The popular picture of the dark ages is wrong. People knew the earth wasn't flat. They weren't terrified that teh world would end at the turn of the millennium. And the Medieval Catholic church was not intolerant or anti-science. In fact, the Pope, who was reigning in 1000AD was leading mathematician and astronomer of his day.
Called 'the scientist-pope' during his lifetime, Gerbert of Aurillac was born a peasant, but ascended to the pinnacle of the Christian world to become Pope Sylvester II. In The Abacus and the Cross acclaimed science writer Nancy Marie Brown nimbly follows Gerbert through scientific exploration and political scheming as he rose from peasant to Pope. Using Medieval letters and modern reportage to transport her reader to Gerbert's world, Brown shows how science was central to the lives of Monks, kings, and even Popes a thousand years ago.