Hildebert of Lavardin (c. 1055 – December 18, 1133) was a French
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 writer and ecclesiastic. His name is also spelled Hydalbert, Gildebert, or Aldebert.


Hildebert was born of poor parents at Lavardin, near Vendôme
Vendôme is a commune in the Centre region of France.-Administration:Vendôme is the capital of the arrondissement of Vendôme in the Loir-et-Cher department, of which it is a sub-prefecture. It has a tribunal of first instance.-Geography:...

, and was intended for the church. He was probably a pupil of Berengarius of Tours, and became master (scholasticus) of the school at Le Mans; in 1091 he was made archdeacon and in 1096 bishop of Le Mans. He had to face the hostility of a section of his clergy and also of the English king, William II
William II of England
William II , the third son of William I of England, was King of England from 1087 until 1100, with powers over Normandy, and influence in Scotland. He was less successful in extending control into Wales...

, who captured Le Mans and carried the bishop with him to England for about a year.

Hildebert then travelled to Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 and sought permission to resign his bishopric, which Pope Paschal II
Pope Paschal II
Pope Paschal II , born Ranierius, was Pope from August 13, 1099, until his death. A monk of the Cluniac order, he was created cardinal priest of the Titulus S...

 refused. In 1116 his diocese was thrown into great confusion owing to the preaching of Henry of Lausanne
Henry of Lausanne
Henry of Lausanne , French heresiarch of the first half of the 12th century. His preaching began around 1116 and he died imprisoned around 1148.-Life and teachings:Practically nothing is known of his origin or early life...

, who was denouncing the higher clergy, especially the bishop. Hildebert compelled him to leave the neighborhood of Le Mans
Le Mans
Le Mans is a city in France, located on the Sarthe River. Traditionally the capital of the province of Maine, it is now the capital of the Sarthe department and the seat of the Roman Catholic diocese of Le Mans. Le Mans is a part of the Pays de la Loire region.Its inhabitants are called Manceaux...

, but the effects of his preaching remained.

In 1125 Hildebert was translated unwillingly to the archbishopric of Tours, where he came into conflict with the French king Louis VI
Louis VI of France
Louis VI , called the Fat , was King of France from 1108 until his death . Chronicles called him "roi de Saint-Denis".-Reign:...

 about the rights of ecclesiastical patronage, and with the bishop of Dol about the authority of his see in Brittany. He presided over the synod of Nantes, and died at Tours probably on December 18, 1133. Hildebert built part of the cathedral at Le Mans. Some writers have referred to him with the title of saint, but there appears to be no authority for this. He was not a man of very strict life; his contemporaries, however, had a very high opinion of him and he was called egregius versificator.


The extant writings of Hildebert consist of letters, poems, a few sermons, two lives and one or two treatises. An edition of his works prepared by the Maurist, Antoine Beaugendre, and entitled Venerabilis Hildeberti, prima Cenomannensis episcopi, deinde Turonensis arciziepiscopi, opera tam edita quam inedita, was published in Paris in 1708 and was reprinted with additions by JJ Bourass in 1854. These editions, however, are faulty. They credit Hildebert with numerous writings by others and omit some genuine writings. Revelation of this fact has affected Hildebert's position in the history of medieval thought.

His former standing as a philosopher rested on his supposed authorship of the important Tractatus theologicus—but this is now regarded as the work of Hugh of St Victor
Hugh of St Victor
Hugh of Saint Victor was born perhaps in France, or more probably in Saxony. His origins and early life are rather obscure. He studied and taught at the Augustinian Abbey of Saint Victor in Paris after which he is named. His writings include works of theology, mysticism, philosophy and the arts...

, Consequently, Hildebert is no longer thought of as a philosopher. His genuine writings include many letters. These Epistolae enjoyed great popularity in the 12th and 13th centuries, and were frequently used as classics in the schools of France and Italy. Those that concern the struggle between the emperor Henry V and Pope Paschal II have been edited by Ernst Sackur and printed in the Monumenta Germaniae historica
Monumenta Germaniae Historica
The Monumenta Germaniae Historica is a comprehensive series of carefully edited and published sources for the study of German history from the end of the Roman Empire to 1500.The society sponsoring the series was established by the Prussian reformer Heinrich Friedrich Karl Freiherr vom...

. Libelli de lite ii.

His poems on various subjects are disfigured by defects of style and metre, but they too were very popular. Hildebert attained celebrity also as a preacher both in French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 and Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

, but only a few of his genuine sermon
A sermon is an oration by a prophet or member of the clergy. Sermons address a Biblical, theological, religious, or moral topic, usually expounding on a type of belief, law or behavior within both past and present contexts...

s exist, most of the 44 his editors attributed to him being the work of Peter Lombard
Peter Lombard
Peter Lombard was a scholastic theologian and bishop and author of Four Books of Sentences, which became the standard textbook of theology, for which he is also known as Magister Sententiarum-Biography:Peter Lombard was born in Lumellogno , in...

 and others.

The Vitae Hildebert wrote are the lives of Hugo, abbot of Cluny, and of St Radegunda. His liber de Querimonia et Conflictu carnis et Spiritus seu animae is also undoubtedly. Hildebert was an excellent Latin scholar, being acquainted with Cicero
Marcus Tullius Cicero , was a Roman philosopher, statesman, lawyer, political theorist, and Roman constitutionalist. He came from a wealthy municipal family of the equestrian order, and is widely considered one of Rome's greatest orators and prose stylists.He introduced the Romans to the chief...

, Ovid
Publius Ovidius Naso , known as Ovid in the English-speaking world, was a Roman poet who is best known as the author of the three major collections of erotic poetry: Heroides, Amores, and Ars Amatoria...

 and other authors, and his spirit is rather that of a pagan
Paganism is a blanket term, typically used to refer to non-Abrahamic, indigenous polytheistic religious traditions....

 than of a Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...


He sent letters and poetry to Adela of Normandy
Adela of Normandy
Adela of Normandy also known as Adela of Blois and Adela of England was, by marriage, Countess of Blois, Chartres, and Meaux. She was a daughter of William the Conqueror and Matilda of Flanders...

 advising her on clemency and praised her regency of Blois
Blois is the capital of Loir-et-Cher department in central France, situated on the banks of the lower river Loire between Orléans and Tours.-History:...


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