Letters of Gerbert of Aurillac
(later Pope Sylvester II) reveal, as Karl Leyser writes, 'a dense network of communication' among Lotharingian/German and French clerics lasting into the eleventh century.
We have Charles MacKay's Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds (1841) to thank for perpetuating accounts of millennial anxiety in the era of Gerbert of Aurillac
, who was elected Pope Sylvester II in A.
Al Mansor, Charles Martel, Ottos I, II, and III, Canute the Mighty, Charles the Bald, Eiriek the Red, Svein Forkbeard, Eric Bloodaxe, Gerbert of Aurillac
, Olaf Trygvesson, Hacon the Good, Harald Bluetooth, Henry the Quarrelsome, Little Sancho, Pandulf Ironhead, Little Slippers, Rufus the Bloody, Sigrid the Strong-Minded, Thorfinn Skull-splitter, and a host of other characters stride across the world stage in this fascinating international story that was Europe as it neared the expected apocalyptic year of 1000, which turned out fine.
In writing what he calls "a saga of the millennium a thousand years ago," the author paints surprisingly vivid pictures of such figures as Norway's Olaf Trygvesson, Denmark's Svein Forkbeard, England's Ethelred the Unready, Poland's Boleslav the Brave, Spain's Al-Mansor, France's Gerbert of Aurillac
, Constantinople's Princess Theophano, and Germany's Otto III.
There are appendices containing Fragmenta de rational) et ratione uti, which is of interest in connection with Gerbert of Aurillac
, and an `abbreviation' (versio brevis) of the Excerpta isagogarum, which is pedagogically informative, for short cribs are always instructive about what goes on in the schoolroom.