The Abacus and the Cross: The Story of the Pope Who Brought the Light of Science to the Dark Ages

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Basic Books, Dec 7, 2010 - History - 328 pages
2 Reviews
The medieval Catholic Church, widely considered a source of intolerance and inquisitorial fervor, was not anti-science during the Dark Ages—in fact, the pope in the year 1000 was the leading mathematician and astronomer of his day. Called “The Scientist Pope,” Gerbert of Aurillac rose from peasant beginnings to lead the church. By turns a teacher, traitor, kingmaker, and visionary, Gerbert is the first Christian known to teach math using the nine Arabic numerals and zero.

In The Abacus and the Cross, Nancy Marie Brown skillfully explores the new learning Gerbert brought to Europe. A fascinating narrative of one remarkable math teacher, The Abacus and the Cross will captivate readers of history, science, and religion alike.


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Great fun to read

User Review  - Fernando -

A fascinating account of the life of Gerbert d'Aurillac, scholar and later pope. Worth reading just for the portrait os mathematical learning in 10th century Europe. The author overstates her case, but one still gets a good sense of hoe impressive he was. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - flmcgough - LibraryThing

A very interesting look into a topic rarely studied. It goes a long way towards correcting the misconceptions about science in the Middle Ages. Very readable, but with enough meat to keep a more scholarly audience interested. Read full review


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About the author (2010)

Nancy Marie Brown is the author of The Far Traveler: Voyages of a Viking Woman and Mendel in the Kitchen, named one of the Best Sci-Tech Books of 2004 by Library Journal. She lives in Vermont.

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