and ears cut off, he was hailed before a synod in the Lateran, which stripped him of the Papal dignity. Then seated backward on an ass, he was led through the streets of Rome.
Gregory returned and restored order in his chaotic realm. He named Gerbert Archbishop of Ravenna and Viceroy of the Exarchate. He even managed to win the confidence of the Roman people. Un- fortunately he died very suddenly (999) at the age of twenty-seven, and with him there disappeared one in whom both the Church and the Emperor had placed great confidence. The news came to Otto at Monte Cassino. He left this monastery, where he had returned to pray, in order to proceed to Rome; but before he reached the city, he visited places of pilgrimage in the Apulean Hills and consulted with monks and hermits. While he disciplined his body and his soul, he beheld himself in his dreams as the winner of world dominion over the resistance offered by Greece and Byzantium, the city which had long since fascinated him, possibly by reason of some secret influence of his mother's blood. Then he went on to the tents of the Saint Nilus, whom he had once promised to spare the life of the Greek Pope John. But Otto had broken this pledge and Nilus had retired into this lonely place to mourn for friends who had fallen victims to the Imperial wrath. Otto, long since grown moody because his chimeri- cal world-empire did not take form, pleaded in vain with the Saint to accompany him to Rome. Accordingly he knelt to pray at his side; and when he left he placed his crown in the hands of the Saint whose blessing he received, as a sign that he put little store by worldly power.
One among the Emperor's retinue, who was not less concerned about the coming Papal election than was his master, may then have remembered the hour in which his monarch had paid homage on his knees to Romuald, son of a duke and second saint of this land which then lived in a state of mystical exaltation. That had occurred on an island off Ravenna. This one was Gerbert, Archbishop of Ravenna, the fatherly Dadalus who accompanied his pupil on his Icarian flight toward Imperial and ecclesiastical world dominion over the nations of the West. Gerbert was then placed by his master on the throne of Peter, and took the name of Sylvester II. He was the first French Pope, a man of brilliant mind who yearned to know and understand