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 William Rufus & Anselm

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PostSubject: William Rufus & Anselm   William Rufus & Anselm EmptySun Oct 26, 2008 5:26 pm

William Rufus & Anselm

What exactly was the “relationship” between the King of England and the Archbishop of Canterbury. So what connection, apart from the professional one, was there between Rufus and Anselm.

Many labels have been attributed to William Rufus and his sexuality. He has invariably been labeled “bisexual” and “homosexual” but there we must stop. These labels are modern day inventions - are rather, 19th century inventions.

There were other labels used when describing a man who succumbed to the “unnatural vice”. In fact, Henry I, brother and successor of William Rufus, attempted to clean up the court of the "unnatural vice" and laid down a series of penalties for "those who commit the shameful sin of sodomy".

Well, lets begin with a couple of interesting facts about Anselm:
Anselm (d.1109), along with a number of other well-known clerics, including St.Bernard of Clairvaux, Aelred of Rievaulx, Ivo of Chartres, and Bishop Baudri of Bourgeuil (1046 - 1130) and his friend, Marbod of Rennes (1035-1123), all wrote “homo-erotic” poems and prose. To whom were these poems written - typically, young men; though in the case of Baudri and Marbod, to each other.

So, what has this to do with William Rufus, King of England, whose own sexuality was questionable, and the cause of so much gossip.

We all know that William opposed the appointment of Anselm and that their animosity was the cause of much conflict between church and state. But could it be much more personal than that.

Anselm himself was one of the proponants of the medieval "homo-erotic" poetry - could his "advances" (ie: poetry / letters of love) have not only been unwanted but ridiculed (espeically amongst the court favourites) and spurned - which was the true cause of the deep hatred between Anselm and William.

Was Anselm merely the scorned "potential" lover?? Was Anselm hoping to take advantage of what we in modern terms would label as William's homosexuality on a personal level, and use his role as potential lover to enhance his own clerical position. Anselm, as we know, was just as manipulative as the next cleric - afterall he saw himself as another Lanfrac. Could his sudden hatred and vilification of William have been used to disguise his own earthly failings as a mortal man.

Yes, this is speculative in the extreme and there is absolutely no proof whatsoever that there was or wasn’t so form of more “personal” relationship between these two antagonists. But the undercurrents are interesting to say the least.
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