Abelard and Heloise

A monk and a nun whose love letters became world famous

The tragic story of Abelard and Heloise has resonated through the ages. Around 1100, Peter Abelard went to Paris to study at the school of Notre Dame. He gained a reputation as an outstanding philosopher.

Fulbert, the canon of Notre Dame, hired Abelard to tutor his niece, Heloise. Abelard and the scholarly Heloise fell deeply in love, conceived a child, and were secretly married. But Fulbert was furious, so Abelard sent Heloise to safety in a convent.

Thinking that he intended to abandon Heloise, Fulbert had his servants castrate Abelard while he slept. Abelard became a monk and devoted his life to learning. The heartbroken Heloise became a nun. Despite their separations and tribulations, Abelard and Heloise remained in love.

Their poignant love letters were later published.


Famous Love Stories in History

  • Anthony and Cleopatra
    The last Pharaon of Egypt and the dashing Roman general
  • Abelard and Heloise
    A monk and a nun whose love letters became famous
  • Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal
    Grieving emperor who built the Taj Mahal for his late wife
  • John Alden and Priscilla Mullins
    One of the earliest romances in the American colonies
  • Abigail and John Adams
    A half-century love affair during the Revolutionary War
  • Queen Victoria and Prince Albert
    English royalty who mourned her husband's death for 40 years
  • Robert and Elizabeth Browning
    A secret courtship between two legendary poets
  • Marie and Pierre Curie
    Partners in love and science
  • Annie Oakley and Frank Butler
    Skilled rifle shots who inspired an American musical
  • Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne
    Broadway couple who reigned for 55 years

    Love, romance and relationship quotes for your soul

    • 'Love vanquishes time. To lovers, a moment can be eternity, eternity can be the tick of a clock.'
      ~ Mary Parrish
    • 'Love is not weakness. It is strong. Only the sacrament of marriage can contain it.'
      ~ Boris Pasternak
    • 'Where love rules, there is no will to power; and where power predominates, there love is lacking. The one is the shadow of the other.'
      ~ Carl Jung
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