lipstick, and knocked up the wife he suddenly remembered he had. For England; for the Plantagenets; for something to do on a Thursday night.
So Isabella and Edward had a son in 1312, the future Edward Eclipse, but despite producing a healthy male successor, the political situation in England was increasingly unstable: ties between France and England were weakening, Edward had his ass decidedly handed to him with a side of tatties and neeps by the Scots at Bannockburn, a royal pretender showed up claiming to have been switched at birth with Edward (though he brought very little charming, lesson-learning, folksy-wisdom, and good-old-fashioned-adventure to this Twainesque episode, and thus totally deserved his eventual execution), and the barons were still having a hissy fit about how Edward threw around his power—particularly in light of his new advisor/bum-chum, Hugh Despenser the Younger.
(Also, there was a famine—which I would say was like the cherry on top of a shit sundae, but it’s probably more apt to say it’s like the restaurant never bringing you the sundae to begin with, charging you twice, then giving you a plague blanket rather than a mint on your way out.)
Isabella hated Hugh the Younger, because, in all honesty, he sounds like a total, utter, certified, signed-sealed-delivered, midnight-train-to-Georgia douche. Hugh had campaigned against Gaveston and actively displaced Edward’s rebound after Gaveston, a man named Roger d’Amory (Dare I say they engaged in amorous rogering? No? Too much? Ok.), so he could get into the king’s affections. He held huge political sway over who was in favor at court, and he and Edward instituted massive programs of land confiscation, large scale imprisonment, execution, and the persecution of the widows of their enemies. Hugh in particular wrongfully seized a bunch of land from female nobility (including his wife and his sister-in-law)(!!!!??!!1!), and apparently had one woman’s arms and legs broken until she went insane. *teethsuckholyshitfuckthatdude* It has been hypothesized that because Hugh so clearly hated women, and that because Isabella hated Hugh with such a passion, he had sexually assaulted her at some point, but either way, he was horrible, even by medieval standards.
He and Edward made like a shitload of enemies between 1320 and 1326 who plotted a myriad ways to kill them, including—I’m not kidding—voodoo. In response to a brewing war between Edward and the English nobility spurred on by Hugh, Isabella forcibly took a greater role in politics, and attempted to get the Despensers exiled several times, but Edward always manged to bring them back, like a bad penny, or herpes. Edward finally gave her one of his trademark kissoffs by confiscating all her lands, imprisoning all her staff, and taking all her kids. He wanted her to sign an oath of loyalty to Hugh, but she was rightfully like, “fuck that noise,” and in 1325 she returned to France, gathered an army with the help of her brother, Charles IV, and the really pissed off English nobles, and a hot little slice named Roger Mortimer.
Disclaimer: Mortimer and Isabella might have been having an affair back in England, but either way, once in France, the queen finally got the crowning she deserved (that doesn’t make sense, sorry, whatever, they boned a lot, let’s move on).
In 1326, this mediaeval Bonne y Clyd invaded with a very small force, but such was the state of Edward’s unpopularity that the country essential descended into mob rule at the news of her arrival. She laid siege to Bristol and retrieved her daughters, and soon captured Edward and Hugh as they tried to flee the country. Isabella or her followers essentially killed every higher-up still allied with Edward, with Hugh given a particularly humiliating public castration and disembowelment (Ew. Ew. Ew. EwewewewEW). Edward was placed under house arrest rather than executed, since he was legally still Isabella’s husband, and her legal basis for deposing him was minimal (even though bitch showed mad restraint for sitting it out as long as she did, if you ask me). Her son was confirmed as Edward III, with Isabella acting as regent. Somewhere along the way, Edward II dies—it’s unclear whether he was assassinated or simply died in prison, but the most sensational story is that he had a heated fire poker shoved up his butthole (EWWWW).
Now Edward really was a first class tit, but I don’t know if anyone really deserves to have the last of the red hot pokers nonconsensually inserted into their ass. But, you know, Middle Ages, anything goes.
Isabella and Mortimer co-ruled for about four years until her son came of age and promptly deposed his mom’s main squeeze. She had a nervous breakdown, and was briefly arrested, but eventually was give a massive pension and remained in close contact with the court and her grandchildren. And, like many retirees and shut-ins, she developed an interest in astrology. So, all’s well that ends well in the land of Medieval Times: where women who engage in the same shitty, philandering, power-obsessed activity as their shitty, philandering, power-obsessed husbands are forever remembered as despicable SeeYouNextTuesdays.
Hello Scandalites! It’s back to school time, and in honor of all the wee baby scandal-lovers that are headed, freshfaced, off to another year of
equality-promoting peace-mongering liberal bullshit indoctrination higher education, For Shame! brings you a theme week close to our collective hearts: Siblings Week.
LH and MR are not the only historically minded gossip hounds in the respective B and G families, no, no! We’ve got raunchy tales of debauchery, told in the blog’s trademark (charmingly) foul tongue, and served hot and salacious by the native brilliance of REB and AMG. Their posts won’t necessarily be about scandalous bloodlines, but trust us when we say that the our fascination with ye-olde p-in-v is clearly genetic.
Unfortunately, KAB’s siblings are, in her words, “lame,” and will not be participating unless there’s some kind of 11th hour sports movie miracle. But, we love her anyway, so we’re not too put out. And I, JAF, have been tasked to introduce this exciting new foray into having other people write posts for us, because sadly I was destined to tread the paths of this earth in fraternal exile, carrying on the legacy of the great House of F solely upon mine well-developed shoulders. Either that, or I resorbed all my potential siblings in the womb, we may never know.
So, as a bit of an appeteaser for the week (and, in vain personal honor of my recently completed master’s dissertation on “The Medieval Ages”), I’ve got a mini post about the all kinds of fucked that Charlemagne’s 18 kids were.
Now, Charlemagne himself was a pretty scandalicious slab of man meat. He was shredded like lettuce, over six feet tall, with soul-piercing blue eyes, and a luscious ginger mane and a magical mustache that just begged to give rides. He was generous with his cashmoney, his kingdom essentially created the French and German empires, his patronage of the arts created a cultural renaissance, and he loved to partay, but disliked drunkenness (because he had class, bitchez). He had four and a half wives (one was annulled, but whatever, they totally boned), five known concubines, and probably like a bazillion other pieces on the side, because, come on, he’s the most powerful man in Christendom and he looks like a Ken doll. What wench in her right girlbrains isn’t gonna try and get into those hose, amirite?
Via these prime lays, Charlie, in his seventy odd years in this mortal coil, sired a slew of progeny: 11 ladybabies, and 7 normies (boys). He was exceedingly devoted to all of his children, legitimate and otherwise. They willingly traveled with him nearly everywhere he went, including military campaigns, and were uniformly highly educated in The Seven Liberal Arts. These, thankfully, have evolved from the totes blahh originals of “Grammar, Rhetoric, Dialectic, Arithmetic, Geometry, Astronomy, and Music,” to “BuzzFeed, Facebook, YouTube, Tumblr, Twitter, Wikipedia, and Intro Psych.”
His sons populated the governmental and clerical hierarchy of early medieval Europe (proving the old maxim that kids are “cheaper by the dozen and a half when made for dynastic purposes”), but his daughters were essentially left to their own devices….which was fucking.
There was a reason ol’ Charles was in charge, and he foresaw that if his daughters legally attached their ladybits to corresponding men, he’d have more sons-in-law than you could shake a crosier at, grabbing for a piece of his Holy Roman EmPIEre (DOYOUSEEWHATIDIDTHERE????). So, they were allowed to carry on as many relationships as they wanted, but they could never marry. No forced marriages, no political arrangements were ever made. His daughters’ common-law husbands were even rewarded with places in court (one was actually canonized), and Charles reportedly “loved the shit out of” the buttloads of illegitimate grandchildren which were produced, BECAUSE MAYBE HE TOTALLY WANTED HIS DAUGHTERS TO BE HAPPY LIKE MAYBE JUST A LITTLE I DON’T KNOW EMOTIONS AND STUFF.
Anyway, this fairy tale called eighth-century France ends when Charlemagne dies in 814 and his son, Louis the
Wetblanket Pious, takes over and locks up his sisters who haven’t entered the monastic life for being slorebags.
So that’s my fast n’ nasty introduction to Sibling Week—stay tuned for more scandal de la familia!*
Dearest readers, what better way to begin your bleary-eyed Saturday mornings than with a strong cup of coffee for your overworked bloodstream, and a cup of knowledge for your mindbelly: an only slightly belated super topical post about dirty Popes!
Now please internet, this is not to say that we here at for shame! are in any way accusing Pope Benedict XVI of doing any of the things we’re about mention—in fact, every one of these holy perpetrators lived in my own very favorite times, the Medieval Times ™, and as we’ve established, anything goes before the Renaissance, heyo!
Also, most of this is probably totally bullshit, and anyway, to err is human, etc., etc.
Alsoalso, it wasn’t 100% completely mandatory for someone in holy office to be celibate until 1139, but let’s just say it was a pretty good idea if you weren’t dipping your wick in very saucy inkpot that came along.
Thricealso, MRG has already touched on the beauty of beatific sin, so you should probably read that too because it’s excellent.
Quadralso, all of these men have been dead for a reaaaaally long time, and no further defamation can been brought upon their reputations that hasn’t already been set down in a textbook you were maybe probably definitely supposed to read for your intro to religion class in freshman year but were too busy making desperate eyes across the library floor at the junior field hockey bros. Ha, turned that shit back around, now didn’t I!
So be quiet, sit back, and enjoy a list (because there’s a lot here, and I’m just as tired as you this aftermorningnightnoon) in which we bring you history’s most scandalous papal authorities. More like Holy LOVEsee, amirite???!!?!?
Pope Sergius III (904-911)—the father of Pope John XI, but NBD, they did that a lot though in the early Middle Ages. Oh, those wacky papal dynasties! The better bit involves Sergius’ ladylove, Marozia, a Roman nobelwoman and senatrix—that’s right Latinfans, a lady senator! Marozia was John XI’s mother, BUT, after Sergius died, she started sleeping with his sucessor…..
Pope John X (914-928)—he gave Marozia the title of senatrix. She was seen by many historians as the power behind the papal throne, and probably an inspiration for the legend of Pope Joan (which, unfortunately so soon after International Lady’s Day, I have to debunk as medieval myth—take my word for it, I’m an historian.).
BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE!
So while John X was fooling around with Marozia, HE WAS ALSO SLEEPING WITH HER MOM, THEODORA!!!!!!!!!!1!!!!111!!!!!11!! She was characterized by a contemporary chronicler, Liutprand of Cremona as being a “shameless whore… [who] exercised power on the Roman citizenry like a man.” Which, is actually kind of a compliment. Own it Theodora, own it. Through her powerful poonnections, Theodora got Marozia married off to Alberic I, duke of Spoleto in 909, whose supah riches didn’t stop him getting killed in 924.
At some point, Marozia turns against John X, and after Alberic dies, marries John’s archnemesis, Guy of Tuscany. They then attack Rome, arrest John (Guy smothers him with a pillow, #goodnightsweetpope), and Marozia sets up two puppet popes, Leo VI and Stepehen VII until her son, John XI comes of age in 931 and can be made head of all Christendom from 931-935.
Guy dies in 929, and in 932 Marozia marries her halfbrother, Hugh of Arles (more like Ewwww of Arrghdonttouchme!!!!1! Ahh, shit, I’m on fire today.), King of Italy. Marozia’s son, Alberic II, from her marriage with Alberic is NOT into this, and instead of sending a polite decline to the wedding invite, he brings an army to their wedding, imprisons his mom, chases his stepdadhalfuncle out of Rome.
She dies probably in 936, but still, woman did werk. Check this: Her other son with Alberic, David, was father of Pope Benedict VII (974-983). Alberic II was father to Pope John XII (955-964), and a kid named Gregory, who would father both Pope Benedict VIII (1012-1024), and Pope John XIX (1024-1032), and another son called Alberic III who would father Pope Benedict IX (1012-1055) (he was an antipope, but it totally still counts).
Phew, so I know that was a lot, but to sum up, Theodora and Marozia either slept with, controlled, or directly or indirectly sired 8, count ’em, 8 popes, arguably the most powerful position of authority in medieval Europe.
I, on the other hand, haven’t gotten out of bed today. Hey, different strokes.
The others are far less complicated, but no less interesting. Please stand by for further popesex in 5, 4, 3, 2,
Pope John XII (955-963, son of Alberic II)—was described as having has a collection of women, and making the sacred palace into a whorehouse, and living the lifestyle much more suited to a secular prince than, you know, a pope. He apparently had a thing for adultery, sleeping with (according to our old, reliable friend, Luitprand), “the widow of Rainier, with Stephana, his father’s concubine, with the widow Anna, and with his own niece.” Some historian I’d never heard of calls him “the Christian Caligulia,” which is a fine bit of alliteration, if I do say so myself, sir! Also, his mistress could be another progenitrix for the Pope Joan myth (It doesn’t really matter, because either way, the medieval people were just hellafraid of a ladypope. I get it, I mean, she probably would have redecorated all that gilt and incense and heavy velvet and made everything sooooo gaudy.). Apparently John died Downtown-Abbey style, after being stricken with paralysis during sex. That, or he was murdered moste fowlee by a jealous husband—either works for me.
Pope Benedict IX (1032-1044, 1045, 1047-1048, and son of Alberic III. These guys are everywhere!)—he was ousted twice in favor of other, probably less shitty popes, as you will see. Apparently, he was between 18 and 20 (or maybe even 11 or 12) when he became pope, and had no actual qualifications other than family connections. An actually holy man, St. Peter Damian, described him as “feasting on immorality” (which, in my mind, is like a chocolate fountain with the insane calories as a proverbial stand-in for sin). He was probably homosexual, but it also just seems like he slept with anything that moved. There’s intimations that he also killed and raped people, which seems like a fast escalation from “orgy,” but then again, if the Middle Ages were anything like a Starz show, then he was probs burying bodies like erryday.
Pope Paul II (1464-1471)—alleged by some to have died from indigestion because he ate too many melons. That’s “science,” and I don’t understand it, so I’m going to go with the rumor that he actually died while having the secks with another man.
Pope Sixtus IV (1471-1484)—handed out papal offices in return for blahjays. Jeanyus.
Pope Julius III (1550-1555)—had a hugely scandalous relationship with Cardinal Innocenzo Ciocchi del Monte, who he took in as a ward from the street, then made cardinal when he became Pope. Innocenzo was totally unsuited to the responsibility he was given, but the two openly shared a bed, and nobody could really tell him to GTFO, and it was just a PR nightmare for the Church at the time. When he died, nobody was all that sad.
So on that note, the end!
*Note: This post is not about vampire children, but rather medieval sexploits. Sorry. But, the title is a double entendre, so by all means filmfan, keep reading if you’re intrigued.
Hey guys, hey. It’s our blog birthday. Blogthay. Blirthgay. Blirdigirthbay. Do you know what I received for my actual birthday last year? Welp, aside from the traditional gun and bottle of scotch, I got three pages from a 14th century book of hours. I don’t know who my parents killed to get them, but I will pay whatever the going rate is these days to the Church for absolution. So in that spirit, I bring you a brief, loving, and very highly absofruitly accurate tale of medieval sexual misconduct and mistrial.
Once upon a time there was a place called “France” in an age long long ago called “the Later Middle Ages.” In this mystical land lived a man named Martin Guerre, who married a girl named Bertrande. They were childless for eight years, and it’s very possible that since the medieval mindset towards child-rearing was fairly close to that of the Duggers, that the marriage either went unconsummated, or after one horribly awkward night, Martin slept on the pullout in the living room.
Either way, he was a little shit who apparently stole grain from Bertrande’s father and abruptly disappeared in 1548 over the Pyrenees. This was all the better for his wife, but by Catholic law, she couldn’t remarry unless her husband was proved to be dead.
So here’s the juicy bit: about eight years later, a guy shows up at Bertrande’s saying he’s Martin. He looks the same if you squint, and knows weird stuff about Martin, and he convinces most people in the village, including Martin’s own sisters, and apparently Bertrande. She lets him stay, and get this shit, he immediately knocks her up. Twice. Hmmmm.
After three years, “Martin’s” uncle, Pierre (what a douchey name), starts to suspect something. A solider comes through town and says “Hey, whoa, that dude Martin Guerre totally lost a leg in some war we were in together somewhere.” Pierre has his sons-in-law attack Martin, but Bertrande intervenes Pocohantas-style. Some of the villagers accuse Martin of arson for no apparent reason, but Bertrande hires a lawyer and he is acquitted.
Pierre doesn’t give up though, and brings a fraudulent lawsuit against Martin in Bertrand’s name. Bertrande is rull pissed, but is forced to testify against Martin, and admits that even though at first she thought it was her husband SHE TOTALLY REALLY KNEW IT OBVIOUSLY WASN’T HIM AND SO THEY HAD A LOT OF SEX!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Then, it gets fucking heartbreaking. Fake Martin, whose name was apparently Arnaud (which is a really hot name b.t.dubs.), challenges her in the middle of his trial that if she would swear he wasn’t her husband, he’d be gladly executed. BUT SHE TOTALLY REMAINED SILENT CAUSE SHE LOVED HIM GUYSS$S!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11!!1
After more than 150 testimonies claiming the man was or wasn’t Martin, Arnaud was sentenced to death. There was an appeal, and officials decided Bertrande had been forced by that shitbag Pierre into giving false evidence against Arnaud, because his knowledge of Martin’s life and story checked out perfectly. BUT (this shit is so dramatic, I’m sorry), THEN……………………………..
THE REAL MARTIN GUERRE SHOWS UP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FUCKING RETRIAL.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1!!!!!111!
Oh my Lord, I just can’t take it. Pass me the smelling salts.
Arnaud is immediately given the death penalty again, and four days after the retrial, he was hanged in front of Bertrande’s house, and, as was the custom, his body was left there as a warning to other criminals. That fucking sucks, Bertie.
The real Martin had apparently gone to seek his fortunes in war with no intention of returning to his family. After he did indeed lose a leg, he lived in a monastery. He returned home upon hearing the news of the trial (which was very sensational at the time), and initially refused his wife’s apologies, telling her she should have not taken another man. Ahhhh, men.
This is, in fact, a well-trod area of history, popularized in something like three operas from the 18th and 19th centuries, then repopularized, ANTHROPOLOGICALHYPHENHISTORYSTYLEWHUTUPPP, in the 1980s by Natalie Zemon Davies (which is required reading for lots of History Methods and
Fake Science Anthro classes), and then made into an opera by the guys who brought you Les Mis, a couple of movies, and another musical by nobody I knew.
So, that’s my closing contribution to our Blogoversary Celebration. I know I speak for MRG and LHB when I say that the past year of being very clearly so much internet famous has been a pleasure, a privilege, and a somethingelsethatstartswithp. From our little class in Bath, to our respective second-tier mid-sized east-coast liberal-arts colleges, we at for shame! have stayed devoted to bringing you, dear readers, the most scandalous, most salacious, most sexy shit history has to offer. And we will continue to do so until the sun explodes (or we’re forced to abandon this and erase all possible traces so as not to ruin our careers in the public sector/academia).
(or until someone gives us a coffeetablebook deal).
The phrase “power couple” seems to be bandied about very loosely these days, much like “the next big thing” or “sexual harassment.” I mean, who gets to decide what truly constitutes greatness between two people who are banging but also bangin’. Rew couples in the history of hotties and/or high achievers have actually come close to power couple status. Par example:
Brangelina– Between them they’ve got an Oscar, 2 SAG awards, 3 Golden Globes and multiple nominations, as well as a huge body of philanthropic work, and are considered some of the most versatile actors of our generation. Plus they’re really fucking hot and worth like a bazillion dollars.
FDR & Eleanor– They single-handedly pulled the country out of the depths of economic and emotional depression, helped defeat the Third Reich, created multiple social programs, and let’s face it, cousins that are doin’ it is pretty sexy. You can’t say you haven’t thought about some covert affairs with those hotties from your dad’s side you only see at weddings and funerals.
Pete Wentz & Ashlee Simpson- Nuff Said.
But I digress. The simple fact of the matter is, no one has yet to measure up to the massive influence, individual brilliance, and raw fucking sexual magnetism of the medieval power couple, Peter Abelard and Heloise d’Argentueil. They were the the first great (and REAL, thank you, Tristan and Isolde, Romeo and Juliet, get your fictional asses out of here) star-crossed lovers. He, a Renaissance Man before it was cool or actually invented, and She, 22 years his junior (get over it) and considered one of the greatest minds of her time. When their intellects combined, the results reverberated across generations; when their bodies combined, it resulted in a scandal bigger than Goldman-Sachs’ profit margins. Because as I always say (which at least four people can attest to), the Middle Ages are just sex and God.
Some backstory: Peter Abelard grew up being one of those shit-poor noblemen who really didn’t have any prospects unless he learned his ass some letters and clawed his way up the nonexistent social ladder. Bro was born poor and died poor (spoiler). Since he was the oldest son in his family, and it was expected that he enter a life of military pursuits, as was common for the eldest boy in the medieval gentry. Instead he chose to become an academic, probably because he was “sensitive,” or “intellectual” or some crap like that. Thus Pete began a life of itinerant wandering where he would debate and study with various French academics for however long he thought their knowledge suited him, all the while creating a following of the medieval quivalent of undergrad English majors. He did genuinely think he was smarter than everyone else, but then again, he also knocked up a 16 year old, so you be the judge.
Eventually he became the most respected philosopher in continental Europe through a wildly popular public debate tour, in which Peter would show up at a university and publicly challenge the equivalent of the dean to an academic throw down. I’m guessing it was a lot like being at a hyper-literate Thunderdome. Around 1115 he settled in Paris around 1115 and accepted the chair of a school at Notre-Dame.
This was a time of great intellectual flourishing in the Middle Ages (yeah, it’s a fucking fact), particularly in France, and Peter owned that shit, calling himself “The only undefeated philosopher in the world.” Around that time he would finally meet his match in the pre-teen prodigy, who’s talents with the classical tongues would only be matched by those of her mouth-tongue…. eyhhhh…..
Heloise was probably 12 or 13 when her uncle, and ward, first contacted Peter to be her tutor, but she was already renowned for being a real goddamn smarty-pants with ancient texts, as well as her insightful and intellectual writings. The two apparently really hit it off, even though he was almost 40 and she was still in a training bra, BUT, intellectual love and inappropriate sexual desire know no bounds. Under Peter’s tutelage, Heloise became a formidable philosopher and dynamite in the sack, and even once their affair was discovered, they continued to meet in secret for sexy, sexy readings on the stimulating topics of ‘Atonement,’ ‘Conceptualism,’ and that perennial favorite, ‘Nominalism.’ Unfortunately, they were discovered once again when Heloise got pregnant (oops.), so her uncle came and chopped off Peter’s Little Peter in the night, then shipped her MTV-ready ass off to a convent.
As well as the sex. So, so much sex.