Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Cumean Sibyl from Michelangelo's Sistine Ceiling fresco, 1510 (commissioned by Pope Julius II, Vatican, Rome.)
Greek and Roman prophetesses who were thought to have foretold the coming of Christ. (Hart)
In Roman mythology, one of the many prophetic priestesses, notably from Cumae near Naples. She offered to sell the legendary king of Rome, Tarquinius Superbus, nine collections of prophecies, the Sibylline Books, but the price was too high. When she had destroyed all but three, he bought those for the identical price, and they were kept for consultation in emergency at Rome. (Brockhampton)
These Sibyls are defined as female, I am assuming from the word, "prophetesses", but this Sibyl looks very masculine to me...