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Gerbertus 2020 - Scientific Rationale Print E-mail

The annual congress in honor of Gerbert of Aurillac, scientist scholastic astronomer and pope, is inaugarted on thursday 7 may, 2020.

It is coordinated, as the Mercury one of 11 november 2019 and the one of January 17 2020 on Betelgeuse historical dimming, at the International Center for Relativistic Astrophysics Network in Pescara, with another very good international aperture.

The academic journal dedicated to Gerbert, the history of medieval science and to the didactic is at the web site

The program of the 2020 meeting is centered on the Moon: how it was seen 1000 years ago... the Moon of Gerbert, with the idea of reflecting on a great part of the history of astronomy and cultural heritage.

The students of Galileo Galilei Lyceum in Pescara and of the Technical Industrial Institute Galileo Ferraris in Rome, participating in European Programs of Didactic Empowerment (PON projects) are working on the themes of the program.

Among the motivations to study Gerbert I propose a selection

"Why Gerbert has not a crater on the Moon, being the first to spread a treatise on the Astrolabe before the year 1000?"
He thaugth Astronomy among the Quadrivium in the Cathedral of Reims in France, and he was considered a scientific reference for many centuries after his death in the Mathematical Computus, being also the first to use arabic numbers and an abacus and also in Music. A treatise in Geometry and a 220 letters epistolary are also left in the literature (Patrologia Latina volume 90) by him: a unique case of preservation of this medieval culture.
Hermann of Reichenau, who lived about half a century later, was supposed the author of that treatise of the astrolabe, but it has been proved that it was Gerbert the one. Hermann has his own crater and Gerbert nothing...moreover Gerbert built the first documented equatorial mount described in his epistolarium (to Constantine, 980 AD on which I wrote a book "La Sfera da Gerberto al Sacrobosco, Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum, Roma 2009).

The standard of astronomical names commission avoid religious leaders... but in this case Gerbert was respected in all Europe, as the most knowledgable man of his time, when Otto III elected him as Pope in 999, according to the uses of the time, and Gerbert chose the name Sylvester II.

A late medieval legend (in Wilhelm of Malmesbury and in Benno of Osnabruck), after, transformed him into a magician, who built a head (a Golem) able to say yes and not through which Gerbert knew that he would not die unless going to Jerusalem. On May 3rd 1003 he went to celebrate Mass in the roman church of the Holy Cross, named today S. Croce in Gerusalemme and at his time "Basilica Hierusalem" built by Constantine's mother Helen bringing the ground of Jerusalem there after having found the relic of the Cross.
During this Mass Gerbert felt hill, and understood the end approaching...so that the Golem's prediction was satistified. He died (this is true) on may 12, 1003 and that's why we celebrate the congress in the first part of May, after 2003, millenial of his death. He was buried in Lateran's Roman Cathedral.

The slow process of Gerbert's rehabilitation become in 1620 with a Polish Dominican Bzovsky, and with the publication of his epistolarium and textbooks in the Patrologia Latina around 1700 (now in wikipedia, latin section). In the second part of XIX century Nicolay Bubnov in Russia published his mathematical works (1899) now available on the google books. In 1970 Klaus Jurgen Sachs found a manuscript in Madrid on the musical treatise De Mensura Fistularum, of the XI century with the attribution to Gerbert, furtherly proving that he was the real center of the contemporary culture before and on year 1000. Clyde Brockett in 1995 and Flavio G. Nuvolone (1942-2019) studied deeply the encrypted composition "Carme Figuratum" (980) written by Gerbert to Otto II, including the arabic numbers of which he was the first to introduce them in latin Europe.
The approach to Gerbert's study is necessarily inter-multi disciplinary and the surprises on him are not end. Our duties are to maintain this studies and promoting their development through the web also by using the vehicle of the academic Journal Gerbertus fonded in 2010 in Paris Observatory with three ISSN: paper, CD e online.

The 2020 edition acknowledges the immense contribution to Gerbert's studies carried by Professor Flavio Giuseppe Nuvolone (september 2nd, 1942 - december 11th, 2019) who ha s published several books on Gerbert and guided numerous meeting since 1983, when he started collaborating with Michele Tosi at Bobbio's journal Archivum Bobiense.
His primary activity was in Freiburg University as chair of Pathrology, but he become an investigator multidisciplinary trying to encompass the figure of Gerbert.
Talking with him was a way to enter in direct contact with the spirit and the milieu in which Gerbert acted. The resilience of Gerbert's life, and his solid Catholic faith, were shared by Professor Nuvolone with great discretion and depth.
The lost also of George V. Coyne (19 January 1933-11 february 2020) former director of the Specola vaticana, for the scientific community is the one of a person who naturally conducted a life of synergy between science and faith, as Gerbert did. Both are remembered in this occasion.

The arguments belonging to Bothany, Philosophy, Didactic, Optics, Solar Physics, always intend to invite young students to approach the study of sciences, as Gerbert first let possible in his Cathedral School of Reims, with the teaching of quadrivium (Mathematics, Geometry, Astronomy and Music) along with the classical Trivium (Grammar, Rethoric, Dialectic) that he interpreted as studying also prophane latin writers and Aristotle.

The musical contribution prepared by Stefano Carciofalo Parisse is an homenage to the great master Gerbert, author either of music and of a theoretical treatise on it in 980, De Mensura Fistularum.

A crater on the Moon should be dedicated to Gerbert, at least, and in the Earthside face.

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