Hello it’s Argos. In this video,
I will tell you about the very first French pope. I love this pope because, like many
other personalities that I already have mentioned in my chain, it is part of
these characters who dared to brave the forbidden of their time in order to sow the seeds
of knowledge. I want this time talk about Gerbert d’Aurillac. Gerbert born
about 945 a modest family of peasants. He is educated at Saint Géraud Abbey
of Aurillac where he is studying for to become a monk. There, he is quickly noticed
for his intelligence. In 963, he crosses the comte de Barcelona who is then traveling
in France. The count is dazzled by the vivacity of spirit and knowledge of the young monk, and
then pushes him to come to continue his studies in Catalan abbeys. Gerbert accepts,
and donates the road to Catalonia 4 years later, in 967. You should know that
this time, a big important part of the Iberian Peninsula and Portugal
are under the domination of the Moors. Moors designate the inhabitants of North Africa.
They landed in southern Spain around 711, where their domination over a good
fraction of the country lasted until the late 15th century. Still
their presence is strongly marked, in architecture in particular. But above all,
Muslim Moors are very much in advance in almost all scientific fields
and artistic in relation to the West Christian. Spain is then a
kind of gateway for greedy Westerners to know.During his stay in Catalonia,
Gerbert shows insatiable appeal to science, but also to culture
antique. He is particularly passionate by what is called the “quadrivium”.
Quadrivium refers to all four mathematical sciences:arithmetic,
music, geometry and astronomy. There, he discovers the numbering ten
numbers and decimal writing widely adopted by Arab traders, while
the West is still in the Roman numerals. The writing in Roman numerals is extremely
heavy and strongly discourages scholars to approach mathematical calculations too
complex. Try for example a simple addition. That’s it, and well it gives, er … that … So
in Arabic numbers, that gives 876 + 387=1263. Historians are not yet
sure of how zero and numbers decimals were written in Roman numerals.
But it seems likely that the numbers to comma were written as a fraction.
As for zero, it does not exist. We understand while the slightest operation yet very
simple soon becomes a puzzle. Gerbert understands quickly that writing in numbers
Arabic is an innovation that will revolutionize the world of mathematics. In 970, after
three years spent in Catalonia, he returns to France, and reports with him
the Arabic numbering system, and participates actively to the introduction of this system
and zero throughout Europe. Nevertheless, do not mess, we are when
even in the 10th century. Western Europe Catholic does not always see a very
good eye impure knowledge acquired in contact Muslims. It will indeed be necessary to wait
the 14th century for the use of numbers Arabs is systematic.Gerbert then makes
proof of a rare erudition for his time, which earned him the admiration of personalities
very powerful policies, including the pope in person. Schools and universities
from all over Europe pull it out. All over, in addition to taking his role as preceptor
very seriously, he continues to show a keen interest for philosophers and poets
of antiquity. But not only. he will also write charts allowing to
to achieve divisions. He is the author at least two arithmetic treatises.
He imagines and builds a lot of objects dedicated to culture. He builds a globe
and devices intended to measure time like sundials and
clepsydras. He also makes an organ. It is things that may seem trivial
like that. I remind you that we are not even in the year one thousand. At this
epoch, concepts that seem to us simple are still new for the time.
And integrate them into the collective consciousness is not easy yet. Some sources
even think that Gerbert d’Aurillac is the first to bring back to Europe an astrolabe.
He would have acquired this astrolabe in Spain in contact with the Arabs. We also think he
would have participated in the research that allowed to develop the pendulum pendulum.
Nevertheless, some historians begin today to question these versions.
That does not prevent Gerbert from being probably the craftsman of many other written works
or material that failed to reach to us more than a thousand years later. Especially
more than, as I will explain to you more late in my video, we have long tried
to tarnish Gerbert’s memory. Which probably participated in destroying some
of his work. Throughout his life, Gerbert meets a lot of political figures
influential in Europe. He plays a particular role of prime importance on the stage
politics during the events that bring at the fall of the Carolingian dynasty,
which gave way to the Capetian dynasty. Well, I think it deserves a little reminder
historical. Carolingians rule over France since 751, with the accession to
Throne throne The short. The term “Carolingians”, is derived from “Carolus”, which is the
Latin name of “Charles”. This name is references to two iconic men
and famous in the history of France. The first is Charles Martel, father of Pepin
The brief, and grandfather of Charlemagne. The second is Charlemagne himself, who is
considered the most illustrious king of the Carolingian dynasty. In 987, more
to political pangs I’m sparing you the details and in which Gerbert is
in front of the stage, the Carolingian dynasty gives way to that of the Capetians, whose
Hugues Capet is the first king. The Capetians will then reign over France until
1848 with the abdication of Louis-Phillipe, and the advent of the Second Republic.
Yes good, I know, the most picky of them you will retort that their period of domination
nevertheless suffered some short interruptions during the revolution and the first empire.
And finally, in 999, at the twilight of his life, Gerbert becomes the first French pope,
under the name of Sylvester II. He will be pope until his death in 1003. This short period
of pontificate earned him the nickname “Pope of the year thousand “. During his duties
Papales, Gerbert pursues the same dream as that of the illustrious Charlemagne. The dream
of a Europe not fragmented into a multitude of empires and kingdom but gathered around
a single government that would work alongside the pope. Well, no need to be
history expert to see that it has not frankly market. Nevertheless, the idea
of a Europe under the thumb of a government unique, it’s already a bold idea
in the year 999. In addition, the Church shines anyway a proud candle. Because historians
today believe that it is thanks to the efforts of Gerbert to fulfill his old dream,
that Rome has established itself as the capital of Christendom.It is undeniable that
Gerbert is a man showing a erudition and a considerable humanism,
making him a being who transcends his time. Yet, Gerbert’s memory
has long been flouted. With time, the Middle Ages radicalizes its Catholic doctrine,
and is less and less open to progress, what I had already mentioned in two
from my previous videos. His memory arouses more suspicion than admiration.
Its attraction to the arts and sciences secular from his relations with Muslims
earn him a sulphurous reputation. His detractors claim that he actually
acquired all the occult knowledge of the universe following a pact he allegedly made with
the devil during his stay in Spain. According to them, his appointment as pope
is even the irrefutable proof. How a man, having maintained such good relations
with the worst enemies of Christendom was able to access the highest of functions
Church? The only explanation is that the devil himself wished it,
as evidenced by these works dating back to 14th and 15th century which represent
Gerbert paying tribute to satan. He is then nicknamed “the magician pope”,
which has a strongly pejorative connotation at that time. Still, Gerbert deserves
ample to remember him as of a learned and humanist man. But now,
finally, and for several centuries, the memory of Gerbert is restored in the arcana
of the history of France. And that is in much thanks to Victor Hugo who makes
tribute to Gerbert d’Aurillac in his book the legend of the centuries, and who says of him
that he is “the soul delivered to the dark adventures “.