Though rejected by the Jesuits, who found peripatetic formulae a faithful weapon against the enemies of the church, Cartesianism was warmly adopted by the Oratory, which saw in Descartes something of St Augustine, by Port Royal, which discovered a connexion between the new system and Jansenism, and by some amongst the Benedictines and the order of Ste Genevieve.
In the monastic period pharmacy was to a great extent under the control of the religious orders, particularly the Benedictines, who, from coming into contact with the Arabian physicians, devoted themselves to pharmacy, pharmacology and therapeutics; but, as monks were forbidden to shed blood, surgery fell largely into the hands of barbers, so that the class of barber-surgeons came into existence, and the sign of their skill in blood-letting still appears in provincial districts in England in the form of the barber's pole, representing the application of bandages.
But the traditional account is that the books were sent to the Durham Benedictines at Oxford, and that on the dissolution of the foundation by Henry VIII.
Bessarion had intended to bequeath his books to the Benedictines of San Giorgio Maggiore, but Pietro Morosini, Venetian ambassador at Rome, pointed out the inconvenience of housing his library on an island that could not easily be reached.
The cathedral has a Romanesque Gothic portal of 1332 by a Roman marble worker named Deodatus, and the interior is decorated in the Baroque style, but still retains the pointed vaulting of 1154, introduced into Italy by French Benedictines; it contains a splendid silver antependium by the 15th-century goldsmith Nicolo di Guardiagrele (1433-48).