(Pope Sylvester II; ca. 945-1003). Gerbert was born in the Auvergne and educated at the monastery of Saint-Geraud in Aurillac. He studied in Spain at the school in Ausona (Vich) and in 970 went to Rome. He was master of the cathedral school of Reims from 972 to 989, with one brief interruption. One of the leading teachers in his day, he numbered among his students Fulbert of Chartres and the future king Robert II the Pious of France. Gerbert’s teaching was notable in that he taught the whole range of the Seven Liberal Arts (Trivium and Quadrivium). However, he was especially interested in literature, logic, scientific observation, and mathematics. He established the logical works of Boethius as essential in the syllabus of studies, and he developed astronomical instruments for observation. He was active in support of Hugh Capet for the French crown and participated in the coronation at Reims in 987. Appointed archbishop of Reims in 991 (an appointment never approved by the pope), he held the position for several years before joining the entourage of Emperor Otto III; he was later appointed archbishop of Ravenna. In 999, he became bishop of Rome, the first Frenchman to so serve. As Pope Sylvester II, Gerbert was a vigorous reformer and an opponent of simony and married clergy. Owing to his mathematical skills, medieval tradition saw him as adept in magic.
Grover A. Zinn
[See also: ARABIC INFLUENCE ON LITERATURE; BOETHIUS, INFLUENCE OF; FULBERT OF CHARTRES; MAGIC; PHILOSOPHY; SCHOOLS, CATHEDRAL]
Marenbon, John. From the Circle of Alcuin to the School of Auxerre: Logic, Theology and
Philosophy in the Early Middle Ages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981.