Page:EB1911 - Volume 25.djvu/135

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SILVESTRE-SILVESTRINES


is spending vast sums of money in the acquisition of MSS.” It is noteworthy, however, that Gerbert never writes for a copy of one of the Christian fathers, his aim being, seemingly, to preserve the fragments of a fast-perishing secular Latin literature. Despite his residence on the Spanish mark, he shows no token of a knowledge of Arabic, a fact which is perhaps sufficient to overthrow the statement of Adhemar as to his having studied at Cordova. There is hardly a trace to be found in his writings of any acquaintance with Greek.

So remarkable a character as that of Gerbert left its mark on the age, and fables soon began to cluster round his name. Towards the end of the 11th century Cardinal Benno, the opponent of Hildebrand, is said to have made him the first of a long line of magician popes. Ordericus Vitalis improves this legend by details of an interview with the devil, who prophesied Gerbert's threefold elevation in the famous line that Gerbert's contemporaries attributed to the pope himself:

Transit in R. Gerbertus in R. post papa vigens R.

A few years later William of Malmesbury adds a love adventure at Cordova, a compact with the devil, the story of a speaking statue that foretold Gerbert's death at Jerusalem—a prophecy fulfilled, somewhat as in the case of Henry IV. of England, by his dying in the Jerusalem church of Rome—and that imaginative story of the statue with the legend “Strike here,” which, after having found its way into the Gesta Romanorum, has of late been revived in the Earthly Paradise.

Gerbert's extant works may be divided into five classes. (a) A collection of letters, some 230 in number. These are to be found for the most part in an 11th-century MS. at Leiden. Other important MSS. are those of the Barberini Library at Rome (late 16th century), of Middlehill (17th century), and of St Peter's abbey, Salzburg. With the letters may be grouped the papal decrees of Gerbert when Silvester II. (b) The Acta concilii Remensis ad Sanctum Basolum, a detailed account of the proceedings and discourses at the great council of St Basle; a shorter account of his apologetic speeches at the councils of Mouzon and Causey; and drafts of the decrees of two or three other councils or imperial constitutions promulgated when he was archbishop of Ravenna or pope. The important works on the three above-mentioned councils are to be found in the 11th century Leiden MS. just alluded to. (c) Gerbert's theological works comprise a Sermo de informatione episcoporum and a treatise entitled De corpore et sanguine Domini, both of very doubtful authenticity. (d) Of his philosophical works we only have one, Libellus de rationali et ratione uti, written at the request of Otto III. and preserved in an 11th-century MS. at Paris. (e) His mathematical works consist of a Regula de abaco computi, of which a 12th-century MS. is to be found at the Vatican; and a Libellus de numerorum divisione (11th- and 12th-century MSS. at Rome, Montpellier and Paris), dedicated to his friend and correspondent Constantine of Fleury. A long treatise on geometry, attributed to Gerbert, is of somewhat doubtful authenticity. To these may be added a very short disquisition on the same subject addressed to Adalbold, and a similar one, on one of his own spheres, addressed to Constantine, abbot of Micy. All the writings of Gerbert are collected in the edition of A. Olleris (Clermont, 1867).  (T. A. A.) 

Silvester III. When Boniface IX. was driven from Rome early in January 1044, John, bishop of Sabina, was elected in his stead and took the title of Silvester III. Within three months Boniface returned and expelled his rival. Nearly three years later (December 1046) the council of Sutri deprived him of his bishopric and priesthood. He was then sent to a monastery, where he seems to have died.


SILVESTRE, PAUL ARMAND (1837-1901), French poet and conteur, was born in Paris on the 18th of April 1837. He studied at the École polytechnique with the intention of entering the army, but in 1870 he entered the department of finance. He had a successful official career, was decorated with the Legion of Honour in 1886, and in 1892 was made inspector of fine arts. Armand Silvestre made his entry into literature as a poet, and was reckoned among the Parnassians. His volumes of verse include: Rimes neuves et vieilles (1866), to which George Sand wrote a preface; Les Renaissances (1870); La Chanson des heures (1878); Le Chemin des étoiles (1885), &c. The poet was also a contributor to Gil Blas and other Parisian journals, distinguishing himself by the licence he permitted himself. To these “absences” from poetry, as Henri Chantavoine calls them, belong the seven volumes of La Vie pour rire (1881-1883), Contes pantagruéliques et galants (1884), Le Livre des joyeusetés (1884), Gauloiseries nouvelles (1888), &c. For the stage he wrote in many difiercnt manners: Sapho (1881), a drama; Henry VIII (1883), with Léonce Détroyat, music by Saint-Saëns; and the Drames sacrés (1893), religious pictures after 14th- and 15th-century Italian painters, with music by Gounod. An account of his varied and somewhat incongruous production is hardly complete without mention of his art criticism. Le Nu an Salon (1888-1892), in five volumes, with numerous illustrations, was followed by other volumes of the same type. He died at Toulouse on the 19th of February 1901.


SILVESTRE DE SACY, ANTOINE ISAAC, Baron (1758-1838), French orientalist, was born in Paris on the 21st of September 1758. His father was a Parisian notary named Silvestre, and the additional name of de Sacy was taken by the younger son after a fashion then common with the Paris bourgeoisie. From the age of seven years, when he lost his father, he was educated in the closest seclusion by his mother. In 1781 he was appointed councillor in the cour des monnaies, and was advanced in 1792 to be a commissary-general in the same department. De Sacy had successively acquired all the Semitic languages, a11d as a civil servant he found time to make himself a great name as an orientalist. He began successfully to decipher the Pahlavi inscriptions of the Sassanian kings (1787-1791).[1] In 1792 he retired from the public service, and lived in close seclusion in a cottage near Paris till in 1795 he became professor of Arabic in the newly founded school of living Eastern languages. The interval was in part devoted to the study of the religion of the Druses, which was the subject of his last and unfinished work, the Exposé de la religion des Druzes (2 vols., 1838). Since the death of Johann Jakob Reiske Arabic learning had been in a backward state. In the Grammaire arabe (2 vols., 1st ed. 1810, 2nd ed. 1831) and the Chrestomathie arabe (3 vols., 1806), together with its supplement, the Anthologie grammaticale (1829), De Sacy supplied admirable text-books, and earned the gratitude of later Arabic students. In 1806 he added the duties of Persian professor to his old chair, and from this time onwards his life was one of increasing honour and success, broken only by a brief period of retreat during the Hundred Days. He was perpetual secretary of the Academy of Inscriptions from 1832 onwards; in 1808 he had entered the corps législatif; he was made a baron in 1813; and in 1832, when quite an old man, he became a peer of France and was regular in the duties of the chamber. In 1815 he became rector of the university of Paris, and after the second restoration he was active on the commission of public instruction. With Abel Rémusat he was joint founder of the Société asiatique, and was inspector of oriental types at the royal printing press. De Sacy died on the 21st of February 1838.

Among his other works are his edition of Harīrī (1822, 2nd edition by Reinaud, 1847, 1855), with a selected Arabic commentary, and of the Alfiya (1833), and his Calila et Dimna (1816),—the Arabic version of that famous collection of Buddhist animal tales which has been in various forms one of the most popular books of the world. A version of Abd-Allatif, Relation arabe sur l'Égypte, and essays on the history of the law of property in Egypt since the Arab conquest (1805-1818). To biblical criticism he contributed a memoir on the Samaritan Arabic of the Pentateuch (Mém. Acad. des Inscr. vol. xlix.), and editions of the Arabic and Syriac New Testaments for the British and Foreign Bible Society. Of the brilliant teachers who went out from his lecture-room may be mentioned Professor Heinrich Leberecht Fleischer (1801-1888), who contributed elaborate notes and corrections to the Grammaire arabe (Kleinere Schriften, vol. i., 1885).

SILVESTRINES, or Sylvestrines, an order of monks under the Benedictine rule, founded 1231 by St Silvester Gozzolini. He was born at Osimo near Ancona and held a canonry there. About 1227 he resigned it to lead an austere eremitical life. Disciples came to him, and in 1231 he built a monastery at Montefano. The rule was the Benedictine, but as regards poverty in external things, far stricter than the Benedictine. The order was approved in 1247 by Innocent IV., and at Silvester's death in 1267 there were eleven Silvestrine monasteries. At a later date there were 56, mostly in Umbria, Tuscany and the March of Ancona. In 1907 there were nine Silvestrine houses, one in Rome, and about 60 choir monks. Since 1855 they

  1. A communication to Eichhorn on the Paris MS. of the Syro-Hexaplar version of IV. Kings formed the basis of a paper in the latter's Repertorium, vol. vii. (1780). This was de Sacy's literary debut. It was followed by text and translation of the letters of the Samaritans to Jos. Scaliger (ibid. vol. xiii., 1783) and by a series of essays on Arabian and Persian history in the Recueil of the Academy of Inscriptions and in the Notices et extraits.