The Pope who devised an abacus
CWN - January 10, 2011
In an interview with Religion Dispatches, Nancy Marie Brown, author of The Abacus and the Cross: The Story of the Pope Who Brought the Light of Science to the Dark Ages, discusses the achievements of Pope Sylvester II, who reigned from 999 to 1003 and, in her words, “devised an abacus, or counting board, that mimics the algorithms we use today for adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing.” Brown also calls Pope Sylvester II “the leading mathematician and astronomer of his day.”
“The popular picture of the Dark Ages is wrong,” says Brown. “The earth wasn’t flat. People weren’t terrified that the world would end at midnight on December 31, 999. Christians did not believe Muslims and Jews were the enemy. The Church wasn’t anti-science. In the Dark Ages, contrary to what most people think, science was central to the lives of monks, kings, emperors, and even popes.’
An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:
Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach five million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!
Progress toward our March expenses ($25,809 to go):
All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!