’Gerbert of Aurillac amidst his inventions.’
Gerbert of Aurillac ( ca. 946 - 1003) is one of the famous people of the Cantal. Starting his life as a shepherd he would become a prolific scholar, inventor and teacher and eventually became pope Sylvester II in 999 AD. He reintroduced the abacus and armillary sphere in Europe. We see him here surrounded by some of his inventions on a bronze relief which can be found on the socle of a statue of him in Aurillac (by David d'Angers, 1851). The contraption with the gears is a mechanical clock which was once thought to have been an invention by Gerbert but which was actually invented in the 13th century. Photo Mick Palarczyk.