The Sibyl Series of the Fifteenth Century


Robin Raybould's The Sibyl Series of the Fifteenth Century examines the startling and sudden change that occurred in the representation of the sibyls throughout Europe during the early Renaissance. Raybould describes how and why during this period the number, names, attributes and prophecies of these archaic prophetesses were selected and stabilized thus providing new witness to the Christian message in sharp contrast to earlier representations where the sibyls had played a minor role in the history of classical and Christian divination and prophecy. The book examines all the fifteenth-century instances of these series, as well as the manuscripts which describe them, identifies the origin of the sibylline prophecies and suggests reasons for the widespread popularity of this new artistic phenomenon.
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Biographical Note

Robin Raybould (MA, LLM, Cambridge UK) is an independent scholar who specializes in Renaissance symbolic literature. His latest publication was a translation of and commentary on Giehlow's Hieroglyphenkunde, (Brill, 2015) which describes the reception of hieroglyphics in the Italian Renaissance.

Table of contents

List of Illustrations
1. Greek and Roman Origins
2. The early Christian Era
The Sibylline Oracles
St. Augustine
The Influence of Virgil
3. The Middle Ages
The Encyclopaedic texts
The Apocalyptic texts
The Pisano Sibyls
4. The Sibyls at the beginning of the Fifteenth Century
5. The Cortina Sibyls
6. The Orsini Sibyls
The Tradition of Wall Painting in the Palaces of Italy
The New Canon of Twelve Sibyls
The Camera Paramenti
7. The Manuscripts of the Orsini series
The Early Manuscripts: Zwölf Sibyllen Weissagung
Other early Manuscripts
8. The Theme, Order and Attributes of the Fifteenth Century
Sibyl Series
9. The Sibyl Series derived from the Orsini Frescos
The Ferrara Sibyls
Feo Belcari and the Rappresentazione
Baccio Baldini
De Barberis
The Nuremberg Chronicle
Other Series
10. The Oracula Sibyllina of St. Gall
11. The Sibyl Series derived from Lactantius
The Tempio Malatestiano
Ulm Cathedral
Siena Cathedral
The Oxford Paintings
12. Conclusion

Appendix 1 Text and Origin of the Prophecies of the Orsini Sibyls
Appendix 2 Pausanias: Description of Greece Chapter 10.12
Appendix 3 Clement of Alexandria: Stromata
Appendix 4 Lactantius: Divine Institutes; references to the sibyls
Appendix 5 Table of the Order of the Sibyls




Those interested in the interplay during the Renaissance of the traditions of pagan and Christian divination and iconography, as well as in the origins of these traditions in the classical and medieval past.