Philippe de Vigneulles and the double-sexed monk from Issoire

Bibliothèque intercommunale d’Epinal-Golbey, ms 139 (via

Sara McDougall brought to my attention a short passage in the famous chronicle of Philippe de Vigneulles (d. 1528) concerning a ‘double-sexed’ monk giving birth to a child in 1478. The same story was reported by Jean de Roye († 1495) and other chroniclers, and it may be the same monk Jean Molinet († 1507) claimed to have seen (see here and here). In the Auvegne, the monk was remembered in the 18th century, and among others Mirabeau refers to the pregnant monk from Issoire. Sometimes, these sources call the monk ‘hermaphrodite’, sometimes not.

Here is the passage in question:

Une moinne ayant les ii sexe. – Durans ces jours, advindrent plusieurs adventure parmy le monde. Entre lesquelles advint une adventure on pais d’Auvergne, au monastère d’Issoyre, et chose bien estrange: car, en ycelluy monastère, y avoit en ce tamps ung moine qui estoit homme et femme, et avoit l’une et l’autre nature, c’est assavoir masculine et féminine. Celluy moyne fut gros et ensainct d’enfant; par quoy on le garda jusques à ce qu’il enfanta.

[A monk having both sexes. – In these days, several marvels (adventure) happened around the world. Among these, there was one which occurred in the Auvergne region, at the monastery of Issoire, a very strange story: for in this monastery, there was a monk who was both man and woman, and had both natures, that is, male and female. This monk became pregnant and delivered a child; he was held in custody until he gave birth.]


Source: La Chronique de Philippe de Vigneulles, ed. Charles Bruneau (Société d’Histoire et d’archéologie de la Lorraine, Metz 1927-33, here at vol. 3 (1932), p. 66.

Suggested citation: saramcdougall, Philippe de Vigneulles and the double-sexed monk from Issoire, in Männlich-weiblich-zwischen, 13/05/2018, Lizenz: CC BY-SA 4.0 []. Letzter Aufruf: 30/09/2023.

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