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Gerbert d'Aurillac and the March of Spain: A Convergence of Cultures - Introduction

Betty Mayfield

In the year 967 C.E., a young man left his home in the Benedictine monastery of Aurillac, France, and headed south to the Spanish March, a region wedged between two tenth-century superpowers – one Christian, one Muslim.  His host and traveling companion was Borell, the Count of Barcelona, and this journey was the beginning of a remarkable three-year sojourn in an equally remarkable region – a sojourn that launched the young man’s career as an important scholar and churchman.  The young man was named Gerbert, and the mathematics he learned in the blend of cultures that was medieval Catalonia gave him an advantage that led to power and fame in his lifetime and to notoriety and legend in the centuries to come.