Tiburtine Sibyl

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The Tiburtine Sibyl meets Augustus, Master of the Tiburtine Sibyl, Städelsches Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt.
The Tiburtine Sibyl, fresco in the Church of St. John the Evangelist at Tivoli, 1483.

The Tiburtine Sibyl or Albunea[1] was a Roman sibyl, whose seat was the ancient Etruscan town of Tibur (modern Tivoli).

The mythic meeting of Cæsar Augustus with the Sibyl, of whom he inquired whether he should be worshiped as a god, was a favored motif of Christian artists. Whether the sibyl in question was the Etruscan Sibyl of Tibur or the Greek Sibyl of Cumæ is not always clear. The Christian author Lactantius identified the sibyl in question as the Tiburtine sibyl. He gave a circumstantial account of the pagan sibyls that is useful mostly as a guide to their identifications, as seen by 4th century Christians:

(Divine Institutes I.vi)

The prophecy of the Emperor Constans[edit]

An apocalyptic pseudo-prophecy[citation needed] exists among the Sibylline Oracles, attributed to the Tiburtine Sibyl, written c. 380 AD, but with revisions and interpolations added at later dates.[2] It purports to prophesy the advent in the world's ninth age of a final Emperor vanquishing the foes of Christianity:

This Emperor's reign is characterized by great wealth, victory over the foes of Christianity, an end of paganism and the conversion of the Jews. The Emperor having vanquished Gog and Magog,

In doing so, he will give way to the Antichrist:

The prophecy relates that Antichrist would be opposed by the Two Witnesses from the Book of Revelation, identified with Elijah and Enoch; after having killed the witnesses and started a final persecution of the Christians,

Frescoes at the Villa d'Este[edit]

Ippolito II d'Este rebuilt the Villa d'Este at Tibur, the modern Tivoli, from 1550 onward, and commissioned elaborate fresco murals in the Villa that celebrate the Tiburtine Sibyl, as prophesying the birth of Christ to the classical world.

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Arianna Pascucci, L'iconografia medievale della Sibilla Tiburtina, Tivoli, 2011 [1]
  2. ^ Carleton.ca; text in E. Sackur, Sibyllinische Texte und Forschungen (Halle, 1898) p 177ff; "it stands apart from the remaining Sibylline literature in holding that there is a total of nine ages, and although it draws upon ideas of considerable antiquity and apparently possesses a core dating from the fourth century A.D., much of its material is medieval." M. J. McGann, "Juvenal's Ninth Age (13, 28ff.)" Hermes 96.3 (1968:509-514) p.513 note 2.

External links[edit]