Pope Sylvester II (or Silvester II) (c. 946 – 12 May 1003), born Gerbert d'Aurillac, was a prolific scholar, teacher, and Pope. He was the first French Pope, reigning from 999 until his death. Due to his efforts to root out simony and other corruption within the Church, and his connection with science and intellectualism, there were many rumors and legends spread of Sylvester II being a sorcerer in league with the devil.
10/11/09: "'Gerbert. From Aurillac? *The* Gerbert of Aurillac, the tenth-century pope who reputedly owned a brass head that spoke oracles?' The fact that Gerbert was a vampire and had once been pope was of much less interest to me than was his reputation as a student of science and magic." A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES (DHarkness) Image: Sylvester II (Gerbert of Aurillac) with the devil, Cod. P...al. germ. 137, Folio 216v Martinus Oppaviensis, Chronicon pontificum et imperatorum. ~1460.
Frontispiece of The Discovery of Witches - Matthew Hopkins This woodcut depicts the self-styled Witchfinder General, Matthew Hopkins, with witches and their familiar spirits. Familiars were thought to be demonic imps which would assist the witches with their magic, often in animal form. Hopkins, Matthew, d. 1647. The discovery of witches. London, for R. Royston, 1647; quarto (Sp Coll Ferguson Ag-d.47)