Silvester, the name of two popes, besides an antipope.

I. Sylvester I., Saint

Saint Sylvester I., born in Rome about 270, died there, Dec. 31, 335. He succeeded Pope Melchiades Jan. 31, 314, and concurred with the emperor Constantine in convening the council of Nice. (See Nice, Coin-cils of.) He is frequently mentioned in history in connection with the "donation" said in the false decretals to have been made to him by Constantine of Rome and its temporalities. His feast is held on Dec. 31.

II. Sylvester II., Gerbert

Gerbert Sylvester II., born at Aurillac in Au-vergne about 920, died in Rome, May 12, 1003. He was a Benedictine monk of St. Gerold, Auvergne, studied under Hatto, archbishop of Vich in Catalonia, and at Rheims, and opened in that city a university course under the patronage of the emperor Otho II., which became famous throughout Europe. He constructed terrestrial and celestial globes to illustrate his lessons, and a steam organ to explain his lessons on music; and he is said to have introduced the use of the Arabic figures in arithmetic, and to have invented the first wheel and weight clock. He was subsequently appointed abbot of Bobbio by Otho II.; but being unable to agree with the monks, he returned to Rheims after the death of Otho,' resumed his teaching, and became secretary to Archbishop Adalberon of Rheims, and his successor through a contested election. He was deposed by Pope John XVI., and fled to the court of Otho III., who made him archbishop of Ravenna and had him elected pope, April 2, 999. He displayed uncommon zeal, talent, and severity in his administration. His-universal knowledge caused him to pass for a magician.

His letters, numbering 149, were published by Papire Masson (4to, Paris, 1(521), and by Andre Duchesne in vol. ii. of his Histories Francorum Scriptorcs. His complete works are published in vol. cxxxix. of Migne's Patrologie latine. - See Bzovius, Silvester II. (4to, Rome, 1629); Hock, Gerbert, oder Pabst Sylvester II. und sein Jahrhundert (Vienna, 1837; French, Paris, 1842); and Milman, "Latin Christianity," vol. iii.