By Davis, Henry
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Extra resources for Medieval Europe
They could not sufficiently admire the encyclopaedic Gerbert, the most fashionable and incomparably the ablest teacher of their day. Otto II and his court listened patiently for hours while Gerbert disputed with a Saxon rival concerning the subdivisions of the genus philosophy. Otto III invited Gerbert to come to court and cure him of “Saxon rusticity”; he deluged the complaisant tutor with Latin verses, consulted him in affairs of state, and finally promoted him to the Papacy. Gerbert was in fact a subtle and ambitious politician, who filled the chair of Peter with no small degree of credit.
He pays impartial homage to ideas which statesmen less imperious or more critical will afterwards regard as irreconcilable. He is at one and the same time an autocrat, the head of a ruling aristocracy, and a popular ruler who solicits the co-operation of primary assemblies. From the highest to the lowest his subjects must acknowledge their unconditional and immediate allegiance to his person; yet he tolerates the existence of tribal duchies, he revives the Lombard kingdom, and creates that of Aquitaine, as appanages for his younger sons.
3) During the years 786-787 Charles was threatened with a conspiracy against his power in Italy. Tassilo, the vassal Duke of Bavaria, aspired to independence and was induced by his wife, a daughter of King Didier, to make common cause with her nation; Areghis, the Lombard ruler of Benevento, had emphasised his independence by assuming the style and crown of a king. The two princes made common cause, but were detected before their plans had matured, and successively terrified into submission by the appearance of overwhelming armies on their borders.