Pope Silvester II

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Gerbert d'Aurillac

Also Known As: "Gerbert of Aurillac", "Sylvester II"
Birthplace: Belliac, Saint-Simon, Cantal, Auvergne, France
Death: Died
Managed by: Justin Swanström
Last Updated:

About Pope Silvester II

Pope Sylvester II or Silvester II (c. 946 – 12 May 1003) was the head of the Catholic Church from 2 April 999 to his death in 1003. Born Gerbert d'Aurillac (Gerbert of Aurillac), he was a prolific scholar and teacher. He endorsed and promoted study of Arab/Greco-Roman arithmetic, mathematics, and astronomy, reintroducing to Europe the abacus and armillary sphere, which had been lost to Europe since the end of the Greco-Roman era. He is said to be the first to introduce in Europe the decimal numeral system using the Arabic numerals after his studies at the University of al-Karaouine in Morocco. He was the first French Pope.

His parentage is unknown. However, Michel Roger Lafosse, writing under the pseudonym HRH Prince Michael of Albany, claims he was a "Jewish Pope", son of Raymond III Pons of Toulouse by a first wife who

"was the daughter of the Jewish exilarch of Babylon (then visiting the Jews of Narbonnes [sic]). In AD 945, she died in childbirth, having safely delivered a son. Gerbert was born. Then Raymond married Gersende of Gascony, who gave birth to William in AD 947. Gersende saw the young Jewish boy, and one must remember that a Jew is a Jew by the fact of being his mother's son, as a threat to her own progeny. Further, Gersende was a staunch Catholic. She decided to have Gerbert educated as a Christian in the not too far distant monastery of Aurillac. The monks, however, were liberal enough to recognize the importance of Gerbert's maternal inheritance. Years later, Borrell II of Barcelona (Gerbert's maternal uncle) took it upon himself to take the personable young man, Gerbert, now nicknamed d'Aurillac, to Cordoba." (Lafosse, 53)

This passage does not explain how Gerbert's mother was a daughter of the Jewish exilarch but Gerbert's maternal uncle was Borrell II.


  • HRH Prince Michael of Albany and Walid Amine Salhab, The Knights Templar of the Middle East: The hidden history of the Islamic origins of Freemasonry (2006).
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Pope Silvester II's Timeline

Saint-Simon, Cantal, Auvergne, France
May 12, 1003
Age 57