Online Encyclopedia

PETER OF BLOIS [PETRUS BLESENSIS] (c....

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Originally appearing in Volume V21, Page 293 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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PETER OF BLOIS [PETRUS BLESENSIS] (c. 1135-c. 1205), French writer, the son of noble Breton parents, was born at Blois. He studied jurisprudence at Bologna and theology in Paris, and in 1167 he went to Sicily, where he became tutor to the young king William II., and keeper of the royal seal (sigillarius). But he made many enemies and soon asked permission to leave the country; his request was granted and about 1170 he returned to France. After spending some time teaching in Paris and serving Rotrou de Perche, archbishop of Rouen, as secretary, Peter entered the employ of Henry II. of England about 1173. He quickly became archdeacon of Bath and soon afterwards chancellor, or secretary, to Richard, archbishop of Canterbury, and to Richard's successor, Baldwin, being sent on two occasions to Italy to plead the cause of these prelates before the pope. After the death of Henry II. in 1189, he was for a time secretary to his widow, Eleanor, in Normandy; he obtained the posts of dean of Wolverhampton and archdeacon of London, but he appears to have been very discontented in his later years. He died some time after March 1204. Peter's writings fall into four classes, letters, treatises, sermons and poems. His Epistolae, which were collected at the request of Henry II., are an important source for the history of the time; they are addressed to Henry II. and to various prelates and scholars, including Thomas Becket and John of Salisbury. His treatises include De Ierosolymitana peregrinatione accelerando, an exhortation to take part in the third crusade, and Dialogus inter regem Henricum II. et abbatem Bonaevallensem; his extant sermons number 65 and his poems are unimportant. Peter's works have been printed in several collections, including the Patrologia of J. P. Migne and the Historiae francorum scriptores of A. Duchesne. Of separate editions the best are those by Pierre de Goussainville (Paris, 1667) and J. A. Giles (Oxford, 1846-1847). See the Histoire litteraire de la France, Tome ay.; W. Stubbs, Lectures on Medieval and Modern History (Oxford, 1886) ; Sir T. D. Hardy, Descriptive Catalogue of Materials relating to the History of Great Britain (1862-1867), and C. L. Kingsford in vol. xlv. of the Dictionary of National Biography (1896).
End of Article: PETER OF BLOIS [PETRUS BLESENSIS] (c. 1135-c. 1205)
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