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The Pope with the Robotic Head
November 1, 2007 1:16 PM   Subscribe

Gerbert D'Aurillac: mathemetician and engineer, Pope, ghost, and meddler with dark forces.

The superstitious and rather insulting assumption that Gerbert's intellectual achievements could only be supernatural in nature has survived to the present day. More modern mythmakers have outed him as a disciple of The Nine, the enigmatic circle of savants and scholars who have custody over science's more dangerous secrets. Apparently they were the ones who gave him his robotic brass head.
posted by Iridic (17 comments total) 38 users marked this as a favorite

 
This is a really wonderful Post, thank you.
posted by freebird at 1:26 PM on November 1, 2007


AKA Pope Sylvester II (c. 950-1003) - beyond the curious legends, he is most important as the one to introduce Arabic learning in arithmetic, astronomy and astrology to Europe (and he was the first French Pope). Basically he was a cornerstone in the Cathedral School's which led to the "Renaissance" of learning in the 11th and 12th centuries (see Southern, The Making of the Middle Ages).
posted by stbalbach at 1:43 PM on November 1, 2007 [2 favorites]


We have so much to thank Count Wilfred the Hairy for! Fantastic post, thank you.
posted by Abiezer at 1:47 PM on November 1, 2007


Great post. The Church may be the only institution that can draw on a thousand years of organizational experience but, damn, they just don't make Popes like they used to.
posted by nixerman at 1:48 PM on November 1, 2007


Great post. Thank you
posted by francesca too at 2:06 PM on November 1, 2007


I'm really amazed at how many people favorited this post. I'll have to start making some "curious medieval people" posts. Keeping with the "occult sciences" theme, the most likely candidate would be Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II.
posted by stbalbach at 2:26 PM on November 1, 2007


I'm really amazed at how many people favorited this post. I'll have to start making some "curious medieval people" posts. Keeping with the "occult sciences" theme, the most likely candidate would be Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II.

Frederick II wasn't bad either, was he?
posted by nasreddin at 2:29 PM on November 1, 2007


I'm really amazed at how many people favorited this post.

13th!!!1!
posted by katillathehun at 2:32 PM on November 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


"I'm really amazed at how many people favorited this post."

Also guilty! I've only read bits about this person in other works - and can't wait to read more links. Because I never read the bit about the robot head business. Randomly now I'm wondering if all the Cephalophoric saints that walked around after beheading actually were part of some kind of robotic head clan...
posted by batgrlHG at 2:54 PM on November 1, 2007


I'm really amazed at how many people favorited this post.
I just do what the brass head tells me to.
posted by Abiezer at 3:07 PM on November 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


Is it just me, or would Cephalophoric Saints would make a great band name?
posted by webnrrd2k at 4:01 PM on November 1, 2007


webnrrd2k, I probably would buy the cd for the name alone.

Meanwhile on page 5 of the link to William of Malmesbury's Chronicle of the Kings of England - aaaa! The hand behind the scanner! ...Needs to reapply nail polish too.
posted by batgrlHG at 4:04 PM on November 1, 2007


This was great. I'd also love a nice long post on Raymond Lull.
posted by voltairemodern at 4:09 PM on November 1, 2007


See also The Bad Popes
posted by lalochezia at 4:09 PM on November 1, 2007


Am I the only person who's disappointed that the robotic head wasn't actually attached to the Pope's shoulders?

yeah, thought so
posted by Quietgal at 4:18 PM on November 1, 2007


Treasure trove. Well researched!
posted by fcummins at 4:35 PM on November 1, 2007


So this is what Heroes is all about. OK.
posted by scalefree at 10:19 AM on November 2, 2007


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