There were twelve Sibyls. This image, from BL Additional MS 18851 (the Isabella Breviary) fol. 8v, shows them all with the opening words of their prophecies on scrolls. It faces the prayers for the First Week in Advent, which foretells the coming of Christ.
The Cumaean Sibyl, dressed in blue, sits next to the pole of the pavilion at the back.
This artist worked in the 3rd quarter of the fifteenth century.
Here are eight of the Sibyls from the Nuremberg Chronicle. This is the page I own. Each one has a costume description alongside. They could be used (and probably were) to provide authentic costumes for plays and pageants.
|The Sibyls were arranged in chronological order of what their prophecies were supposed to
prognosticate. Here they carry attributes which allude to this:|
This is an elaborately dressed Italian version of the Tiburtine Sibyl (Sybil of the Tiber). She was the one who showed the Emperor Augustus the vision of the Birth of Christ.
This stylised version comes from the Tres Riches Heures of the Duc de Berri.
|This is an image, from an Italian Renaissance picture chronicle, of the Cumaean Sibyl
emerging from the mouth of her cave, probably to greet Aeneas.
For more about the Sibyls and the Sibylline Oracles, try this entry from the Catholic Encyclopaedia.
Top of Page
Course Index Page
© MEG TWYCROSS 2002