June 3, 1140 : the French scholar Peter Abelard was found guilty of heresy.
Abelard was a medieval scholastic philosopher and theologian, whose love for Héloïse d’Argenteuil have become legendary. She was a nun, writer, scholar, and abbess, and their nine-hundred-year-old love affair has proved immensely popular in modern European culture
She was his student and their passionate relationship scandalized the community in which they lived.
One of the first people to show a deep interest in the couple appears to have been Petrarch (1304-1374), who owned an early 14th-century manuscript of the couple’s letters.
François Villon (1431-1463) mentioned them in his most famous poem “Ballade des dames du temps jadis” (Ballad of the dead Ladies) (1489)
Où est la très savante Héloïse
Pour qui fut émasculé puis se fit moine
Pierre Abélard à Saint-Denis ?
C’est pour son amour qu’il souffrit cette mutilation.
Dante Gabriel Rossetti translated these lines:
Where’s Heloise, the learned nun,
For whose sake Abeillard, I ween,
Lost manhood and put priesthood on?
From Love he won such dule and teen!
(Teen is an archaic word meaning “grief” and a Dule Tree was a tree used in Britain for public hangings; so “dule and teen” may be grief and pain).
Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote an epistolary novel alluding to the two lovers, whose subtitle is “Julie, or the New Héloïse” (1761).
Six hundred years later, Josephine Bonaparte, moved by their story, ordered that the remains of Abelard and Heloise be entombed together at Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris.